The Smurfs Anthology, Vol. 1 Review
SMURF TOGETHER NOW!
Papercutz Collects the Peyo Graphic Novels in Their Original Order
Reviewed by Todd H. Latoski
Writers: Peyo & Yvan Delporte
Published by: Papercutz
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Page Count: 192
Age Range: 7+
For fans of all ages, the soon-to-be released the Smurfs Anthology, Volume 1 from Papercutz is a must-have necessity! This new series of hardcover anthologies will be presenting Peyo's Smurf graphic novels in the order that they were originally published and are chock full of extras - from reproductions of the original covers with their French titles to photographs and pencil sketches to background material from the Smurfologist himself, Matt. Murray!
This first volume contains the first two graphic novels, "The Purple Smurfs" ("Les Schtroumpfs noirs") and "The Smurf King" ("Le Schtroumpfissime"). It also contains a bonus story from Peyo's other series, Johan and Peewit (Johan et Pirlouit), which contains the first appearance of the Smurfs in the story "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute" ("La flûte à six Schtroumpfs").
The first graphic novel contains three stories: "The Purple Smurf" ("Les Schtroumpfs noirs), "The Flying Smurf" ("Le Schtroumpf volant"), and "The Smurfnapper" ("Le voleur de Schtroumpfs"). After a brief introduction by Matt. Murray, in which he explains why in translating the story from French to English, the title changed from "The Black Smurfs" to "The Purple Smurfs," readers will enjoy all three stories under a beautiful reproduction of the original cover (where the Black Smurf really is Black, while the story itself retains the American-ized Purple Smurf). It would have been nice had Papercutz kept the original story in tact as far as the Black Smurf goes, particularly in light of the detailed explanation in the introduction that would have cleared up any misconceptions that "politically correct" readers might have with it. This would have made it a true reproduction of the original story in its original order of publication; however, reading the story in its full glory on 8.5" x 11" glossy paper somewhat makes up for that loss.
The second graphic novel contains only two stories, as the first has double the page-count: "The Smurf King" ("Le Schtroumpfissime") and "The Smurfony" ("Schtroumpfonie en ut"). As with the first graphic novel, there is a brief introduction by Matt. Murray, wherein he discusses the political elements within the stories, followed by a full reproduction of the cover of the original novel. Fans who bought the previously released Smurf Graphic Novel No. 2 will find that the cover to that book was only a small portion of the original cover, so it is a nice treat to see the full image. The two stories, the first forty pages and the second twenty pages, are a fun read, and as an adult reader, it is easy to see the political satire in "The Smurf King" that would easily zoom over the head of younger readers.
The third, and final, graphic novel in this first collection is actually not a Smurfs graphic novel, but rather a Johan and Peewit graphic novel (or, Johan et Pirlouit as they are called in French). It is "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute," or "La flûte à six trous" as it was originally titled (which literally translates to "The Flute with Six Holes"), which was the ninth graphic novel in that series. As long-time fans of The Smurfs know, this story introduces the loveable blue characters - which, according to the introduction by Matt. Murray, led to the story being retitled "La flûte à six Schtroumpfs," or literally, "The Flute of Six Smurfs," which is the title that appears on the reproduced cover. There is only the one, sixty-page self-contained story in this novel, and the Smurfs don't actually appear until page 37. It can be easily seen in the art that these are earlier concepts of the characters, as they are not quite so refined artistically as they are in their own series of stories. Nevertheless, without this tale, there would be no Smurfs today, so it goes without saying that its inclusion in this first anthology is a must.
The reprinting of these tales on full 8.5" x 11" glossy pages allows for much easier reading with the larger font, and Peyo's already smurf-tastic art is even better displayed and defined with stronger colors. This, plus the hardback format and the bonus material, make the book well worth the price.
For more information about this first anthology and upcoming volumes, check out http://www.papercutz.com/shop-all/the-smurfs-anthology-vol-1/.
Todd H. Latoski/Reviewer, Writer
Todd was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, but moved to Florida back in the late 1980s. Todd grew up reading comics and have always been a fanboy. Working in the legal field by day and writing his heart out at night (with three published comic stories to date, and one more in the works),Todd has been doing MegaCon coverage for several years and looks forward to doing so for many years go come.
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