When Asterix was first conceptualized, Uderzo had the idea that he should be a traditional Gaulish warrior with ample size and strength. Goscinny, on the other hand developed the thought that Asterix should be a smaller warrior that relied on his intelligence rather than brute force to defeat his enemies. Although small, Asterix was enormously brave (even without the magic potion). Uderzo chipped in again and suggested that Asterix needed a strong bodyguard sort of companion to ensure there was still enough plausible physical action. The lads settled on a dim-witted pal that would be permanently powerful given his dunk in the magic juice as a baby. So, Asterix and Obelix were born.
We’re glad Asterix also ended up looking like a little tough instead of the dandy portrayed to the left. Funny that the early sketchs of a larger Asterix actually looks like Obelix, huh?
But on to the primary point of this post. As we’ve established, Uderzo was no ordinary cartoonist. Frankly, without his graphics, Asterix could have failed. The stories are all the more richly interesting because Uderzo’s capable artistry created lush images that helped us jump right in to the ancient times and feel like we really were in the forests or the Colosseum or at sea. It didn’t hurt either that Uderzo, his brother, and his assistants were such able colorists.
Uderzo’s mastery of shadow and light, and of nightscapes is phenomenal. Here are some snippets from the books that illustrate that point.