Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Purple Smurfs

This volume reprints three classic Smurfs stories, the title story for the first time. "The Purple Smurfs" is reminiscent of a zombie film and has a frightening undertone. The story recounts what happens when a Bzz fly bites a Smurf and turns him into a purple menace. Becoming mean and violent, the purple Smurf spreads a contagion by biting others. Papa Smurf - who is surprisingly gruff - recalls this happening once before when he was younger, but after 104 years he's forgotten the remedy. The other two tales, "The Flying Smurf" and "The Smurf and His Neighbors" are enjoyable and more fantastical and funny.

The Smurfs have been around since 1958. The creation of Belgian artist Peyo (Pierre Culliford), Smurfs have appeared in comic books, cartoons, toy stores, and countless other places. They are an international phenomenon that have been translated into multiple languages, and they recently were given big budget Hollywood attention in a new movie version. Two of the stories here were written by Yvan Delporte, long-time editor of Spirou magazine, the landmark publication where the Smurfs first appeared.

"The Purple Smurfs" was originally called "The Black Smurfs," and this story has only now been reprinted in English, changed so to avoid smacking of racism. Reviewer Greg McElhatton was not expecting to like the book and was surprised he found it very enjoyable. Comics in the Classroom's Scott Tingley and his daughter both found the book "super awesome." Lee Newman wrote that in addition to the fantastic art "the stories are full of charm and smurfy language."

The Purple Smurfs was published by Papercutz. They provide a preview here.

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