The turkey is gone, and before the tryptophan coma kicks in it’s time to get to one of our other traditions at Major Spoilers – our Retro Review of another Asterix book. This time around, Asterix and Obelix make their way to Spain.

Writer: Rene Goscinny
Artist: Albert Uderzo
French edition 1969
English translation 1971

Previously in Asterix: The Romans are expanding their empire, and the only area they haven’t quite conquered is the area occupied by the Gauls – more specifically a small village run by a bunch of Gauls hopped up on a magic potion that gives them superhuman strength. Naturally, humor ensues.


Turns out the Gauls aren’t the only group that are giving the Romans a hard time, a group of Iberian resistance fighters, lead by their chief Huevos Y Bacon, refuse to surrender. In response, the Romans decide to kidnap the chief’s son Pepe. Naturally, humor ensues…

As a father of a three-year-old, I’ve seen my fair share of tantrums, pouting sessions, and have been around his “friends” that are experienced in the ways of screaming until they get their way. It isn’t a pleasant experience to say the least and in a small way I feel sorry for the Romans who have to put up with Pepe’s constant demands, biting, and holding his breath until he turns red. The Romans decide it best to send Pepe to an outpost near Asterix’s village, and naturally, humor ensues.

Pepe manages to sneak away from the Romans, eventually finding his way into the village. Obelix is assigned to take care of Pepe, but he’s such a burden that the village assigns Asterix and Obelix (and Dogmatix) to escort Pepe back to Spain. Little do they know the Roman leader, Spurius Brontosaurus is secretly following them in hopes of getting the brat back into Roman hands. In order to get closer to the group, Brontosaurus disguises himself in the garb of the locals. And yes… humor ensues.

All goes well, as well as can be expected when the group consists of a leader on a mission, a lummox who only wants to eat boar, a brat who can’t be satisfied, a ne’er-do-well, and a cute little dog. Eventually Brontosaurus discovers Asterix has the magic potion that will give him strength and sets off to steal it in the middle of the night. A chase ensues and Asterix and Brontosaurus run smack into the middle of a patrolling Roman legion. It’s off to the circus for both!

There Asterix invents traditional bullfighting when a woman drops her red clock, and he uses it to distract and bring down a bull. In his victory, he’s also secured his freedom and that of Brontosaurus as well, but instead of returning to the life of a Roman soldier, Brontosaurus decides to become a bullfighter.

While all of this is going on, Obelix manages to get Pepe back to his village, Asterix eventually catches up, the two defeat the Roman army laying siege to the village, and everyone is happy in the end. Well, except for the Romans who have suffered defeat yet again.

Though I enjoyed this outing, the book walks a thin line between humor and racism as the Spaniards are depicted by using a lot of stereotypes. It’s not super offensive, but I can see where some people might get bent out of shape over the depiction. Goscinny once again delivers pun after pun, that are the staple of the Asterix stories, and this book introduces the reader to Unhygienix, the fishmonger, and his wife, Bacteria. I appreciate the puns throughout the book, but it does tend to smell like yesterday’s fish after a while.

I also enjoyed the other historical and literary references, including an appearance by Don Quixote. While a lot of the historical references aren’t necessarily chronological, they do work in this story and everything comes together nicely.


Asterix in Spain was the 14th book released in the series, and though Uderzo has worked on all the books, I think this period is a fine example of his character work with Asterix. I like the exaggerated expressions, the great landscapes, his ability to capture a variety of locals in this book.

While the page layout generally follows the nine panel layout throughout, I like how the panels alternate between square and landscape on each row, with at least one row having three or four panels in them. There’s almost a rhythm in the way the story flows visually, and if I had more time, I would see if they pattern had a hidden meaning.


Asterix in Spain is a fine example of the series. Lots of puny humor throughout, fantastic art, and secondary characters that I can almost get behind. This is a book that is worth checking out if you get the chance, but not one that I can recommend buying if you haven’t read anything from Goscinny and Uderzo. Overall, it’s a fun experience, but only worth 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. As a kid in 1980, I first discovered Asterix and company while on a road trip across the US. My mother bought me Title and 3 other Asterix books. I was hooked! I really enjoyed this book quite a bit. It is a rich visual spectacle full of fun locations and quirky incidentals. the world in these books always feels full of life and a great place to peruse. I recommend this and the other Asterix tomes highly.

  2. The original French version is superior in every possible way (except art obviously), the chief is called “Soupalognon y Crouton” (Oignon soup with croutons), the fisherman “Ordralfabétix” (Alphebetical order), his wife is called “Ielosubmarine” (self explanatory), the names, jokes and dialogues in general are not half as funny in English.

    Like a great man once said “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon”

  3. That’s a good point that Ricco makes about the language. One of the great things about comics in any language is that they do facilitate learning language. So many people have great stories about learning English or French from Asterix and other comics. If you don’t already read French, it’s worth learning just so you can enjoy Asterix, and at the same time, the comic format makes learning painless.

  4. I havn’t read this one on a while but it is one of my favourites. I live the puns and the stereotypes didn’t bother me.

    Thanks for the review steve.

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