2. Asterix and the Golden Sickle
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French title: La serpe d'or
Originally published: 1962

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translations of this book
Asterix Annotations
Review at Alea Iacta Est
Wikipedia
Description
Golden Sickle
Getafix (Panoramix) breaks his golden sickle, which he needs to cut mistletoe for preparing his magic potion. Our two friends have to travel all the way to Lutetia (Lutecia [Paris]) to find Metallurgix (Amérix), Obelix's great-nephew and the best manufacturer of golden sickles.

Alas Metallurgix (Amérix) is captured by gangsters, who now control the production of all the golden sickles. They find out its Surplus Dairiprodus (Gracus Astutus [a caricature of Charles Laughton]) who's behind all of this.
Metallurgix
Asterix and Obelix rescue Metallurgix and return home with some of the finest golden sickles made by Metallurgix.
     
Banquet Pirates Guests
The story ends with all our friends gathering together for a great feast. It is funny, but Cacofonix did not turn up to sing one of his odes. Indeed, we see him bound and gagged sitting in a hut. The pirates were introduced only in a later book. The story has three guests: Charles Laughton, Jean Graton, and Raimu.
Allusions and Details
(page 5)
Have a good look at the daily life in the village. See the guy courting a lady, see the children play. Is there a pub at the top of the picture?
(page 9)
Asterix and Obelix are travelling along road N XII. The French national road Route Nationale 12 indeed allows one to reach Paris from Brest in Btittany (Bretagne).
The Barbarian who owns the inn speaks in Gothic. In my English edition that even has a slight accent ("Und vhere are you going like zat") and in the next page speaks German ("Auf wiedersehen") The Gothic in later books is free of accents, the font chosen is enough to get the message.
(page 10)
Jean Graton, 1923, author of the comic Michel Vaillant, see ⇒Lambiek Comiclopedia, as participant of the 24 houre race of Suindinum (Le Mans)
(page 11)
The big city is impressive to Asterix and Obelix, but also associated with traffic jams, see also "Caesars Laurels". As a nice detail, do we see here a police officer directing the traffic?
(page 18)
The colours of this scene are chosen to reflect the dim lights in the bar. Nevertheless it is not very realistic (purple, blue, ...) The most recent edition has a new colouring scheme.
Two strips down: note the Roman soldier who is amazed at the size of the menhir Obelix is carrying. All others do not worry.
(page 19)
This is a really curiuos statue here. Bearded men like Santa Claus helding a fountain?

More silly statues later on page 42. There, Obelix is looking at a statue of Hercules fighting a snake. The Roman sitting has a peculiar expression...

(page 20)
Charles Laughton (English actor 1899-1962)
as Prefect of Lutèce (Paris)
Also see: ⇒IMDB
Official site: Surplus Dairiprodus (Gracchus Pleindastus)
(page 22)
This might be Raimu (alias Jules Muraire, French actor 1883-1946) as Barkeeper in Lutetia, a person to return in Asterix and the Banquet. Also see: ⇒IMDB
Official site: Julius Drinklikafix (César Labeldecadix)
However, this appearance is not listed at the official site.
(page 23)
Sorry officer, unfortunately ...
(page 28)
A reference to the famous Parisian club Moulin Rouge or 'Red Mill' (⇒Wikipedia).
Same page: do we see a small Gaulish figure on the desk in the guide's office?
(page 33)
What are they talking about? Gossip on the lover's scene at the other side? Uderzo is very fond of animal scenes like this one.
(page 35)
What do you think what will happen to this nice collection of nuts in the next moment?
(page 36)
The height of the strips changes drastically. Uderzo was working on too many plates for too many comics, and has said this was just a mistake. He did not correct it for later pages.
(page 46)
The end. In the first book Cacofonix was happily attending the final banquet (and playing music). Now it was decided it would be better without him, and the tradition stayed.