Festivals | The Angoulême International Comics Festival has opened in Angoulême, France, and that’s where all the cool kids are. Bart Beaty surveys the scene for the rest of us; the president of this year’s show is Jean-C Denis (last year it was Art Spiegelman), and there will be an exhibit of his work, but Beaty says the big draw will be the exhibit of work by Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix. [The Comics Reporter]
Editorial cartoons | Rupert Murdoch has apologized, on Twitter, for an editorial cartoon by Gerald Scarfe in the Sunday Times that depicted Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu bricking Palestinians into a wall with blood-red mortar. Many commentators were concerned that the cartoon, which Scarfe intended as a commentary on the recent elections in Israel, came too close to old anti-Semitic blood libel. Making things worse, the cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day. [The Guardian]
Unlike most American comics, in which creative teams frequently change out every few years (or even months), the norm in other countries is for creators to stay with their creations long-term. That’s the way it’s handled in American comic strips, in manga and in manhwa, and also in Europe. So news coming out this month that Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo has named his replacements is a big deal — especially because just a few years ago he planned for the strip to be discontinued when he passed. Next year will see the release of the first major Asterix graphic novel created without Uderzo; it’s instead by writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad.
Creators | Eighty-four-year-old artist Albert Uderzo, who created Asterix the Gaul in 1959 with writer René Goscinny, has announced he’s retiring, saying he’s “a bit tired” after 52 years of drawing. The news came as publisher Hachette celebrated the sale of 350 million Asterix books worldwide. Uderzo, who took over writing after the death of Goscinny in 1977, said he has found an as-yet-unnamed successor to continue his legacy, beginning with a new book planned for release in late 2012. [Reuters, BBC News]
Passings | Italian comics writer and publisher Sergio Bonelli, whose company Sergio Bonelli Editore (formerly CEPIM) releases such titles as Dylan Dog and Nathan Never, passed away Monday in Milan. He was 79. [UPI]
Legal | A witness testified Monday in Michael George’s murder trial that she heard the defendant and his first wife Barbara George have a particularly heated argument in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store on July 13, 1990, only hours before Barbara was shot and killed. [Detroit Free Press]
Poring over 34 volumes of Asterix, German scientists were astonished to discover 704 cases of traumatic head or brain injury, a staggering 65 percent of which involved Roman soldiers, making you wonder whether the conquest of Gaul was really worth it.
René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s heroes, Asterix and his sidekick Obelix, delivered more than half the blows, which The Telegraph points out frequently left the victims unconscious or amnesiac, but never, y’know, dead. Surprising … in a children’s comic? Well, the scientists seem to think so.
“The favourable outcome is astonishing,” lead researcher Marcel Kamp is quoted as saying, “since outcome of traumatic brain injury in the ancient world is believed to have been worse than today and also since no diagnostic or therapeutic procedures were performed.”
Hey, maybe the Romans were swigging that druid-brewed magic potion, too.
The study found that although Romans accounted for 450 of the victims, there were plenty of injuries to go around: 120 Gauls, 59 bandits or pirates, 20 Goths, eight Vikings and five Britons.
If, like me, you thought this study sounds vaguely familiar, you’re probably thinking of the 2004 analysis of Tintin, which attributed the boy reporter’s delayed puberty and lack of libido to a growth-hormone deficiency and … repeated blows to the head. Specifically, “50 significant losses of consciousness in 16 of Tintin’s 23 books.”
There’s no word yet as to whether the Romans suffered the same problems.