New York, NY — Almost 70 years ago in Brussels, a young man named Pierre Culliford applied for a job as a dental assistant only to find that he had missed the interview by 15 minutes. Culliford was forced to take a job as an illustrator instead. Today, his legions of fans can look back on that late appointment as the moment Culliford became the cartoonist known as Peyo, and his little blue woodland creatures called The Smurfs were born.
The Smurfs may be only three-apples-high, but their influence across the decades and around the globe is legendary, spawning toys, feature films, an animated TV series, and all the other makings of a media empire. But to Peyo’s truest admirers, it all goes back to the original comics that started it all. This summer, Papercutz, the children’s graphic novel publisher, celebrates the master cartoonist’s life in an event they’re calling “The Summer of Peyo” with two new ongoing series: THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY, a deluxe repackaging of the classic comics in handsome hardcovers, and the debut of BENNY BREAKIRON, Peyo’s super-powered grade school champion, never before seen in the U.S.
“We are very proud and excited that Papercutz will launch BENNY BREAKIRON in the United States and give comics fans the opportunity to discover the great adventures of this gentle and brave hero,” said Veronique Culliford, business director of Lafig Belgium and Culliford’s daughter.
BENNY BREAKIRON #1: “The Red Taxis” tells the story of a little boy with big heart, big ambition, and big problems when his superpowers go on the fritz at all the wrong times. THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY VOL. 1 kicks off a major reprint effort that will see every Smurfs comic in chronological order presented anew for older collectors with contextual notes and behind-the-scenes photos. As a special treat for fans, the series will include Peyo’s Johan and Peewit stories in which The Smurfs made their very first appearances, many of of which have not been published in the original Papercutz SMURFS graphic novel series.
That series, a run of smaller-format volumes for kids, has sold more than 350,000 copies to date. The best-selling run continues during “The Summer of Peyo” with THE SMURFS #15: “The Smurflings” featuring the comics debut of the fan-favorite Sassette, and THE SMURFS #16: “The Aerosmurf”.
“Bringing Peyo’s SMURFS comics to an American audience two years ago was a dream come true for me, something I’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup. “I can’t think of a better tribute to Peyo’s genius than this gorgeous hardcover series designed by Adam Grano and the introduction of yet another new series for Peyo fans, the bad-guy-busting BENNY BREAKIRON!”
Popular with reluctant readers and gifted readers alike, Papercutz graphic novels for kids, tweens, and teens cover a wide range of genres, reading levels, and favorite characters including The Smurfs, LEGO® NINJAGO, Geronimo Stilton, Nancy Drew, and many more. Papercutz is proud to be the largest publisher exclusively dedicated to children’s graphic novels, with books available at all major retailers, bookstores, comic book stores, and digitally on comiXology.com.
ABOUT LAFIG BELGIUM S.A.
Lafig Belgium is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on the Smurfs universe and of the Smurfs worldwide licensing rights (together with IMPS). Lafig Belgium is controlled by the heirs of Pierre Culliford, better known by his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of The Smurfs. For 50 years, the Culliford family has controlled the Smurfs characters and all licenses worldwide.
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