Ondertexts
René Goscinny
Search

René Goscinny

René Goscinny René Goscinny[1†]

René Goscinny (1926–1977), a French comic writer and editor, co-created Astérix with Albert Uderzo, gaining international acclaim. Raised in Buenos Aires, he later lived in the US, collaborating with Belgian cartoonist Morris on Lucky Luke. Goscinny authored Iznogoud with Jean Tabary and penned Le Petit Nicolas, illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé. Born to Polish Jewish immigrants in Paris, his maternal grandfather founded a printing company[1†][2†][3†][4†].

Early Years and Education

René Goscinny was born on August 14, 1926, in Paris, France[1†]. His parents were Stanisław Simkha Gościnny, a chemical engineer from Warsaw, Poland, and Anna (Hanna) Bereśniak-Gościnna from Chodorków (modern-day Khodorkiv), a small village near Kyiv in Ukraine[1†]. Goscinny’s maternal grandfather, Abraham Lazare Berezniak, founded a printing company[1†].

When René was two years old, the Goscinny family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as his father had found employment there[1†][5†]. He was primarily raised in Buenos Aires, where he attended French-speaking schools[1†][2†][6†][5†]. He was reportedly a shy boy, but often acted as the “class clown” to seek attention[1†][6†][5†]. He enjoyed reading illustrated stories, and practiced drawing as a hobby[1†][6†][5†].

In December 1943, the year after Goscinny graduated from lycée or high school, his father died of a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke)[1†]. The youth had to go to work. The next year, he got his first job, as an assistant accountant in a tire recovery factory[1†]. After being laid off the following years, Goscinny became a junior illustrator in an advertising agency[1†].

Goscinny, along with his mother, emigrated from Argentina and immigrated to New York, United States in 1945, to join her brother Boris[1†]. To avoid service in the United States Armed Forces, he travelled to France to join the French Army in 1946[1†]. He served at Aubagne, in the 141st Alpine Infantry Battalion[1†]. Promoted to senior corporal, he became the appointed artist of the regiment and drew illustrations and posters for the army[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

After his military service, René Goscinny began his career in the creative arts. He worked on an illustrated version of the Balzac short story "The Girl with the Golden Eyes"[1†]. In 1954, he returned to Paris to direct a press agency[1†][2†]. During this time, he became a writer for the “Lucky Luke” comic strip[1†][2†]. His collaboration with Belgian cartoonist Morris marked the beginning of what is considered the series’ golden age[1†][2†][1†].

In 1957, Goscinny met Albert Uderzo, a cartoonist, and they collaborated on the short-lived “Benjamin et Benjamine” and, a year later, on the somewhat more successful “Oumpah-Pah le Peau-Rouge” (“Oumpah-Pah the Redskin”)[1†][2†].

In 1959, Goscinny founded the French humor magazine Pilote[1†][2†]. At the same time, he and Uderzo began publishing “Astérix le Gaulois,” a comic strip about the adventures of a diminutive Gallic tribesman at the time of Caesar’s conquest of Gaul[1†][2†]. The Romans they opposed were generally made to look stupid and clumsy[1†][2†]. The strip reflected certain political sentiments that were widespread at the time, coinciding with Charles de Gaulle’s rise to power in France[1†][2†]. “Astérix le Gaulois” became widely popular and brought substantial success to both Goscinny and Uderzo[1†][2†].

Goscinny was the scriptwriter of several other French comic strips, including “Les Dingodossiers” (1965–67), with Marcel Gotlib[1†][2†]. He also was a principal in a French publishing firm[1†][2†]. He was made a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in 1967[1†][2†]. The “Astérix” strip was translated into 15 languages, and after its appearance in book form (1959) it sold more than 18,000,000 copies worldwide[1†][2†].

First Publication of His Main Works

René Goscinny’s creative genius is evident in the numerous works he has contributed to the world of comics. His main works include the following:

Here are some of his notable works:

Goscinny’s works have been translated into multiple languages and have been adapted into various formats, including films[1†][5†][6†]. His legacy continues to live on through his timeless characters and stories[1†][5†][6†].

Analysis and Evaluation

René Goscinny’s work has had a profound impact on the world of comics. His unique storytelling style, combined with his ability to create memorable characters, has made him one of the most influential figures in the industry[1†][8†].

Goscinny’s work on Astérix, in collaboration with Albert Uderzo, is particularly noteworthy. The series, which features the adventures of a Gaulish warrior during the time of the Roman Empire, is known for its humor, wordplay, and satirical undertones[1†]. The comic strip series has been translated into 150 languages, including Hebrew and Arabic, turned into films, and has garnered an international fan base[1†][8†]. Adults particularly enjoy the puns and jokes frequently introduced by the translators[1†][8†].

His collaboration with Morris on Lucky Luke also stands out. Their work together is often considered the series’ golden age[1†]. Lucky Luke, a cowboy known to “shoot faster than his shadow”, became a popular figure in European comics[1†].

Goscinny’s Iznogoud, created with Jean Tabary, and Le Petit Nicolas, illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé, further showcase his versatility as a writer[1†]. Both series have been praised for their humor and the depth of their characters[1†].

Goscinny’s “outsider” status contributed greatly to the wry eye he and his co-creator, Albert Uderzo, cast on their characters[1†][8†]. Part of the joy of the Asterix books is the endless stream of jokes at the expense of the French establishment — or whatever country Asterix is operating in[1†][8†].

In conclusion, Goscinny’s work has not only entertained millions of readers worldwide but also significantly shaped the comic book industry. His legacy continues to inspire new generations of writers and artists[1†][8†].

Personal Life

René Goscinny married Gilberte Pollaro-Millo in 1967[6†][5†]. The following year, they welcomed their only daughter, Anne Goscinny[6†][5†]. Anne would grow up to become a professional writer, following in her father’s footsteps[6†][5†].

Goscinny’s life was tragically cut short in 1977 when he suffered a cardiac arrest during a routine stress test at his doctor’s office[6†][5†]. His sudden death was a great loss to the world of comics and literature.

Conclusion and Legacy

René Goscinny’s sudden death in 1977 was a great loss to the world of comics and literature[5†]. However, his legacy continues to live on through his most popular series: “Astérix”, “Iznogoud”, “Lucky Luke”, and "Le Petit Nicolas"[5†][6†][5†]. These works have all received several adaptations, further cementing Goscinny’s influence in the field[5†][6†][5†].

Goscinny’s work, particularly the “Astérix” series, has been translated into multiple languages and has achieved global recognition[5†][1†][2†]. His creations continue to entertain and inspire comic book artists and readers around the world[5†][2†]. His unique storytelling and memorable characters have left an indelible mark on the comic book industry[5†][1†][2†].

In recognition of his contributions, Goscinny was made a Chevalier of Arts and Letters in 1967[5†][2†]. His impact and legacy, including how he is remembered and valued today, are a testament to his talent and creativity[5†][1†][2†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - René Goscinny [website] - link
  2. Britannica - René Goscinny: French writer [website] - link
  3. Sticky Facts - René Goscinny - Facts, Bio, Favorites, Info, Family [website] - link
  4. Kiddle Encyclopedia - René Goscinny Facts for Kids [website] - link
  5. IMDb - René Goscinny - Biography [website] - link
  6. IMDb - René Goscinny [website] - link
  7. Wikipedia (English) - Category [website] - link
  8. The Times of Israel - The wild adventures of René Goscinny, Jewish inventor of Asterix and Obelix [website] - link
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 4.0; additional terms may apply.
Ondertexts® is a registered trademark of Ondertexts Foundation, a non-profit organization.