In Review: Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny Exhibition at London’s Jewish Museum

Asterix in Britain Exhibition 2018 - Poster

Richard Sheaf reports on the opening of a great new exhibition opening at London’s Jewish Museum…

The top floor of the Jewish Museum in Londinium has been given over for the next five months to the story of comic creator René Goscinny.

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Image: The Jewish Museum

René was, most famously, the writer behind Asterix the Gaul with Albert Uderzo; but he also wrote a number of other comic stories that have been published in English – Lucky Luke, Ompa-pa, Iznogoud and the Nicholas stories.

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Image: The Jewish Museum

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Image: The Jewish Museum

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Image: The Jewish Museum

 

In fact, as this exhibition shows, he created a number of other strips that will be all but unknown to Most British comic collectors.

This exhibition tackles Goscinny’s life from his very earliest days (including cute baby photos on a beach!) to his move to South America and then to North America, where he came under the influence of the Mad magazine creators and then took that sensibility back to Europe to, in turn, influence a whole new generation of comics fans.

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Image: The Jewish Museum

Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny

Asterix has been translated into many different languages. Image: The Jewish Museum

It’s an exhibition that also considers the impact of Goscinny’s Jewish upbringing on his work and looks again at the story of that fictional little Gaulish village, that is still holding out indomitably against a hated oppressor to this day.

Considerable effort has been made to document every part of Goscinny's long career. Image: Richard Sheaf

Considerable effort has been made to document every part of Goscinny’s long career. Image: Richard Sheaf

Issues of Pilote. Image: Richard Sheaf

Issues of Pilote. Image: Richard Sheaf

Asterix props! Image: Richard Sheaf

Asterix props! Image: Richard Sheaf

First seen in a larger format at The Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris, this exhibition draws upon a wonderful French comics archive to deliver displays which feature rare art (by Goscinny himself and by his contemporaries – including pages of Asterix, Lucky Luke and Iznogoud art), rare photos from throughout Goscinny’s life, Asterix translations from around the world, personal artefacts – and even some examples of Asterix as featured in several British comics.

It’s a great exhibition, suitable for all ages and a real summer treat for us inhabitants of Londinium. Travel from the four corners of the empire to join us!

• Astérix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny runs until 30th September 2018 at the Jewish Museum, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street London NW1 7NB | More details online here | The museum is just three minutes walk from Camden tube station and is open daily 10.00am – 5.00pm (but only 10.00am – 2.00pm on Fridays)

Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard on Asterix

Charlie Adlard, The Walking Dead artist and UK Comics Laureate, explores the Astérix in Britain exhibition

More pictures by Richard Sheaf

 

Asterix in Britain Exhibition 2018 -

Image: Richard Sheaf

Asterix in Britain Exhibition 2018. Image: Richard Sheaf

Image: Richard Sheaf

Dogmatix merchandise for sale in the Museum shop. Image: Richard Sheaf

Dogmatix merchandise for sale in the Museum shop. Image: Richard Sheaf

• On 28th June (7.00 – 8.00pm) Oliver Kamm, leader writer and columnist for The Times and son of the literary translator Anthea Bell, reflects on how Asterix has become an icon of British humour. Anthea’s translations of Asterix are acclaimed for their distinctive English wordplay while retaining the spirit of the French originals. Hear how Asterix has become an icon of British humour and learn more about Anthea’s process of translating.

You can book tickets for the Oliver Kamm event here

Richard Sheaf

Richard Sheaf is a longtime contributor to downthetubes and has written for numerous magazines about British comics.



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