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Asterix and Obelix emerged from a drunken stupor of writer Rene Goscinny and the illustrator Albert Uderzo, 50 years ago. The creators chose Gauls as the protagonists of their comic strip for their joi-de-vivre and infused them with a lot of charisma, sharp wit and a delectable sense of humour. Little wonder, that over the years, Asterix has become one of the most loved and popular comic strips in the world.

The comic became a commentary on society, politics and culture. The Gauls are eternally at war with the Romans in this comic strip and with a little help from their druid, Getafix, manage to keep the 'silly' Romans at bay. Asterix, the shrewd but diminutive warrior is helped in his adventures by Obelix, the obese, food-loving softie giant and his dog, Dogmatix. Obelix is said to have fallen into Getafix the druid's magic potion as a baby - that's where he gets his superior strength from. But his voracious appetite for boars defies all claims for anything magical. Dogmatix is said to have met Asterix and Obelix in Lutetia and followed them around ever since.He is intelligent but largely useless when it comes to following a trail.

Among the other recurring characters are Vitalstatistix, Impedimenta, Cacofonix, Fulliautomatix, and Geriatrix. Getafix, the robed, bearded old druid, is the one who brews up the magic potion that renders all Gauls indomitable. He often sends Asterix on several adventures in search of ingredients for his magic potion. Cacofonix, the village bard, who considers himself a great singer, likes to annoy the villagers with his completely out-of-tune music, hence the name. He loves to play his lyre, his drums, his bagpipes and a Celtic trumpet much to everyone's disgust. And invariably, he gets gagged and tied to a tree at the end of every story.

Chief Vitalstatistix is the red-haired, pigtailed leader of the Gaulish village. Although he's reasonable, fearless and well-informed, he's rather laidback – and a mouse when his wife, Impedimenta, is around. Like all Gauls, he loves his food and drinks. Impedimenta is the self-proclaimed is the leader of the village wives and the best cook in the village. Geriatrix is the oldest inhabitant of Asterix's village, according to 'Asterix at the Olympic Games', where he's said to be 93 years old. Of course, he says he feels at least 10 years younger when he's drunk. He may be old, but has an eye for young lasses and has a very young wife whom he is extremely possessive of, who remains unnamed. And Fulliautomatix is the village smith, second in strength to Obelix.

The character names have been the most appealing factor in this comic strip and convey the wit and humour of the creators. In the last 50 years, the 33 books have sold 325 million copies and have been adapted into 11 films across the world. In India, too, Asterix has been every growing child's companion over the years. The Indian publishers, Hachette India, are planning to come out with a boxed set of the comics soon for die-hard fans.

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