Issued on the occasion of a recent exhaustive exhibition of original art by Peyo, father of the Smurfs, this is a hefty compendium chock-a-block with reproductions of his original pages from Johan & Peewit to Poussy the Cat and more, and of course with plenty of Smurfs art! Accompanied by text on the history of Peyo’s creations. Direct import from France.
- Eleroy/Artcurial, May 2012
- ISBN 978-2-9539743-0-0
- 8 ¼” x 11″, 256 pages, softcover
- $50 USD
- Order online: AbeBooks, Alibris
As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc.), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.
An exhibition catalogue of over 200 works from an Artcurial exhibit with art provided by the Culliford family, and published by Eleroy. A career retrospective covering a large amount of work in 256 glorious pages, with a range of original art sizes, styles and mediums. Fans of bande dessinée and Peyo in particular owe it to themselves to track this book down.
Along with all that original art is a brief but comprehensive biography of Peyo by Pierre Sterckx, broken into chapters. The text appears in French first (in black) and then in English (in red). The English translation is a bit rough but gets the job done.
The artwork presents very well: all scans are clear and without and softness, blurriness, or digital defects, thanks to Sylvain Rousseau. A variety of ageing from light tanning to yellowing to medium tanning. There are also spots from tape and staples. Blacks show gradients. Correction fluid used sparingly. Margin notes appear limited to production notes: issue, page, printing size.
Most of the pages have two pieces taped together, most likely from their appearing in magazines as half pages and then taped together for a complete page for the albums. A lot of the pages also have staples along the left side, or staple holes, something I haven’t encountered before. Were the coloured overlays stapled on the original art?
The design is direct and puts the focus on full-page presentations of the artwork. Each piece has the title, story, and publication year. The text is presented at the beginning of each chapter and then gets out of the way. The red English text is a little harsh.
One design feature I greatly enjoyed was the two-page listing every few chapters of the details of the original art. This consolidated all the information about size, date, medium, publication, etc, into a clear and clean list. Most catalogues show this information along with the image, adding a lot of text to the page and limited the size the art can be shown.
Production is excellent: sewn signatures of thick glossy paper in a glued softcover. It’s a solid and heavy book, with an overall superb fit and finish. The only way it could be better would be as a hardcover. Art is not full size, but Peyos’ clean lines come through quite well at 8.25″ x 11″.
Along with the biographical text, we get prefaces by Serge Lemoine and Érioc Leroy, the book’s publisher, and a foreword by Véronique Culliford, Peyo’s daughter.
The book shows a Peyo copyright of 2011 but I don’t see any other dates in the colophon. It was distributed in North America via NBM in 2012, which is the information I used. Oddly, most listings leave out the first part of the title, “Pierre Culliford, known as” and just start with Peyo.
Interestingly there are two covers for this book, one in English as reviewed and one in French. And both books share the same ISBN. The interiors are the same, and the French versions are much cheaper online. While I enjoyed the biographical information included, if you’re here for the artwork alone pick up a cheap copy of the French cover.