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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
New Asterix book pokes fun at US
Asterix illustrator Albert Uderzo with his new book
Asterix illustrator Albert Uderzo introduced the character in 1959
More than eight million copies of the new Asterix book have gone on sale in 27 countries - and the comic series is getting political for the first time.

Asterix and the Falling Sky is the 33rd book and the first for four years.

Illustrator Albert Uderzo introduces aliens from a planet called Tadsylwine, an anagram of Walt Disney, with a leader called Hubs, an anagram of Bush.

"What the Americans are going through today with Bush got me into it," Mr Uderzo told France-Soir newspaper.

"I had fun caricaturing certain things which have come from America.

Good-natured

"Even I am a bit surprised, because [writer Rene] Goscinny and I never got Asterix involved in politics. But here there is a slight political side to it."

There has been fevered anticipation for the new book, which has been translated into 13 languages.

In the good-natured send-up, the creatures from Tadsylwine - dim Superman clones - visit Asterix's famous ancient village in search of its strength-giving magic potion.

They are joined by another group of invaders called Nagmas, an anagram of Mangas, the Japanese cartoons that have become increasingly popular in France.




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