Asterix Comics Introduces Adrenaline, Its First Female Hero in 60 Years
“The year is 50 B.C. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium…”
So the Asterix comics have begun for the last 60 years, with its heroes: small and brave Asterix, and his loveable, dull-witted partner and craftsman with superhuman strength, Obelix — both of whom are Gauls, a persecuted group residing in a village that is still trying to fight Roman occupation under the reign of Julius Caesar in 50 B.C. For 60 years, 37 editions, and many childhoods, Asterix and Obelix have taken their fans through adventures in faraway lands (in what is now modern France), from wreaking havoc at the Olympics to getting framed for Cleopatra’s failed assassination to fighting aliens.
And now, for the first time in its history, the 38th edition will be a little different: the Asterix comics will have a female hero, Adrenaline.
Called Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter, Adrenaline, the teenage daughter of Gaulish king Vercingetorix, will be seen keeping Asterix and Obelix on their toes, as they chase after the hot-headed rebel. She has “long, red, braided hair, black trousers, gold headphones and [a] grumpy teenage disposition,” The Guardian reports. All previous female characters in the comics have been sultry femme fatale blondes whose sole purpose was to seduce Obelix; most of them were dispensable characters for whom the writers subbed in different names and slightly different personalities.
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In distancing themselves from history, writer Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad (both of whom were mentored by original Asterix creators René Goscinny and cartoonist Albert Uderzo) are attempting to get the beloved French mainstay with the times — in Adrenaline’s story arc, they create an adolescent girl who is not the sexy, objectified woman of the past, but a rebellious soul who has not yet grown into her feminine self.
“We didn’t want to develop a character who would be based on her seductive side as we usually do with female characters in Asterix. Most of the time, they are young, attractive women who seduce Obelix and their role stops there,” Conrad told The Guardian. “[Adrenaline] has just finished growing, but hasn’t fully developed yet, so everything that is feminine is focused on her face. At the beginning of the story she has the silhouette in the form of an ‘S’, so she’s a bit round-shouldered and grumpy; as she starts to assert herself, she stands up straight.”
In Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter, Adrenaline is in danger from the Romans, and Asterix and Obelix are assigned to protect her — a feat they realize is not easy at all, as Adrenaline’s independence and rebelliousness takes the village by surprise.
Five million copies of the 38th edition have been printed and were released in Europe on Oct. 24. As for when Adrenaline travels to India, only space and time will tell.