Asterix and I are roughly the same age. Asterix The Gaul - the first book featuring small-but-shrewd Asterix and his large-but-slow chum Obelix - appeared in 1961, as did I. So we grew up together. My mother was happy about this because of the culture I was absorbing by associating with him: languages and (dodgy) history. To say nothing of the brilliant translations by Anthea Bell (older sister of the war-reporter-in-the-white-suit Martin Bell). Asterix and Obelix - originally written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo - have now appeared in about 40 books (selling more than 380 million, compared to a total of 270 for Tintin).