Comic Book / Johan and Peewit

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Johan-et-Pirlouit_2606.jpg
Johan, right, and Peewit, left.

Johan and Peewit (Johan et Pirlouit in French) is a Belgian comic book created in 1952 by Pierre Culliford a.k.a. Peyo. It was originally a reworking of a short-lived newspaper strip.

Openly inspired by Hollywood classic chivalry movies and comic books such as Prince Valiant, it's the humorous stories of a young page and his dwarf friend in a undefined European medieval country with touches of magic. Remembered for introducing to the world certain blue skinned miniature humanoids, which would overshadow it.

The last 4 albums have been published after Peyo's demise, one of them signed by his son Thierry Culliford and two others by Yvan Delporte, to whom we owe the best Smurfs stories.

Johan and Peewit provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Sara from "The War Of The Seven Springs", the witch who granted Aldebert Baufort the wish of having his seven springs produce wine instead of water and then later cursed the springs to produce neither wine nor water when Aldebert became too demanding with her, was made out to be a villain who cursed the springs around Baufort Castle in the Animated Adaptation episode "The Haunted Castle", although she herself does not actually appear in the episode.
  • Agent Provocateur: One lord was tired of his son penchant for violence. He exiled him for a year and made him promised not fight or else he'll be stripped of his title. The son's half-brother took advantage of this and sent three thugs to goad into fights.
  • The Alcoholic: Aldebert Baufort loved wine too much and this led to the disaster in "The War Of The Seven Springs".
  • Animated Adaptation: The Smurfs cartoon show featured separate episodes of Johan and Peewit's adventures during Season 2, after which the characters became guest stars within the cartoon show's main episodes. (In foreign markets, the episodes were aired separately in their own cartoon show, using a modified version of The Smurfs Season 2 intro.) They were also the main characters in the animated movie version of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, released in Belgium in 1976, the United Kingdom in 1979, and in North America in 1983.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Partly. "Good language" (we're talking about a European 50's comic book for children) is mixed with supposed-medieval mild profanities such as "Morbleu!" or "Ventrebleu!". And Peewit "sings" in real Old French.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Zigzagged. Many villains are unscrupulous nobles who try to take over the barony or overthrow the King. On the other hand, there are equally a good number of nobles who treat their people well.
  • Art Evolution:
    • In his debut, Johan started as a child. A few pages later, he then inexplicably grown in a young teen. Next album he becomes the page we know today.
    • The Smurfs had five fingers and stiffer hats on their first appearance. Their houses were also different types and sizes of mushrooms.
  • Ash Face: In "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute", Peewit gives Johan and the King a cloud of ash in their faces when he tries out the magic flute for the first time.
  • Astral Projection: Hypnokinesis is a form of this which is used on Johan and Peewit in "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute" (a.k.a. "The Flute With Six Holes").
  • Bad Boss: When Boustroux's hideout is on fire, he decides to leave without warning his goons, who were asleep in another room.
  • Badass Grandpa: Amauri mistakenly insults the baron of Roucybeuf for being weak and old, prompting the old lord to punches him in the face and throw him out of a window.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The handsome Thierry of Plennevaux is turned into a dog by his rival the Baron of Maltrochu. Peewit also volunteers as a guinea pig for the transforming potion in order for an antidote to be found.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: In "The War Of The Seven Springs" (and its Animated Adaptation "The Haunted Castle"), Aldebert Baufort is prevented from joining his ancestors in eternal rest until the seven springs surrounding his estate are restored, and that the land is claimed by a true Baufort descendant carrying the family seal.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played straight, especially early in the series, as anyone who is beautiful is good and anyone who is ugly is evil. Things get a little less straight with the latest albums.
  • Beard of Evil: Guillaume (Basenhaut's evil advisor), Monulf (Fafnir's master), Maltrochu the evil baron.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The witch Sara granted Aldebert Baufort's wish to turn the Seven Springs' water into wine. This cause nothing but chaos in the land as everyone was too drunk too function normally.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Johan bring a friend who has been poisoned to Rachel, the witch. Rachel ask Johan what will be her reward for curing the man. Johan says "Nothing" and Rachel let out a huge "WHAT?!". Johan say that in exchange for curing his friend he'll vouch for her and the locals wont come after her. Rachel agree with his reasoning and start working on the cure.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Johan, mostly in the comic books and in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.
  • Breakout Character: The Smurfs got their own comic series that quickly eclipsed "Johan and Peewit" in popularity.
    • Also Peewit.
  • Butt-Monkey: Peewit just can't catch a break, being the comic relief and all.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The water magic stick.
  • Clear My Name: Before Peewit was formally introduced to the King and the court, someone had kidnapped the King's niece and placed the blame on Peewit.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: When they first meet, Peewit is hostile towards Johan. But after Johan manages to capture him, and in turn acts nice to Peewit's goat Biquette, the two quickly become friends.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Johan is chasing after Boustroux only to realize he doesn't have a weapon when the villain pulls out his sword.
    • Johan and Peewit jumped in the sea to escape a pursuing evil lord and his men. The lord leap in the water only to remember that he doesn't know how to swim.
  • Dreadful Musician: Peewit.
  • The Dung Ages: When Maltrochu's servant suggest his master take a bath before his wedding, Maltrochu felt insulted and said he already had one three years ago.
  • Dying Alone: When everyone left the castle and his land, lord Aldebert Baufort was all alone and died without anyone at his side.
  • Early Installment Weirdness : Peewit doesn't appear until the third albums! For the first two albums the series was titled only Johan.
  • Easy Amnesia: Homnibus the wizard in "La Pierre de Lune".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The King is simply referred to as "the King". His name is never disclosed.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Anne, and Princess Savina in the Animated Adaptation. Counts as a straight Damsel in Distress.
    • Inverted in "The Night of Sorcerers". There's a princess, but much to Peewit's horror, she's an ill-tempered old witch.
  • Face Palm:
    • Johan makes one when Peewit turned the King's crown into lead.
    • During the Crusades, the King wondered what possessed Sir Godefroy to foolishly court the Emir's daughter in front of the Emir, earning his anger. Sir Godefroy said he couldn't help himself and then he start daydreaming about her, prompting the King to slap his hand over his face.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: When trying to distract an evil lord, Peewit prepared him a meal with nothing but hot spices. Johan was skeptical and took a sample only to breathe fire and ran around to fetch water. However, when the evil lord ate the meal he found it very delicious. Peewit wondered if he didn't put enough spice and tried a nibble only to panic as it was too hot for him.
  • Flying Broomstick: Sarah the witch has one.
    • Peewit tries one out in "La Pierre de Lune", manages to get it airborne and then crashes into a wall.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: The Wonder Wine that Peewit drank in Rachel's cabin in "The War Of The Seven Springs" was changed to Laughing Water which he doused upon himself in the Animated Adaptation episode "The Haunted Castle".
  • Good for Bad: In The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, Peewit tries and fails to swap out one of the magic flutes for a fake.
  • Haunted Castle: Baufort Castle in the comic book story "The War Of The Seven Springs" (and its Animated Adaptation counterpart "The Haunted Castle") is haunted by its ancestor Aldebert Baufort, because he had caused the seven springs surrounding his castle to dry up due to his selfish desire for more wine to drink, and thus is Barred from the Afterlife until the seven springs are restored and a true Baufort descendant who carries the family seal comes to reclaim the castle.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Johan is asexual as most of the comic book heroes of his time, while Peewit can be troubled by beautiful women.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Peewit. Played straight in his animated adventures, implied in the comics.
  • Horny Vikings
  • Hypocritical Humour: Peewit is very quick to make fun of people who do exactly the same thing he was doing sometimes only a few panels before (being afraid of a ghost, enjoying acclamations from the populace...)
  • I Want My Mommy!: Peewit, in his animated appearances, and also in "The War Of The Seven Springs".
  • Long-Lost Relative: Played with, the Bauforts who wants to claim the now fertile land says they are distant cousins, it's not clear if they are telling the truth either. The good Baufort's emissary shows up with the family's sigil and a more direct bloodline.
    Peewit: Of course he is the third degree cousin of the stepson of Aldebert.
    Emissary: No, Aldebert is his granduncle.
  • Long Runner
  • Made of Indestructium:
    • The magic flute from "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute". The King tries to burn it to prevent Peewit from finding it, but the flute comes out of the fire completely unscratched. It's the first sign to Johan and the King that something's not right about the flute.
    • The King locked himself in his private cellar to escape a treacherous baron who was after his crown. The baron ordered his goons to break down the door. The King just laugh it off saying the oaken door is heavy and reinforced with iron. Soon after, the goons broke their tools and the door didn't had any dent. After many hours of trying and failing, the goons just tore down the stone wall next to the door. Oops.
  • Magic Music: The Smurfs and the Magic Flute featured a flute that made people dance to its tune.
  • Medieval Morons: When Johan is chasing Boustroux, two peasants spotted them. They wonder who they should be helping and eventually settled for Boustroux despite his sinister look and dark clothes. Since his clothes are fancier, he's probably a noble in distress while the young man must be a ruffian.
  • The Middle Ages
  • Mighty Whitey: One of the King's knight died during the Crusades. Years later however, he's revealed to be alive. Desert Bandits found him and nursed him back to health while keeping him prisoner. He soon joined them and converted to Islamic faith. Years later, he became their leader and his gang became the most fearsome brigands in the land.
  • Miles Gloriosus: A traveler at a castle started boasting about his combat abilities and span tales of defeating leagues of enemies. The next day, Johan and the traveler were both were ambushed by bandits. Johan praised the traveler's fighting prowess, in an attempt to intimidate the bandits into releasing them. Unimpressed, the bandits challenged the traveler to hand-to-hand combat and melee duel where he got beaten severely. Johan then say that they should all gang on him and see how mighty he is. Panicked, the traveler yelled that he spurred lies of his heroic deeds because he was too cowardly to fight. The bandits then shed their disguises and revealed that they were the king's guards. Johan explained he had a hard time believing his tales, so he set up this whole charade. The traveler didn't held any grudge, but asked everyone to keep this whole thing a secret which everyone agreed.
  • Mistaken Age: Much to his frustration, Peewit will sometime get mistaken for a child because of his height.
  • Mordor: The Cursed Land, the original home of The Smurfs, which in their own series and the Animated Adaptation of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute would be retconned into the Smurf Forest.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Peewit's name in the English language books and cartoon episodes is usually pronounced Pee-Wee.note  The TV series intro pronounces the name just as it is spelled.
  • No-Sell: Peewit trying to slay the dragon while it sleeps. The dragon is unharmed and the sword is battered.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: de Boustroux's spell in La Pierre de Lune: "Lapis lunae, lapis parva, face mihi durum..."
  • Our Dragons Are Different: With a little magic trick, Fafnir ends up throwing water.
  • Philosopher's Stone: Inverted. Peewit created a Philosopher's stone that turned gold into lead. He used the King's golden crown as a demonstration, so you can guess how well that went.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Their episodes in Season 2 of The Smurfs cartoon show.
  • Prince and Pauper: The episode "The Prince And The Peewit".
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Princess Savina in the Animated Adaptation wears pink as part of her royal dress.
  • Punny Name: Basenhaut's name is a made up of words that mean "low to high".
  • Quicksand Sucks: On the way to the Cursed Land, Johan fell in a quicksand and Peewit has to save him.
  • Red Herring: In the "The Master of Roucybeuf", Sir Hugues return to his land and quickly notice it has fallen in hard times and his father, the lord, has mysteriously vanished. His younger brother Bertrand is running the barony and is only interested in drinking and gambling. Readers quickly identify him as the perpetrator. In reality, his uncle Amauri is responsible for all the woes plaguing the land.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Homnibus the enchanter, who also sports the requisite Wizard Beard.
  • Running Gag:
    • Peewit getting seasick as soon as he set foot on a boat. He will always be lamenting that he's going to die, while someone else on the boat will always reassure him that he won't.
    • Johan getting an idea and asking Peewit to help him, prompting the latter to ask what his idea is. Johan will always reply that he'll explain it later and a frustrated Peewit will always reply "Later, always later!".
  • Set Swords to "Stun"
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: in "The War Of The Seven Springs", Peewit's 'shortcut' is the reason he and Johan get lost and end up in the haunted castle of Aldebert Baufort in the first place, thus kicking off the plot. Later in the same story, Peewit's shortcuts prevent the two from reaching Baufort's true heir in time to warn him that the other potential heirs are plotting against him.
  • Shot in the Ass: In "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute", Johan accidentally shoots an arrow into somebody's ass when Peewit messes up his aim by playing the magic flute.
  • Too Dumb to Live: During the Crusades, the King and two of his knights were captured by a local Emir. One of the knight was, Sir Godefroy, fell in love with Aicha, the Emir's daughter. He started to court her... in front of his father, which prompt him to order the trio's execution, first thing in the morning.
  • Treasure Map: Tired of Peewit's music, Johan tricked him into exchanging his mandore for a fake treasure map. Peewit go on a very long treasure hunt while Johan and the King enjoy some quiet time at the castle. However, the fake map truly led to a treasure stash and Peewit use it to buy many new music instruments, including a new mandore.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: In the adventure "The Cursed Land" (Le Pays Maudit), the duo is crossing a bog on a raft when they notice Will o'the Wisps. Unfortunately the King is traveling with them, and superstitious; he soon causes the raft to capsize.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Frenche: Averted when Peewit is singing. Ear-grating though his songs are, he at least sings them in genuine medieval French. "Ge sui juglères de vièle, Si sai de muse et de frestele (...) De l'salteire et en la rote, Sai je bien chanter une note."

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