Comic Book / Alix
Alix, right, and Enak, left.

Alix is a French-Belgian comic series created by Jacques Martin in 1948. It may be considered the serious, historically accurate counterpart to the more famous Astérix, which it actually predates. It is a classic example of the ligne claire school popularized by Hergé.

The title character is a young Gaul from the 1st century BCE who, after being captured and enslaved, is adopted by a rich Roman and becomes a Roman citizen himself. He goes through various adventures that take him all over The Roman Republic and beyond—at one point, all the way to Han Dynasty China—and becomes a friend of Julius Caesar. His sidekick is a teenage Egyptian boy, Enak, and his nemesis is a scheming Greek named Arbaces.

In 2012, a sequel series came out titled Alix Senator. As the name implies, it takes place several years later, with Julius Caesar long dead, Alix now a Roman Senator, and Enak having disappeared long ago.


  • Anachronism Stew: One story has a bunch of philosophers somehow discover that atoms can be used to cause untold destruction. This is said over an image of a mushroom cloud. Then there's the villain's lair with glass windows and the steam-driven propeller ship...
  • Appease the Volcano God: In "Les Proies du Volcan", Alix and Enak come across a primitive island people who practice human sacrifices to a volcano god.
  • Atlantis: Or the descendants of the Atlanteans, rather.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many an adventure ends on a bittersweet note.
  • Clear My Name: A blond-haired murderer passes himself off as Alix in one story, and of course everyone thinks he did it.
  • Chaste Hero: Alix sometimes finds himself with women throwing themselves at him (and sometimes seems interested), but he always finds reasons not to pursue. (However, later albums get more ambiguous; "La chute d'Icare" never makes it clear whether or not Alix did get it on with Julia, Shallow Love Interest Of The Album. By "Roma, Roma", it's only the intervention of Octavian (the future Augustus Caesar) that keeps Alix from getting it on with Octavian's sister Lydia.
    • Though by Alix Senator he has a son, Titus.
  • Creator Cameo: Not the creator himself, but in "L'Enfant grec" a supporting character named Numa Sadulus was inspired by a friend of the creator named Numa Sadoul.
  • Distress Ball: Often picked up by Enak, whom Alix then has to rescue.
  • Dream Sequence: Alix has a few, sometimes with prophetic elements.
  • Evil Twin: Kinda. Arbaces has an identical brother, who is slightly less of an asshole to Alix, but they're still enemies.
  • Give Me a Sword: Spoken verbatim by Alix as he is surrounded by Spartan soldiers in "Le Dernier Spartiate".
    "If you are worth more than the Romans, let me go. If you are worth as much as the Romans, give me a sword. But if you are worth less than the Romans, then KILL ME!"
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played straight with Alix, who is brave and wholesome to a fault. Well, if you leave out his relationship with Enak, but the latter is a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Julius Caesar, Pompey, Cleopatra and others.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: The relationship between Alix and Enak isn't exempt of sexual undertones, meaning they don't qualify as Heterosexual Life-Partners. Word of God has it that the implied homosexuality is perfectly deliberate.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The modern albums grow ever more risqué, with one girl throwing herself at Alix on a ship during a thunderstorm on the grounds that it'll make sex better, while one panel in "Saturn's Gold" features explicit wall engravings, all objectionable parts blocked by clothing or characters coincidentally raising their hands.
  • Human Sacrifice: In "Le Tombeau étrusque", a cult of Baal-worshipers practices human sacrifice.
  • James Bondage: Alix is bound to a cross and left for hyenas to feed on in "Le Prince du Nil". He and Enak also find themselves bound to crosses in "O Alexandrie".
  • Made a Slave: How Alix ended up in Rome to begin with. Enak is also abducted by Greek slavers in "Le Dernier Spartiate".
  • Magical Realism: Despite the overall realism of the series, paranormal elements occasionally crop up.
  • Noble Wolf: In "Les Légions perdues", Alix saves a wolf's life. This wolf then repays the kindness by coming to his assistance on several occasions.
  • Not Quite Dead: Arbaces seems to die at least one in almost every album he appears in. Even when we're shown the body floating up in water.
  • Playing with Fire: A girl Alix meets in Babylon has a number of psychic powers, including pyrokinesis.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: A group of Trojans obsessed with destroying the preserved, original Trojan Horse. When they succeed, well... A character even comments that there's nothing sadder than warriors with no war to fight.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Archelous in "L'Enfant grec" is a girl, but she passes herself off as a boy.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Enak, except, you know...
  • Trick Arrow: An explosive arrow is seen at one point.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Happens to Enak on one occasion, with sharp spears planted under him for added effect.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the backstory to "La Tiare d'Oribal", it is revealed that a Persian ruler had his best alchemists come up with a poison that would cause anyone wearing his tiara to go mad, except those using a special antidote. After they designed both the poison and the antidote, the ruler had them all killed so the secret wouldn't transpire.

Alix Senator contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Khephren uses the line at the end of the fifth book. And with good reason: he betrayed his adoptive father and the Roman emperor, he's been castrated, and the statue he was looking was lost centuries earlier.
  • Artistic Licence History: The creators list what they made up for the story to help the reader. The historical Aggripa did die around the story's time period, just probably not disemboweled by trained eagles.
  • The Atoner: Alix blames himself for Enak's death, and understandably breaks down when he hears Khephren and Titus are in danger.
  • Attack Animal:
    • Aggripa and several Roman politicians are murdered by trained eagles, and their trainer uses swarms of falcons in Egypt.
    • Cybele's priests use lions to get rid of dead bodies.
  • Badass Army: A Roman escort demonstrates how they conquered the world (via superior tactics) against a Spartan horde. In a narrow mountain pass no less.
  • Burying a Substitute: In Alix Senator, Alix puts up a cenotaph in Enak's memory (he died during Egypt's final battle with Rome), since they Never Found the Body. Except Alix knew Enak wasn't in the battle, he deserted in order to get his wife and child to safety. Double subverted as it later turns out that Enak was alive the whole time, unable to reveal himself due to getting caught in an anti-Roman conspiracy.
  • Darker and Edgier: The sequel is a lot darker, with a contemporary art style that doesn't hesitate to show sex or bloody deaths, not to mention Enak having died sometime before and Alix having lost his youthful idealism (he no longer hesitates to have a prisoner tortured for information, and gives an enemy a Mercy Kill after threatening him with a slow death).
  • Disappeared Dad: Enak is dead (though we don't know why or how), and his son Khephren is raised by Alix alongside his own son Titus.
    • The sequel clarifies that Enak died during the battle of Actium. Except he didn't: he ran away to put his wife (one of Cleopatra's handmaidens) and son out of danger, but died without leaving a body, leaving Alix to put up a gravestone and preserving the memory of his friend by omitting his cowardice. He is, of course, still alive, albeit old and not having seen his son in more than ten years.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The fifth volume ends in utter defeat: the Girl of the Week survives but her tongue has been cut out, and Khephren, having been caught and castrated by the priests of Cybele's temple, learns the statue he broke in to find was never there to begin with, as it was stolen by Alexander the Great.
    • The sixth isn't much better: The Roman governor of Egypt turns out to be in cahoots with the bandits Alix has been fighting against, and they're now at his mercy.
    • The seventh one, apparently going for some sort of record, ends with Khephren finding the statue and grabbing onto it as it falls into lava along with its worshipers, having abandoned his family in the pursuit of his dreams of power. Titus' mother is finally revealed (the Emperor's sister), but the family's joy is quenched on seeing Enak mourning his son.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Heb permanently wears a scarf over one eye.
  • Generation Xerox: Titus and Khephren seem to have the same type of adventures as their fathers. Khephren is much more proactive than Enak ever was, however.
  • Groin Attack: The priests of Cybele are men who give their manhoods to the goddess. Khephren suffers the same fate later.
  • Monumental Damage: The "mother of pyramids", where Cesarion plots to reconquer Egypt, does not survive the album.
  • Missing Mom: Titus' mother died when he was still a child. Of course she's alive. She's the Emperor's sister, but due to her position she and Alix could never be seen together, much less raise a child.
  • No True Scotsman: Heraklion, a Spartan friend of Alix, is pissed that 300 Spartans set an ambush in a canyon outnumbering Alix and his escort 5 to 1.
    I know you're not Spartans! You are unworthy of Leonidas! The Persians were 200,000 at Thermopyles! 200,000 not 60!
  • Put on a Bus: Enak returns to Egypt after his secret is found out.
  • Reality Ensues: Turns out reuniting with the father you thought was dead for ten years doesn't immediately turn you into a happy family again.