Recently Asterix had his fiftieth birthday, but the anniversary was overshadowed by the fact that many critics say that the quality of the books has declined since the death of Goscinny in 1977. I thoroughly enjoyed the classic Asterix books as a child.
There are many comments for and against, but this one struck me particularly:
Asterix got me into Roman archaeology, 35 years on I'm a professional archaeologist and profoundly grateful to the little Gaul and to the Belgian neighbour who introduced me to him. She also used them to improve my French, which also proved useful, but the key thing is that they were great fun and the wit grows with you as you reread them at different stages of life - from slapstick to ironic comment on popluar culture.I'd certainly say Asterix contributed to my own interest in the past, along with the novels of Cynthia Harnett, Geoffrey Trease, and Rudyard Kipling.