Germain et nousThe Smurfs

Thierry Culliford is a Belgian comics writer and the son of Peyo, the creator of 'The Smurfs'. He has continued his father's legacy since the 1980s. He was also the first comics writer for Frédéric Jannin's 'Germain et nous...'

Early life
Culliford was born in Uccle in 1955 and raised in an artistic environment. Several classic authors from the Golden Age of Spirou magazine frequently visited his family home, such as André Franquin, Maurice Tillieux, Jijé and Yvan Delporte, as did many of his father's co-workers, most notably Gos and François Walthéry. His mother Nine was also active in the production of Peyo's comics as a colorist.

Scriptwriting for 'Germain et nous'
Thierry was in his early twenties when he started working as a comics writer himself. He wrote the first series of gags of 'Germain et nous...', a comic strip about a gang of typical 1970s youngsters drawn by his childhood friend Frédéric Jannin. These early strips were published in Franquin and Delporte's Spirou supplement Le Trombone Illustré in 1977, after which the feature continued in Spirou's regular pages. Culliford remained associated with it until 1979, after which Jannin started writing the gags himself, or working with Serge Honorez and Yvan Delporte. Culliford's run on the strip was collected in the first and fifth album in 1979 and 1984.


First part of Culliford's strip for 'Er waren eens... Belgen'

The Bowling Balls
Culliford was a member of the post-punk/synthpop band The Bowling Balls, which originated as a fictional group in the 'Germain et nous' comic. Between 1978 and 1983 the band performed and released several singles on the Ariola label with a line-up consisting of Culliford, Jannin, Yvan Delporte's son Bert Bertrand and Christian Lanckvrind.

Other early work
Culliford was present as the artist of a comics page in the book 'Il était une fois... Les Belges'/'Er waren eens... Belgen' (1980), a collection of columns and comic pages published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgium. This particular story was based on a real-life anecdote about a journalist who was once invited to a late-night orgy and specifically told to appear in the nude, wearing only a tie. When the reporter entered the room however it turned out he had been tricked! All he saw was a very stuffy business party, with fully dressed and slightly embarrassed ladies and gentlemen.


Second part

Studio Peyo
When Peyo left his publisher Dupuis in the late 1980s, Thierry Culliford founded the art studio Cartoon Creation. Its goal was to produce artwork for merchandising with The Smurfs and the Smurfs theme park in Maizières-lès-Metz, France, while his sister Veronique's company IMPS was handling the business aspects. Affiliated artists were Daniel Desorgher, Bernard Swysen, Philippe Delzenne, Alain Maury, Pascal Garray, Eric Closter, José Grandmont and Luc Parthoens. Cartoon Creation furthermore launched a Smurfs magazine, published two Smurfs albums and created a remake of Peyo's earlier comic 'Pierrot et la lampe' in 1990-1991. The publishing rights of the Smurfs and Peyo's other creations were sold to the Brussels-based publisher Le Lombard in 1992, after which Thierry Culliford began to focus on scriptwriting. Cartoon Création was dissolved and the graphic studio was implemented in IMPS, which is still managed by Véronique Culliford in the Walloon Brabant town Genval.

Thierry Culliford worked together with his father on the script of what would become Peyo's swansong, 'Le Schtroumpf Financier' (1992). It was meant to be a return to the original albums, which contained more social satire instead of being plain children's stories. Since his father's death in 1992, Thierry has written many new albums in the series, sometimes in cooperation with Luc Parthoens or Alain Jost. Artists for these new productions are Alain Maury, Pascal Garray, Ludo Borecki, Jeroen De Coninck and Miguel Díaz Vizoso

Thierry Culliford was also involved in the relaunch of two of Peyo's other classic series. Since 1993, he has written several albums with 'Benoît Brisefer', the little boy with an immense strength. The scripts are regularly written in cooperation with Pascal Garray, Frédéric Jannin or Dugomier, while the artwork is handled by Garray. Between 1994 and and 2001 he also co-wrote four albums of the medieval series 'Johan et Pirlouit' with Yvan Delporte and Luc Parthoens, which were drawn by Alain Maury.

The Bowling Balls
The Bowling Balls (Fred Jannin, Thierry Culliford, Christian Lanckvrind, Bert Bertand)

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