|The Wild Smurf|
|Original title||Le Schtroumpf Sauvage|
|Year of publication||1998|
"The Wild Smurf" (original French title Le Schtroumpf Sauvage) is a comic book story developed and published by Studio Peyo. It is loosely based on the cartoon show episode "Smurf On The Wild Side" and is mostly available in non-English language formats. It was released in English for North America on September 6, 2016 from Papercutz, with an additional story included called "School For Fairies" as well as several Pussycat comic strips.
On a hot summer day, the Smurfs deal with a stampede of animals fleeing from a forest fire that is slowly spreading to the Smurf Village. They try to form a chain to the river so that they can put out the fires with water, but as one Smurf gave the chain of Smurfs strainers instead of buckets by accident, it falls on Papa Smurf to resort to blowing up the village dam to release a torrent of water that puts out the fire. However, both the fire and the flood end up destroying Farmer's crops, leaving the Smurfs with very little food for the winter.
Papa Smurf then has his little Smurfs take a journey to the northern part of the forest where they could gather up food before they return and rebuild the village. As they gather up food they are visited by a mysterious Smurf-sized figure watching them. In the meantime, Gargamel goes out into the forest and sees that all his animal traps are now empty when he accidentally finds himself in the Smurf Village, which he notices is left in ruins, leaving the evil wizard to think that they are gone for good. The Smurfs return to find Gargamel's footprints left behind, which makes Papa Smurf realize that humans can now find their way to the Smurf Village.
During winter, as the Smurfs now live in their refurbished village, Farmer Smurf notices that somebody has been stealing a bag of nuts from the storehouse. The village leader has Handy get some padlocks to seal the doors closed, but later on after Poet Smurf's recital in the Smurf Theater, Handy and a few other Smurfs discover that the padlocks are broken. They enter the storehouse to find out who's responsible when they see the thief, whom one Smurf recognizes as the mysterious watcher in the woods. They try to stop him as he flees, but they were unsuccessful.
Papa Smurf comes up with a plan to deal with their thief. The following night, the mysterious figure returns to the storehouse, only to set off a trap that snares him in a cage. The Smurfs quickly enter to find out who the thief is when they see that it is a Smurf wearing a leaf-woven Smurf hat and a bush for a loin covering. Brainy thinks that that Smurf is Jokey until he bites him in the finger, to which he responds by calling him a "wild Smurf". The captured Smurf breaks out of his cage and escapes into the woods, leaving the other Smurfs wondering who he is.
As Papa Smurf spends the night looking through the Big Book Of The Smurfs which records their history, he discovers and surmises that this "wild Smurf" must be "the lost Smurf" who was supposed to arrive via stork in the Smurf Village years ago as a baby that somehow got lost in the forest. The village leader and a few other Smurfs go into the forest to find that Smurf, discovering that he has been living with a family of squirrels, which Papa Smurf believes must have raised him since he was a baby. But then the "wild Smurf" detects their presence in the woods and chases after them until he hears a squirrel crying for help as he is being swept away down the river. He goes into the water to save the squirrel, but he is also being swept downriver as he grabs the squirrel. Brainy, who was trying to get his scarf after it was blown down to a branch by the river's edge, ends up rescuing the "wild Smurf" with the scarf, causing him to become friends with Brainy. Papa Smurf sees this as a good sign and offers the "wild Smurf" a place for him and his squirrels to stay in the village during the winter.
Upon his return to the village, the newly-named Wild Smurf is treated to a meal prepared by Chef Smurf, but his table manners put off Brainy, who offers to teach the village's new guest proper village conduct. He first takes him to Tailor's shop, where the village clothes maker tries Wild Smurf out in regular Smurf clothes, but after finding that those clothes are too uncomfortable on his customer, Tailor makes for him a loincloth to wear instead. Next, after passing by Smurfette and dealing with Wild being attracted to her, Brainy tries to teach Wild how to speak in Smurf language, but Wild is too interested in eating the crayons and drinking the ink on his school desk. Over the course of the winter, Brainy feels that all his efforts in trying to domesticate Wild Smurf were not working, when out of the blue Wild finally says his first word "smurf".
By springtime, the forest's greenery is slowly being restored, and Smurfette takes Wild out on a picnic when she notices a rabbit caught in a trap. She begins to wonder who set up the trap when Gargamel appears, not expecting the Smurfs but ready to capture those two anyway. However, Wild proves to be too difficult for Gargamel to catch, as he hops around and defeats the wizard. Unfortunately, with the forest not dense enough to hide the Smurf Village, Gargamel can now find the Smurfs and capture them. Wild Smurf comes up with a plan to defeat the wizard's efforts in capturing them: by having the Smurfs dressed in leaves similar to how Wild Smurf first appeared unto them, the Smurfs fool Gargamel into believing that they no longer are in the village or anywhere in the forest. The wizard tries to counter their efforts by disguising himself as a tree stump, but after Wild Smurf has rescued the Smurf their adversary has captured, Gargamel chases after Wild, who then leads the wizard on a wild-goose chase only to be found by some human guards and put into a dungeon for being a lunatic.
At the end of the story, Wild chooses to continue living out in the forest instead of with his fellow Smurfs. Gargamel comes out of custody months later, though, and finds out that the forest has regrown to the point where he can't find the Smurf Village again.
- Compared to the origin story of Wild Smurf in the cartoon show, where the young Smurfs were all depicted as babies during the flashback sequence, here in this version the young Smurfs appear at the same physical ages in the flashback sequence as they do in the present time of the story. However, it's also possible that these weren't the same Smurfs, but Papa Smurf's generational peers instead (the almost monochromatic nature of the flashback makes it difficult to know if they wear white or red)
- The story references "Hunger In The Smurfs" as the previous time in the comic book series that the Smurfs found themselves without food for the winter.
- This is one of the mainstream media Smurf stories that invoke the Exposed To The Elements trope mentioned on TV Tropes, as the Smurfs hardly wear anything heavier than a scarf to protect themselves from the wintry weather.