Why did you choose to put the spotlight on a female character and, more specifically, a teenager?
JYF : At fi rst I was thinking of wheeling out the great Vercingetorix himself. The problem was it would have risked messing with history too much. In the end, I felt that Vercingetorix should stay as he was, in other words as a legendary prologue to the adventures of Asterix.
And so I went with the idea of a daughter he might have had, which was pure invention, of course! And the theme of the album started to revolve around teenagers … a theme that hasn’t been explored since the character of young Justforkix in Asterix and the Normans.
I thought it could be handled in a different way now.
DC : We wanted to develop more female characters too and with the exception of Zaza in Asterix and Caesar’s Gift, there haven’t been any teenage girls in Asterix.
This was something we wanted to redress. After 37 titles, it’s always a good idea to choose subjects and character types that haven’t been explored much by the original series’ creators in order to come up with fresh ideas and inject some new energy.
Tell us about the historical context you used when writing this album.
JYF : The action takes place a few years after the defeat at Alesia. The idea was to imagine a secret network of Arvernis still loyal to Vercingetorix.
Obviously, they do their best to safeguard the daughter of their much-mourned leader. And her torc, a sort of honorary necklet that she inherited from her father. As ever, I tried to use some historical elements … like mentioning a mood of dissent surrounding the siege at Alesia, or the way the Romans conducted combat at sea.
The Asterix series is about laughter but the humour works all the better if the basis is plausible.
DC : It also meant we could get our teeth into some colourful new characters like the Arvernis with their very distinctive accent!
You’re both the same age as the title character. How familiar have you been with the character of Asterix since your childhood?
JYF : Yes, I’m the same age as Asterix, I was born in 1959. That can’t help but establish a connection with the series! (laughs)
So when I was given responsibility for the storyline, I put my helmet on and started rummaging through Getafix’s stores for guidance. But Asterix came about thanks to both Goscinny and Uderzo, two very distinct and inimitable personalities.
With each new album we just try to keep something of the spirit of the series alive, that combination of the ancient and the contemporary that always raises a laugh.
The idea is to set off in a new direction every time, taking inspiration from today’s world which, luckily, provides plenty of wonderful new themes every day!