PEYO - Creator of The Smurfs!

By storeybooks, Saturday, 9th February 2013 | 1 comments
Filed under: Smurfs, Peyo.


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Pierre Culliford ( 1928 - 1992) known as 'Peyo', was a Belgian comics artist who created The Smurfs (or 'Les Schroumpfs', as they were originally referred in French).


Peyo studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, and went to work at an animation studio upon graduation.

The studio folded shortly after, but it did leave him having befriended his colleagues André Franquin, Morris and Eddy Paape.

Peyo decided to turn to the advertising profession, but continued his work in animation part time.



Peyo created his first comic for the daily Le Dernière Heure. 'Johan', an historical comic series about a brave young page to the king in Medieval Europe. 'Johan' also appeared in Le Soir from 1950, but was moved to Spirou magazine in 1952 where he got his definitive look - black hair and a faithful, if boastful side-kick Pirlouit. 'Johan et Pirlouit' became one of the most popular series of Spirou magazine.


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Peyo created the 'Smurfs', (or  'Les Schtroumpfs' in French) in 1958 in his medieval comic series 'Johan et Pirlouit' for ‘Spirou’ magazine.


In the 'Johan & Pirlouit' episode 'La Flûte à Six Trous' (in 'Le Journal de Spirou' magazine, October 1958), the two characters discover the infamous blue dwarves Smurfs called Schtroumfs!


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Spirou's chief-editor Yvan Delporte saw the possibilities of the 'Smurfs' and persuaded Peyo to create a spin-off. The first solo appearances of 'Les Schtroumpfs' appeared in Spirou's "mini-récit" section in 1959.It was so well received that Peyo eventually redrew the first stories in larger sizes and continued the series in Spirou's regular pages.

Although Peyo was successful with 'Johan et Pirlouit' and even more so with ‘The Smurfs’, he also launched the 'Benoît Brisefer' series in 1960. This comic, about a small boy with superhuman strength which he loses whenever he gets a cold, has become another Peyo classic. Peyo also produced 'Poussy' gags in Spirou and created on 'Jacky et Célestin' in Le Soir Illustré.



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The expansion of activities and the increasing popularity of the 'Smurfs' resulted in Peyo founding his own art studios, teaching many of today's famous comic artists in his studios, including Walthéry, Derib, Gos, De Gieter, Benn, Francis, Kox, Desorgher and Wasterlain. In the 1970s, Peyo focused more and more on the 'Smurfs' and headed up his 'Smurf' empire until his death in 1992. In later years the studios created new albums of Peyo's older series, such as 'Johan et Pirlouit' and 'Benoît Brisefer'. 


The huge popularity of ‘The Smurfs’ resulted in an animated feature film (‘The Smurfs and the Magic Flute’, 1976), an extensive merchandise line, a Hanna-Barbara TV series, and a Smurf theme park in Metz, France, and the 2011 American 3D film ‘The Smurfs’.

But the biggest legacy Peyo left was the love in the hearts of children around the world for everyone's favourite little blue lads!


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1 CommentSkip to Form

Tuesday, 11th June 2013 - Perma Link #956
12th Man
1 I wish i could imagine The Smurfs on a Hawaiian vacation.

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