As The Smurfs celebrate 65 years of existence, their US publisher Papercutz will deliver a somewhat unique Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) offering: a compilation of classic material by original creator Peyo, with augmented reality – where fans young and old can see their favourite characters pop off the page. The augmented reality content is delivered by AR platform and media company Living Popups.

According to the PR, Papercutz…

“…is proud to present this augmented reality FCBD issue for fans to pick up at their local comic shops for free on May 6, 2023– where they’ll immediately be able to activate a digital Smurfette to pop up off the cover of the issue!

“This Smurfs 65th anniversary special for Free Comic Book Day will showcase 65 years of evolution for the Smurfs franchise, and represent a major step for the brand. Combining the timelessness of the classic comic book experience with the exciting new frontier of the metaverse, this issue is an ode to the past and a vision for a smurftastic future.” 

The AR content – and AR activating printed tags – for The Smurfs FCBD issue looks to be a bunch of fun little extra images and animations, based on previews:

The Smurfs FCBD issue will include three classic Peyo stories – A Kiss for Smurfette; The Smurf from Outer Space; and Smurfs and the Robot X-XIII. The latter two stories have never before been released in English.

The Smurfs (also known as Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic book franchise that began in 1958, when the characters first appeared in another series being produced by their creator – Peyo (real name Pierre Culliford) – for Spirou magazine, called Johan et Pirlouit. The characters proved so popular that they got their own spinoff series in the magazine a year later. Over the course of his life Peyo and his studio produced 16 volumes of collected material, published between 1963 and 1992. After their creator’s death The Smurfs continued and the fortieth volume (in French) was released last year with Les Schtroumpfs et les Enfants perdus [tr. The Smurfs and the Lost Children]. Papercutz – via translator Joe Johnson – have been delivering the series in English for US audiences since 2010. In 2022 Papercutz was acquired by Mad Cave Studios.