"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Auctions | A page of original artwork from 1971’s Asterix and the Laurel Wreath sold at auction Sunday for more than $158,000, with proceeds going to benefit the families of those killed in the attack on Charlie Hebdo‘s offices. The art included a special dedication by Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo, who came out of retirement in the days after the attack to draw tributes to the victims. The auction house Christie’s waived its commission for Sunday’s sale. [BBC News]
Political cartoons | Ecuadorean cartoonist Xavier Bonilla, who has been sued, threatened and reprimanded by his own government because of his political cartoons, revealed last week that he has also received threats from an Ecuadorean member of ISIS over a cartoon making fun of the extremist group. While he ultimately decided the threat wasn’t credible, Bonilla said, “It has to be understood within this climate of hostility and harassment that’s been created within the country. It’s gotten to the point where even humor is being persecuted and oppressed by the president.” Reporter Jim Wyss also looks at some other cases of government suppression of political cartoons in Latin America [Miami Herald]
In the long week since the horrific massacre at France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine, there have been a number of tributes from artists worldwide to the fallen comic satirists. But today as the story of the attack reached a violent end, one more creator surprised fans with some social media solidarity: Asterix co-creator Albert Udzero.
Retired since 2011, the artist returned to the drawing board today to pencil two “Je suis Charlie” tributes featuring his famed characters Asterix and Obelix which were sent out in a pair of tweets on the official Asterix account.
“Charlie [Hebdo] and Asterix have nothing to do with each other obviously,” the artist told Le Figaro in an interview. “I simply want to express my affection for those designers who have paid with their lives.
The comics medium allows for diverse interpretations of characters, both narratively and visually. Artist Jaakko Seppälä has taken 10 of the most iconic comic characters — from Asterix to Batman to Lucy van Pelt — drawn in the style of 10 famous artists (including their respective creators or most popular illustrators).
According to Agence France-Presse, they said in a joint statement that they are “reunited again and determined to make a clean sweep of the grievances raised by both sides.” Any existing legal complaints will be dropped.
The dispute dates back to at least 2007, when Sylvie and her husband Bernard de Choizy were dismissed from their senior positions at Les Éditions Albert René, the publishing company Albert founded in 1979, following the death of Asterix co-creator Rene Goscinny. The family quarrel erupted into the public eye two years later, when Sylvie criticized her father’s decision to sell his stake in the company to Hachette Livre and authorize the publisher to continue Asterix after his death.
A French judge on Tuesday dismissed a claim by the daughter of Asterix artist Albert Uderzo that her father is mentally frail, which has permitted others to exploit his beloved creation.
According to France24, the judge found the 86-year-old Uderzo is “lucid” and “has the full capacity to make decisions.” The lawyer for daughter Sylvie Uderzo said she intends to file an immediate appeal.
The dispute dates back to at least 2007, when Sylvie and her husband Bernard de Choizy were dismissed from their senior positions at Les Éditions Albert René, the publishing company Albert founded in 1979, following the death of Asterix co-creator Rene Goscinny. The family quarrel erupted into the public eye two years later, Uderzo criticized her father’s decision to sell his stake in the company to Hachette Livre and authorize the publisher to continue Asterix after his death.
Legal | Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo has filed a legal complaint against his daughter Sylvie and her husband Bernard Choisy, claiming “psychological violence.” The dispute began in 2007, when Sylvie and Bernard were dismissed from their positions at Les Éditions Albert René, which published Asterix; a year later, Uderzo sold his stake in the company to Hachette Livre. The two filed their own legal challenge in 2011, claiming Uderzo, who is now 86, was being exploited by others. In this week’s filing, Uderzo says he is perfectly capable of managing his own affairs, and adds, “The sole purpose of these acts is to undermine our psychological integrity and to hasten our debility, in order to get their hands on our legacy, which they covet.” [The Guardian]
Awards | Jamie Smart’s Fish-Head Steve has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the first comic to make the list in the six-year history of the award. The prize recognizes the funniest book for children in two age categories, and the final judges will be 200 children from schools around the United Kingdom. [Forbidden Planet]
Comics | Eric Margolis reports on the difficulties U.K. creator Darren Cullen had in getting his Kickstarter-funded comic (Don’t) Join the Army printed. The format was unusual, so some shops simply couldn’t do it, but printers also took exception to the comic itself, which was an “anti-recruitment leaflet” satirizing the British army. [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]
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.