“Asterix”, the Hachette Livre cash machine

Every two years, the adventures of the little Gaul, a fan of magic potions, considerably boost Hachette Livre’s accounts. Like the Roman governor Gracchus Garovirus pouring a huge pile of gold into his chest in Asterix among the Helvetii (screenplay by René Goscinny, drawings by Albert Uderzo, Dargaud, 1970).

The thirty-ninth album, which comes out Thursday, October 21, Asterix and the Griffin (written by Jean-Yves Ferri, drawn by Didier Conrad, Albert René, 9.99 euros), will be no exception to the rule. “This work is the subject of a first printing of two million copies in French and three million additional in sixteen other languages ​​and dialects”, underlines Isabelle Magnac, general manager of Hachette in charge of illustrated books and booklets. Not to mention a luxury edition (13,000 copies), a artbook (1,050 copies) and a digital edition.

All the points of sale on the planet are setting up this new opus on the same day, according to an orchestration close to that of the Hollywood majors during the release of a blockbuster. To avoid any piracy, the latest volume is not sent to the press beforehand, but can be consulted on site a few days before its release. Faced with a Roman army on an expedition to capture a mythological creature half-eagle, half-lion, Asterix and Obelix come to the aid of a people of Central Asia, the Sarmatians, who live in a cold country. “The album takes place mainly in the snow”, just warned Mr. Ferri.

Read also Albert Uderzo, one of the fathers of “Asterix”, is dead

If France remains the first market for this comic strip, Germany is in second position, followed by the Netherlands, then Spain. Hachette took over the Albert René editions in 2008, and since then more than 360 million albums have been sold worldwide. Which makes it the best-selling comic of all time.

Many supports

“It is one of the very beautiful properties of Hachette, the success has not wavered”, admits Isabelle Magnac. Despite the death of René Goscinny in 1977, the albums continued to sell like hot cakes. Whether the critics are laudatory or murderous, every two years these albums have always found a place of choice under the Christmas tree. Asterix and the Griffin is the first album released since the death of Albert Uderzo on March 24, 2020.

The discord and the long legal drama between Sylvie Uderzo and her father having been a thing of the past since 2015, Hachette Livre is focusing on the development of this lucrative license. “We have prudent management, we do not increase the number of projects to maintain a phenomenon of scarcity”, assures Isabelle Magnac.

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