Chapter 22. Asterix and the Great Crossing

Rene Goscinny

Albert Uderzo

English Translations: Anthea Bell & Derek Hockridge


Asterix & Obelix go fishing for Getafix, but a storm blows them to a strange new country. There they encounter some unfamiliar natives and some fellow explorers ...
Basically, 'Asterix in America... and a bit of Denmark'. The only book that actually uses a normal name that is not historical.

Table 22.1. Asterix and the Great Crossing - English Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 2, Panel 5 "Some things never change..." - Is this a reference to a French truck drivers strike in 1975/76???
Page 4, Panel 2 Ira furor brevis est = anger is a short madness (Horace, Epistles I.ii.62)
Page 5, Panel 2 The ingredients of the magic potion seem to change at whim. This contradicts other books.
Page 9, Panel 3 Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos / Tempora si fuerint nublia, solus eris. = As long as you are lucky, you'll have many friends; / But should the times become cloudy you'll be alone. -- Ovid, Tristia I,9,5
Page 18, Panel 8 US military insignia. Looks like the collar insignia worn by US Navy Captains and by Colonels in the other US Armed Services. On the other hand, it might just be a representation of the eagle on the US Great Seal which has an olive branch in one claw and a sheaf of arrows in the other.
Page 19, Panel 6 The 50 star portion of the US flag
Page 21, Panel 10 More US military insignia
Page 31, Panel 7 The Statue of Liberty, given to the US by France.
"The Statue of Liberty" by Uderzo
Page 32, Panel 4 "A small step for me, a giant leap for mankind" = A take-off on Neil Armstrong's "One small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind"
Page 36, Panel 5 The Black Wolf logo on the teepee = ???
Page 36, Panel 6 "what shall we do with a drunken sailor". The other song is a parody of 'Spanish Ladies', an old British Navy Song. The chorus starts - 'We'll rant and we'll roar like two British sailors...'
Page 37, Panel 4 Niflheim = Hell
Page 41, Panel 1 "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (Shakespeare, Hamlet, I.iv.90). The skull is from Hamlet V.i.201.
Page 43, Panel 9 "To be or not to be..." = Hamlet again. Act III, Sc. 1

Annotations of the American Edition are only in addition to those already covered in the English edition.

Table 22.2. Asterix and the Great Crossing - American Annotations

Page, Panel Comment
Page 9, Panel 5 The pirate in the crows-nest can pronounce the letter 'R'. In the original and all other translations, he cannot.
Page 19, Panel 5 New Deal: recovery plan for the Depression by Franklin Delanor Roosevelt
Page 21, Panel 10 (also. Page 22, panel 2; Page 24, Panel 4) Ancient region in the eastern part of Balkan peninsula, southeastern Europe including modern northeastern Greece, southern Bulgaria and European Turkey (Gobble Gobble ? ;-)
Page 27, Panel 9 "Somewhere over the rainbow" : song from the Wizard of Oz. Refers to promised land.
Page 27, Panel 10 East river: refers to the river to the east of Manhattan, NY
Page 27, Panel 11 Flying Dutchman: Legendary Dutch mariner condemned to sail the seas until Judgment Day -- also, the Dutch purchased Manhattan Island from the Canarsee Indians for 60 guilders (US$ 24) in 1626.; (alt. less likely) Paavo Nurmi?; "Cretans, Thracians, Iberians, ...Dutchmen...strange melting pot" -- "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming!" [Israel Zangwill, "The Melting Pot", Act I {1908}]
Page 28, Panel 7 New Frontier: 1960 program by John F. Kennedy. See 'New Deal' above
Page 31, Panel 4 Green Witch village: Greenwhich village in lower Manhattan, NY.
Page 37, Panel 8 This new found land: Newfoundland - Easternmost part of North America.
Page 38, Panel 2 New World how Symphonic : Symphony no. 9 ' The New World' by Dvorak 1893
Page 39, Panel 8 Superman. Another comic figure
Page 40, Panel 3 "do unto others" - (the Golden Rule) Matthew 7:12 or Luke 6:13
Page 40, Panel 5 Saturday night fever: 1977 film featuring John Travolta.
Page 44, Panel 3 Roman empire state: contraction of Roman empire and Empire state (New York state)
Page 44, Panel 5 fish and ships: refers to the English "fish and chips."

Table 22.3. Asterix and the Great Crossing - English Names

English Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Huntingseassen Hunting season
Herendethelessen Here endeth the lesson
Steptoanssen Steptoe Hansen: From Steptoe and Son, a British comedy show from the 60's, redone for the US as "Sanford and Son."
Haraldwilssen Harold Wilson: 60's/70's British Labour prime minister. Even looks like him.
Nogoodreassen No good reason
Odiuscomparissen Odious comparison. May have originated in the phrase 'Comparisons are odious' from Cervantes' Don Quixote. The phrase was tossed around by various authors in 16th and 17th century. Often enough that Shakespeare made a pun on it in 'Much Ado About Nothing' : 'Comparisons are odorous'
Gertrude Gertrude: standard feminine name
Intrude Intrude: to force in upon
Irmgard Irmgard: standard feminine name
Firegard Fireguard: some material built to withstand fire
Catastrofix Catastrophic: disastrous

Table 22.4. Asterix and the Great Crossing - American Names

American Name (in order of appearance) Comment
Donneranblitsen (German) Donner und Blitzen = Thunder and Lightning; (alt.) Donner and Blitzen (Santa's reindeer) - the big Norse dog.
Visconson Wisconsin (northern state in US)
Belenos A Celtic god. Name means 'Bright Light'
Bittermedisen Bitter medicine
Delicatessen Vendor / maker of food products. Deli.
Flotsen Flotsam: floating debris (see next)
Jetsen jetsam = jettison: part of ship or cargo cast overboard in times of distress.
Odin Viking chief god
Zeroopsen Zero option ie. no choice; (alt.) zero; opsin: a protein in the retina that absorbs light allowing us to see. Hence blindness ?
Doktoraldissertasen Doctoral dissertation
Vatermocassen Water mocassin - a venemous pit viper closely related to the copperhead
Gudrun The wife of Sigurd and later of Atl in Norse mythology.; (alt. less likely) Good Run??
Longrun Long run: a relatively long period of time as in "In the long run"
Homerun Home run. Baseball term that denotes a hit by the batter enabling him to make a complete circuit of the base and score a run. No fourth woman like in the original. Lack of space??
Melancholix Melancholy - depressed. This name also appears in Asterix in Belgium