A preparatory sketch for Goscinny and Uderzo’s first book, Asterix the Gaul (1961). Photograph: Les Éditions Albert René / Goscinny-Uderzo

The French are going all-out for the 50th birthday of Asterix the Gaul: fly-overs by Patrouille de France (the French equivalent of the Blue Angels), spiffy dinners with politicians, parties…

I loved–okay, still love–those cartoons, graphic novels really, of small but mighty Asterix and his hugeous friend Obelix, and all the Gaulish villagers living under Roman occupation. I admire the translation by Anthea Bell, who gets the tone just right. Wonderful books. They tickle my childish humour; make me howl with laughter, even now. The Guardian has an article here.

One day I’ll buy the entire matching set (I own only a random sample, though I’ve read them all) and read them from start to finish. They are witty, charming, and full of particular characters being themselves. (And fighting, and falling in love, and taking part in Historical Events.)

Give Asterix a go. You’ll thank me.