Robot 6

The return of the Smurfs

New edition of The Purple Smurf

New edition of The Purple Smurf

The Smurfs are back! What, you didn’t know they ever left? Apparently the little blue guys have been out of print, at least in the U.S., for years, but NBM/Papercutz is bringing them back, with the first volume, The Purple Smurf, set to debut in August. (Incidentally, the Urban Dictionary has two definitions of “The Purple Smurf,” and neither of them is obscene. Go figure.)

Most people experienced the Smurfs as animated cartoons, rather than as comics, but that’s the origin — they first made their appearance in a Belgian kids’ comic in 1958. Jog, who broke the news (on a tip from Pedro Bouça), has more commentary, including the note that the purple Smurfs were actually black in the original comic; apparently the symbolism was too heavy-handed for the folks at Hanna-Barbera, who re-colored them in the animated cartoon.

NBM/Papercutz does a nice job when they bring European comics over here, except for a tendency to shrink them too much. At first glance, these look like full-size albums (like Tintin), but the type makes me think they are going to be smaller. The Amazon listings don’t give a trim size.



Interesting that they opted to make the Smurfs purple in this particular book, as I believe they’re black in the original French version.

it’s still fantastic news though.

I’m torn between saying “G-nap!” and “Smurfing awesome!”.

this just proves that things with a big fan following like the smurfs will never die. they just wait till the right time to return for a second wind. and can see why hb and the us made the purple smurfs instead of the original french versions to avoid challenges of racial over if i remember right the smurfs got purple due to one of them being bitten by something.

This is great news! I’ve always wished that more of the classic European comics available in America. Now, if only they’ll release Peyo’s other series Johan and Peewit

Books In Print lists the trim size as
Physical Dimensions (W x L x H): 6.5 x 9 x 1 in.

The Smurfs #1: the Purple Smurf
9781597072069 TP $5.99
9781597072076 HC $10.99

The Smurfs #2: the Smurfs and the Magic Flute
9781597072083 TP $5.99
9781597072090 HC $10.99

The Smurf King (November 2010)
9781597072243 TP $5.99
9781597072250 HC $10.99

Papercuz website:
Smurfs English website:
Purple smurf story:


That is a scream of pure horror, not excitement.

The Purple Smurf is a zombie tale, pure and unadulterated. As I remember it, it consists of bugs/animals biting each other and the victim turning purple and very angry. It’s basically infectious rage, ala 28 Days Later (only about 20 years before that movie), and it’s a very direct and distinct zombie story. It freaked the ever-living shit out of me back when I was about 3 or 4 and it kind of chills me that they’re bringing it back.

****I’m torn between saying “G-nap!”****


FINALLY. I was hoping to see a revival of the English versions of these elfin-like creatures. Despite how the animated cartoons were watered-down, I can assure you that the comic versions were very much not so. There were some attempts to bring the Smurfs over in English, but they were trimmed down immensely. The Random House version (translated by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge) only had ONE Smurf story per book, when there were usually one large story and one or two smaller stories.

The only titles I recall reading around that time were King Smurf, AstroSmurf, The Smurffette, The Fake Smurf, and Smurfhony in C. Hopefully, the translations will get as far as the Smurf Olympics.

Likewise, when Marvel briefly entered the Smurf field, they debuted with crudely drawn stories that had NONE of Peyo’s handwork, save for the one-pagers, which were likewise reduced from the classic European 4-panel frame to 3 panels. Apparently, they were afraid that people would be confused if the number of panels weren’t consistent. At least they translated the titles of the shorts, such as “What is this thing called Smurf?”

Something else I forgot that I briefly mentioned on my blog entry:

“Part of what made Manga so impentratable to American audiences for years was that so much of what was translated was adult in nature. It was only when they started bringing over Children’s Mangas that they started to gain a serious foothold that has yet to let go. That’s the basic corporation formula that American comics have long forgotten – attract the children first, and they’ll follow you down to the pits of hell.”


“I’ve long thought that if there was a scanlation site that had 1% of the energy that most Manga scanlations have, we would have more access to European stuff other than Asterix or Tintin. (In fact, a Manga site once DID scanlate a series, Lanfeust of Troy, but they quickly dropped it once they changed servers) If I had more knowledge of French, and the knowledge & patience to scan & translate BDs from the library, I could’ve made a serious contribution to the comics world.”

I especially enjoy these translations on Scans-Daily, and am sorry that there aren’t more. There’s literally TONS of untranslated stuff over there that’s in desperate need of wider recognization.

Brigid Alverson

April 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

Thanks for the data, Thorsten. So that’s about like those three-in-one Tintin volumes, in terms of trim size, right? Shouldn’t be too bad.

BTW, when I lived in Geneva, not a city known for its sense of humor, there was an apartment complex known as “Les Schtroumpfs.” And we used to get Smurf-shaped pizzas in the local pizza place, and ice cream in plastic Smurf heads. Only Pingu could match the popularity of the Smurfs.

He is right. Like it or not, scanlation did wonders to manga awareness on the West. I wish someone would do the same for european stuff…

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I don’t know if I want my favorite story of Smurfs (“The Black Smurfs”) colored like purple!!! Why? Because the Hanna-Barbera show? Anyway… Peyo must be laughing :-P

It may be silly to post comments on an article a couple of years old, but I can’t resist. As the Editor-in-Chief at Papercutz, it was a dream come true for usb to publish THE SMURFS! Thanks, Torsten, for your support! It’s always greatly appreciatedf! Thanks, Brigid, for your support as well. Little did I know about your Smurf-filled past! Chris, Matt, demoncat (You’re not really Azreal, are you?), Rob, Stealthwise, Squashua, DanielBT Pedro, and Fabio– thanks for your support and comments as well! I’m proud to say that not only has the Papercutz SMURF series lasted beyond The Smurf Olympics” (Okay, we cheated a little, DanielBT, and had “The Smurf Olympics appear earlier that the traditional order to have it be out in time for the 2012 Olympics, but the series is still running!), but there will be more Peyo coming from Papercutz (How’s that for a stealth announcement, steathwise?)! We’ll be publishing THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY which will run the SMURFS albums in their original order, with all the stories appearing in their original sequence! THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY will also run all the Johanand Peeweet stories in which the Smurfs appeared! But that’s not all, we’ll also be publishing the Benoit Brisefer stories! It all happens the Summer of 2013, just in time to celebrate the second SMURFS movie!

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