Comic Book: Johan and Peewit

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.

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.

Tropes related to the characters can be found on this page.

Johan and Peewit provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Johan. He's the perfect page: strong, skilled, chivalrous, polite, helpful.
  • 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.
  • 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 "Vertubleu!". And Peewit "sings" in real Old French.
  • Art Evolution: The Smurfs had five fingers and stiffer hats on their first appearance. Their houses were also different types and sizes of mushrooms.
  • Ascended Extra: Peewit appeared in the third album and became Johan's Sidekick.
  • 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").
  • 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
  • Beard of Evil: Guillaume (Basenhaut's evil advisor), Monulf (Fafnir's master), Maltrochu the evil baron.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 last year.
  • Early Installment Weirdness : Peewit doesn't appear until the third albums! For the first two albums the series was titled only Johan.
  • 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.
  • Flying Broomstick: Sarah the witch has one.
  • 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
  • I Want My Mommy: Peewit, in his animated appearances, and also in "The War Of The Seven Springs".
  • Long Runner
  • Magic Music: The Smurfs and the Magic Flute featured a flute that made people dance to its tune.
  • The Middle Ages
  • 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.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: With a little magic trick, Fafnir ends up throwing water.
  • 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 word that means "low to high".
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Homnibus the enchanter, who also sports the requisite Wizard Beard.
  • Set Swords to Stun
  • 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.
  • 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 about a complot the other potential heirs are plotting against him.
  • 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."