Ah, yes. The Smurfs. They were going to be all big again because Hollywood had animated them. Except the movie was awful, and some bright spark decided to change the Smurf’s look so they were less cartoony and keep their new human-like eyes pushed close together - like the comic - creating a bizarre looking deformity that just didn’t sit well. But that was the movie and this is a book review...
So Papercutz got in there quick and began reproducing Peyo’s work for the English-speaking market to piggyback the movie’s (hopeful) success. This latest volume is number 10, and you do get the feeling they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel now.
For their own reasons they’re printing the stories out of order, but this means that in a collection such as this one, featuring five stand alone stories and a series of single page strip gags, that there’s no continuity between the tales. New characters turn up without explanation, other characters have returned who we’ve been previously told have left, and the whole thing feels like a mish-mash.
And it’s a shame, because there are some lovely gags in here, and some great artwork too. However, by volume 10, the overlying impression is that, really, you’ve read all this before. Part of the Smurf’s original charm is that the characters were all identical, but by the later stories they’ve all got specific character traits (Poet Smurf, Farmer Smurf) that means that the gags don’t work any more, but the characters aren’t distinctive or rounded enough for you to really care what’s going on.
I realise I’m sounding grumpy, and I shouldn’t be. Pick up one of the earlier volumes to appreciate why these little characters originally became successful, but I wouldn’t go beyond that unless you’re a die-hard fan.
And if you liked that: Buy yourself a Lucky Luke instead, available from Cinebook.
Smurfs 10: The Return of Smurfette (Smurfs Graphic Novels) (Book)