Asterix is moving from Hachette Children’s Group to Sphere from July.
The team will be taking over the publishing of all Asterix titles from Hachette Children’s Group, including all 38 albums and 12 omnibus editions. “The move to Sphere is in recognition of the brand’s broad and loyal family readership, including Asterix’s dedicated adult fanbase,” Sphere said.
Sphere will publish the newest book in the series, Asterix and the Griffin, in hardback and e-book on 21st October 2021.
The series, which focuses on the adventures of the Gaulish warrior Asterix and his friend Obelix, has inspired animated cartoons, 15 feature films and its own theme park, Parc Astérix. The series has sold 1.3 million books for £10.2m since 1998, according to Nielsen BookScan's UK TCM.
Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad took over the Asterix series in 2013. The series’ original illustrator Albert Uderzo had been overseeing the series until his death in March 2020, and the books’ original author, René Goscinny, died in 1977.
“The latest story will see Asterix and Obelix set out on their 39th adventure, and travel to a new destination in search of a strange and terrifying creature,” Sphere said. “Idolised and feared by ancient peoples, this creature is the griffin.”
Ferri said: “For me, it all started with a sculpture of the Tarasque, a terrifying creature from Celtic legends. Did our ancestors really believe that these peculiar monsters actually existed? It’s worth mentioning that in Roman times there weren’t many explorers, so the terra was mostly incognita. Even so, extraordinary animals such as elephants and rhinoceroses had already been exhibited in Rome.
“Now it was time look at this bestiary and choose the animal that would be at the centre of the intrigue. Half-eagle, half-lion, with horse’s ears and appropriately enigmatic, I opted for a Griffin. The Romans were bound to go for it. But what about the Gauls? How would Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix, along with the Druid Getafix, get drawn into the epic, perilous quest to find this fantastical animal?”
Asterix is also due to star in a 3D Netflix animated series directed by Alain Chabat, who wrote and directed 2002’s “Mission Cléopâtre”. The series will be adapted from one of the classic volumes, Asterix and the Big Fight, in which the Romans, after being constantly embarrassed by Asterix and his village cohorts, organise a brawl between rival Gaulish chiefs. The series will debut in 2023, and will be screened around the world.