The World Of Smurfs: A Celebration of Tiny Blue Proportions By Matt. Murray

Thanks to our friends over at ABRAMS books for sending a review copy of their upcoming new book The World of Smurfs: A Celebration of Tiny Blue Proportions! Which so happens to be excellently written by Matt. Murray, the world’s only known Smurfologist!

Murray was President and First Executive director of New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, working on an exhibit entitled “Saturday Morning”, which examined not only the art but political, and social aspects of the shows in the exhibit. While setting up the show he came to the realization what some of us writers and readers of the Retroist already know…once a Smurf fan…always a Smurf fan. But Murray took it on himself to try and figure out what made the Smurfs so popular across the world.

Murray warmly relates his own personal experiences with the Smurfs in the Introduction, such as his maternal Grandmother watching the show so that not only would the two of them have something to discuss during their talks over the telephone but that she might be able to understand what words he was ‘Smurfing’.

Murray goes into detail of famed Smurf creator Pierre Culliford or as he was more commonly known throughout the word, Peyo. Murray takes time to educate the reader on Peyo’s childhood and early adult life, when the artist was desperately seeking to sell his cartoon strips to magazines. At this time in his life some other famous creations of Peyo like Johan and Pirlouit (Johan and Peewit as we know them in the United States) came into existence.

Which would lead to the creation of the Les Schtroumpfs or as they would later be known in America, the Smurfs!

The World of Smurfs book of course chronicles the global popularity of not only Peyo but his family as well as obviously that of his blue elflike wonders…that were only 3 apples high. One of the features in the book that I cannot heap enough praise on is the reproductions of animation cells, movie posters, the Smurf Village poster and original Les Schtroumpfs ephemera. For the most part you can take these items out of the book…including a sheet of Smurf stickers…that I’m having to resist applying to my laptop as I type this!

Murray also dives into the Red scare that I vaguely recall in my youth, yep, some people complained that the Smurfs were secretly sowing the seeds of Socialist behavior in the animated series. How Smurfing sad.

Of course Murray goes in depth with the upcoming Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation big budget Smurfs film starring Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Hank Azaria. There is some really neat looking production art for the Smurf village that will be seen in the movie, I particularly loved the Smurf blacksmith shop design.

In closing, do I think you should pick up this book when it hits store shelves in August? Absolutely! If you still smile at the thought of playing with a handful of those wonderful blue PVC Smurf figures you will not only find all the history of the Smurfs fascinating but I bet you’ll want to share the book with your family and friends.

The World of Smurfs: A Celebration of Tiny Blue Proportions is U.S.$24.95/Can. $27.95

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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5 thoughts on “The World Of Smurfs: A Celebration of Tiny Blue Proportions By Matt. Murray

  1. Doug says:

    My problem with The Smurfs movie based on the trailer: they come into the real world. Why don’t they stay in Smurf world? Movies based on properties like this do this all the time: Masters of the Universe, Garbage Pail Kids, etc. Always a bad idea. I don’t know if Garbage Pail Kids would have been better if it had been set in some GPK land, but MOTU would have been better if it had stayed in Eternia.

  2. LOL im imaging what GPK land would have been like and i have a headache already. total chaos, like a gross-out version of toon town from roger rabbit full of random madness and things you would wish you hadn’t seen.
    It really is a shame though that all these studios are so cheap that when they make movies out of classic properties they “real world” them. The Smurfs (or back when i knew them personally, The Schtroumpfs) movie would have been great if it kept true to the original storyline, was set in the world of the animated series, and was classically animated…so basically the opposite of everything they seem to be doing.
    When I’m finally writing the cartoons, things are gonna change! but untill then, we’re gonna have to count on studio executives reading these forum and blog posts and if they know what’s good for them they better be checking out Retroist!
    Anyway another great find Vic I honestly don’t know where you track down all of these great things to show us. You also seem to have a bottomless supply of information, and I bet that over half of it isn’t even made up! You amigo, are a treasure!

  3. This book sounds pretty neat! I’ve been a fan of the Smurfs since the 80s and have a lot of the graphic novels, the cartoon series and lots of toys. But when I heard they were making a live action movie I got sick to my stomach and then when I saw the trailer I almost fled the country in disgust. And if you didn’t think it could get any worse it did: my daughter saw the trailer and got excited and now she wants to see it. I thought about disowning her but she’s too cute. So now I know at some point in my life I will be watching that horrid movie.

  4. Well, it is a small SPOILER but the film does indeed start off in the Smurf village. Apparently a portal is opened, one that can be accessed only…once in a blue moon and that is how the Smurfs are sent to our world.

    @Christopher Tupa My nieces and nephew are chomping at the bit to see the film…but I keep telling myself that if they enjoy it I can at least take comfort in that. I do wish however I could get my hands on some of those graphic novels, locally I mean. Because what I read of Johan was pretty sweet!

    @Claymation Werewolf Friend…it’s comments like yours that keep me scouring the internet for things I feel you will find of interest. Thank you as well, Amigo.

    @Doug I can only assume that Executives feel the audience won’t relate if it’s set only in the Smurf village or Eternia in the case of Masters of the Universe. Man…a new Masters of the Universe movie set on Eternia with today’s technology. That would be pretty killer to say the least.

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