Belgian Peyo’s famous blue characters, the Smurfs, are returning to bookstores. Peyo, real name Pierre Culliford, first created these characters 65 years ago, and since then, they have gained worldwide fame through books, movies, and television series. The Smurfs will now be reinterpreted by renowned artists in a new collection. The first volume, named “Who is that Smurf?” will be released in May, with Tébo, a 50-year-old children’s comics author chosen to create the comic. To maintain the original work ‘s spirit while modernizing it, Tébo has modified the characters’ appearance, removing Smurfette’s heels and the Muscle Smurf’s tattoo.
The publishing house, Le Lombard, is responsible for the initiative and has planned an entire collection that revisits the Smurf’s universe. The Smurfs’ cultural importance for Belgium is undeniable, with a figure in their honor placed in the center of Brussels. The new comic is an arduous and challenging work for any artist as they must maintain the original work from a personal perspective. Mathias Vincent, the editorial director of Le Lombard, said Tébo is from a generation where Smurfs were everything, such as toys, sweets, and tattoos.
In the comic world, the Smurfs have an exceptional place, and their creator Peyo is regarded as a cartooning legend. Peyo first worked at an animation studio before publishing his first comic in the newspaper “Le Soir.” With the creation of The Smurfs, they got their own series, and Peyo went on to direct a film in 1976, “The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.” During the 1980s, he supervised the television series in the United States and Belgium. Peyo died in 1992, and the Smurfs continue to attract millions of readers and viewers worldwide.
The eccentric and fictional Smurf village has many unique characters, each with their own defining trait. For example, Lazy Smurf falls asleep anywhere and at any time of the day, and Smurfette, the only female Smurf, was created by Gargamel as a spy to create discord among the Smurfs. When Papa Smurf changed her hair from black to blonde, she became a real Smurf. The Smurfs, meanwhile, have remained ageless, with most of them rumored to be 100 years old. In one episode, Papa Smurf is even revealed to be 546 years old.
The Smurf phenomenon also has a strong marketing game, with numerous figures and gummies available for collectors. However, despite their market success, the Smurfs have struggled to earn a return in animated films. Critics have said that the movies lack the charm of the original animated series. Nevertheless, the Smurfs will continue to be a beloved part of the popular culture of the 20th century, thanks to the imagination of Peyo.