Worth An Update

Redoubtable Eurocomics correspondent Pedro Bouça writes in with some very interesting, apparently not-yet-officially-announced news:


From Papercutz, the kids' comics line of veteran French-to-English publisher NBM; apparently the new line will begin in August with $5.99 paperback and $10.99 hardcover editions of both the first Smurfs album Les Schtroumpfs noirs (1963) and the Johan et Pirlouit album in which the characters first appeared, La Flûte à six trous (aka: La flûte à six schtroumpfs, 1958).

To my dismay, it appears Les Schtroumpfs noirs will be presented in an edited edition, The Purple Smurf, altering the title character's maddened, infected color state to regal purple from the original black. I'm not aware of prior edited editions -- and it seems an apparently unaltered version was just released to the French-language Canadian market last year (EDIT: I'm now told in the comments that it's an illustrated storybook) -- but it's worth noting that the black-to-purple change was previously made by the Hanna-Barbera television adaptation of that particular album (which actually contains three stories, not just the title piece). La flûte à six trous/schtroumpfs will be released as The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, again replicating an aspect of the wildly popular animated iteration of the franchise, i.e. the 1976 theatrical film of the same title. I presume the two stories mentioned on the cover were both present in at least the latter day French editions, since the page count is identical to the most recent Dupuis edition.

TAKE NOTE: this is all based on my casual observation of Amazon's listings, and everything can change at any time. I'm also unaware of the size of any of these new editions, or whether the paperback or hardcover editions will differ at all - obviously it'd be great if at least the hardcovers were full-sized albums. EDIT #2: Aaaand over at Robot 6 Torsten Adair consults Books in Print, which identifies both the hardcover and softcover editions as 6.5" x 9", the same dimensions as NBM's Dungeon paperbacks.

That's not the end of it either - November promises the arrival of The Smurf King, aka: the amazing King Smurf (Le Schtroumpfissime, 1965), which looks like it'll include a back-up story omitted from the 1978 Random House English-language edition I currently own; at that time the publisher turned a bunch of the original albums' shorter stories (and at least one of the stories in the otherwise unreleased Les Schtroumpfs noirs) into "mini-storybooks" that were sold separately. It looks like the plan might be to go right down the line with the original French-language album releases - that would mean The Smurfette (La Schtroumpfette, 1967) is next, another one I don't believe was ever released in the U.S. - let's hope to see it now.