The adventure of King Smurf first started in Spirou magazine in 1964 as Le Schtroumpfissime (cf. illustrissimo — most illustrious — a term sometimes used to flatter European monarchs of the medieval and Renaissance period). While not the second story to appear in Spirou, it was the titular story to be published in book format.
In the original French book edition from 1965, the comic contains two stories, the titular one and Schtroumphonie en Ut, a story about the frustrated efforts of a Smurf to make some acceptable music and being tricked by Gargamel into playing an enchanted musical instrument which has a disastrous effect on his fellow Smurfs.
King Smurf (original French title: Le Schtroumpfissime) is the second comic book adventure of the Smurfs, and the name of the main fictional character who assumes power in the absence of Papa Smurf. The story was written and drawn by Peyo with Yvan Delporte as co-writer.
When Papa Smurf leaves the village for a few weeks in order to get some Euphorbia leaves, which he needs to complete an herbal potion for undisclosed use, the Smurfs are left with no leader. Arguments ensue when each Smurf claims the post, and are only resolved by the decision to have a vote, though everybody intends to votes for themselves.
One unnamed Smurf uses demagogic tactics, and makes promises to almost all the Smurfs, who agree to vote for him. He puts up posters, holds a parade, makes self-praising election speeches, and offers rounds of raspberry juice. Soon, the only candidate remaining is Brainy Smurf who, as usual, simply claims that he was the only suitable Smurf since, according to himself only, “Papa Smurf always said so”.
The Smurf thus wins with 98 votes — the other two votes go to Brainy Smurf, supported by himself and Clumsy Smurf: the winning Smurf had told Clumsy Smurf to vote for Brainy Smurf, expecting him to get it wrong when it came to the actual vote.
The winning Smurf then proceeds to put on golden-coloured clothes and asks the others to refer to him as “King Smurf”. To his anger, the Smurfs laugh off his pretence. Instead he resolves to teach them their place and becomes increasingly authoritarian. The Smurfs begin to despise him as he becomes corrupted by power: King Smurf imposes a repressive regime and installs an armed troop of guards, led by Hefty Smurf, punishing all opposition. He forces the Smurfs into building him a palace. When a present from Jokey explodes on King Smurf, Jokey is promptly imprisoned as a warning.