VANVES, France (Reuters) - Asterix and Obelix are back in a new edition of the famed comic book, this time fighting their Roman foes in a propaganda war alongside a character inspired by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Two years after "Asterix and the Picts" saw the duo head to ancient Scotland, the Gauls are back home for their latest adventure as a tribe resisting Roman occupation, the 36th book in the hugely popular series.
"Asterix and the Missing Scroll" is the second book by writer Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad, who took over from original co-creators Albert Uderzo and Rene Goscinny.
"The central theme is really information and the control of information and the dramatic notion that surrounds this," cartoonist Conrad said.
Ferri and Conrad said several new characters had been inspired by real people, such as Jacques Seguela, publicist and image adviser to former French President Francois Mitterrand.
"We thought about which public figure from our time can inspire us, and for Caesar's adviser, we quickly thought of Jacques Seguela," Ferri said.
"This is not a physical caricature, it's rather this type of character ... the adviser in the shadows."
The other new addition is a journalist, inspired by Assange, whose anti-secrecy group's publication of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010 was one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
"It was more Didier who wished for the character to physically look a bit like Assange even if we can't really say it's him, but it's this type of character," Ferri added.
The Asterix comics books, created in 1959, have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide.
"Asterix and the Missing Scroll" will be released on Oct. 22.
(Reporting By Sophie Kinloch and Reuters Television in Vanves; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London)