These little blue creatures, famous the world over, were born in Brussels in 1958. Peyo (Pierre Culliford), their creator, was working at the time for the magazine Spirou, for which he produced 1000 adventures for Johan and Peewit. The two heroes met these little blue people – exactly five inches tall – in the comic The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. It was love at first sight for the readers, and the beginning of a phenomenally successful new series.
Peyo the world-builder
In his Brussels studio, Peyo created this unique world: a little village and a magic forest, Gargamel – the villain of the piece – and his wicked cat Azraël, and a multitude of tiny heroes who spoke Smurf, each of whom had a specific character, with which every reader could identify.
A recipe for success
Peyo came up with the storylines and drawings, and his wife, Nine, was responsible for the colours. The author's fertile imagination would take his little smurfs to the small – and the big – screen. First came the original cartoons from the TVA Dupuis studios in 1965, and then the adaptation of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute by Lombard's Belvision studio in 1976. And with the 256 episodes produced by the American studios Hanna-Barbera between 1981 and 1987, the Smurfs' international career really took off.
It was a global success, and the Smurfs set off to conquer hearts all over the world!
The Smurfs, Les Schtroumpfs, De Smurfen, Die Schlümpfe, I Puffi, Los Pitufos … there are nearly 30 million comics in around 30 languages.
Peyo died in 1992, leaving behind 16 comics and the tiny heroes, who were taken on by his son Thierry at the IMPS studio on the outskirts of Brussels. He is still continuing the Smurfs' adventures today, with Les Éditions du Lombard.
Recently, several animated films have joined the popular saga: The Smurfs in 2011, The Smurfs 2 in 2013, and The Smurfs and the Lost Village in 2017.
In 2018, they will celebrate their 60th birthday. No doubt we'll still be talking about them then!