Real name: Asterix
First appearance: Asterix le Gaul (1961)
Background: Asterix is a Gaul --- that is, an indigenous tribesman from what is now France, living in the time of Caesar. His tiny village by the sea is surrounded by the Roman legions who have conquered all of Gaul. Well, not all --- his village remains free and proud. Why? Although Asterix and his fellow villagers are certainly brave and fierce enough, the lion's share of the credit must go to the village's druid, Panoramix (or Getafix, as it is rendered in English). This venerable, kindly old man knows many magical secrets, but easily the most important of these is the recipe for a potion that increases the imbiber's strength many times over. When the villagers drink this potion, they smash Romans at will. And they love to do that! The Gauls are doughty warriors, and fear nothing except the sky falling on their heads. With his best friend Obelix at his side, Asterix is more often than not the hero of the village, having saved its honor and its often dimwitted inhabitants time and again.
Powers and abilities: Asterix has the normal strength of a man his size (which is quite small) who engages in regular fisticuffs. He is highly intelligent, an excellent strategist, has excellent reflexes and speed, and has several levels in Hand To Hand Combat and Swordplay.
When he drinks Panoramix's magic potion, Asterix possesses superhuman strength and endurance. The extent of this strength has not been measured, but he is capable of uprooting trees, snapping chains, and felling several armored men with a single blow. The limits of the strength the potion grants may be inferred by the following episode: once, Asterix, Obelix and Panoramix were trapped in one of Egypt's great pyramids. Obelix, who is a large man and who fell into a cauldron of potion when he was a baby and thus has superhuman strength at all times, had to be given even more potion so that he could have the power to knock down a solid stone wall.
The potion does not confer invulnerability --- Asterix could be wounded with a sword or spear even while under the potion's effects --- and it runs out after an unspecified length of time (somewhere in the realm of a few hours).
Weaponry: Asterix always carries a short sword, so watch with the "titch" and "runt" cracks.
Weaknesses: Asterix is a sucker for thin blondes, but then, aren't so many males?
Team-ups I'd like to see: Wolverine (they're both short and fierce); Hourman (they're both dope fiends); Conan (they're both men of the blade).
More info via linkage (and yes, I did lift the idea for this from Mike Sterling, who often does something similar):
The main characters
Asterix: The Official Site
An extremely pedantic evaluation of Asterix books
Cartoons do not work as live action
Asterix Pez dispensers!
An Asterix quiz
The Asterix annotations
Asterix was created by Rene Goscinny, a master of the genre, and Albert Uderzo, whose caricatures capture the goofy drama of the adventures perfectly. Uderzo went on to write Asterix after Goscinny's death --- these books are to be avoided like the plague.