Dav Pilkey and Raina Telgemeier can put their pens away, nothing they produce in 2021 will sell more than this comic. It will only have a five million print run because they literally can't print any more and will go to a second printing as soon as they have cleared the warehouse. Because announced over the weekend is the news of the 39th volume of Asterix The Gaul, for the 21st of October, 2021.
In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, Asterix writer Jean-Yves Ferri announced the next album's release and revealed a little of what will be coming. No title yet, but the confirmation that Asterix, Obelix, Dogmatix and even Getafix would be taking a big trip.
This will be the fifth book by Ferri and Didier Conrad, who took over from Albert Uderzo in 2013. Asterix And The Chieftain's Daughter was published in 2019 – and Bleeding Cool was the only English language press at the launch. It was the best selling comic in the world and the best selling book of any description in France.
Ferri was giving very little away but stated that "I can say that it is about a "travel" album since the last adventure took place in the village. Asterix and Obelix will set off for an unprecedented destination; which, you know, is more and more difficult because the duo has already visited many countries, from Italy to Greece, from India to the New World. We can say that this country does not really exist today as such. This journey will be an opportunity to change the narration slightly. Each album is a small step towards bringing something new. And Obelix continues his slow psychological evolution …"
Atlantis? Paradise Island? The Blazing World? Does anyone want to throw in a suggestion or two? A fictional world may help solve one problem. Ferri states "In the 1960s, Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny could laugh at foreigners, caricature the English with their big teeth, the Greeks with their Greek profile. The atmosphere was good-natured. Today, you almost need a dictionary on your desk to know what you are allowed to joke about or not, " he said.
"Playing with clichés is one of Asterix's codes. But I don't mind moving away from it a bit. I am lucky that my personal humour does not lead me to too frontal caricatures. In The Chieftain's Daughter, I made up the way teenagers speak, for example."
But he is not choosing to address the experience common to us all right now. "It was tempting to talk about the coronavirus affecting the whole world, but I left that aside. The epidemic is a sad subject, full of anxiety. It is better to laugh at something else and hope that we have finally turned the page when the album comes out. Even so, you might find an allusion to a potion that looks like a vaccine or a few small winks."
As for his conversations with Uderzi about the book before his passing, Ferri stated: "he was able to learn about the new theme… He approved of the story, he encouraged us. Contrary to what one might think, Albert was not on our back to control everything".
Asterix has also begun publication by Papercutz in the US with a specific American English translation. So it could reach further than usual…