Bombing the Smurfs

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Wow. This is just too weird not to share.

The estate of Peyo has allowed his creation, the Smurfs – Les Schtroumpfs in their native Belgium – to be used by UNICEF in an ad campaign calling attention to the impact of war on children. Here’s a download of a still-shot WMV version of the ad.

The ad begins with an account of children in Africa wounded, some losing limbs, by war.

Then it cuts to a familiar woods, and a Belgian version of the "Tra La La La La La" song…

A sight of Smurf village…

Then we see bombs falling, explosions…

Carnage as the Smurfs run for cover – at least, those who can…

And Baby Smurf in the wreckage, crying amid the dead bodies.

Then they cut to a UNICEF meeting with some promotional material of the same scenario, then back to the African children.

This is both ballsy and surreal. But mostly surreal. The ad will not be aired before 9PM, minimizing the chance of children seeing these rather traumatic images. (Yeah, right.)

It reminds me vaguely of Wally Wood’s infamous Disneyland Memorial Orgy in its subversion of childhood iconography. Except this isn’t a sly satire but a worldwide organization trying to make an important point in an unexpected fashion. Whether or not this makes it more acceptable or even laudable, I’m not sure. It’s certainly caught people’s attention.

So what will follow? American comics have made their icons more mature through books like The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen. Are we going to see the same in classic Eurocomics, a bursting of metaphors at the seams?  Will we see Lucky Luke torturing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib? (He’s a cowboy, after all, and so a symbol of America.) Or perhaps Asterix and Obelix raping and pillaging in graphic detail? Journalist Tintin being kidnapped by terrorists and have his head chopped off on-camera? The possibilities are endless.

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One Response to “Bombing the Smurfs”
  1. japonaliya says:

    Wow! Yes, weird, and very upsetting….not the kind of thing you want to view with your “Morning Kohe”… I am not relly complaining..but what does this have to do with my innocent fantasies of J-pop???????????????