As preparations get under way for the celebration, in 2009, of the eightieth anniversary of Tintin and the fiftieth of Astérix, it seems strange that, until now, there has been no journal in English dedicated to European comic art. In France recent Astérix albums have outsold Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code put together. The movie Astérix aux jeux olympiques [‘Asterix at the Olympic Games’], released on 13 January 2008, is one of the two most expensive French film productions of all time (with Le Cinquième élément [‘The Fifth Element’], on which cartoonists Jean Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières collaborated), and has topped box office charts in Spain. Like Astérix in Paris, Belgian Schtroumpfs [‘Smurfs’] have their own theme park, and Italy’s Corto Maltese is popular enough to appear on scratchcards, Swatch watches and TV programmes across Europe.
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