Asterix Omnibus Vol. 1 GN
Publisher: Papercutz
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Price: $14.99 (TP) / $22.99 (HC)
Creator(s): Rene Goscinny (writer); Albert Uderzo (artist)
Format: 160 pgs., Full-Color, 7.5"x9.5", Hardcover/Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5458-0566-4 (TP) / 978-1-5458-0565-7 (HC)
Age Rating: 7-12
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

This format is slightly reduced in size from the original.  The artwork does not suffer, but details could be more difficult to see, for some readers.  For most, though, especially those not familiar with the Asterix stories, this volume provides an excellent introduction.

For those of you not familiar with the series, Asterix has been one of the best-selling comics in the world for the past 60 years, with print runs in the millions of copies spread out over several languages.  There are 38 separate volumes, and this omnibus volume contains the first three.  Papercutz is planning to release four omnibus volumes per year until things get caught up, with #38 released separately for now (see also "Review: 'Asterix: The Chieftain's Daughter' GN").

The stories take place during the reign of Julius Caesar, who had run-ins with the Gauls, as you may recall from your history classes.  In this version of history, he conquered most of Gaul, but chose to ignore one apparently unconquerable village whose Druid protected it with a really good potion that makes their warriors super-strong.  Other than putting border posts around these Gauls, the Romans try to forget they exist.  One running gag is that these Gauls treat the Romans as only minor obstacles as they go in and out of Roman territory at will. This omnibus volume focuses on the work of the Druids and their special working tools, which doesn’t sound funny, but it very much is, as Goscinny and Uderzo handled the subject.

Papercutz obtained the rights to be both the American publisher and to control the American translations.  This is important because for many years, only the British translations have been available in the U.S.  In this series, the humor is localized in each translation, and this, along with slang and other minor changes, is done for this book.  For instance, the Druid’s name was changed, both from the British and from the long-ago American edition, becoming Panoramix instead of Getafix or Reddimix.

Based on their other bindings, this Papercutz edition should be more durable than the earlier editions, another major plus. With the omnibus edition costing less than two previous separate volumes, these three-story volumes are a bargain.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.