- historical event:
- The Smurfs appeared for the first time in history on this day back in 1958. To date, over 25 million copies of Smurfs comics in 25 languages have been sold. One million Smurfs DVDs were sold in only one year.
The Smurfs first saw the light of day on this day in 1958. They were invented by the Belgian Pierre Culliford, better known as Peyo. At that time, he was drawing comics for the Belgian magazine Spirou. Peyo was a Walloon by nationality (Wallonia is the southern part of Belgium, and is predominantly French-speaking). Peyo got the idea for the word “Smurf” (French Schtroumpf) while he was dining with his colleague and friend André Franquin on the Belgian coast. While he was eating, Peyo asked his friend to pass him the salt, but couldn’t remember the word for it. Therefore, he blurted: “Passe-moi… le schtroumpf!”. Franquin handed him the salt and jokingly told him: “Here’s your Smurf, and when you’ve finished smurfing, give the Smurf back to me!”. The pair reportedly spent the rest of the weekend making Smurf jokes and making up new words such as “smurfing”, “smurftastic” etc.
This etymology was explained by Peyo himself. Many today believe the word is derived from the German word for stocking (der Strumpf), but there is no proof of this. Furthermore, the Smurfs are actually called die Schlümpfe in Germany. All in all, the word doesn’t really have a real meaning, but was simply invented by the author during a moment of inspiration.
On this day in 1958, Peyo used the newly-invented word to describe the little blue characters in a comic he was working on during that time. This comic was called Johan et Pirlouit, and was a sort of medieval fantasy story about a man named Johan and his diminutive companion, Pirlouit. In the story, they meet small blue characters named the Smurfs. In other words, the Smurfs originally didn’t have a comic of their own, but only appeared in a single episode of another comic. However, they proved extremely popular, so that Peyo soon started making a comic specifically about them.
The Smurfs have since achieved incredible popularity. To date, over 25 million copies of Smurfs comics in 25 languages have been sold, and the little blue creatures have even starred in their own 3D movies. One million Smurfs DVDs were sold in only one year.