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Tuesday, November 23, 2021 

Why Asterix will never conquer a readership in the USA

Famous European comics like Asterix may be big on that side of the world, as The Connexion points out, but there's plenty of reasons why you can't expect the popularity to ever be duplicated stateside:
Asterix books have been a huge hit in France since the character was launched in 1959, and this shows no signs of slowing down, despite the deaths of his creators.

The latest comic book by the official successors of Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny came out with a five million print run last month.
Certainly, that's an impressive sum, compared to how serial fiction prints out in the USA (although lately, you wouldn't be able to figure it out at ease, because ICV2 keeps their sales figures almost entirely behind a paywall. Which certainly speaks volumes). But how well has Asterix ever proven in American sales? Not very well:
In America, however, after several attempts, Asterix is still far from a household name – although US publisher Papercutz said a 2020 relaunch with new translations “has gone well despite the pandemic getting in the way”. No sales figures are available.

Owner Terry Nantier said they had tried to address some ‘caricatural’ racial depictions by inserting boxes explaining the context and attitudes of the time the books were written. Netflix is also preparing to release an animated Asterix series in 2023.
That hints at something the PC leftist crowd would not put up with, which is the exaggerated facial features on some of the characters appearing in several of the stories, even as this approach was downplayed after the early 1970s, much like it was with manga in Japan. It makes no difference to the left that white characters like Asterix and Obelix had exaggerations of their own like big round noses, they still ostensibly won't be at peace with black characters who had the same.

All that aside, Netflix is going to broadcast a cartoon based on the French comic? If it's brand new, I have no doubt it'll be really succumbed to wokeness, and Netflix just isn't worth subscribing to anyway. When a new project like this is announced for their network, you know something's wrong. The article goes on:
"The Americans succeeded in selling to the world one of their own founding myths – the western – but it has been much harder to sell this one to them.”

Prof Gabilliet said the UK is in around fourth or fifth place for European sales.

“It confirms my hypothesis that the British are Europeans without being European, which is quite clear in recent times. There’s a certain level of popularity, but it’s not at the levels we see in France and Germany.

American superheroes are more appreciated there than Asterix.
But is that because of the current PC trends superhero themes have been drowning in? There's so much coming from the genre these days that's unreadable, I just can't figure out why UK audiences would bother.

But the reason why Asterix still works better for UK audiences is because:
Prof Gabilliet said the “extraordinary” translations and clever wordplay of the late Anthea Bell had helped. However, they were so well adapted to the British audience that they went over less well in America (for example, she named two Roman soldiers Sendervictorius and Appianglorius). “Like with metropolitan or Quebecois French, British English creates a cultural barrier for Americans.
Of course, there's only so much differences in the UK, same language notwithstanding, that no wonder certain US audiences by contrast couldn't get the hang of it, and wouldn't care anyway. Politically correct education saw to it there'd be a lack of appreciation for certain foreign products.
“At the start of the 1980s, the Dargaud publishing house proposed translations for the US audience, with slangy American expressions. It didn’t work, partly because the albums were sold in a similar format to the French ones, and at the time it wasn’t familiar to the Americans. They were used to their little stapled comic books, usually featuring young characters or superheroes, and Asterix didn’t fit the mould. It was before the graphic novel had caught on, as it later did.

“As for the new Papercutz ones, Asterix was nowhere to be seen in the top 750 comic book and graphic novel sales for the US in 2020, so I don’t think the figures can be as good as all that, but it’s normal: we can’t transform Asterix into a US bestseller overnight.

I don’t know what the Netflix show will be like either, but you never know. If it’s well-financed and well-adapted, with ideas that appeal to the Americans, maybe it will boost the sales of Papercutz’ books. I’m curious to see what impact it will have.

“It might have none, or it might be significant, and that would be great.”

Prof Gabilliet said it was “a bit regrettable” that Papercutz had found it necessary to ‘contextualise’ depictions of race but “it’s a sign of the times”.
Sad, but that's the result of decades of indoctrination to political correctness, inability to look past certain questionable ingredients, and make distinctions between what's forgivable or not. I thought it was sad when Augie deBlieck caved to a PC viewpoint, and no matter the budget for the Netflix cartoon, if it's brand new, that won't mean anything if the scripting and visuals are held hostage to wokeness.

And that's why Asterix is unlikely to find more audience in the USA in current times any more than in the past. Only so many PC advocates in the USA go out of their way to dumb down all sorts of creations, and have no respect for creations originating in foreign languages either. Asterix isn't the only European comic that can't find traction stateside - even Yoko Tsuno's unlikely to find much audience in the USA, the starring of a POC notwithstanding, and it doesn't make any difference that it's a pretty family friendly comic either. Political correctness stateside's ruined everything.

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