Asterix's adventures to continue as artist finds successor

Asterix, the indomitable Gaullish warrior who so famously holds out against the Roman invaders, will also hold out against the passage of time, his creator said Monday, having chosen a successor.

Albert Uderzo, the artist who has overseen the Asterix comic books since their author and co-creator Rene Goscinny died, is 84 years old, but has decided that his most beloved creation will outlast him.

"I realised that the character of Asterix belongs to both his authors and his readers, which is only fair," Uderzo told reporters at a party organised by his publisher to celebrate the sale of 350 million copies of the 33 titles.

The adventures of Asterix, a diminutive moutachioed warrior battling the Roman occupation of his native Gaul, began in 1959 in the comic Pilote, and quickly became a best-selling series of books.

Initially, Goscinny wrote the humorous, pun-filled texts and Uderzo designed and drew Asterix and his sidekick Obelix engaged in their constant fist-fights, drunken arguments, heroic rescues and romantic interludes.

Goscinny died in 1977 and Uderzo carried on alone as the series spawned an industry of spin off movies, theme parks and ranges of toys.

Now, he says, the story will continue, with a new book planned for "the end of 2012" under a new - as yet unnamed - artist "who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up."