Asterix, Obelix, Cacofonix, Dogmatix and the rest of the popular heroes whose names end in «ix» are celebrating their 50th anniversary – not to mention some 280 million comics sold worldwide. Besides France (where the series was originally created) and plenty of other countries around the world, Greece is preparing for the global debut of a new edition featuring the very likable (and photogenic) Gallic hero. Marking the half-century celebration, co-creator Albert Uderzo has come up with a new edition featuring short stories in 56 pages of previously unseen material. The French comic strips were originally written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Uderzo. The latter took on the role of writer following the death of Goscinny in 1977. The series, which made its debut appearance in the magazine Pilote on October 29, 1959, in subsequent years inspired 11 films (eight of which were animated), games as well as a theme park situated on the outskirts of Paris. In Athens, celebrations begin at the French Institute on October 22 and will run to November 5 in collaboration with Mamouth Comix. At the French Institute’s Paris-Athenes bistrot, visitors will have the chance to enjoy a visual arts tour of Asterix highlights while taking a look at the series’ Greek connections, through covers, books and heroes who have co-starred with the diminutive Gaul. In terms of population size, Greece is considered the fourth best-selling market in the world for Asterix adventures. Coming to Athens as a special guest is French comic book writer and artist Achde, the illustrator of Lucky Luke since 2003. An admirer of Uderzo’s work, Achde, aka Herve Darmenton, will teach the secrets of his craft to students at the French Institute, while he is also expected to take part in a discussion on the subject of Asterix as a global phenomenon and his influence on Greek comics and Greek reality. It is worth nothing that the Asterix comics have been translated into 100 languages and dialects, among them Cretan, Pontic Greek, Ancient Greek and Latin. As for the new Asterix, its content is being kept top secret, even more so than the magic potion brewed by the druid Getafix. The Gauls are still crazy and so are the Romans, so prepare yourselves for a major wild boar feast. For more information on the upcoming event, contact the French Institute in Athens (31 Sina, tel 210.3398600, www.ifa.gr).