Bertie Cow & Miss Bovina

GENUS PEDIGREE: Anthropomorphic cows
KNOWN ALIASES: Calfie (Bertie Cow)
KNOWN RELATIVES: Clarabelle Cow; Sarabelle Cow; Itsy-Betsy.
KNOWN PETS: unknown
1st PRINT APPEARANCE: Bertie in "Silly Symphony featuring Pluto the Pup" #36 in "Cousin Calfie" (Sunday Strip - Sep. 8, 1940); Miss Bovina inpossibly: "Walt Disney's Comics & Stories" #15 in "Mickey Gets the Drift" (Dec. 1941); Boniface possibly in "Topolino" #1636, in "Pippo e il giorno del tremore" (March 1987).
SIGNATURE: unknown

Clarabelle Cow's young cousin Bertie Cow first appeared as "Calfie" in the Sunday "Silly Symphony featuring Pluto the Pup" from September 8, 1940, where he manages to terrorize poor Pluto by Hubie Karp and Bob Grant. Next he appears in "Walt Disney's Comics & Stories" #36 in the tale called "Cousin Bertie" (Sep. 1943, recently reprinted in WDC&S #622). Bertie comes to visit his older cousin Clarabelle and mounts reign of terror starting with an unsuspecting Miss Bovina (who unwittingly blames Clarabelle for her injuries). He appears again in the very next issue of WDC&S in the tale "Bertie the Jinx" when he focuses his malicious mischief on poor Horace Horsecollar whom Clarabelle believes to be the culprit. These strips were drawn by Ken Hultgren and Vivie Risto.

Miss Bovina is Clarabelle's wealthy socialite aunt who appeared several times in the past, but has not been used for years. She may have first appeared in "Mickey Gets the Drift" (WDC&S #15, retold in a different fashion in "The Twins Quiet Down" from WDC&S #21) when she has a party in Mickey Mouse's home, and Morty & Ferdie are told to go to bed. The twins proceed to annoy Mickey several times throughout the night. However, the WDC&S #15 story appears to be a reprint from the "Mickey Mouse" newspaper strips, and may not be her first real appearance. Later, in "Goofy's Hollowe'en" (a primarily text story from WDC&S #38) she has another party and Goofy thinks he wasn't invited (his invitation was still in his mailbox). Goofy decides to learn proper etiquette. Then he invited all his friends (including Jose Carioca andMiss Bovina) to his house for a Hollowe'en party so he can show off his new skills. Miss Bovina plays a major role in this tale, in fact she is the whole reason for the tale. Jose's naivete concerning American Halloween parties is also important. Miss Bovina may have been a semi-regular in "Mickey Mouse" dailies.

Clarabelle's Cousin Boniface is an Brazillian creation whose origins are unclear. He appeared in a few stories from 1985 through 1986 (such as TL #1637, Mickey Mouse: "Topolino e i numeri del Lotto" TL #1676, Mickey Mouse: "Topolino e il passaggio in auto", TL #1682, Mickey Mouse: "Topolino e gli ossicini della fortuna", and TL #1703, Bonifacio e la sorte che non demorde"). Boniface appears to be a grown-up version of Bertie, although rather than playing mean-spirited pranks, he seems to be a simple, but good-natured man, sort of a Goofy-esque character whose neivete unfortunately leads to havoc. His main Brazillian artist was probably Roberto Fukue. There must have been some major influence from Bertie in Bonifacio's creation, perhaps even a borrowing of Bertie's nick name "The Jinx" and applying it litterally to the character of Bonifacio. On the surface Bonifacio appears to be an unnecessary duplication of effort, and the writers must have intended to use him in "Bertie-like" scenarios, but must have felt Bertie, himself, was too young for their plans. It is easy to see Bertie & Bonifacio as possibly being brothers (sharing a common genetic trait), though it would appear that while Bonifacio's *bad luck* is a naturally occurring phenomenon, Bertie's are intentionally inflicted. From the few stories I've seen, Bonifacio appears very genial, but by contrast, Bertie is a mean-spirited little brat, complete with angelic facade. Bertie calculates his michief, and enjoys seeing the harm he causes. On the other hand, Bonifacio seems too simple minded to have planned any of the *natural disasters* that occur when he is around. In fact Bonifacio seems to be just as much of a victim as others. Apparently he is, along with everyone else, fully aware of his being a naturally occurring bad luck charm. It would seem the writers intended for Bonifacio to be an oxymonronic character... even his name, Bonifacio, can be understood as meaning "congenial," even while he unwittingly brings a barrage of misfortune where ever he goes. Should a writer become inspired, posing a tale with both Bonifacio and Gladstone Gander together would be interesting. While Gladstone's Good Luck only relates to himself, could it possibly be countered by Bonifacio's Bad Luck which apparently is projected out onto others?

Clarabelle does have at least two other relatives worth mentioning. First there is a rather hyperactive niece who appears in WDC&S #346 in "AM&J: Triple-Sitter Trouble" named Betsy or rather "Itsy-Betsy" who proves to be too much for April May & June to baby-sit so they end up trading chores with Huey, Dewey & Louie who take advantage of the hyper-active Betsy (she pulls them around as an ox-and-cart) [not a very politically correct portrayal of a 4 y/o little cow-girl]. The other is Clarabelle's sister, Sarabelle Cow, who has appeared in the quarterly children's activity book, "Mickey Mouse Magazine." Sarabelle looks exactly like Clarabelle, except she is also depicted as wearing a blonde wig. She may have also been represented as the Clarabelle look-alike from the animation in the original "Mickey Mouse Club" introduction theme. Whether any of these characters will return is unknown, though it would seem that Bertie and Miss Bovina are the better candidates. One nice result of this data is that it proves that Clarabelle's character is actually far better developed than is usually assumed.


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