The Smurfs is a Belgian comic and television franchise centered on a fictional colony of small blue creatures that live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest. 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”, which, according to Peyo, is a word invented during a meal with fellow cartoonist André Franquin, when he could not 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 Smurf franchise began as a comic and expanded into advertising, movies, TV series, ice capades, video games, theme parks, and dolls.