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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
First Asterix book for four years
Illustrator Albert Uderzo flanked by models of his characters
Models of Asterix and Obelix were at the book launch
The co-creator of Asterix has unveiled a new edition in the comic book series - the first for four years.

Albert Uderzo, who illustrates the famous tales of the Gallic warrior, presented the 33rd book at a special ceremony in Brussels, Belgium.

The book, which goes on sale next month, uses a reworking of the first ever Asterix cover.

Uderzo, 78, introduced the colourful character with writer Rene Goscinny nearly half a century ago in 1959.

The new Asterix book, The Sky Falls On His Head, is out on 14 October but Uderzo has steadfastly refused to reveal any plot details.

Asterix creator Albert Uderzo
Albert Uderzo is the illustrator of the Asterix books

But it is believed nothing too drastic has changed. The year is still 50BC, and the small village is still holding out against the Roman conqueror.

Explaining why he had chosen to rework the original cover, Uderzo said: "This album was the first, the character was not really well built then.

"I always said that if I could redo the first album, I would, but the answer has always been it wouldn't please the readers, they prefer to keep their first feelings."

Asterix has become an institution in Europe, and a worldwide best seller, ensuring a large turnout at The Grand Place in Brussels for the launch.

The square was transformed into a Gallic village with the Manneken Pis statue dressed in blue-and-white-striped pantaloons for the launch.

While Asterix is a French hero, Uderzo told reporters that Belgium liked him more, which is why he chose that country for the launch.

The book will be distributed in 27 countries and some eight million copies are already printed and wait to be released.

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