Original title: Mr. Bonaventura
Characters: Signor Bonaventura, a dachshund dog, Barbariccia, Cecè
Author: Sergio Tofano
Courier for children
Year: 28 October 1917
Gender: Humorous cartoon
Recommended age: Children from 6 to 12 years old
One of the most important characters of Italian comics is Mr. Bonaventura, born from the brilliant imagination of the theater actor Sergio Tofano (aka Sto) and who was published in the pages of Corriere dei Piccoli on October 28, 1917, until 1943. His success continues to this day and is considered by many to be an icon of Italian children's literature, like Pinocchio and other classics. Sergio Tofano played the part of Mr. Bonaventura also in numerous theatrical performances and came to direct a film in 1941, starring Paolo Stoppa entitled "Cinderella and Mr. Bonaventura".
In the Corriere dei Piccoli from the 80s, Mr. Bonaventura appeared with new stories and a graphic reworking, by the well-known designer Carlo Peroni, while in 2000 and 2002, two short cartoons in 3D graphics were made by Gilberto Tofano and Marco Bigliazzi, which take up the famous stories: "Bonaventura and the boat" and "Bonaventura and the trunk" awarded at the Dervio Festival.
As for Bilbolbul, Quadratino, Fortunello and other characters of the Corriere dei Piccoli, the stories of Mr. Bonaventura are also told through a caption under the cartoon, in a kissed rhyme that almost always begins with the phrase "Here begins the misfortune of Mr. Bonaventura .. . ".
The story was enclosed in a page composed of eight vignettes, while the drawings with simple strokes conveyed all the naive purity of the character and his era, with stylized buildings and streets free of cars and traffic.
Mr. Bonavenura is characterized by an extravagant red tailcoat, a bowler hat and very wide white trousers. During his adventures he is always accompanied by a strange yellow dachshund dog, which very often turns out to be a decisive protagonist for the development of events.
At the beginning of each story, Mr. Bonaventura is always poor and hungry, looking for some occupation or some way to make ends meet, but thanks to his generosity and a good deal of fortuitous coincidences, he always manages to get some out of trouble. wealthy person and to be rewarded with "a million", which in the postwar period, given the inflation, has become the astronomical figure of "one billion" of lire. Each story has the same narrative scheme, therefore although it should be very rich, Bonaventure always begins his adventures poor and penniless.
A prominent personage is the inevitable enemy Barbariccia, a bald little guy, dressed in green and with a strange beard, who, envious of Bonaventura, always plots some spite. Inevitably, the misdeeds turn against him or, they are the motive of the lucky conclusions of the story in favor of the nice protagonist with the red tailcoat.
Most of the times, Mr. Bonaventura is rewarded by the very rich and vain Cecè, always the victim of some imminent trouble or ugly figure, which could damage his image in the eyes of the beautiful ladies. Fortunately, Bonaventure's daring situations always work to his advantage and for this, he rewards his savior with a million. This also happens with kings, barons or dukes of some phantom kingdom or principality.
Sometimes his son Pizzirì appears in the nursery rhymes, identical to him in everything, except for the fact that he is smaller.
In one story we find Mr. Bonaventura on a roof, trying to repair the long chimney of the stove. At that moment the handsome Cecè passes by, fully dressed with a very high top hat on his head, but he is crushed by a vase that falls on his head. The vain Cecè is mocked by passers-by, but Bonaventure carelessly drops the flue from the roof, which ends up right on the head of the very rich man. That long chimney looks exactly like the top hat he wore, so Cecè rewards Bonaventure with a million.
In the story "Bonaventure and the earthquake" of April 1926, we find the nice character who found a job in a rare book shop. A client arrives looking for a very rare and large Koran. Bonaventure to please him, goes around the world and finds the enormous volume in no less than Turkey. As he is about to deliver the book, the city is hit by an earthquake that causes all the houses to collapse. Bonaventure and the client are saved, finding shelter under the huge book that serves as a roof. So for saving his life and finding the precious Koran, the client rewards Bonaventure with a million.
In the story "Bonaventura and the sinister Barbariccia" of June 1929, we find Bonaventura and his dachshund dog, on the bridge of a river contemplating the slow flow of the current. Here a rower invites a sturdy lady to get on his slender boat, which, given the size of the lady, is about to sink. In that instant the evil Barbariccia, with a vigorous push, sends Bonaventure flying from the deck that lands on the boat. Having counterbalanced it with its weight, the boat avoids shipwreck and Bonaventure is rewarded by the very rich lady, with the sum of one million.
Another adventure with an unexpected ending is the one that sees Mr. Bonaventura, who, while wandering through the meadows, is gored by an angry bull. Bonaventura takes refuge in a tree and the scene is filmed by a director, who happened to be right nearby. Later the film will be shown in a movie theater and will be a huge success, so much so that Mr. Bonaventura will receive a million and a job from the owner of the cinema.
Around the twenties, some rather bizarre prototypes of motorcycles were born, such as the motor wheel. In a story of October 26, 1924, we find Mr. Bonaventura struggling with this strange vehicle. Our nice character, together with the yellow dachshund, venture along a steep country path, where, however, it gets stuck between the woods of a fence. The rubber motor wheel continues its run, until it reaches the sea just when the beautiful Cecè was about to drown, after having been vain in the eyes of a teacher. The huge tire will be providential, because it will act as a life preserver to rescue the rich benefactor, who will reward Bonaventura with the inevitable million.
Mr. Bonaventura and all names, images and registered trademarks are Copyright © Corriere dei Piccoli, Sergio Tofano and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.