What in god's name...

*New column! By which I mean my Savage Critics column! You remember...?

This one deals with Smurfs, specifically the 1965 book King Smurf, by creator/artist Peyo and writer/editor Yvan Delporte. It's one of the only bona-fide Smurf comics to have made it to English, which always strikes me as a little odd; the Smurfs were a hell of a lot more popular than Tintin (just to name another Belgian icon of the funnies), but so little of the original material made its way over. I suspect that was part of the toll of extreme popularity, though - the Smurfs were so hot they could only be a 'fad,' and what's a fad if not for selling all kinds of shit? Who needs the original comics?

Not a lot of critical writing around (in English) on the stuff either, as you can guess. I only found out about how wild this book was supposed to be when Kim Thompson started raving about it in the translation notes to that Lewis Trondheim serial that ran in MOME; and where better a place to find useful tips than the translation notes?

King Smurf really is something too - a kid-friendly anti-authoritarian screed in the form of a slapstick adventure, dripping with acrid political satire. If you thought the Smurfs were nothing but sunny days and songs, take a look at the early stuff. If you can read French, I guess. Hope you enjoy the column.