Paris auction of Asterix artwork raises $219k for families of Charlie Hebdo shooting victims

PARIS (AFP) - An original page of artwork from the 1971 comic "Asterix and the Laurel Wreath" went under the hammer in Paris on Saturday for 150,000 euros (S$219, 265), with the proceeds going entirely to the families of victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The storyboard from the 18th comic in the popular French series will carry a special dedication by co-creator Albert Uderzo, while auction house Christie's said it would waive its commission for the charity sale.

The artwork, which was sold at an auction dedicated to comic books, had been valued at between 150,000 euros and 200,000 euros. There was no immediate information about the buyer.

Twelve people were killed when two Islamist gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo weekly on Jan 7, in an attack that shocked France. The publication had repeatedly been threatened for its cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad. Two days after the shootings, Mr Uderzo came out of retirement to pen cartoons in tribute to the victims, who included some of the country's most celebrated cartoonists.

"Moi aussi je suis un Charlie" ("I'm Charlie too") says Asterix in one of the cartoons, echoing the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan adopted by people around the world protesting at the attack on freedom of expression. The drawing also showed the Gallic cartoon hero punching an adversary high into the air.

The second cartoon showed Asterix and his sidekick Obelix bowing their heads in grief, holding their hats. Asterix grasps a rose, and their pet Dogmatix looks on with a sad look.

"Charlie Hebdo and Asterix are very different, of course. I am not going to change my stripes," 87-year-old Mr Uderzo told Europe 1 radio at the time.

"I simply wanted to show my friendship for these cartoonists who have paid with their lives."

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