Review by Frank Plowright
Hefty Smurf is tired of being the only sporty Smurf in the village, but as no other Smurf is interested in any kinds of sports, how’s he going to find people to compete against him? That problem has an ingenious solution that sets Smurf versus Smurf in a selection of physical activities. Unfortunately for Hefty Smurf in the title strip, persuading the other Smurfs of what’s required to maintain a healthy body is more difficult, with only Weakling Smurf showing any sort of willingness. However, willingness doesn’t necessarily equate with competence.
The practicing Smurfs are irritated by Brainy Smurf’s officiousness as a referee in a story that’s more a collection of gags on a theme than any great narrative, but they’re funny gags. Additionally, more than some other longer Smurf stories they enable Peyo to open up the art a little as he explores the sports the Smurfs indulge in. It didn’t exhaust the number of gags Peyo and Yvan Delporte conceived on the topic of sports, so the title story’s followed by a selection of one page gags, or ‘Smurferies’ continuing the theme. As always, these are surprisingly inventive, with pay-offs to fool even the seasoned gag reader. Archery is the most common theme, with some jokes adopting a wonderfully surreal quality, such as the Smurf befriended by bees.
Even shorter still are the single tier gag strips, again sports themed with archery prominent, but this time with extra football related content. They’re wonderfully drawn by Peyo, but more obvious jokes than the one page material.
We end with three pages previewing the following Smurf vs Smurf, and all content can also be found in the larger format fifth volume of The Smurf Anthology. A 1980s translation published by Hodder appeared under the title of The Smurfic Games.