Astérix is the protagonist of a French comic book series, written by René Goscinny and drawn by Albert Uderzo (and both written and drawn by Uderzo after Goscinny's demise in 1977), and now translated into over 100 languages and published around the world. The comics are also commonly referred as Astérix and Obélix.The Astérix comics take place in the year 50 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar has all but conquered continental Europe, except for a few pockets of resistance. One of those pockets of resistance is a small but plucky village in Armorica, Gaul (Brittany, pre-medieval France), which has held back the Romans thanks to a Super Strength-granting magic potion. The village happens to be the home of our hero, a small but plucky Gaul named Astérix. Along with his loveable lug partner, monolith craftsman Obélix and the other inhabitants of the village, Astérix gets into all manner of adventures, which usually involve foiling the schemes of the Romans (and, occasionally, Caesar himself).The stories are published as "albums" (the term "graphic novel" being newer than the series, which began in 1959) and typically alternate between two themes. In many of the books, Astérix, Obélix and Dogmatix, sometimes accompanying or accompanied by another character, go on an adventure somewhere (these are often have titles of the format Astérix in...). These plots allow for the most satire of different cultures and nationalities. In the second type of plot, a new plan by the Romans or an unexpected threat from outside brings danger and excitement to the village. These plots allow character development of the various villagers and their relationships.Occasionally, a small (and very persistent) band of pirates (a parody of another comic series, Barbe Rouge) makes a cameo appearance; their ship was scuttled by the potion-enhanced Gauls in an early story — since that initial appearance, they are usually seen either paddling frantically away from any Gauls they encounter, or coming across the Gaulish warriors during an incidental encounter and getting scuttled again (or even scuttling their ship themselves to minimize damage).Part of the appeal of the series is probably the variety of humor, which includes slapstick fight scenes, plenty of wordplay, thinly-veiled social commentary, and Iron Age and Roman antiquity versions of just about every European (and beyond) stereotype you can imagine.The series has some of the best translations of any comic-book ever; they're smart enough to keep the basic story while making new puns in the appropriate language.After decades of solo work, Uderzo retired in 2011 and passed writing and art duties to Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad.note He did the character design for The Road to El Dorado. The latest album was released worldwide in October 2013.Now with a recap page under construction and a separate page for The Twelve Tasks of Asterix animated movie.
Alternate Continuity: The movies. Both cartoon and live-action ones have used the same material, and stories sometimes get combined into one movie.
Altum Videtur: Frequently. Justified, in that it is set after the Roman conquest. Several of the albums have also been translated to Latin, which is partly this, partly a subversion, and part justified as studying aids.
The Romans tend to wear segmented plate armor (called lorica segmentata by historians today) whereas it was invented during the Imperial period, after Julius Caesar's time. However, the correct alternatives are also shown (chain mail for legionaries and Greek-style cuirasses or breastplates for officers)
In Astérix and the Golden Sickle, seeing an inn thrashed by Astérix and Obélix, a Roman compares it to Pompeii ... which won't be destroyed for another century.
For example, Astérix and the Banquet has a mail wagon with the modern logo of La Poste. The Michelin Man also appears in the international version of Astérix in Switzerland (replacing the Gaulish warrior-like mascot of French service station Antar in the original French version).
Astérix is once seen slicing potatoes (and the legionaries peeling them) in a time period when they hadn't been introduced to Europe yet. (Potatoes didn't reach Europe until the 15th century.)
Astérix in Britain shows a sequence of Astérix peeling potatoes; this is addressed in the audio book adaptation read by Willie Rushton, which includes a brief sequence describing an occasion when Astérix and Obélix accidentally discovered the New World in one of their sea voyages, discovered the tubers, and decided to bring them back to the village (whether the audiobook was done before they actually went to America is unknown).
In Astérix in Belgium, we witness the invention of French (actually Belgian) fries.
During their voyage to Palestine in Astérix and the Black Gold, Astérix and Obélix are seen leaving Jerusalem by the Lions' Gate: this gate wasn't built until AD 1517.
The Flavian Amphitheatre, also known as the Colosseum, which features in Astérix the Gladiator and some animated adaptations (notably the one where Astérix and Obélix become gladiators), wasn't built until 70 AD.
The Gothic footsoldiers in Astérix and the Goths sing about Alaric leading the Visigoths to Rome, which happened 460 years later in AD 410. They also wear helmets reminiscent of pickelhaubes, but this was likely deliberatestereotyping.
Pretty much everything involving Egyptians. Worship of most of their ancient gods, hieroglyphics, building pyramids - all of it was dead around 50 BC.
Animated Adaptation: Eight of them so far, of varying quality. Technically only seven are straight-up adaptations; The Twelve Tasks of Astérix is the only Astérix film so far (live-action films included) to have been written directly for the screen.
Sometime in the early 2000s there were ideas for a weekly Astérix series but Uderzo refused - he didn't want the character to become a recurring TV hero.
Take a look at the earliest appearance of Astérix and Obélix in Astérix the Gaul. Now pick your jaw up off the floor. Happened again with the movies — from Astérix Versus Caesar onwards, they were of much better animation quality, and it happened again with Astérix and the Vikings. They had shading, for Toutatis' sake! Shading!
A bit of it happens even within the very first book. Take a look at Caesar in the first page of Astérix the Gaul, then flip to his appearance in the last two pages. Notice some little differences?
Artistic License - History: The authors deliberately took some liberties to make the series more entertaining (for instance, they knew that not every Gaulish man had a name ending with "-ix", but Theme Naming is fun).
Also, there appears to be no language barriers between the Celtic, Iberian, Lusitanian, Breton and Belgian tribes, the Greek and the Romans.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Native American dialogue in Astérix Conquers America is a random assortment of North American place names that were taken from various Native American languages, resulting in quotes such as "Minnesota Manitoba. Miami!"
The Dutch version has the Indians barely speaking at all, only in stereotypical Indian sounds like "ugh" and "how."
As You Know: Seems like once a book, they have to remind us that Obélix isn't allowed to drink any magic potion because he fell into a cauldron full of the stuff when he was a baby. Eventually turned into a Running Gag (even lampshading it, with Obélix remarking "We'll never hear the end of it!").
To the point that the expression "il est tombé dedans quand il était petit" i.e. "he fell into it when he was a child", meaning that someone found his calling/passion/hobby while very young, has become very common in French.
In some of the later books, such as Astérix in Spain, when the subject of the potion comes up Obélix just grumbles, "Of course I don't get any because gnagna gnak...", counting on the reader to know the now-familiar backstory.
Author Existence Failure: Writer René Goscinny died in 1977, while Albert Uderzo was drawing the parody of Waterloo battle part of Astérix chez les Belges (Astérix in Belgium). From this point on, the rain starts (and doesn't stop until the end of the album). Uderzo continued the series as both writer and illustrator afterward.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Non romantic example. The village hates Cacofonix's warbling and will resort to restraining him or smashing him over the head with a hammer to make him stop. However as soon as he's in danger they'll drop everything to save him.
Badass in Distress: Averted in "Astérix in Britain". Obélix was captured by the Romans while he was drunk and asleep, and taken to the Londinium Tower. So, Astérix goes to the rescue. But when Obélix woke up, he was hungry and needed fresh air, so he broke the chain, took down the door, and smashed all the Romans on the way down... at the same time that Astérix broke the door at the other side of the tower and smashed all the Romans on he way up. When Astérix got to the top, Obélix was not there, he was outside the tower, so they both go down and up to reunite... and smashed all the Romans each time they passed.
Badass Mustache: About all the Gauls (including Dogmatix!), and they're damn proud of them.
Tea is brought to Great Britain thanks to some strange potion that Getafix gave Asterix before leaving to Britain in "Asterix in Britain".
Belgian fries and mussels are invented in "Asterix in Belgium" when a Belgian chieftain sees a cauldron with oil boiling in a Roman camp and when Obelix later finds a piece of the pirates' ship with mussels on it.
In "Asterix in Spain" Asterix battles a bull with a red cape which accidentally fell in the arena, thus inventing bull fighting in Spain.
In "Asterix and the Great Crossing" Asterix and Obelix accidentally drift off on the ocean and unknowingly discover North America.
Obélix seem to be the fault of some historically known accidents, like the missing nose on the Sphinx or the broken part of the grand Colosseum (which did not exist in 50 BC).
Don't call Obélix fat. Or hurt his canine pet, Dogmatix. Or Astérix.
While we're at it, never harm a tree in front of Dogmatix, either, or you'll be facing double jeopardy: the little canine will sink his teeth into your buttocks, after which Obélix will bash your face in for upsetting his dog.
Cacofonix's singing acts as a Universal Berserk Button for the entire village, too. Especially Fulliautomatix.
Geriatrix may be a feeble old guy, but make ga-ga eyes at his young hot wife, and he might stick his walking stick up where the sun don't shine.
Also, do NOT call him old. He's only 93!
Don't ever mention the Gaulish Village that still holds out against the invaders (or its invincible occupants) in front of Gaius Julius Caesar. You will find yourself in the circus - and in those days that didn't mean trapezes and clowns. But they do have the lions.
Or you'll end up leading a military expedition against this village. Most generals would prefer the circus.
Hurting either Astérix or Obélix is equal to signing your own get-thumped-in-the-face-by-the-other warrant.
For that matter, steer clear of the whole village, just to be on the safe side. The Gauls will send their two best warriors to hunt you down to the ends of the Earth.
Don't mention Alésia (the last stand of the Gauls).
Never criticise the freshness or aroma of Unhygienix's fish. Since a lot of the Gauls will agree with you, and they fight rather chaotically, doing this almost guarantees the Big Ball of Violence. Lampshaded in Astérix and the Soothsayer, where the soothsayer was able to appear prescient by predicting a fight, and two happened minutes later (over the freshness of the fish whose entrails he had been reading).
A big part of all the humour in the series, really. Especially Astérix and the Roman Agent (which could be called A Guide To Berserk Buttons In The Astérix Universe).
Taken to its ultimate extreme in The Twelve Tasks of Astérix. Obélix polishes off a three course feast whose first course consists of... a boar with fries, a flock of geese, several sheep, an omelette made with eight dozen eggs, a whole school of fish, an ox, a cow, two calves ("because to separate ze family...zat would not be right!"), a huge mound of caviar (...and the little toast that goes with it!), a camel, ("and before we start on the main course") an elephant stuffed with olives... he's still hungry when the cook finally admits defeat!
Obélix then goes on to eat the beast that he and Astérix have to confront in the next task, which is at least implied to be some mild form of Eldritch Abomination.
Big Little Man: In The Twelve Tasks of Astérix, one of the tasks is to fight Cilindric the German. Astérix and Obélix are taken to an arena where there's an enormous pair of doors...which open to reveal a very short judo expert.
Bilingual Bonus: A great many names. For example, the character Okéibos, an athlete with a thuggish appearance is "Okay boss" in a French accent.
The Briton chief Mykingdomforanos is originally called Zebigbos.
The original French versions are a delight to those who can read the language: the characterisations and use of language speaks volumes about how sophisticated metropolitan Paris views the French regions, and how the French view their neighbours around Europe. This is done in ways which are not obvious or signposted in the translations. Regional dialects around France are signalled by variant more phonetic French in the captions; Languedoc is treated as carrot-crunching yokel country, for instance, and the appalling ways France's neighbours mangle the language is depicted in tortured and fractured French in the captions. A parallel would be the accents and intonations used in WW 2 comedy 'Allo 'Allo!.
Bizarrchitecture: In Asterix and Cleopatra, this is how the Egyptian architect Edifis builds his projects.
Astérix the Legionary: When sampling the Roman army's food (wheat, cheese and bacon, cooked together to save time), Asterix's entire multinational unit tastes one spoonful and violently rejects it. All except the Briton, who sincerely loves the stuff.
Even worse in Asterix and the Britons, where warm beer and boar boiled in mint sauce is considered a culinary abomination (even the legionaries threatened with being boiled and thrown to the lions with mint sauce protest that it's horrible- the poor beasts).
Blood Knight: The entire village. The definition gets more complicated when one notices that, without the magic potion, they are very reluctant to fight. They seem to like a Curb-Stomp Battle more than a real fight...
They seem to love real fights too. Just look how their arguments about the fishes usually ends up. The reason why they become so reluctant about fighting when they're out the magic potion is because they know they don't stand a chance against the highly-trained and highly-armored Roman army without it.
The one who really enjoys a fight is Obélix. Since the effects of the potion are permanent on him, he may seem just a big bully, but in his twisted, childish way he seems to genuinely appreciate the legionnaires he beats up. Also, in one particular issue, the Romans managed to get hold of a cauldron of magic potion. Obélix seemed more eager to fight than ever.
In fact, most of the "barbarian" peoples seen apply as a rule, being various shades of fight-happy Proud Warrior Race Guys just itching to pummel somebody into paste at the slightest excuse (usually roman legionnaires).
Bloodless Carnage: No matter how many swords and axes are carried into battle, the Gauls will always knock out the Romans with their fists.
Blood Sport: Rugby, as described in Astérix in Britain, is a very simple game: "Each team may do just about anything to bring the ball behind the other team's goal line. The use of weapons is prohibited, unless agreed in advance." And it gets even more violent when magic potion is involved.
The gladiatorial scenes, obviously.
Book Ends: Subverted. Many fans got the impression that Astérix and the Falling Sky was going to be the last album since the cover is remarkably similar to that of Astérix the Gaul, mirror-reflected. Uderzo then stated it was not the case — and a short story collection, Astérix and Obélix's Birthday: The Golden Book appeared in 2009. Since then however, it has been confirmed that Falling Sky will indeed be the final full-length story by Uderzo, and that any future such stories will be produced by a new creative team.
Boomerang Bigot: The pirate captain fears Gauls on the basis that they could be Asterix and Obelix, but he appears to be a Gaul himself, even using the phrase "by Toutatis" as the Gauls do.
Borrowed Catchphrase: In Astérix And The Olympic Games Astérix' village decides to participate with the Olympic Games since they could technically be considered to be "Romans", as being part of the Roman Empire. They celebrate this by shouting "Hurray! We are Romans!". A Roman legionary who spies upon them is flabbergasted and then borrows Obélix' catchphrase: "These Romans are crazy!"
Bound and Gagged: Near guaranteed to happen to Cacofonix at the end of every book starting with Astérix and the Golden Sickle (the second book in the original French).
With Cacofonix, this trope is usually subverted or averted if he does something good, or if the plot of the story bears greater precedence. Examples of subversions include Astérix and the Normans, where Fulliautomatix is tied up because Cacofonix taught the Normans what they set out to learn—fear; and Astérix and the Chieftain's Shield, where instead, Vitalstatistix has had to abstain under threat of violence from his wife. Examples of complete aversions include The Mansions of the Gods, in honour of his role in clearing the tenants out of the eponymous apartment block; Astérix at the Olympic Games, although he is clearly nervous about sitting next to Fulliautomatix and his hammer; Astérix and Caesar's Gift, in a reflection of the new sense of unity in the village; and Obélix and Co., where he is buried under a menhir.
Astérix and the Roman Agent is a special case of the series inverting and playing this trope straight. During the first banquet, somewhere in the middle of the book, there's an implied Imagine Spot where Cacofonix is the only person who was not bound and gagged, representing him being the only person completely oblivious to Convovulus' efforts to sow dissent in the Gaulish ranks. In the final banquet, although he is bound and gagged, he is still sitting at the banquet table rather than under his tree or next to his house.
In short, Cacofonix is left unbound and ungagged on an average of once every four books.
Brains and Brawn: Subverted for laughs by Obélix (and Idéfix) in Astérix and the Normans; Uderzo then gives it the first degree in The Great Divide.
Break the Haughty: Happens to an entire garrison of troops in Obélix and Co.. These troops had only just arrived from Rome and were high on morale. Unfortunately, they also ended up as Obélix's birthday present as a direct result of Astérix deliberately provoking them into marching on the village. The subsequent thrashing by Obélix and Dogmatix left them in the exact same manner as the troops they relieved. Caesar did not take their battle report well.
Briefer Than They Think: All of Astérix's adventures are set within the period between the conquest of Gaul and Julius Caesar's assassination, a grand total of six years (50-44 BC)
Brown Note: Cacofonix's singing voice is so horrible that slaves would rather choose the whip, and it can scare off an entire forest's worth of wildlife, including a dragon. It has also been known to cause raining, and when he tried to defend himself by singing in a house, it started raining in the house. That said, the Gauls have used his voice as weapon at times, as well as bringing rain to a drought-struck country.
Butt Biter: Dogmatix's favorite move against Romans.
Butt Monkey: The Pirates are the resident butt monkeys, and anyone wearing a Roman legionnaire's uniform is likely to be one as well.
Obélix's line "These Romans are crazy!", often used by other characters, or with another ethnic group substituted for the Romans. (French: "Ils sont fous ces Romains!") In the Italian translation, it is "Sono pazzi questi Romani", punning on SPQR, the Roman initialism.
In Astérix the Legionary, Obélix has to utter "We Romans are crazy!" as they have just joined the Roman army.
In 'Astérix and the Olympic Games' the Gauls suddenly decide to adopt Roman citizenship in order to enter the games causing a nearby Roman to say 'These Romans are crazy!' Later on, when Obélix fails to understand a plan that's been cooked up, he comments 'Since Astérix and Getafix went Roman, they went crazy too'.
The Dutch version has become a fairly well-known phrase outside the albums, due to it sounding rather less conventional and more endearingly comical. It goes "Rare jongens, die Romeinen!", roughly translating to "(What a bunch of) weird guys, those Romans!".
"Who are you calling FAT!?"
Each time the Pirates are scuppered, they (Redbeard, Pegleg and Baba) have a similar dialogue as they float in the wreckage berating each other. Generally, Pegleg will make some comment in Latin, the Baba puns on it, and the captain tells the other two to pipe down. Rather hilariously, they actually swap roles at least once.
Captain Obvious: Obélix, very much. "You know, Astérix, I think we've been scammed."
Cat Fight: Subverted and defied. Even though the women in the village are not as battle-happy and quarrelsome as their husbands, if a fight occurs things can get physical. In that case, expect them to use any weapon at hand (fishes, rolling pins, baskets...) to pummel each other senseless. Most times, the men will try to separate them instead of sitting back and watching.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Basically, this is the reason why the Corsicans and the Belgians are resisting the Roman invasion (combined with strong determination). Which kind of diminishes the Gauls' effort to resist it with the aid of magic.
Comically Missing the Point: In the album "Astérix and the Big Fight", Astérix orders Vitalstatistix to do jogging, as training for the fight. Vitalstatistix takes this as "let four men carry you on your shield".
In The Mansions of the Gods, the Romans are trying to build a block of flats in the forest in total secrecy, but the Nubianslaves can't work without singing very loudly, so the Romans reluctantly let them sing. Then another slave walks up to the Romans and says "'Scuse me, I'm Lusitanian. I can't sing, but I could do a recitation if you like."
Cool and Unusual Punishment: in Astérix and Caesar's Gift, a legionary who's about to be discharged and get a plot of land as all veterans at the end of their service is caught insulting Caesar. Caesar punished him with the eponymous gift: THE GAULISH VILLAGE.
It's not the first time Caesar uses them as a punishment: in Asterix in Corsica, he mentions to the Roman governor of Corse that if he fails at bringing the tax income of the island to Rome he'll get reassigned to guard a certain Gaulish village...
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Played around with Ekonomikrisis, the Phoenician merchant. He often scams people with contracts to 'work' in his ship, and in fact once expressed his intent to sell Astérix and Obélix as slaves instead of taking them to their destination according to his words. But when they saved his merchandise, he called them friends and has provided the occasional assistance to Astérix and Obélix since.
And then there's Preposterus, the guy sent to do an economic takeover of the village. Totally not a young Jacques Chirac.
Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: In Astérix and Cleopatra, Obélix is asked to cut three slices from the cake. He cuts out two normal-sized slices and takes all the rest as his own piece. ("Well, I did cut three slices, didn't I?")
Since the cake was poisoned (To the point where in the animated version the recipe consists of things that are either toxic, unpleasant, both, and some orange juice - the cake didn't even have eggs or flour in it; also, smoke shaped like skulls come out of Obélix's ears afterwards), it's probably just as well.
Surreptitious and Dubbelosix are shown smeared with honey and running from bees in the arena at the end of Astérix and the Black Gold. Though played for laughs, this was a genuine, and cruel, means of execution under some of the later emperors.
Admiral Crustacius in Astérix and Obélix All at Sea. He is trapped in stone form and unconscious, and in case he recovers is placed in the middle of the Circus Maximus's ring.
Darker and Edgier: Some stories, most notably Astérix and the Laurel Wreath, though it depends a lot on black comedy.
The overall least comedic book in the series has to be Obélix All at Sea. Obélix turns to stone after another overdose of magic potion and there are genuine concerns raised that he may be dead. We get a very depressing scene where Astérix sits by the lifeless Obélix's bed while Getafix unsucessfully tries to find a cure. The book also includes possibly the only time in the series where Astérix's life is actually put in genuine danger by Roman legionaries (they knock him unconscious and prepare to throw him overboard while Obélix watches helplessly... at first). It's also a rare instance in any Astérix book where the antagonist unambiguously dies.
Asterix in Switzerland. This volume is a rare dark episode in that the plot involves the heroes' efforts to save an innocent from being murdered. Quaestor Vexatius Sinusitus' potential death, poisoned by the embezzeler Varius Flavus, offered a jarring but refreshing sense of drama to the otherwise frivolous comedy strip. Stories featuring similar moments of deadly menace include Asterix and Son, where the village is decimated, and the impending threat of Orinjade's execution in Asterix and the Magic Carpet.
The film Asterix Conquers America is mainly comedic, until the Romans burn the village and nearly send all its inhabitants to the circus, then proceed to get drunk celebrating their victory.
Corsican: You can't tell the difference between a wild pig and a Corsican clan leader? Obelix: I don't know, I've never eaten Corsican leader and please stop looking at me like that, it's giving me a headache.
In Astérix et le coup du menhir, when the druid Getafix is testing potions in his crazy state on a Roman soldier, the following series of scenes are not only deranged, but also contains crazed human experiments. Said roman was transformed into animals, shrunk down almost to be eaten by a worm and finally forced to float in the air forever.
Diminishing Villain Threat: The Praetorian Guard through the course of Astérix and the Laurel Wreath. At first the plan to waltz into Caesar's Palace to get the laurel wreath is dismissed by Astérix because even with the potion they wouldn't stand a chance against them. Later on, on the other hand...
Justified, though, by the fact that Obelix initially wanted to burst into the Palace and take on the entire guard all at once. They later get in by stealth and are able to take out each guard individually and by surprise.
Doing It for the Art: An In-Universe example occurs in Astérix and the Cauldron. Astérix and Obélix end up in an avant-garde theater troupe and Obélix manages to get them all arrested for shouting "These Romans are crazy" during a performance watched by a senior Roman official. Later on the two track down where the actors are being imprisoned and despite the fact that they've been sentenced to be fed to the lions, they don't want to be rescued. After all, they're going to perform in the Colliseum! It takes a really dedicated actor to do an execution for the art.
Doorstop Baby: Astérix finds a baby on his doorstep at the beginning of Astérix and Son. It turns out he's Caesarion (full name "Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar"), son of Cleopatra and Caesar.
The Dreaded: The Romans get to the point where they recognize Astérix and Obélix's names, and are understandably terrified of them. Astérix in Britain has Astérix appear and call out to the Romans, whereupon the entire contingent huddles together, talking nervously about him, and how Obélix must also be nearby - much to the exasperation of the Roman commander (and Obelix's, who yells at the Romans to listen to their leader and come fight already).
Pretty much any mention of the village or the indomitable Gauls will cause a cringe from someone, at least in later albums.
Ceasar once has a Fever Dream about the Gauls. As his physicain is taking him out for some freash air, Asterix, Obelix and Cacofonix fly by on a magic carpet ("Oh hey, Julius!"), leading to both Ceasar and the doc going straight to bed.
The Pirates in particular will run (or rather, sail - when they don't scuttle) away like madmen at the first mention of Gauls in the area.
Dreadful Musician: The villagers have even used Cacofonix as a weapon. And as a rainmaker in Astérix and the Magic Carpet.
Drop the Hammer: Fulliautomatix has one, both for forging metal and for bashing Cacofonix's head in if he tries to sing.
Drunk on Milk: Obélix drowns his sorrows in goat's milk after having a fight with Asterix.
Dub Name Change: A lot, at least from French to English, most likely to keep the understandable humor of each Punny Name intact. For example:
Assurancetourix → Cacofonix (Some early translations used Malacoustix instead)
Panoramix → Getafix (notable as while the name change makes sense since it indicates his role, the original French name would have been just as serviceable in English)
Idéfix → Dogmatix
Cétautomatix → Fulliautomatix
Abraracourcix → Vitalstatistix (Some early translations used Tunnabrix instead)
It happens in pretty much any translation to different degrees. In Spanish most of the main characters names keep the same phonetic reading, but the spelling is different (The names displayed above are all examples), but when it comes to supporting characters the Spanish translators came up with punny names that followed the same style as the names in the original French (the Gauls names ending with "-ix", the Roman names ending with "-us", and so on).
Dumb Muscle: Played with. Obélix isn't really that dumb, he's just slow, childish and carefree, but has proven to be quite smart on occasion (for example, in Astérix and the Normans, he figured where the absent Cacofonix was, much to everyone's surprise) but he acts as the "dumb" foil to the usually smarter "straight man" that is Astérix.
Actually, further. Gaullish was a Celtic language, so a more apt comparison would be Welsh and French.
Occasionally, a straight example of this type will appear as an opponent for Astérix and Obélix.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The first album "Astérix the Gaul" had a very oddly drawn Astérix, Obélix, Getafix and Cacofonix, while Fulliautomatix looks nothing like he does in later books. Obélix carries an axe, doesn't say his famous line "These Romans are crazy" yet and hardly appears at all. Getafix also lives in a cave outside the village, which is never mentioned again.
The village dances merrily to a song led by Cacofonix, and also allow him to attend the banquet at the end of the story.
Dogmatix is still absent for the first five albums.
In Astérix and the Goths the Goths (Germans) are depicted as villains, while later albums show them in a more sympathetic light.
Eaten Alive: In Astérix and the Laurel Wreath, our heroes are about to be thrown to the lions in the Colosseum, as part of a Batman Gambit to steal Julius Caesar's laurel wreath. Obélix asks the jailer for some oil to rub himself with, so he can look good.
Jailer: Don't you think mustard would be more appropriate?
Elite Mooks: According to Asterix, Caesar's palace is guarded by these, which is why they can't simply go in and grab the laurels.
Engrish: "What he says?" (amusingly, the movie reverts the comics: the Briton is incomprehensible, while the Goth is perfectly understood)
Every Episode Ending: A big feast with all the Gauls, usually but not necessarily in the village, and probably with Cacofonix tied up (see above).
Expressive Accessory: Astérix's helmet; the wings droop when he's depressed, twitch when he's excited, etc.
Fed to the Beast: The lions and other predators of the Circus Maximus regularly are mentioned. The example above in Eaten Alive ends up with the beasts eating each other as Asterix gives up on entering the arena, given Caesar isn't there for them to steal the laurel wreath.
Feud Episode: Astérix and the Roman Agent, in which Caesar sends an agent, Tortuous Convolvulus, to the Gaulish village. He is a natural troublemaker who can cause dissension and stir up fights between anyone, and soon nearly the entire village is feuding. Even Astérix and Obélix get angry at each other... for about four panels.
Chief Vitalstatistix started as a very serious character with an occasional embarrassing moment here and there. Somewhere after book 16, he can't spend two minutes without a Humiliation Conga.
Fulliautomatix was developing into a character with a very diverse personality. However, at one point the creators simply stopped, and it many late stories it appears that all he ever does is either mock Unhygienix's fish or look for a reason to bash Cacofonix.
Cacofonix starts out as an average bard - Asterix blows off listening to his music once (which annoyed him) and the people sitting near his performance at the final banquet are cringing with their hands over their ears, but the villagers also perform a plot-important traditional dance to his music with every indication that they are enjoying it. As the comic progresses, other characters (especially Fulliautomatix the blacksmith) start beating him up to prevent him from singing, which develops into a running gag, and he's shown to live in a hut at the top of a tree, where no-one can hear him. By the time Uderzo took over writing, he was so bad that he causes rain whenever he plays, which develops to the point where he ends up being so bad that merely playing a few notes creates an apocalyptic rainstorm that lasts for days.
For about three-fourths of Asterix and the Magic Carpet, Obelix's personality is reduced to jokes about him being hungry all the time.
Fleeting Demographic Rule: A "hotdog" joke that was used in The Great Crossing is reused in Astérix and the Falling Sky (this is in the French version).
Foe-Tossing Charge: As shown in the page image of the trope, this is the Gauls' signature move after everyone in the village has gotten their share of the magic potion. The lead characters (especially Obélix) also occasionally do it with unfortunate sentries when getting into one of the Roman camps, though then, the Megaton Punch is the traditional approach.
Food Porn: Whole roast boar dripping with grease features prominently, along with enormous hams, kilometers of sausages...
Foreign Queasine: How British food is depicted. Even Obélix wouldn't eat that boiled boar with mint sauce.
The Roman governor threatens to throw his inept military commanders "to the lions, with mint sauce!". Their reaction is "But that's horrible!" "Yes, the poor beasts!"
The Native Americans eat dog, leading to a "hot dog" joke later.
Foreshadowing: Brutus is always playing with knives. "He's starting to annoy me with those classical references of his! One of these days I'm going to up and..."
Friendly Enemy: Although Caesar's main goal in the series is to take over the village, he will return the favour if Asterix helps him.
Full Boar Action: It's the Gauls' favorite food. Obélix isn't fond of places who don't have it, or cook it wrong.
Funetik Aksent: Some populations talk this way, such as the Britons who are represented as French vocabulary written with English syntax ("Ici nous sommes" for "Here we are"); Ibers litter their otherwise normal speech with "Ay, ay, ay!"s and "Olé!"s.
It's also common for other "languages" to be written syntactically correct, but in another font:, Egyptians speak in hieroglyphics, and Goths speak in Gothic Script. The Greeks talk in classic angular letters, the Norse uses å's and ø's.
Occasionally Astérix and Obélix need to communicate with those foreigners, or need to blend in. This is usually shown as mangled versions of that foreign language, such as misplaced diacritics, or childishly drawn hieroglyphics.
Funny Background Event: Frequently. The most common involves the village chickens being put to various abuse. Notably, a hen falling in love with Vitalstatistix's winged helmet after a few shield mishaps.
It's worth noting that for many nostalgic or long time readers, the death of Goscinny in 1977 marked a sudden and ongoing decrease in quality of the series, of which Astérix and the Falling Sky is merely the appalling conclusion.
Another noteworthy thing is that while Goscinny's stories were more history based and outside of Druid's magic potion, there was no fantastic elements, Uderzo's stories tend to include more fantastic elements (fakir's with telekenetic powers, flying cows, centaurs, dragons etc.) and treat the Asterix world in a much more fantastic light.
"Asterix and the Great Divide" has a much more fairy tale/moralistic vibe to it, while the other stories are all about the comedy.
Getafix. Only in the English version though, his original name is the innocuous Panoramix.
In Astérix and the Laurel Wreath, Vitalstatistix visits his brother-in-law Homeopathix, whom he dislikes. He gives him one of Obélix's menhires as a "gift", presumably for the Nth time...
Homeopathix: But my dear chap, where am I going to put all these menhirs of yours? Vitalstatistix:(grinning evilly) You really want me to tell you? Impedimenta: VITALSTATISTIX!
Pay close attention during the credits of Astérix and the Vikings to learn in what other ways the magic potion can improve a man's strength.
There's one scene in the film The Twelve Tasks of Astérix that cuts to Mount Olympus and the whole Pantheon of Roman Gods, who are all depicted wearing the tools and garb traditionally associated with their respective functions... which, in the case of Venus, means wearing nothing whatsoever. (Bonus points for her being clearly modelled on French sex icon Brigitte Bardot.)
In Astérix in Switzerland, the Romans have "orgies", which seem to be based around eating a lot of unusal foods.
Giftedly Bad: "The Cacofonix" was one of the proposed titles for this trope.
Grand Finale: Astérix and Son was intended to be this, with the village burning down, Caesar making peace with the Gauls and his agreeing to rebuild their village as thanks for protecting his son. However, the series continued after that.
Guile Hero: Is thumping a viable solution? Nobody. Is thumping not a viable solution, or insufficiently poetic? Astérix.
Happy Rain: At the end of Astérix and the Magic Carpet, Cacofonix's rain-inducing voice finally finds a suitable use.
Have a Gay Old Time: After rescuing a child taken hostage by the Romans in Astérix in Spain, Obélix is disgusted that they were "molesting a child".
Heroic Dolphin: Astérix gets saved by a dolphin in the sea in Astérix and the Actress.
Hero Stole My Boat: During Astérix and the Banquet, Astérix and Obélix steal a boat with its owner in it to get across to the next town, despite the person's protests that he had just gotten a good room with full-board. When they reach their destination, the poor sap decides (because of the weather forecast) to haul his boat back via land.
Specifically they go from Nicae (Nice) to Massilia (Marseille), which are () apart. Poor guy.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In Obélix & Co, the Romans plan to undo the village's social structure backfires when one Roman citizen wants in on the craze, resulting in unrest in Rome and the devaluing of their currency, the Setertius.
Which is by the way a very clever Woolseyism of the original French "Je suis médusé" (I'm stunned).
Astérix and the Soothsayer manages to sneak in a recreation of "The Anatomy Lesson" by Rembrandt.
The whole plot of Astérix and the Banquet was inspired by the Tour de France bicycle race (it even borrows the name for the original French title: Le Tour de Gaule d'Astérix), and uses some plot points from Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days.
Done ad nauseam in the 50th anniversary book.
Honest John's Dealership: Astérix and the Banquet has an used chariot dealer selling Astérix and Obélix a spanking-new ride with a strong black stallion... only problem is, the chariot falls apart within a few minutes, and the strong black stallion turns out to be a weakly white horse painted black, its paint washing off when it starts to rain.
I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: In Astérix in Corsica, the legionary Salamix is conspiring with the Praetor to load up goods from the warehouses onto a ship, and then escape before the Corsicans attack leaving the legionaries behind. When two soldiers ask him what he's been doing, he tells them that the Praetor told him not to tell anyone they're clearing the warehouses.
Improvised Weapon: Best known are menhirs and fish. One time Asterix even used a high-speed champagne cork on a Roman.
In Harm's Way: Astérix once suggested that it would be nice if Caesar simply accepted that the village can not be conquered, removed the Romans around and just let them live on their own, enjoying their simple life and their forest. But for Obélix, life without Romans to take down seems a horrible idea.
Instrument of Murder: Cacofonix uses his ordinary lyre as a blunt instrument whenever he fights, be it in a village brawl or combat with the Romans.
Invincible Hero : Every single battle between Romans (or, really, anyone) and Gauls have the Gauls curb-stomp their opponents, thanks to their magic potion that grant Super Speed, Super Reflexes, Super Strength, and arguably Nigh-Invulnerability. Plus, even in case of a shortage, they have Obelix, who doesn't need to drink any potion since he fell in it during his childhood, and the effect never wore off. As a result, the Romans never, ever, in any comic, manage to gain the smallest durable advantage over the Gauls.
Most plot tension actually comes from Asterix being excessively prudent and avoiding confrontation with Romans troops, even though he and Obelix are more than able to defeat hundreds of Elite Mooks on their own, and have already done so a few times.
When trying to steal Caesar's crown, Asterix states that the magic potion doesn't protect from being harmed by Roman weapons. Whether it's true or not is unclear, but they never seem to be hurt anyway.
Large Ham: Anybody in a position of power: Vitalstatistix, Ceramix, the Roman centurions...
Leeroy Jenkins: Many times Obélix has wanted to just bash their way through a problem and Astérix has had to convince him to do the smart thing.
Once, Obélix forgot they were there to parley and proceeds to bash the place up.
Lethal Chef: The Britons and their food boiled with mint sauce.
And their warm beer.
The cook in Asterix the Legionary is an unusual example, because he's actually a superb chef. He cooks badly on purpose to keep the troops in a bad mood.
Lightning Bruiser: Obélix. He's strong and nearly invulnerable, but he's also pretty fast. He is occasionally portrayed as being more of a Mighty Glacier, however.
Live-Action Adaptation: Four of them so far, most notably featuring Gerard Depardieu as Obélix (other members of the main cast have been changed around often). They boast high production values and have been successful at the box office, but they have been received mostly poorly by critics and "hardcore" fans, who have often decried the use of rough humour compared to the one found in the books. Apparently Uderzo, dissatisfied with the first two movies as well, supervised the production of the third, but it didn't save it from receiving the "top" prize of the French equivalent of the Razzie Awards in 2008. A fourth movie came out in Autumn 2012.
Low-Speed Chase: In Astérix in Lutetia, Astérix and Obélix are chasing an ox cart on a Roman highway, but since the cart goes at a leisurely walking pace, they easily catch up with it. Yet the ironic caption for the panel is "And the breathtaking chase begins!" Obélix stops the cart by dovetailing it and stopping in front of it, which obviously is not impressive at all when done at 5 MPH.
Man Child: Obélix, who tends to get mad easily when things don't go his way.
Man in the Iron Mask: In The MovieAstérix & Obélix Take On Caesar, Julius Caesar is locked in an iron mask and thrown into a dungeon by the traitorous Detritus.
Obélix once drinks (three drops of) the potion in Astérix and Cleopatra in order to enhance his strength even more to move a solid stone door. He sees no difference, yet he keeps asking for potion subsequently anyway.
The Animated Adaptation attempts to explain it by having him complain that now that he finally got to taste the potion, the amount was so small that he didn't have time to really find out what it tasted like.
Mighty Glacier: Played straight in Astérix the Gladiator, when the gladiator trainer dodges Obélix's punches easily. However, Obélix is usually more of a Lightning Bruiser than a Mighty Glacier in most of the other books in the series.
By the looks of that scene Obélix wasn't even trying; his "punch" is drawn completely differently from every other punch he makes in the same album.
Since the trainer actually asked him to punch him, he was probably trying to play by the rules and didn't expect the other one to avoid the punches: after all he is asking for them, isn't?
Napoleon Delusion: One of Psychoanalytix's patients Astérix and the Big Fight suffers from this. Of course, Bonaparte didn't live until centuries later, so no-one knows who the man thinks he is.
Not a delusion, but in Astérix in Corsica, chief Ocaterinettabellachichix suddenly strikes a Napoleonic pose and starts talking about "my grumblers" and "the eve of Osterlix". Later he sends Caesar a message that "the Corsicans will only accept an emperor if he is a Corsican himself."
National Stereotypes: The populations that Astérix and Obélix encounter are affectionate parodies of nearly every French and European stereotype around. (Less affectionate in the case of the Germans, who are depicted as goose-stepping, pickelhaube-wearing Goths, complete with banners reminiscent of the Third Reich, though later books have a few examples of more sympathetic German characters. Like the German(ic) "tourists" in Spain.)
Lampshaded in the preface to the English edition of Astérix and the Britons, where the writers point out "if we were Britons satirizing the Gauls, we might say they all wore berets, ate frog's legs and snails, and drank red wine for breakfast. We might add that they had hopelessly relaxed upper lips, and that phlegm was not their outstanding characteristic."
Astérix in Corsica conscientiously piles on every single "Corsican" cliche known to French culture, after warning in the preface that this is what they are going to do.
Never Say "Die": A number of characters are said to be thrown to the lions in Rome's circus, but deaths are never shown. Arguably, Admiral Crustacius in Astérix and Obélix All at Sea. As a rule, characters are never killed in the Astérix books, but his fate, namely being trapped in stone form (supposedly for good, unless Getafix pays a visit) in the middle of the Circus Maximus's ring, is the nearest the series comes to genuinely offing a character.
Surreptitious and Dubbelosix are shown smeared with honey and running from bees in the arena at the end of Astérix and the Black Gold. Though played for laughs, this was a genuine, and cruel, means of execution under some of the later emperors.
No Export for You: Astérix and the Vikings was never released in the US, despite the English version being dubbed in the US with well-known actors.
There is also an Astérix album that has yet to see the light of day in English-speaking countries; Astérix et ses Amis. It's also the only post-'77 album not to be written or drawn by Uderzo; it was actually created by many other European writers and artists (except for Stuart Immonen, who's Canadian) as an 80th birthday present for Uderzo. It also has more than a few cameos from other comic book characters, which is probably why it hasn't been translated; nobody wants to deal with the headache of pleasing the various licenses.
No Indoor Voice: Centurion Nebulus Nimbus, in Astérix and the Big Fight. In French his name is Langelus, a prayer announced by ringing the church bells.
No Name Given: Geriatrix's wife. Uderzo even lampshades that she is not supposed to be named. A woman needs her secrets.
Despite this, in the Parc Astérix Theme Park in France, her impersonators sign her name as "Taillefine" ("thin waist"), which also happens to be the name of a popular brand of fat-free yogurts.
Her name is actually given by Vitalstatistix's wife in a throwaway line in one of the albums.
Noodle Incident: Nobody ever explains exactly what happened to the Roman tax collector who dropped by the village at some indeterminate point before Astérix and the Cauldron, but whatever it was the Gauls did to him, he never came back.
The Gaulish-Gothic interpreter has a great one, when Getafix reveals to the Goth chief that he speaks Gothic.
The soothsayer of the animated Astérix and the Big Fight has one, too, provoked by a Roman centurion. The centurion says all Gaulish soothsayers are to be arrested, and gives him a test to see if he's the real deal, which the soothsayer insists he isn't... he flips a coin, asking heads or tails. The soothsayer replies "Neither", smiling in his belief that this would be impossible. Naturally, the coin gets stuck in the neck of an amphora, and the soothsayer has a grand old Oh Crap moment.
This was taken from a nearly identical moment in Astérix and the Soothsayer. In this case, the captured soothsayer is told to guess the outcome of a dice roll. He picks VIInote the most frequently occuring dice roll. Roman era soothsayers apparently don't have good grasp of the laws of probability. and thinks he's safe due to "never having been lucky at gambling". The dice land reading VII, and the panicking soothsayer desperately trying to cover his ass by saying that if he really had predicted that the dice would read VII, he would have said VIII so he would have been set free. Near the end of the comic, the enraged optione asks him to guess the dice roll again. He predicts VIII. The dice read VII. Cue a very confused optione and the Centurion telling the Soothsayer that he's being too showy and he has to lay low.
The Pirates have a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment whenever they realize that that one group of Gauls is on board the targeted vessel. Their captain gets a priceless one in the Astérix in Britain movie, when he sees the entire Roman fleet heading towards them.
Oh My Gods!: Since in those days, all religions in Europe were polytheistic.
Justforkix says this word for word when the Normans come
Joked about early in Astérix and the Soothsayer, where the Gauls are said to have hundreds of gods, and created a code number system to simplify things.
Also played with in Astérix and the Magic Carpet, when the two fakirs start cursing each other while in the magical equivalent of a Blade Lock. Astérix says something like "If they are going to call upon all of their thirty million deities they'll be at it for a while."
Also played with in Astérix and Cleopatra, where a conversation between the Gauls, Edifis, and a Roman Centurion has every statement by any party end with "By <Random god of relevant culture>". At the end of the conversation, Artifis shows up withs up his assistant Crewcut and ask "Could we go home now, by any chance?".
All end in a big meal party at night around a fire. (Except for Astérix and Son: the village has been destroyed, so Cleopatra hosts a banquet on her barge.)
Cacofonix gets Bound and Gagged and can not be part of the party; there are a few exceptions (most notably Astérix and the Normans in which Cacofonix basically saves the day for once, so he deserves it).
The pirates get their ship trashed (though not always).
Fulliautomatix makes a disparaging comment about the quality of Unhygienix's fish, which causes a fight to break out.
This one even gets lampshaded in Astérix and the Soothsayer. Astérix commented that any time people discuss the fish, a fight breaks out. Unhygienix claimed this wasn't true. Fulliautomatix said that it wouldn't happen if the fish was fresh. A fight breaks out.
Only Sane Man: Astérix and usually Getafix. Obélix tends to agree with them.
It's worth noting that Chief Vitalstatistix tries SO hard to fit this trope. He was actually this (along with Asterix and Getafix) for the first 8-10 books. Then he slowly developed into a pompous, agressive Butt Monkey.
Convolvulus from Astérix and the Roman Agent.
Order Versus Chaos: The fun-loving, chaotic Gauls versus the Roman Empire. The neutral Helvetians also cop their share of problems.
Ornamental Weapon: Astérix is always shown with a sword but he only ever uses it once in a blue moon, notably in a sword fight with a drunk Roman in Caeser's Gift. He prefers to let his potion powered fists do the talking.
Painting the Medium: Astérix and the Goths features a "Gaulish-Gothic translator", but all that is different between the two "languages" is that the Goths speak in a Gothic letter type, so they're still speaking the same language. At one point Getafix (who has been captured by the Goths to get hold of the Magic Potion) is shown to master the Gothic language (shown by using the Gothic font in his speech bubble), exposing the interpreter as a liar.
The Egyptians of Astérix in Egypt speak in hieroglyphs which, where possible, correspond to what they're saying in a B Roll Rebus / Visual Pun way. Obélix's shaky attempt to speak the language look like children's drawings.
Norsemen talk with diacritics, spelling all their wørds strångely — even their døg bårks in diacritics. Astérix tries to duplicate this but puts the diacritics on the wrong letters.
One of the norsemen's Gaulish slaves has learned to speak Norse, but with a heavy accent: his å's have squares instead of circles and his ø's have the diagonal line go the wrong way.
Greeks talk in angular letters. (and unlike the above examples, the Gauls understand them, so it's probably just an accent)
In -50BC, most of people currently spoke Greek: Latin was the official language of the empire, but Greek was the one used for trade.
Painting the Frost on Windows: In a mini-comic, there is a particular spirit of Spring whose job it is to push up the plant stems and so on and so forth.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Obélix tries a number of these in attempts to get a taste of the magic potion is Astérix and Cleopatra, failing miserably every single time. He fails to figure out how Getafix keeps recognizing him, despite the fact that he weighs about five times more than any of the Egyptian laborers who the potion is supposed to be going to, or that his disguise is a striped headdress instead of his helmet.
Pictorial Speech Bubble: The comic books use speechbubbles with different typefaces to represent characters speaking in various languages. Egyptians speak in hieroglyphics. Once, when Obelix attempts to speak the Egyptians' language, his speechbubble is filled with badly drawn animals and stick-figures.
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Astérix is one of the village's best warriors, and is a strong fighter even without the magic potion.
Well, they do try to do what pirates do, but they always happen to pick the ship that has Astérix and Obélix (or in Astérix and the Olympic Games, the entire Gaulic village) on board, resulting in the usual Curb-Stomp Battle and subsequent sinking of their ship. In Astérix and Cleopatra, Redbeard even displays a moment of Genre Savvy when he decides to no longer attack any Gaulic, Roman or Phoenician ships, because they always have the Gauls on board... Guess who are on the Egyptian ship that the lookout just spotted...
By way of variety: At the end of Caesar's Laurels, they appear as the captives in Caesar's triumph after his "campaign against the pirates". In Mansions of the Gods it is revealed that they were in the slave work gang.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The film Asterix and the Big Fight combines the original story of the same name with Asterix and the Soothsayer. Also, the gag with the dice is changed to a Heads Tails Edge gag, as the dice gag wouldn't be as visually impressive in animation.
A list: Gauls, Normans, Germans, Iberians, Britons, Corsicans, Belgians... Also quite a lot of Romans.
Spoofed in Astérix and the Black Gold, where, when lost in the middle eastern desert, they encounter a succession of warbands from different regional ancient peoples... who all happen to be at war with at least one one of the other warbands encountered. And except for clothes/armor, they all look the same.
Pun-Based Title: Astérix chez Rahàzade. The English translation is literal (Asterix and the Magic Carpet) but the Brazilian one decided to go for the pun instead (The 1001 Hours of Asterix).
Cassivellaunos is notable for being a historical figure who only sounds like he has a Punny Name (in French, it reads Blackcurrant-bicycle-wedding).
Punch Clock Villain: The majority of the Roman legionaries. They are mostly just conscripts who are often forced to engage the gauls. In several albums it's shown that the soldiers manning the four forts prefer to just sit out their tour of duty.
Purely Aesthetic Era: Most of the classical antiquity cultures presented in the series are actually just stand-ins for modern nations.
The Quisling: Cassius Ceramix, chief of the Gallo-Roman village of Linoleum in Astérix and the Big Fight. Seems to subvert it, when he admits that he does indeed sell wares to Romans - but demands twice the price he'd take from Gauls. Then immediately double subverted when he notes that the Romans buy everything he has, hinting that he's really what he seems.
Chief Whosemoralsarelastix of Astérix and the Cauldron is the same - and even uses that same joke when defending his decisions.
Rage Against the Author: At the beginning of The Golden Book, Albert Uderzo ages his characters by fifty years, thinking it would be funny. Obélix registers his disapproval with his fist.
Reassigned to Antarctica: In Astérix in Corsica, it's explained that the island's garrisons are a dumping ground for hopeless elements of the Roman Legion. Also, at the end of Astérix the Gaul, a displeased Caesar reassigns an officer to an outpost in Mongolia(!) (Brutus gets the same treatment in Astérix and Son). In Astérix vs Caesar, an overeager young officer is transferred to a post in the Sahara, as punishment for an unauthorized raid that captured Vitalstatistix's niece Panacaea, which his centurion (correctly) believes that the Gauls will consider grounds for levelling the camp.
The beginning of the plot behind Asterix and Caesar's Gift revolves around this. The Roman guard are to be given plots of land for serving twenty years in the ranks, but Tresmendelirious is a drunkard who has never been sober for any of them. As punishment, Caeser decides that his plot of land should be "a little village by the seaside in Amorica... surrounded by fortified Roman camps". Technically averted when Tremensdelirious gives his plot of land to an inn keeper for a hunk of bread and a few mugs of wine.
It gets hilarious when, in Astérix and the Chieftain's Shield, Astérix and company leave the village quietly, without informing the rest of the Gauls and avoiding a big farewell feast. When Fulliautomatix notices their departure, he quickly runs to Cacofonix's house, wakes him up, tells him about the company setting off, waits until the bard gets up, takes his harp and attempts to sing — and then he proceeds to the traditional bashing of Cacofonix!
Even more hilarious is when, in Astérix and the Secret Weapon, Cacofonix gets ready to leave the town because he's offended they have brought another bard to teach the kids, and Fulliautomatix, feeling guilty, agrees to let him sing if he stays. Then Cacofonix takes Fulliautomatix's hammer and starts beating the hell out of him while shouting "No, you won't make me sing!!" (When Fullautomatix bashes Cacofonix, he usually shouts "No, I won't let you sing!!")
In the French version, "Non, tu ne me feras pas chanter!", which also means "No, you won't blackmail me!" (blackmail in french is "chantage", so the relevant verbs are essentially one and the same).
Whenever Brutus appears, he's toying with a knife, sometimes hurting himself by accident. Caesar never sees anything suspicious about his behaviour.
Scenery Porn: Uderzo has a great hand when drawing ancient Rome, Athens or Jerusalem. Made Up to Eleven in Astérix in Corsica: Uderzo and Goscinny were so impressed with the scenery of the island when they vacationed there that they decided to make this album just to put it in.
Shaggy Dog Story: In Astérix and the Black Gold, the village runs out of magic potion for lack of petroleum, an essential ingredient. Astérix and Obélix set off to the Middle East in search of it, but return empty-handed. However, Getafix had just substituted equally efficient beetroot juice instead. There's an Ironic Echo of Getafix and later Astérix having a stroke.
Shamu Fu: When the village gets into a fight, it's often started by Unhygienix's thrown fish.
Or the shield bearers are in a hurry and rush out without him on it. Or he forgets to duck and hits his head on the lintel, since he's standing at least five feet in the air.
On one occasion, he's in the middle of having a bath when a Roman consul arrives wishing to speak to him. His wife won't allow him to dodge having a bath, so his shield bearers are forced to carry him out in the bath.
Another time he appoints Astérix and Obélix as his shield-bearers (it's supposed to be an honor), but their Mutt-and-Jeff sizes result in it being carried on a slant, with Vitalstatistix clinging to the high end. He then changes to simply having Obélix alone carry him around on the shield exactly like a high-class waiter carrying a tray of food, one-handed yet.
Shields Are Useless: The only characters who ever use them are the Romans, and given that they're fighting Astérix...
In big fights involving the entire village, there's inevitably at least one Roman being bashed with his own shield.
Vitalstatistix hits people on the head with his shield whenever he's involved in a village brawl, but never uses it for defense.
Shout-Out: There are actually so many it would require its own page...
In Astérix in Britain, the heroes come across "four very famous bards" who look like The Beatles.
In Astérix in Belgium, they are warned of Caesar's arrival by the Thom(p)sons of Tintin fame; the courier being sent out to notify the clan leaders all over Belgium of this event is none other than cyclist Eddy Merckx (sans bike); and then there's the kid who's quite reminiscent of the famous Manneken Pis statue in Brussels in more than just his appearance.
Tintin also gets a call in Legionary: when a Belgian removes his helmet, he has the trademark hair of the reporter.
There's also a character (a druid/Roman spy who has a prominent role in Asterix and the Black Gold) who looks like a (wiry) Sean Connery... and is named Zerozerosix (Dubbelosix in the English version).
The live action adaptation of Astérix and Cleopatra gives one to Star Wars, among other things. The scene? A Roman military camp, where a centurion has just suggested retreat to the resident field general due to a humiliating first defeat at the hands of the Gauls. The general's response? Swiftly choking the centurion while berating him for his lack of faith in a deep, echoing voice, after which he quips: "When the Roman Empire finds itself under attack... The Empire Strikes Back!". We also see the general's cape and helmet from the back for a second or two in an homage to the classic backshot of Darth Vader's helmet, while a quick snippet of the imperial march ominously plays in the background. There are many more.
The game Astérix & Obélix has so many references to other video games that it has its own page.
Siege Engines: The Romans sometimes bring siege engines to battle. It doesn't turn out too well against the Gauls, but somewhat effective against the Belgians before Astérix and Obélix take them out. They were also effective in Astérix and Cleopatra before Cleopatra reprimanded Caesar for attacking the palace.
Something Completely Different: Besides having a Darker and Edgier tone than usual, Astérix and the Laurel Wreath takes place entirely outside of the Gaulish village (save for the very last page) and features none of the usual characters other than Astérix and Obélix (save for a couple of scenes with Vitalstatistix and Impedimenta during the How We Got Here portion of the story).
Speech Bubbles: Speech bubbles turn green as characters are influenced by the seeds of discord sewn by Convolvulus in Astérix and the Roman Agent.
When a character is deemed to be speaking with particular (and often sarcastic) pleasantry, the speech bubble is always decorated with flowers, music notes and birds.
When a character is speaking coldly, icicles form at the bottom of the speech bubble.
And in one truly strange example, the tax collector that Astérix robs in Astérix and the Cauldron speaks in forms:
Tax Collector: Are you:
A: Ordinary passersby? B: Motivated by friendly intentions? C: Bandits?
Astérix: Give us your money if you don't want to get thumped! Tax Collector: Are you:
A: Ordinary passersby? B: Motivated by friendly intentions? C:(checked) Bandits?
Spiked Wheels: Dubbleosix's chariot in Astérix and the Black Gold.
Springtime for Hitler: In 'Astérix and the Laurel Wreath' Astérix and Obélix need to get close to Caesar and get themselves taken on as slaves by who they think is one of his advisors. He turns out to have nothing to do with Caesar so they attempt to get themselves dismissed. One attempt is by cooking the most revolting dinner they can think of with the worst possible ingredients; it turns out the Gauls accidently create the ideal hangover cure.
The Starscream: Invoked by Astérix, Obélix, and Getafix in Astérix and the Goths; Getafix and Astérix realize that the Germanic peoples would ransack them too, and so stir up a little civil war.
Status Quo Is God: The village is destroyed in Astérix and Son, but by the end of the story, Caesar promises to rebuild it as thanks for the Gauls protecting his son. He even joins the Gauls in their ending feast... but he still tries to conquer the village in later stories.
Stout Strength: Obélix. He's the most "well-covered" but also the strongest character.
Strange Syntax Speaker: In French, the Britons keep the adjective-noun order, so it comes across as this to a French speaker. One sign for a tourist agency reads "Here we speak Greek, Briton Spoken, -Egyptian Hieroglyphs-".
Symbol Swearing: All the time, leading to a great gag in Astérix the Legionary where the interpreter translates Centurion Purpus' expletives into Gothic and then back again. Goscinny has a habit of making them quite intricate and grotesque.
And in Asterix and the Goths, Getafix Symbol Swears, which the footnote explains are ancient Gallic insults unsuitable for print. The Goth chief asks what he's saying, and gets a Goth-icized version (the skull now has a spiked helmet, etc).
The Nagma in Astérix and the Falling Sky are intended to be a swipe at Japanese comics in general. In contrast, the Tadsilweny are a not-so-subtle Affectionate Parody of Americans, and as such are treated much more sympathetically than the Nagma (although there is a parody of foreign policy).
The contribution album Uderzo croqué par ses amis also had a swipe against manga, the page showing the village surrounded by the camps was changed to depict Europe being invaded by "manga".
Making this little ironic by the fact that according to Uderzo the album is a tribute to Walt Disney... apparently ignoring that it was Disney's art what inspired the art style of the God of Manga Osamu Tezuka.
Astérix and the Secret Weapon was pretty much one big Take That to the Feminist movement.
Astérix in Switzerland opens with with the Roman governor Varius Flavus poisoning the food of Quaestor Vexatius Sinusitus in an attempt to dispose of him before Sinusistus can uncover Flavus' embezzlement.
Also the Special Iced Arsenic Cake from Astérix and Cleopatra, which isn't so much poisoned as it is made entirely out of poison.
Terrible Trio: The pirates (with the captain, lookout and wooden-leg guy as the trio part).
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Obélix does not like it when the Romans fight among themselves, or when they get ill, or when someone else is fighting them and he was not invited: he is the one who should be having fun with them!
Theme Naming: The ending of most of the characters' names, depending of their ethnicity.
Gauls (including Belgians and Corsicans) -ix; Britons -ax;note plus -os and -ix for some Romans -us; Normans -af; Danes -sen; Greeks -os and -as; Goths -rik...
Gaulish women: -ine (Falbala/Panacea is an exception, perhaps she's from a more Romanized family?)
Roman women: -a
Egyptians and Phoenicians: -is, with some -et in the translation.
Iberians: Spanish-type double names combined by an "y".
On three occasions, Cacofonix actually saves the day. The villagers' response? Rather than tie him up (as they usually do to keep him from playing his music during victory celebrations), they tie up Fulliautomatix to keep him from hitting him.
Cacofonix also attended the feast in Astérix the Gaul and Astérix and the Chieftain's Shield, even though he did not contribute anything to help save the day. He didn't try to sing (as far as the readers could tell). That was good enough.
Also, at the end of Astérix and the Cauldron, the pirates get the gold-filled cauldron after having been unfairly accused of stealing it and beaten up by Astérix and Obélix when in fact they were actually trying to go legit. Even the narrator exclaims, "And for once the pirates are happy!"
Occasionally one or more Roman legionaries get one.
Time Skip: Astérix and Obélix's Birthday: The Golden Book has a scene that takes place 50 years after the normal timeline of the books, depicting the characters as old men.
Token Romance: While this almost never happens in the actual books (just once: Obélix is briefly smitten with Panacea in Astérix the Legionary), it is surprisingly common for the various film adaptations to add some sort of unnecessary romance subplot. To count those:
Astérix Conquers America: Astérix and Obélix are tempted to stay in America because of a beautiful Native American chieftain's daughter. In the book, they want to leave because Obélix was terrified by the prospect of romance, let alone marriage, to the daughter of who they thought was a Roman.
Astérix and Obélix Take on Caesar: Obélix's attraction to Panacea is a subplot. This is taken from the books, but it is played much more seriously here.
In fairness, Panacea is played by Laetitia Casta which might explain why she has magical doubles of herself, a plot point which wasn't in Astérix the Legionary (the book from whence Panacea comes).
Astérix: Mission Cleopatra: Astérix is given a love interest in the form of Cleopatra's handmaiden Givemeakis (who was not there in the book).
Astérix and the Vikings: Justforkix is given a love interest in the form of Chief Timandahaf's daughter Abba.
Astérix at the Olympic Games: The whole plot is altered so that the Gauls enter the Olympic games to help a Gaul named Lovesix to win the heart of the Greek princess Irina, or else she'll have to marry Brutus. Irina and Lovesix are little more than Satellite Love Interests for each other.
LA Adaptation of Asterix in Britain gives Obelix a love interest as a middle-aged British Lady in Waiting, and Asterix unsuccesfully tries to hook up with various British ladies.
Top-Heavy Guy: Roman centurions and the non-Comic Relief legionaries have enormous hairy arms and chests, on normal-sized legs.
Too Dumb to Live: The legionaries in 'Astérix and the Goths'; once they realise that the "Goths" they are looking for are disguised as Romans, chaos ensues and they run around capturing one another. This could double as a Crowning Moment of Funny... but not for their leader, the unhappy General Cantankerus:
Cantankerus: (sobbing) They're all quite thick, and I'm their leader!
Chief Vitalstatistix is carried by two shield bearers. Frequent RunningGags are made of the facts that he's rather overweight and his bearers are of different heights.
There's the additional running gag in which he falls off the shield for some reason at least once per story.
There was one story where Vitalstatistix's shield bearers quit, and he appointed Astérix and Obélix as their replacements. Since the height difference between them is even greater than the usual shield bearers', this didn't work out so well.
Also, whenever Cleopatra suddenly shows up some place, she's always sitting on a gigantic golden sphinx-shaped chair on wheels pulled by slaves flanked by dancers and trumpeters. She has at least once referred to one such appearance as "dropping by incognito".
Not quite as absurd as it sounds as she has at least twice performed a Stealth Hi/Bye this way!
A chief of a Gallo-Roman village has four shield-bearers. When he turns his back on someone (and says so out loud), the shield-bearers interpret it as an order and also turn - which leaves him facing the person he turned his back on.
The entire Gaulish village have been known to brawl with each other when they're bored and no Romans or other outside foes are available.
Wall of Text: In Astérix and the Actress, there was a Roman civil war, and Obélix asked why were the Romans fighting against each other. Astérix explained with a Wall of Text: Caesar, Pompeius and Crassus once ruled in the First Triumvirate, until the death of Crassus. Then, Caesar removed Pompeius and became dictator. Pompeius remained as Caesar's enemy, and he was gathering allies within the Romans in Gaul, to fight against Caesar and get to the government, which is the reason why Astérix and Obélix were encountering Romans fighting among themselves. Obélix, did you understand? "No. The only thing I understood is that THOSE ROMANS ARE CRAZY!".
What's Up, King Dude?: Caesar is all pompous and grandilocuent, like a Shakespeare character... and then Asterix and Obelix always appear with some "Hi, Caesar, ol' boy! Are the laurels fresh today?" and the whole climate is broken.
Impedimenta: If anyone were fool enough to write the story of our village, you can bet they wouldn't call it The Adventures of Vitalstatistix the Gaul!
Played with in that we don't watch the Adventures of Vitalstatistix the Gaul. He's just a supporting character.
There's also the moment in Astérix and the Cauldron, where Obélix wants to tell stories about his and Astérix's adventures to raise money, but Astérix sees no monetary value in it.
Obélix: We could call it The Adventures of Obélix the Gaul and... Astérix: Oh, shut up.
William Telling: Subverted in Astérix in Switzerland by the arrow hitting the bull's eye of the intended target, when it looked like it might have hit the apple on the kid's head. The eyewitnesses feel disappointed, but can't explain why.
Windbag Politician: The Helvetian assembly consists of one chieftain making a speech and every other one sleeping deeply. When they switch out, the new one even says "I will be brief..."
In Obélix and Co., Caius Preposterous has to resort to this, when his attempts at giving a straight explanation of how economics work to Obélix fails. Obélix gets the impression that all businessmen speak like that, which is how he explains the economic system to the people he hires.
The Nagma in Astérix and the Falling Sky speaks in stereotypically broken English, as Obélix helpfully points out.
Obélix: He doesn't talk like us, either! He talks funny!
Zorro Mark: In Astérix and Caesar's Gift, Astérix duels with a Roman and carves a Z into his tunic. With dialogue lifted from Cyrano de Bergerac. The English translators lifted dialogue from Hamlet instead, as they felt the audience would not be sufficiently familiar with Cyrano.