Asterix Google Doodle
On October 29th 2009 the Google homepage featured an Asterix Google Doodle celebrating the 50th anniversary of the popular children’s comic Asterix and Obelix. In the Asterix Google Doodle, Asterix was shown punching a Roman soldier through the Google logo, whilst Obelix was shown carrying a pile of Roman soldier helmets. The trajectory of the Roman soldier was marked with a series of stars in the colours of the Google logo of the Asterix Google Doodle.
The Adventures of Asterix, were a series of comics drawn by the French illustrator Alberto Uberz and written by Rene Goscinny. The comic initially appeared in the Franco-Belgian comic’s magazine Pilote, on October 29th 1959. The first book was released in 1961, which was titled “Asterix the Gaul”, from this point on books were generally released on an annual basis. The comic based series marks the struggles of a village of Gauls resisting Roman occupation. Their resistance was maintained through the consumption of a magic potion which was concocted by the village’s druid, Getafix. The magic potion gave the Gauls superhuman strength allowing them to easily resist the invasion attempts of their Roman enemies.
Asterix is the series’ main protagonist, who due to being particularly astute is usually entrusted with performing errands on behalf of the village. During these errands, he is assisted by his best friend Obelix, who is comically fat and unintelligent. Unlike the other characters, Obelix is not allowed any of the magic potion as he fell in a cauldron full of it as a baby and as a result permanently has superhuman strength. The couple are accompanied by Obelix’s canine companion, a little white dog called Dogmatix. Interestingly Asterix and Obelix are the only names which remain unchanged in the translations of the series. To demonstrate Dogmatix is named Idefix in the original French versions.
The series features Asterix and Obelix, who are often accompanied by the druid Getafix and occasionally by members of the village on adventures to faraway locations. These locations include parts of modern France such as Corsica and Lutetia, whilst some locations are further afield such as Briton, Spain, Egypt and even India and North America. Some of the series’ later excursions took on a science fiction dimension. Asterix and the Falling Sky, which was released in 2005 made use of alien life forms. Whilst Asterix and Obelix All At Sea, which was published in 1996, featured the legendary submerged city of Atlantis.
The series is one of the most popular French-Belgium comics and has been translated into over 100 languages globally. To date, 35 official comics have been released with the last book, “Asterix and the Picts” released in 2013.
The comic series has enjoyed many film adaptations. These adaptations fall into two categories, live action and animation. To date there have been eight animated adaptations, the latest of these “Asterix and the Vikings”, was released in 2008 and was loosely based on the comic “Asterix and the Normans”. The Asterix comic series has enjoyed four live action film adaptations, a further fifth, “Asterix Land of the Gods”, is set to be released in 2014.
The popularity of the comic series resulted in the opening of the Parc Asterix, which is a theme park, in 1989. The duo have also appeared in a number of over comics and animated television programs. These “guest appearances”, include an appearance in Action Comics in 1986, when Superman and Jimmy Olsen are taken back in time to the Gaul’s village. Asterix and Obelix also appearance in a South Park episode.
This is not the first time the Google Doodle Team have paid tribute to animated characters with their Asterix Google Doodle. The Flintstones, Popeye, and Wallace and Gromit have also received Doodles celebrating specific birthdays and anniversaries.