London, Jan 20 (ANI): Author of Asterix, Albert Uderzo, has been ordered by French authorities to pay 203,000 euros in unpaid tax for 24 of the comic books he and late Rene Goscinny produced between 1959 and 1979.
France's tax office has ruled that Uderzo, 83, cannot benefit from the country's authorial rights tax regime, which comes with an extra tax exemption.
They say it only applies to "people who have participated in writing the texts of the comic strip", and that Uderzo was responsible only for the drawings of the mustachioed heroes.The move by the tax department has enraged Uderzo, who said that it is an injustice and a scandal, and that he will not take it sitting down.
"The brutality and lack of respect with which, 51 years after creating Asterix, the tax authorities have "woken up" to deny me the right to be co-author of my dear little Gaul - at my age I will not accept to be stripped of this title," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Uderzo said the taxman should look at the original contract signed with the Darguad publishers.
"It was stipulated that I signed off the drawings and Rene Goscinny the texts, but that we formed one single author," he said.
"Moreover, for each album, we met before getting stuck into the scenario to dream up a story. Goscinny worked according to my requirements and I to his," he added.
It was in this way that Uderzo said he came up with the idea of Obelix's faithful dog, Dogmatix in the 10th album, Asterix and the Banquet.
Asterix comics sell roughly three million copies annually, with more than 325 million albums sold since the 1961 pilot. (ANI)