Why aren’t the Asterix comics popular in the US?

Can Asterix Finally Conquer the US? (Peter Hoskin, The Daily Beast):

So why has the USA remained unmoved? My best guess is Asterix’s historical setting. At its largest, the Roman Empire stretched from modern-day Portugal in the west to Iran in the east, from the lower reaches of Egypt in the south to the base of Scotland in the north. Yet never once did it cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Whatever-It-Was on the other side. Asterix and Obelix made this journey, of course, in Asterix and the Great Crossing—but not those imperialist Romans.

Where they did roam, the Caesars imprinted themselves on the land and on its inhabitants’ collective psyche. Look around you in Britain, and there’s probably one of their ruins somewhere. Their conquests are part of our island story. We are still taught their language in some of our schools. Which means that, when it comes to Asterix comics, we’re in on the joke in a way that Americans aren’t.


The establishment of the Comics Code was the establishment of an American comics scene dominated by one thing above all others: superheroes. There might have been variety once, what with all the romance, horror, and crime comics on the stands back then. But these suffered disproportionately under the new regime. Only the superheroes were really able to stretch their muscles, and they left little room for anything else—particularly not some Eurohistory import from France.

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