Given Asterix's recent appearance in a McDonald's ad in France, comic-book enthusiasts are asking themselves if the plucky little Gaul has sold out to American consumerism. He has, of course, but publishers Albert René are denying it just for fun. A spokesman claims that "Asterix remains a rebel," citing as proof the fact that the publishers turned down a Diet Coke spot because the product didn't "correspond to the values of the character." What elevates McDonald's in the minds of Albert René is unclear (perhaps it's the progressive, gay-friendly attitude already displayed in the French "Come as you are" campaign, of which the Asterix ad is part). But anyway, it's not worth worrying about. Asterix shilled for Mickey D's way back in 2001, so it's not like he's new to this. And France, despite its lip service to high cuisine, is a strong market for McDonald's now that the fast-food giant has regionalized its French menu (remember, they call it a Royale with cheese) and rebranded itself as less obviously American. Incorporating Asterix into the marketing is part of that process. I don't necessarily support it, but I understand it. As long as they don't do an "Asterix is gay" ad, they should be fine.