Peyo - Belgian Comic Artist


The Artist

Pierre Culliford (1928 – 1992) was a Belgian cartoonist who worked under the pseudonym Peyo.

Peyo began work, fresh from his coursework at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, at the Compagnie Belge d’Animation (CBA), a small Belgian animation studio, where he met a few of his future colleagues and co-celebrities, like André Franquin (best-known for his characters Gaston and Marsupilami) and Morris (Lucky Luke). After working briefly there, Peyo began making comic strips for daily newspapers such as Le Soir, a Belgian newspaper, shortly after World War II.

At the beginning of the 1950s, Peyo was introduced to Spirou, a children’s Franco-Belgian comics magazine published by Dupuis. Peyo wrote and drew a number of characters and storylines, including Pierrot, and Benoît Brisefer (translated into English as Steven Strong). But his favourite was Johan et Pirlouit (translated into English as Johan and Peewit), which was a continuation of the series Johan he had created earlier. He also continued Poussy in Spirou.

Peyo’s main characters

The Smurfs

The Smurfs incredible story began in October 1958, in the magazine Spirou. “Johan and Pirlouit“, a comic strip set in the Middle Ages featured the first, modest appearance by characters that have gone on to become international stars in comics, books, film and other media.

No one could have had the slightest inkling that their initial, fairly low-key appearance would mark the beginning of a veritable legend. As secondary characters in the “The Smurfs and the Magic Flute”, they could have simply disappeared along with the word “end” on the final page. The Smurfs had a very positive public reception and Peyo went on to give the Smurfs their very own adventures, firstly in small short stories, then in a series of comic books, and their success would steadily grow.

“Contrary to the small, often evil characters in popular legends, such as gnomes and trolls, I wanted mine to be reassuring and kind. The Smurfs aren’t really heroes. They form a community in which it is nice to live.”


The Albums - The Smurfs

Since 1958, 31 Smurf comics volumes have been created, 16 of them by Peyo

Amelie Nothomb Books in English
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