8 Massive Franchises You Didn't Realise Started As Comic Books

8. The Smurfs

Columbia Pictures

Despite originating as supporting characters in Belgian cartoonist Peyo's popular comic series, Johan and Peewit, The Smurfs has gone on to become one of the most recognisable franchises in the world, with an enormous range of themed merchandise as well as numerous film and TV adaptations.

As a result of their eponymous Hanna-Barbera-produced animated TV series, which first aired on NBC in 1981, The Smurfs were launched into mainstream popular culture and have resided there ever since.

Following the TV series' success, the franchise diversified into numerous media, including music, video games, theme park rides, and even a Smurfs on Ice show in Ice Capades' travelling entertainment shows.

The franchise has also received considerable success with feature films, including Sony Pictures' live-action/computer-generated films - 2011's The Smurfs and its 2013's sequel The Smurfs 2 - which collectively grossed over $900 million and featured Neil Patrick Harris and Katy Perry in leading roles.


Student, part-time freelance writer, holder of many questionable opinions and impassioned hater of Lord Of The Rings (disagree? Find me on Twitter, @JoshSandy)