The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic and television franchise centred on a group of Smurfs: small blue fictional creatures that live in mushrooms.
The Smurfs were first created and introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958. The word “Smurf” is the original Dutch translation of the French "Schtroumpf", a word invented when during a meal with fellow cartoonist André Franquin, Peyo couldn’t remember the word salt.
There are more than one hundred Smurfs, whose names are based on adjectives that emphasize their characteristics, e.g. 'Jokey Smurf', who likes to play practical jokes on his fellow smurfs, 'Clumsy Smurf', who has a habit of creating havoc unintentionally, and 'Smurfette' – the first female Smurf to be introduced in the series. The Smurfs wear Phrygian caps, which represented freedom in Roman times.
The storylines tend to be simple tales of bold adventure. The cast has a simple structure as well: almost all the characters look essentially alike—mostly male (there are three female Smurfs: Smurfette, Sassette, and Nanny Smurf), short (3 apples high),with blue skin, white trousers with a hole for their short tails, white hat in the style of a Phrygian cap, and sometimes some additional accessory that identifies a personality (for example, "Handy" Smurf wears overalls instead of the standard trousers, a brimmed hat, and a pencil above his ear).
Smurfs can walk and run, but often move by skipping on both feet. They love to eat sarsaparilla (a species of Smilax) leaves, whose berries the Smurfs naturally call "smurfberries" (the smurfberries appear only in the cartoon; in the original comics, the Smurfs only eat the leaves from the sarsaparilla).
The Smurfs fulfill simple archetypes of everyday people: Lazy Smurf, Grouchy Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and so on. All Smurfs, with the exception of Papa, Baby, Smurfette, Nanny and Grandpa, are said to be 100 years old.
There were originally 99 Smurfs, but this number increased as new Smurf characters appeared, such as Sassette and Nanny. All of the original Smurfs were male; later female additions are Smurfette and Sassette – Smurfette being Gargamel's creation, while Sassette was created by the Smurflings.
Papa Smurf is the leader of the community. Other Smurfs are generally named after their personality disposition, for example, Brainy, Greedy, Vanity, Lazy, Clumsy, Hefty, Jokey, Dreamy, Grouchy, or their profession, for example, Poet, Actor, Handy, Harmony, Farmer, Clockwork, Painter, Tailor, Miner, Architect, Reporter, Timber, Barber and Doctor Smurf. Other Smurf characters include Gutsy Smurf and Smurfette. Smurfette was created by Gargamel to lure the other smurfs.
Papa Smurf then changed her into what we see today. The non-Smurf characters who would appear later would include their enemies the wizard Gargamel, his cat Azrael, and Gargamel's godfather Balthazar; and their friends the page Johan and his young friend Peewit and the wizard Homnibus. There are 105 smurfs.
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