René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s Asterix novels present us with a charmingly silly world. Their shared premise is that, during the time of the Roman Empire, a tiny Gaulish village has a magic potion that makes its inhabitants extremely strong and fast, and this allows the village to keep the entire Roman Empire at a hopeless disadvantage. The main character is a wily little warrior named Asterix who, with his good, very large, and not very bright friend Obelix, has many absurd adventures as he travels in the Roman world and beyond. I shall explore Asterix at the Olympic Games, in which Asterix and a group of the villagers compete in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece. I shall try to show that the charmingly silly, unpretentious humor of Asterix at the Olympic Games does not just offer us escapist entertainment, but also embodies and so offers us a deep appreciation of the ordinary and everyday. (I should say that I have no objection to purely escapist entertainment; I just think that more is going on in this particular case.)
“Asterix, Carnival, and the Wonder of Everyday Life,” in Jeff McLaughlin, ed., Graphic Novels as Philosophy, University Press of Mississippi, 2017.