“The two enter a store with the sign ‘Charcuterie – Ultramarines’. A small dog is at the door.” Believe it or not, these were the words of the first script in which Goscinny introduced the world to a character who would later be key to the adventures of Asterix and Obelix. It was the Gauls’ fifth comic book, ‘The Return to Gaul’, and the little dog Ideafix had just been born.
A million bones!
At the end of that comic, in which Uderzo occasionally drew the little dog chasing the Gauls, Obelix decided to adopt him by giving him a bone. However, his name would not be revealed until the next issue, ‘Asterix and Cleopatra’. And there was a good reason for this: the magazine where the weekly issues were published, ‘Pilote’, decided to hold a contest so that the readers themselves could decide the name of the mascot. Because, deep down, it was a little bit theirs too.
From the call in issue 209 of ‘Pilote’, readers began to send in their own proposals. Uderzo himself recalls that they received fairly regular names such as Patracourcix or Papeurdurix, but four participants who did not know each other proposed the same name: Idéfix, which sounds like “fixed idea” (idée fixe), and which in Spanish had a simple translation: Ideafix. For the cartoonist, “It was perfect! It was an animal with a fixed idea: to find a bone.
Luckily, he was saved from other names that were proposed such as Trépetix, Paindépix, Toutousanprix or Minimix. It’s been 60 years since Ideafix’s debut and he’s still giving us something to talk about: in fact, in 2021 he was given his own TV series and accompanying comics. Ah! In case you’re curious, we have a dog for a while: in ‘Asterix and Latraviata’, from 2001, he was the father of a gigantic litter. Maybe one of his offspring could be named Patracourcix. Hey, who knows, it could be names!