Who doesn’t know them, the fearless Gauls Asterix and Obelix, who have been making the hearts of comic fans leap for joy since decades and who impress again and again through witty texts and masterful drawings. The stories originate from the pen of the French illustrator Albert Uderzo (* 1927), who created, together with his fellow countryman René Goscinny (1926–1977), the first comic in the year 1959, and with that, brought the adventures of the brave Gaul to life.
It is noticeable that almost in every Asterix story a full moon can be seen, often even several times. Altogether, there are 63 full moon illustrations in the so far 34 publications. However, there is no deeper meaning – quite different to Batman – attached to the full moon. It appears to be rather a picturesque decor of the nightly scenes, as Marco Mütz from the German Asterix Archive outlined: »The moon is merely an ornamental prop in the Asterix adventures, indeed. I do not believe that it was used deliberately as a timekeeper.«
The word full moon is only mentioned twice in the actual text. Once in volume 1 (Asterix the Gaul), when Asterix talks about the druid Getafix and says: »He is probably cowering on an oak tree. Today is the sixth after the full moon, this is when the mistletoes have particularly strong powers!« So, here the magic powers of the mistletoes, that are the base of the famous magic potion, are being linked with lunar ongoings. On another occasion, in volume 2 (Asterix and the Goths), when the Gothic translator Rhetoric says: »In one week at the full moon.« Here, the position of the Moon is used as reference to time, just like it was customary in the old days.
Even if the full moon does not hold a key role in the Asterix comic, it still accompanies the events and lends a magic effect to the nightly settings. Maybe some time or other, there will be a volume called »Asterix and the full moon«. Who knows?
Images: Marco Mütz, German Asterix Archive, www.comedix.de
© Les Editions Albert-René/Goscinny-Uderzo