Asterix and the Chariot Race cover detail by Didier Conrad

The Asterix and the Chariot Race Cover Story

Cover Story

This morning, the Asterix folks held a press conference in France to announce — the cover of the new Asterix book.

Asterix and the Chariot Race cover by Didier Conrad

It’s due out next week.

Welcome to yet another difference between the American and Franco-Belgian comics market.  For starters, can you imagine any publisher in the Direct Market not showing the cover off three months ahead of time for “Previews”?

If Marvel or DC had handled this reveal, they would have shown the cover a month ago with all the characters in silhouette….

Asterix, on the other hand, is so big that its publishers can wait until the week before the book is released, and make a press conference out of showing that image.  (It’s not quite big enough that someone at the printers might leak an image.  This isn’t the Apple iPhone news cycle, I suppose.)

Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad were present to take questions and talk about the book. Looks like Uderzo pre-taped a message in support.  They showed the first page for the first time, too.  You can see all the highlights on the official Asterix Twitter account.

Here’s what else jumped out at me:


The New Villain: Coronavirus!

(Good luck, Anthea Bell!)

They revealed the new villain for this book:

We in North America are all, of course, happy to see someone reboot Doctor Bong like this. Poor guy was the butt of so many jokes.

She-Hulk issue featuring Doctor Bong by John Byrne

Coronavirus was even included in the official cosplay.  I can’t wait for Asterix to wipe that smug smile off his face…

By the way, Anthea Bell kept the Coronavirus name for the English translation.  Smart move, I have to think.

Print Runs and French Editions

They officially announced a 5 million copy print run, globally, for the book, with 2 million being in France.

Here’s an interesting slide:

On the far ends, you can see the classic paperback and hardcover editions of the volumes.

Then there’s the “Luxe” edition, which runs an additional 80 pages. Judging from what they did with the “Luxe” edition of “Asterix and the Picts”, it looks like that book will contain the entire album, plus all the original pencils of the pages, more sketches, and a bunch of development pages explaining who characters are, how they were developed, etc.  Sadly, we won’t see that in English. (Might be worth importing for those pencils, though…)

Nor will we likely see the “Art Book” edition, which looks like a slipcased hardcover edition of the “Luxe” edition, but with fewer pages.  I’m guessing they’re not including the behind the scenes material on that one?  It’s 200 Euro for it.  As nice as it is, the “Luxe” edition at 40 Euro feels more comfortable to me.

Ultimately, I’ll be pre-ordering the English edition hardcover. We won’t get that in the States, according to Amazon, until the first week in November.

Can’t wait!

(BleedingCool has lots more images from the announcement this morning.)


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  1. I’ve always thought that this is the business model that DC and Marvel should adopt for their most prestigious properties, rather than bleeding them dry with overproduction of sub-par material by the monthly (sometimes sooner) truckload.

    1. I agree. It’ll never happen, but I agree. But once ONE thing is successful, they’ll want to find a way to make it TWO things. And THREE, then FOUR, etc. etc. I think they should just go the Spirou Journal or manga route of having anthologies and reprinting completed stories in albums. But they’ll never listen to me. 😉