- historical event: The famous René Goscinny was born in France to Jewish parents. His parents were from what was then Poland, but is now Ukraine. It is interesting that the surname Gościnny means “hospitable” in Polish.
On this day the creator of the famous Asterix comics, René Goscinny, died on this day aged only 51. It is not widely known that, despite being born in France, he was actually of Polish-Ukrainian origin. Namely, his parents were immigrants to France. His father’s surname, Gościnny, means “hospitable” in Polish. His mother’s surname was Bereśniak.
His parents were descended from Jews from the city of Zhytomyr, once part of Poland, but now in Ukraine. This is one of the many examples of the complex ethnic history of Eastern Europe. Indeed, young René’s fate shows an even more interesting complexity.
Namely, two years after René Goscinny was born in Paris, his family moved to Argentina. René spent his childhood in Buenos Aires, where he attended French schools. After his father died in Argentina, René and his mother moved in to live with their uncle in New York. He then enlisted in the French army, where he became an illustrator of army posters.
After doing his military service, he returned to New York, and returned to Paris only later. It was then that his career in the world of comics began. At the age of 33 he created his most famous character – Asterix – in collaboration with comic book artist Albert Uderzo. Uderzo first wanted Asterix to be a typical big and strong Gaul warrior, but Goscinny rather decided to make Asterix a short guile hero who prefers brains over brawn. For this reason, he and Uderzo soon thought up the massive but dim Obelix as a foil to the diminutive hero. A legend was born.
Apart from Asterix, Goscinny is also the creator of another famous comic book series, Lucky Luke.