Thursday, March 30, 2017


If you like this article, please hit the +1 button below and share with your friends and followers. Help me win one million readers over to the awesome world of comics!

Hello fellow Questers!!

    My question for you today is this: "What would you do if you were to find out that a property immensely beloved by American children for over a generation was actually FAR from being an American creation?

    Hold that thought, because that is exactly what's about to happen. So, strap in. 

  Welcome to the village of the Smurfs!! I mean, who didn't adore The Smurfs when that amazing cartoon burst on the scene back in those idyllic Saturday mornings in 1981? America quickly caught Smurf-fever, a fever that lasted the initial run of the show (1981-1989), and then into the 1990s, culminating in a come-back string of big-budget films beginning in 2011 with "The Smurfs" starring Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria. From TV specials to toys, to t-shirts to comics, America has had a love affair with the lovable little blue dudes. However, what some Smurf-lovers don't know is that The Smurfs aren't a product of American creativity. Nope. Nuh-uh. 

  So, from where DID The Smurfs come? The answer? BELGIUM!!


  Feast thine eyes, mes amis! This is my copy of "Spirou" #1071, a famous Belgium comics magazine. Inside is the VERY FIRST APPEARANCE of Les Schtroumpfs, or as we know them in the good ol' U.S. of A...The Smurfs!!

   The Smurfs first appeared in the above comic magazine, "Spirou" #1071, on the 23rd of October in 1958 - that's right, the first appearance of the Smurfs is smack-dab in the early Silver Age of Comics!! The Smurfs were created by brilliant, and legendary, Belgian comics artist, Pierre "Peyo" Cuilliford, in the pages of his popular strip, Johan et Pirluoit (Johan and Peewit). The now-famous story is called "La Flûte à six trous," which in English translates to "The Flute With Six Holes." This story was later adapted as an animated film, "The Smurfs and The Magic Flute," in 1976. Here's a clip:

This film was eventually aired in the U.S.A., fully translated from the original French to English of course. It aired in 1983 after The Smurfs had gained considerable popularity here in America.  In this, their first adventure, The Smurfs are out to recover the magic flute that they created which leads them to meet and befriend the true protagonists of the story, Johan and Peewit. On to the FUN FACTS!!

FUN FACT 1: "Spirou" #1071, featuring the first appearance of The Smurfs, is a widely sought-after, but nearly-impossible-to-acquire, Silver Age key. I actually have two copies of "Spirou" #1071:

FUN FACT 2: And I have the first cover appearance of The Smurfs as well in "Spirou" #1072, dated 30 October, 1958:

FUN FACT 3: I actually had three copies of "Spirou" #1071 once. I sold one to a friend, making him very happy, and myself a nice profit compared to what I paid.

FUN FACT 4: Some don't remember that Johan and Peewit (pronounced "Pee-wee") appeared as the main protagonists in the early episodes of The Smurfs cartoon that begin airing in 1981. However, just like what took place in the "Spirou" comic strip in the late 1950s, The Smurfs soon outshined Johan and Peewit garnering a fame and popularity that overshadowed them totally, and eventually left them semi-forgotten.

FUN FACT 5: Soon after their debut, The Smurfs were given their own comic, albeit it was only a supplementary mini-comic freely given with issues of "Spirou." However, their popularity grew so much that they got promoted to having their own stories published in "Spirou" itself by 1963.

FUN FACT 6: All The Smurfs looked alike when they were created in 1958, with the exception of their red-garbed, white-bearded leader. As the stories became serialized, character development was needed to make the characters more interesting. It was then that individual Smurfs actually began to emerge. Smurfette didn't appear until 1965.

FUN FACT 7: The misanthrope wizard, Gargamel and his evil cat, Azrael, first appeared in 1959 and quickly became The Smurfs' main antagonists.

FUN FACT 8: The Smurfs' first animated film was released in 1965. It was called "Les Aventures des Schtroupfs" (The Adventures of the Smurfs). It is rare to see and has never been shown in America, nor translated into English. Here's a bit:

FUN FACT 9: The Smurfs have had two animated films, one successful TV Show, two successful live-action/CGI films, and one CGI Christmas special. In April of 2017, a new film, "Smurfs: The Lost Village" premieres in the USA!

FUN FACT 10: According to some accounts, The Smurfs' language, in which some words are replaced by "Smurf" ("schtroumpf" in French) was created when Peyo misspoke and accidentally used a word similar to the German word for "sock" when asking a friend to pass the salt during a meal. The friend jokingly replied, "Here's the Schtroumpf. When you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back, please." 

FUN FACT 11: It seems that The Smurfs had cameos before their first full appearances in "Spirou" #1071. Here is their first appearance (cameo) in issue #1062 (The info for FUN FACT 11, and following image are courtesy of my fellow comics enthusiast, the awesome Shawn Low - THANKS, SHAWN!).

Well, that's all for today! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! I will leave you with the opening of the classic Smurfs cartoon of the 1980s, and the trailer for the upcoming Smurfs film! Happy Trails!

"The Smurfs" TV Show, 1981 - 1989

"Smurfs: The Lost Village," April 2017

If you like this article, please hit the +1 button below and share with your friends and followers. Help me win one million readers over to the awesome world of comics!

No comments:

Post a Comment