Remarkably, given what he went on to do in life, Albert Uderzo was born with six fingers on each hand. Even after he had the two extraneous digits amputated he could only grip a pencil in a seemingly impossible contortion between his third and fourth fingers. Becoming an illustrator did not seem like an obvious career choice for him, yet he went on to create one of the best known and most loved comic book characters in the world: Asterix the Gaul.

Asterix, who is invincible thanks to the magic potion he drinks, always outwits the Roman legionaries besieging his village in Britanny. The character was a projection of Uderzo’s underdog psyche, as he himself was a diminutive figure born into a poor Italian émigré family in France. “He stands for the revenge of the little guy,” Uderzo said. “Everyone feels put upon by forces which are more powerful than the individual. Whether it’s the Romans, the king, the president of the republic, the police … one may be little; one still has to fight back.”

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