Albert Uderzo, co-creator of the Gallic comic book hero Asterix, is suing his daughter and son-in-law for "psychological violence" to stop them "getting their hands" on his legacy.
The 86-year-old illustrator, who created the iconic series with writer Rene Goscinny half a century ago, has been in a bitter row with his daughter Sylvie and her husband since the pair were dismissed as managers of the company handling his estate in 2007.
"I have kept quiet for years, but today I have decided to act," Uderzo told reporters at his home in a Paris suburb. "I want to turn the tables on those who are attacking me. Enough is enough."
Sylvie claimed that when her father sold his stake in the original Asterix publisher to the Hachette publishing conglomerate in 2008, it was as though "the indomitable tribe of Gauls who had always resisted the invader was being definitively beaten by the armies of Julius Caesar".
She and her husband Bernard de Choisy began legal proceedings in 2011 which claimed that her ageing father was being taken advantage of by his entourage who were allegedly influencing decisions about his literary estate.
That case has yet to be ruled upon. Uderzo and his wife have now counter-attacked, saying their daughter and her husband were not seeking reconciliation and were "introducing and extending legal procedures that have no foundation".
"The sole purpose of these acts is to undermine our psychological integrity and to hasten our debility, in order to get their hands on our legacy, which they covet," they said in a statement.
The 35 albums in the Asterix series, which follows the exploits of a village of wily Gauls as they resist Roman occupation, have sold 352 million copies worldwide, and spawned a dozen films and a theme park near Paris, Parc Asterix.
The latest edition, "Asterix and the Picts", released in October, was the first in the series not written and illustrated by one of its original creators.