Asterix, Obelix and Idefix are back for a new comic adventure. The trio prepares to go on a long journey, searching for a strange and terrifying creature, half eagle and half lion. And to hunt the Griffin, the brave Gaul warriors will go east to Barbaricum, a huge and unknown territory, which is wild and unexplored and covered by snow for most of the year. It is an assumed area located between Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan and inhabited by people with unpronounceable names, and of course the Sarmatian nomads.
The comic premiered in France a week ago, “Asterix e il Grifone”. The thirty-ninth issue of the series, which began in 1959, was released worldwide on Thursday, 28 October.
“Asterix and the Griffin” is the last of the series which the French designer Albert Uderzo, who died at 92 on 24 March 2020 (the other creator, the screenwriter René Goscinny had died in 1977), had personally authorized. In this new volume, which is the fifth created by Jean-Yves Ferri (texts) and Didier Conrad (drawings), the two Gaul heroes, accompanied by the inevitable dog Idefix and the druid Panoramix, will find themselves involved in a full of pitfalls epic adventure to find a terrifying mythological animal ‘Griffin’ with impressive fangs and a terrible raptor’s beak.
This new series brings the Gaul characters in the footsteps of the Sarmatia. The Griffin is the totem of the Sarmatians and the religious symbol. Griffin is threatened in their faith by the conquest of the Romans and by Julius Caesar. The Gauls will venture into snowy landscapes with horses, large wild expanses, innocents who must defend themselves from the Roman bad guys, breathtaking action scenes, indigenous people and revered animals, thus resembling the theme of westerns. But since it is not in the desert plains of Arizona but the snow-covered steppes of Eastern Europe, readers find themselves catapulted into an “Eastern” setup. The plot revolves around the clash between a Roman army that sets out on an expedition to capture the famous Griffin, by order of Julius Caesar, and the mysterious Sarmatians, with whom the Gauls sympathize.
Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad have drawn three ‘new villains’ among the Romans fighting in these great icy expanses: Nelsuobrodus, Ermejus and Terrincognitus (the latter resembles the French writer Michel Houellebecq).
“The country where the story is set does not exist: it is rather a narrative atmosphere, with the Gauls losing their bearings,” says Jean-Yves Ferri. The series also has an ecological tone. “The Romans represent a bit of the Western attitude towards nature, the way of using it, while the Sarmatians are presented as respectful of their nature, of animals in particular. And the Gauls are a bit in the middle”, explained the screenwriter.
In the story, a magic potion will look like a vaccine, perhaps the only concession that the comic seems to make at the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asterix celebrated its 60 years with the 38th issue released on 24 October 2019 entitled “The daughter of Vercingetorix”, where a mysterious teenager appears who is a rebellious girl.