Pete (also called Peg-Leg Pete, Pistol Pete and Black Pete, among other names) is an anthropomorphic cartoon character created in 1925 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. He is a character of The Walt Disney Company and often appears as a nemesis and the main antagonist in Mickey Mouse universe stories. He was originally an anthropomorphic bear but with the advent of Mickey Mouse in 1928, he was defined as a cat. Pete is the oldest continuing Disney character, having debuted three years before Mickey Mouse in the cartoon Alice Solves the Puzzle (1925).
Pete appeared in 67 animated short films between 1925 and 1954, having been featured in the Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons, and later in the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy cartoons. Pete's final appearance during this era was The Lone Chipmunks (1954), which was the final installment of a three-part Chip an' Dale series. He also appeared in the short films Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), The Prince and the Pauper (1990), Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), and Get a Horse! (2013).
Pete has also made many appearances in Disney comics, and often appeared as Sylvester Shyster's dimwitted sidekick in the Mickey Mouse comic strip. In the Italian comic production he has come to be the central character in comics from time to time. Pete later made several appearances in television, most extensively in Goof Troop (1992–1993) where he was given more continuity, having a family and a regular job as a used car salesman and is a friend (albeit a poor one) to Goofy. He reprises this incarnation in 1999's Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. Pete also appears in House of Mouse (2001–03) as the greedy property owner who's always trying devious ways and loop holes to get the club shut down.
Although Pete is often typecast as a villain, he has shown great versatility within the role, playing everything from a hardened criminal (The Dognapper, The Lone Chipmunks) to a legitimate authority figure (Moving Day, Donald Gets Drafted, Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip), and from a menacing trouble maker (Building a Building, Trombone Trouble) to a victim of mischief himself (Timber, The Vanishing Private). On some occasions, Pete has even played a sympathetic character, all the while maintaining his underlying menacing nature. (Symphony Hour, How to Be a Detective) He seems to have lost much of his antagonistic demeanor in his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse appearances and is today a largely friendly character, although his antics can occasionally prove an annoyance.
Comic book stories have depicted Pete as being descended from a long line of villains, highwaymen and outlaws. Even historical figures such as Attila the Hun, Blackbeard, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Billy The Kid, and Cao Cao have been included among his ancestors. His mother is known only as Maw Pete and was mentioned in the story "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold" by Carl Barks and Jack Hannah (first published October 1942) as a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Her first actual appearance however was in "The River Pirates" (first published September 1968) by Carl Fallberg and Paul Murry. The same story introduced Li'l Pete, Black Pete's fraternal twin brother who seems to be afflicted with dwarfism. In December 1998, the Mickey Mouse comic strip introduced an older sister of Pete. Petula is the television host of the cooking show Petula's Pantry. She finds time, however, to seek revenge against Mickey for condemning her "baby brother" to life imprisonment.
Better-known and more enduring as characters are two figures created by Romano Scarpa for Italian Disney comics. The first, Trudy Van Tubb, was introduced in Topolino e la collana Chirikawa (Mickey Mouse and the Chirikawa Necklace, first published on March 10, 1960). This female partner of Pete was presented as a childhood acquaintance of his: they are even shown as kids kidnapping Mickey when he was a baby. However, Trudy soon became Pete's girlfriend, his partner-in-crime and roommate—whenever they hold residence out of prison, that is. Their relationship seems to have evolved to a long-standing common-law marriage. This is occasionally used in contrast to Mickey's eternal engagement to Minnie Mouse and Goofy's determination to remain a bachelor. Trudy and Pete also have two hellion nephews named Pierino and Pieretto who often serve as foils for Mickey or Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse.
The second to be introduced is a cousin, the criminal scientist Portis (Plottigat in the original Italian version; English name first used in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 695, 2008). Portis first appeared in Topolino e il Pippo-lupo" (approximately Mickey Mouse and the Weregoof; January 9, 1977). Portis is a firm believer in the saying "knowledge is power". He considers himself superior to most others in both intellect and education, therefore a rightful leader. However, Portis often finds himself employed by gangs under Pete or even the Phantom Blot. Both of the latter are considered better connected within the Mouseton version of organized crime.