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The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs in French) are a fictional group of small sky blue creatures who live somewhere in the forests of Europe. The Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs to the world, but English-speakers perhaps know them best through the animated television series from Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Smurfs.

“Johan & Pirlouit”

Peyo wrote a Franco-Belgian comics serial in Le Journal de Spirou called “Johan & Pirlouit” (translated to English as Johan and Peewit). The setting lies in the Middle Ages in Europe. Johan serves as a brave young page to the king, and Peewit (pronounced Pee-Wee) functions as his faithful, if boastful and cheating, midget sidekick.

On October 23, 1958, Peyo introduced a new set of characters to the “Johan & Pirlouit” story. This alone caused no great excitement, as the brave duo constantly encountered strange new people and places. This time, they had the mission of recovering a Magic Flute, which required some sorcery by the wizard Homnibus. And in this manner, they met a schtroumpf. The figures soon proved to be a huge success, and the first independent smurf stories appeared in Spirou in 1959, together with the first merchandising.

With the commercial success of The Smurf empire came the merchandising empire of Smurf miniatures, models, games, and toys. Entire collecting clubs devote themselves to collecting PVC toys.

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