Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Divisions emerge in Asterix camp

Millions of children have grown up reading the Asterix books

The daughter of Asterix illustrator Albert Uderzo has claimed he has been swayed into allowing his comic book series to continue after his death.

Sylvie Uderzo accused "a handful of shadowy advisers" of persuading her father, 81, to sell his 60% stake in Asterix publisher Editions Albert Rene.

The new publisher's aim to continue the series, she said, betrayed the spirit of the indomitable Gaulish warrior.

Albert Uderzo and new owners Hachette Livre are yet to respond to her claims.

The 33 albums in the Asterix series have sold 325 million copies around the world and have been translated into more than 100 languages.


Uderzo created the character in 1959 with his writing partner Rene Goscinny, continuing the series alone after Goscinny's death in 1977.

Set in Roman times, the Asterix books revolve around a small French village that holds out against Julius Caesar and his invading army.

Albert Uderzo
Albert Uderzo has been drawing his adventures since 1959
Its hero is a plucky warrior who derives superhuman strength from a magic potion brewed by the druid Getafix.

Writing in French paper Le Monde, Sylvie Uderzo likened publishing giant Hachette Livre to the Gauls' old enemy.

"It's as if the gates of the Gaulish village had been thrown open to the Roman Empire," she wrote.

"I am entering resistance against perhaps the worst enemies of Asterix, the men of finance and industry."

At stake, she claims, is "a unique piece of work that is part of our national heritage".

The most recent Asterix book, Asterix and the Falling Sky, was published in 2005.

Some fans refuse to accept the post-Goscinny books, claiming the stories are of inferior quality.

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