Penguin from Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition (March 2008). Art by Brian Bolland.
|First appearance||Detective Comics #58 (December 1941)|
|Created by||Bill Finger
|Alter ego||Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot|
|Team affiliations||Injustice League
|Notable aliases||Matthew Richardson
The Gentleman of Crime
The King of Gotham
The Penguin (Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #58 (December 1941) and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. The Penguin is one of Batman's most enduring enemies and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up Batman's rogues gallery.
The Penguin is a Gotham City mobster who fancies himself a "gentleman of crime", often wearing a top hat and tuxedo. The character is a short, obese man with a long nose, and he uses high-tech umbrellas for weapons. The Penguin runs a nightclub called Iceberg Lounge, which provides a cover for his criminal activity, and Batman sometimes uses the nightclub as a source of criminal underworld information. Unlike most of Batman's rogues gallery, the Penguin is sane and in control of his actions, giving him a unique relationship with Batman. According to Kane, the character was inspired from the then advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes – a penguin with a top hat and cane. Finger thought the image of high-society gentlemen in tuxedos was reminiscent of emperor penguins.
The character has been featured in various media adaptations, such as feature films, television series, and video games. For example, the Penguin has been voiced by Paul Williams and David Ogden Stiers in the DC animated universe, Tom Kenny in The Batman, and Nolan North in the Batman: Arkham series. His live-action portrayals include Burgess Meredith in the 1960s Batman television series and its spinoff film, Danny DeVito in Batman Returns, and Robin Lord Taylor in the television series Gotham.
The Penguin has repeatedly been named one of the best Batman villains, and one of the greatest villains in comics, and, paradoxically, has also been described by others as among the least convincing. Penguin was ranked #51 in IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.
- 1 Fictional character biography
- 2 Characterization
- 3 Other versions
- 4 In other media
- 5 Politics
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Fictional character biography
Born Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, the Penguin was bullied as a child for his short stature, weight, and beak-like nose. Several stories relate that he was forced, as a child, always to carry an umbrella by his overprotective mother due to his father's death from pneumonia. His mother owned pet birds that Cobblepot lavished with attention, and that served as his only friends growing up. His love of birds would eventually lead him to study ornithology in college. In some versions, Cobblepot turns to crime after his mother dies and the birds are repossessed to pay her debts. In others, he is an outcast in his high-society family and their rejection drives him to become a criminal. In keeping with his aristocratic origins, the Penguin pursues his criminal career with class: He prefers formal wear such as a top hat, monocle and tuxedo, especially of the "white-tie-and-tails" design. He is one of the relatively few villains in Batman's rogues gallery who is completely sane, albeit completely ruthless and capable of extreme violence. He is also highly intelligent, and can match wits even with Batman.
Originally known only by his alias, the Penguin first appeared in Gotham City as a skilled thief, sneaking a priceless painting out of the museum by hiding the rolled-up canvas in the handle of his umbrella. The Penguin later used the canvas as proof of his intellect to a local mob, which he was then allowed to join. With the Penguin's help, the mob pulled off a string of ingenious heists, but the mob's leader and the "be-monocled bird" eventually fell out, leading Cobblepot to kill him with his umbrella gun. The Penguin became leader of the mob and attempted to neutralize Batman by framing him for theft. The Penguin's plans were eventually prevented, but the bandit himself escaped.
The Penguin was a persistent nemesis for Batman and Robin throughout the Golden and Silver Ages, pulling off ploy after ploy, such as teaming up with the Joker, attempting to extort money from a shipping company by pretending to flash-freeze a member of its board of directors, and participating in Hugo Strange's auction of Batman's secret identity.
The Penguin made his last appearance during the last appearance of the Earth-One Batman. After he and a multitude of Batman's enemies are broken out of Arkham Asylum and Gotham State Penitentiary by Ra's al Ghul, the Penguin carries out Ra's' plans to kidnap Batman's friends and allies. The Penguin, along with the Joker, the Mad Hatter, Cavalier, Deadshot and Killer Moth, lay siege to Gotham City Police Headquarters, but are infuriated when the Joker sabotages their attempt at holding Commissioner James Gordon for ransom. A standoff ensues, with the Joker on one side and the Penguin and the Mad Hatter on the other. The Joker quickly subdues both with a burst of laughing gas from one of his many gadgets.
Following the Crisis rebooting the history of the DC Universe, the Penguin was relegated to sporadic appearances, until writer Alan Grant (who had earlier penned the Penguin origin story "The Killing Peck") and artist Norm Breyfogle brought him back, deadlier than ever. During the era of Tim Drake as Robin, the Penguin forms a brief partnership with hypnotist Mortimer Kadaver, who helps him fake his own death as a ploy to strike an unsuspecting Gotham. The Penguin later kills Kadaver, after plugging his own ears with toilet paper so that the hypnotist no longer has power over him.
After Batman foils this particular endeavor, the Penguin embarks on one of his grandest schemes in the three-part story "The Penguin Affair". Finding Harold Allnut being tormented by two gang members, the Penguin takes in the technologically gifted hunchback, showing him kindness in exchange for services. Harold builds a gadget that allows the Penguin to control flocks of birds from miles away, which the Penguin utilizes to destroy radio communications in Gotham and crash a passenger plane. This endeavor, too, is foiled by Batman, who hires Harold as his mechanic.
The Penguin resurfaces during Jean Paul Valley's tenure as Batman, and is one of the few to deduce that Valley is not the original Caped Crusader. To confirm his theory, he kidnaps Sarah Essen Gordon, places her in a death-trap set to go off at midnight, and turns himself in, utilizing the opportunity to mock her husband Commissioner Gordon as midnight approaches. An increasingly infuriated Gordon is nearly driven to throw him off the police headquarters roof before Valley rescues Sarah moments before midnight. As Valley leaves, he says, "There's nothing the Penguin can throw at me that I haven't encountered before." The Penguin reluctantly agrees with this sentiment, accepting that he has become passé.
Subsequently, the Penguin turns his attentions to a new modus operandi, operating behind the front of a legitimate restaurant and casino he calls "The Iceberg Lounge", which Batman sometimes uses as a source of criminal underworld information. Though he is arrested for criminal activities several times during the course of his "reform", he always manages to secure a release from prison thanks to his high-priced lawyers.
In the storyline "No Man's Land", Gotham City is nearly leveled by an earthquake. The Penguin stays behind when the US government blockades the city. He becomes one of the major players in the lawless city, using his connections to profit by trading the money that nobody else in Gotham could use for goods through his contacts outside the city. One of these connections is discovered to be Lex Luthor and his company, LexCorp. Penguin's information helps Luthor to gain control of Gotham's property records, but Luthor dismisses him when Penguin attempts to blackmail Luthor.
The Penguin is swept up in the events of Infinite Crisis. In the seventh issue, he is briefly seen as part of the Battle of Metropolis, a multi-character brawl started by the Secret Society of Super Villains. The Penguin, along with several other villains, is bowled over at the surprise appearance of Bart Allen.
One Year Later, while the Penguin is away from Gotham City, the Great White Shark and Tally Man kill many of the villains who had worked for him, and frame the reformed Harvey Dent. Great White had planned to take over Gotham's criminal syndicate and eliminate the competition, the Penguin included. Upon his return to Gotham, the Penguin continues to claim that he has gone straight, and reopens the Iceberg, selling overpriced Penguin merchandise. He urges the Riddler to avoid crime, as their new shady but legal lifestyle is more lucrative.
The Penguin was featured as a prominent figure in the Gotham Underground tie-in to the series Countdown. He fights a gang war against Tobias Whale and Intergang while supposedly running an "underground railroad" for criminals. At the end, Batman convinces Penguin to become his informant.
The Penguin later loses Batman's support after the latter's mysterious disappearance and Intergang's exploitation of the return of the Apokoliptan Gods. He appears in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground, which depicts the effects of Batman's disappearance on his enemies.
During the events of Brightest Day, the Birds of Prey discover the Penguin beaten and stabbed at the feet of the White Canary. The Birds rescue him and flee to the Iceberg. While recovering, the Penguin expresses his attraction to Dove. Eventually, the Penguin reveals that his injury had been a ruse, and that he is working with the White Canary in exchange for valuable computer files on the superhero community. He betrays the Birds and seriously injures both Lady Blackhawk and Hawk before the Huntress defeats him. The Huntress tapes him up with the intention of taking him with her, only to be informed by Oracle that she has to let him go due to a police manhunt for the Birds. The Huntress considers killing him with her crossbow, but ultimately leaves him bound and gagged in an alley with the promise that she would exact her vengeance on him later.
The Penguin is eventually attacked by the Secret Six, who kill many of his guards in an ambush at his mansion. Bane informs him that he needs information on Batman's partners, as he plans on killing Red Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Azrael. The Penguin soon betrays the team's location, which results in the Justice League, the Teen Titans, the Birds of Prey, the Justice Society, and various other heroes hunting down and capturing the criminals.
Around this time, a new super-villain, who called himself the Architect, plants a bomb in the Iceberg Lounge as revenge for crimes committed by the Penguin's ancestor. Though Blackbat and Robin are able to evacuate the building, the Lounge is destroyed in the ensuing explosion.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), the Penguin is a client of a criminal named Raju who was sent to offer gold to Dollmaker for Batman's release. While in his Iceberg Casino, the Penguin views a disguised Charlotte Rivers on his surveillance cameras and he tells his henchwoman Lark to make sure Rivers gets "a story to die for". During the Death of the Family crossover, the Penguin puts his right-hand man Ignatius Ogilvy in charge of his operations in his temporary absence. Ogilvy, however, uses the Penguin's absence to declare him dead, taking over his gang and killing those loyal to him. Under the alias of Emperor Penguin, Ogilvy takes over the Penguin's operations. Upon the Joker's defeat, Batman unsuccessfully attempts to imprison the Penguin in Blackgate Penitentiary only to be forced to release him later. Upon learning of Ogilvy's betrayal, the Penguin attacks his former henchman's new empire, but Batman intervenes and arrests him. The Penguin is found not guilty, however, thanks to the machinations of his ally Mr. Combustible. Meanwhile, Ogilvy releases Kirk Langstrom's Man-Bat serum on Gotham City, turning many of the citizens into the creatures. Langstrom discovers a cure, returning the citizens to normal. Ogilvy then takes the serum himself, along with additions made by Poison Ivy. Emperor Penguin then challenges Batman openly to a fight, defeating the masked vigilante with his newfound prowess, and leaving him to be rescued by the Penguin. The pair forge a temporary alliance, and defeat Ogilvy.
The Penguin also played a role in Black Canary's rebooted origin. In Birds of Prey vol. 4 #0, Dinah sought to land a job at Iceberg Lounge, knowing that a lead on the Basilisk organization which she was pursuing would soon spring up there. Unfortunately, the Penguin was not in the habit of taking job applications, so she decided to prove her worth by infiltrating the outfit by herself. When she arrived in the Penguin's bathroom, he was unimpressed. To prove her worth, she demonstrated her special ability: a sonic scream that could shake down the roof, if it were intense enough. Naturally the scream alerted Penguin's henchmen, and she made short work of them with her martial arts skills. Finally impressed, Penguin hired her, and dubbed her Black Canary in keeping with the ornithological theme.
During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Penguin is among the villains recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains. With the heroes gone, Penguin becomes the Mayor of Gotham City and divides the different territories among the inmates of Arkham Asylum. Bane retrieves Ignatius Ogilvy (now calling himself Emperor Blackgate) for the Penguin as part of their agreement. When he brings him to the Penguin, he tells Emperor Penguin that the Arkham fighters are not scared of Bane as he does not instill fear as Batman did.
In the DC Rebirth reboot, Penguin is one of Gotham's top crime lords. He is allied with Black Mask and Great White Shark in an alliance known as "The Blacks & Whites" (Penguin's black hair and clothing, along with his sickly pale white face, contribute to this name). Together, they hire KGBeast to hunt down Batman. When two hunters jokingly suggest that Penguin be their duck decoy, Penguin burns them alive with his modified umbrella.
Skills and abilities
The Penguin is a master criminal who aspires to be wealthy, powerful and respected (or at least feared) by Gotham's high society. The Penguin's wealth gives him access to better resources than most other Batman villains, and he is able to mix with Gotham's elite, especially those he plans to target in his future crimes. He is also capable of returning to his luxurious lifestyle very easily despite his violent criminal history and prison record. He has even attempted multiple times to enter the political world, even launching expensive election campaigns. The Penguin also has strong connections with other criminal kingpins across Gotham, allowing him to hire their assassins and workers or to spy on them easily. The Penguin relies on cunning, wit, and intimidation to exploit his surroundings for profit, and he is normally depicted as being more rational and sane than other Batman villains, or at least relatively so.
Although he often delegates the dirty work to his henchmen, he is not above taking aggressive and lethal actions on his own, especially when provoked. In spite of his appearance and stature, he is a dangerous hand-to-hand combatant with enough self-taught skills in judo, ninjutsu, and bare-knuckle boxing to overwhelm attackers many times his size and physical bearing. The Penguin is usually portrayed as a capable physical combatant when he feels the situation calls for it, but his level of skill varies widely depending on the author; the character has been written both as a physical match for Batman and as someone the masked vigilante is capable of defeating with a solid punch. His crimes often revolve around stealing valuable bird-related items, and his car and other vehicles often have an avian theme.
The Penguin utilizes an assortment of umbrellas, particularly the Bulgarian umbrella. These usually contain weapons such as machine guns, sword tips, missiles, lasers, flamethrowers, and acid or poison gas spraying devices fired from the ferrule (however, the Penguin is able to weaponize his umbrellas in an almost unlimited variety of ways). Depending on the writer, some of his umbrellas can carry multiple weapons at once. He often carries an umbrella that can transform its canopy into a series of spinning blades: this can be used as a miniature helicopter or as an offensive weapon; he often uses this to escape a threatening situation. The canopy of the umbrella is sometimes depicted as being a bullet resistance shield, and some are patterned in different ways from a spiral capable of hypnotizing opponents to flashy signs. He can also call upon his flying birds to attack and confuse his enemies in battle.
The idea of the Penguin and the Joker as a team is one that is decades old, as the two villains, pop-culture wise, are arguably Batman's two most famous enemies. Their first meeting took place fairly early, in "Knights of Knavery". Since then, the two have teamed up countless times throughout the Golden and Silver Ages. This carried over into television as well; both appeared together as a team numerous times. They have even shown affection towards each other on more than one occasion; in one story, the Joker actually cries when it appears that the Penguin has been murdered, and vows to avenge the Penguin's death.
The Penguin (mockingly referred to as "Abner" by the Joker) appeared in Joker, a graphic novel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. This incarnation operates the Iceberg Lounge, handles most of Joker's personal investments and deals with revenues from boxing matches.
In the Elseworlds story Batman: Crimson Mist, the third part in a trilogy that turned Batman into a vampire, the Penguin is the first of many criminals to be killed by the vampiric Batman after he surrenders to his darker instincts. Batman brutally tears the Penguin's throat out as he drinks his blood and subsequently decapitates his enemy to ensure that he cannot return as a vampire.
In The Doom That Came to Gotham, an Elseworlds setting based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Bruce Wayne is the leader of an expedition to Antarctica of which there is only one survivor. The rescue team finds no trace of him, but it is revealed to the reader that the now half-mad Cobblepot has abandoned his humanity, and joined the albino penguins of the Elder Things' city.
In the alternative timeline of Flashpoint, Oswald Cobblepot works as the security chief of Wayne Casinos, providing information about his clients and the criminal underworld to that universe's Batman, Thomas Wayne.
In Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Oswald Cobblepot is the corrupt mayor of Gotham City. He attempts to have Thomas Wayne, the opposing mayoral candidate, killed, but his plan fails. Wayne, along with his wife, are instead killed in a random mugging on election night. Cobblepot runs Gotham with an iron fist, controlling all the power centers of the city and using a hired killer named "Birthday Boy". He almost kills Batman with his umbrella (which conceals a blade) once he discovers Batman's secret identity, but Alfred Pennyworth shoots and kills him just in time. It is also implied that Cobblepot had James Gordon's wife murdered when the detective got too close to finding out Cobblepot's involvement with the Waynes' murder. He tries to do the same thing to Gordon's daughter Barbara by "sending" her to Birthday Boy, but she is saved by Batman, Gordon, and Harvey Bullock.
The Further Adventures of Batman Volume 2 featuring the Penguin
In the short story "Vulture: A Tale of the Penguin", by Steve Rasnic, the Penguin loses weight to the point of emaciation and becomes a vigilante, calling himself the Vulture.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
In the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, Penguin is first seen at the docks with the Shredder, selling him a WayneTech Resonance Engine, but Shredder betrays him and reveals he's already taken care of most of his men and plans on taking the engine himself. Shredder is then about to kill Penguin, but Penguin offers to provide him weapons and money for his plan in order to save himself. Shredder decides to spare Penguin, calling him "Bird Man." Shredder then uses the Iceberg Lounge as his base, where Penguin has engineers working on the resonance engine to power his machine. Shredder then reveals that he plans on bringing an army through the dimensional portal and take over Gotham City. Penguin objects, but Shredder threatens to kill him and tells him that he belongs to the Foot Clan. As Shredder gets ready to open the portal, Batman and the Ninja Turtles arrive to stop them, but Shredder destroys the portal and escapes with Ra's al Ghul. During the battle, Penguin escapes as well. Penguin then visits Batman, the Ninja Turtles, and Commissioner Gordon and tells them about Shredder's plans, betraying him. Penguin, though, doesn't agree with Shredder's plans and reveals that Shredder and the Foot Clan are now working with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins. Later, Robin and Casey Jones reveal that the League and the Foot are using Arkham Asylum as their base. When Batman and Robin arrive, they're greeted by Penguin, who's been mutated into a mutant penguin as punishment for betraying Shredder, along with The Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Bane, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Ventriloquist, who have all been mutated into mutant animals and attack Batman and Robin. Batman is captured, but Robin manages to escape. The Ninja Turtles and Splinter then arrive, where Splinter defeats the mutated villains, while Batman uses his new Intimidator Armor to defeat Shredder and the Turtles defeat Ra's. Later, Gordon tells Batman that the police scientists have managed to turn all of the inmates at Arkham back to normal and are currently in A.R.G.U.S. custody.
In other media
The Penguin is in the 1960s Batman television series, in which he was portrayed by Burgess Meredith. Spencer Tracy was offered the role but he said he would only accept the role if he was allowed to kill Batman. Meredith's performance is perhaps best remembered for his signature laugh, meant to mimic the squawk of a penguin. (One cause of the laugh was the cigarettes the character always smoked, which irritated Meredith's throat as he was a non-smoker.) His thugs wear black bowler hats and dark clothing adorned with names of various animals of prey, such as birds ("Hawk") or fish ("Shark"), or sometimes simply "Henchman". His prison cell is in the "Supervillains" section next to that of Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, Egghead, King Tut, and adjoining the cell of forger Ballpoint Baxter. In one episode, he claims to have been an actor. In the theatrical film spin-off, he commands a nuclear submarine painted to resemble a penguin. His given name, Oswald Cobblepot, was never used in this series or the film; by Joker's subordinates, and even in criminal court, he is identified instead as "Mr. Penguin". He occasionally uses "Mr. P. N. Guinn" as an alias. Burgess Meredith also made a brief cameo appearance as the Penguin in the 1968 episode of The Monkees titled "Monkees Blow Their Minds".
Robin Lord Taylor plays a young Oswald Cobblepot in the TV series Gotham, as one of the major characters in the show, and he also has been called the show's breakout character. This version of the character is a ruthless small-time criminal who, at the beginning of the series, works for mobster Fish Mooney. The series traces his rise to power and his journey to become the Penguin.
- The Penguin is a major character in Filmation's The Adventures of Batman, in which his character voice was provided by Ted Knight.
- Along with the Joker, the Penguin was one of the villains appearing in episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies – "The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair" and "The Caped Crusader Caper" – that were later combined on the DVD Scooby-Doo Meets Batman. He was once again voiced by Ted Knight.
- The Penguin was originally supposed to appear in the Challenge of the Super Friends season of Super Friends as a member of the Legion of Doom. However, due to Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman development, the Penguin was restricted to appear in the show.
- In Filmation's series The New Adventures of Batman, Penguin is voiced by Lennie Weinrib. He frequently rolls his 'r's and laughs in a manner similar to Burgess Meredith's portrayal. He appears in "Reading, Writing and Wronging", "Birds of a Feather Fool Around Together", and "Have an Evil Day, Parts 1 and 2".
- When the Penguin appeared in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode "The Case of the Stolen Powers", he was voiced by Robert Morse. He is shown in prison as a cellmate of Felix Faust. He gains Superman's superpowers by accident when Felix Faust tries to get them for himself. Batman is not featured in the episode. Using Superman's powers, he commits a crime wave where he manages to defeat Hawkman, Samurai, and Aquaman. Using a jet pack and a laser that emits energy of the Red Sun, Superman joins Wonder Woman and Firestorm into fighting the Penguin until Felix Faust's demons capture him. After Firestorm and Wonder Woman do a Kryptonite trick to get Felix Faust to return Superman's powers, the Penguin and Felix Faust are returned to prison—where they are cellmates again, much to the dismay of both villains.
- The character appeared in The Batman, voiced by Tom Kenny. In this continuity, the Penguin is primarily concerned with re-establishing the Cobblepot family name in society by stealing from the citizens of Gotham to rebuild his wealth. While he shares the comic incarnation's love for birds and aristocratic look, this Penguin retained a deformed appearance more similar to the Batman Returns incarnation, but with orange hair (similar to the crests on a rockhopper penguin) instead of black and balding, and sharp, pointy teeth, and fused fingers. When captured, he is placed in Arkham Asylum, despite the fact Penguin is sane in most other depictions. Additionally rather than being a gentleman as in most incarnations, he is portrayed as being rude, selfish, and arrogant. He is sometimes aided by two henchwomen, a masked pair called the Kabuki Twins, and is often partners with the Joker. In addition, he knows martial arts after training in Asia and is athletic enough to engage in hand-to-hand combat with Batman, dodging and parrying with his various trick umbrellas, even beating up the Joker in the episode "The Laughing Bat." He holds a grudge against Alfred Pennyworth because the Pennyworths left the service of the Cobblepots generations before. Unused concept art from the show indicates that a more classic version of Penguin was considered for the show.
- In the animated series Krypto the Superdog, the Penguin's trained birds, known as the Bad News Birds, are recurring foes of Krypto and Ace the Bat-Hound. The Bad News Birds consist of Artie the Puffin, Griff the Vulture (voiced by Matt Hill), and Waddles the Penguin (voiced by Terry Klassen). Although the Penguin is referenced in this series, he never makes an appearance.
- The Penguin is featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Stephen Root. In "Legends of the Dark Mite!", he appears in Bat-Mite's fantasy. In "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!", Batman ends up dealing with the Penguin's crime spree. When Batman is captured and placed in a deadly drinking bird trap, Aquaman comes to his rescue and gets shocked by the Penguin, who reveals that his umbrella drones will spread a paralytic gas over Gotham City. Aquaman manages to make contact with some crabs to free the family as the Penguin sics his minions on Batman and the Aquaman family. Batman redirects the umbrella drones into the ocean and then pursues the Penguin. Upon catching up to him at his submarine, Batman manages to jam the Penguin's umbrella with his cape and defeat him. He then cameos in "Chill of the Night!" as one of the villains at a weapons auction held by Joe Chill. The Penguin has a quick cameo in the teaser for "The Last Patrol!" and also appears in "Night of the Batmen!" fighting Aquaman in a Batman costume, only to be defeated later on.
- The Penguin is referred to multiple times in Beware the Batman. In "Animal", Harvey Dent and his Special Crime Unit are looking at a sketch of the Penguin, with Dent wondering if he just looks like a penguin or actually is one. In "Epitaph", a newspaper read by a cop has a headline about "Penguin Man" sightings. In the same episode, a news report ticker displays the headline "Oswald Cobblepot identified as the 'Penguin Man'".
- The Penguin appears in the Justice League Action episode "Double Cross," voiced by Dana Snyder. He is the one who hires Deadshot to take out Two-Face.
DC Animated Universe
- The Penguin is featured in the DC Animated Universe, voiced by Academy Award-winner Paul Williams in all his appearances, except in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, where he is voiced by David Ogden Stiers.
- Penguin appears in Batman: The Animated Series. This version of the character featured the Batman Returns version's physical deformities, such as flippers, a beak-like nose and an obvious hunch, but he retained the traditional refined mannerisms and personality of his comics counterpart, although he still refers to himself as a "bird". His most prominent appearances include the episodes "I've Got Batman in My Basement", "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", "Almost Got 'Im", "The Mechanic", "Birds of a Feather", "Blind as a Bat", and "Second Chance". He is the only villain in the series, other than the Joker, not to be given an origin story.
- Penguin returns in the 1997 follow-up to the original animated series, The New Batman Adventures. In this series, the character appeared more like his traditional comic book portrayal. His role was also similar to that in the comic books: a "legitimate" businessman and mob boss who runs a night club called "The Iceberg Lounge". He appears in "Joker's Millions", "The Ultimate Thrill", "Girl's Night Out", and "Judgment Day".
- The Penguin appears in Superman: The Animated Series, in the episode "Knight Time", in which Superman (disguised as Batman) and Robin interrogate him in order to find the Mad Hatter.
- Although the Penguin doesn't appear in Batman Beyond, one of the Penguin's outfits is seen on display in the Batcave in the episode "Black Out". Also, a stage actor playing him in the musical theater play The Legend of Batman is seen in the episode "Out of the Past". Albeit the character doesn't physically appear, when asked about the Penguin's fate, show's creator Paul Dini stated that the Penguin ended up retiring from the nightclubs industry (presumably closing the Iceberg Lounge) and opened a day care center, where the kids call him 'Uncle Pengy'.
- While the Penguin does not appear in Justice League Unlimited, his club, the Iceberg Lounge, makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of the episode "This Little Piggy". Batman also refers to an occasion where he had to impersonate a singer Penguin had kidnapped.
- Burgess Meredith reprised his role as the Penguin in the 1966 film Batman alongside several other villains from the television show.
- In the script written by Tom Mankiewicz for the unmade The Batman film, which was later made as the 1989 film Batman the Penguin was set to appear as an arms dealer with low body temperature, described as a "thin and tall man". Late actor Peter O'Toole was considered for the role.
- Danny DeVito portrayed the Penguin in Batman Returns. While this Penguin retained many trademarks, such as a variety of trick umbrellas and the use of a monocle, he was given a dramatic visual makeover. Where the comic version varies between a balding head of short cropped hair and varying degrees of thinning, this Penguin is still bald at the top but with his remaining length of hair long and stringy. His hands are flippers with a thumb and index finger, and the remaining three fingers fused together. An unidentified thick, dark green bile-like liquid sometimes trickles from his nose and mouth. Instead of a tuxedo, he wears a more gothic, Victorian-style outfit with a jabot as opposed to a bow tie. In certain scenes, he also wears black boots, a dickey, and a union suit. However, Burton's design maintained the top hat seen in the comics along with a monocle and a cigarette in some scenes. He also has penguin-like appetites, as shown in a scene where he devours a raw fish. Director Tim Burton, inspired by the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, re-imagined the character not as an eloquent gentleman of crime, but a deformed, psychopathic pervert of a killer who holds a homicidal grudge against the aristocrats of Gotham City. The film provides him a backstory in which his wealthy parents Tucker and Esther Cobblepot (Paul Reubens and Diane Salinger), who feared he would become a menace to society after watching him attack their cat, threw him into the sewer as a baby, but he survived and was raised by penguins who lived in the sewer lines at an abandoned zoo, and traveled in the Red Triangle Circus Gang's freak show as a child. 33 years later, he resurfaces as an adult to run for mayor of Gotham with the help of corrupt businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). Meanwhile, he plans to kill every first-born son of Gotham's elite, and teams up with Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) to frame Batman (Michael Keaton) for murder. Batman foils his scheme and the Penguin dies following a climactic duel with the Dark Knight where he succumbs to the wounds sustained from the fall from his ceiling and from the toxic sewage. His penguin family carries out a makeshift funeral, pushing his body into the water. DeVito's performance as the Penguin was praised by critics, who noted the more demented and darker portrayal of the character.
DC Extended Universe
Oswald Cobblepot / the Penguin is confirmed to exist within the franchise, as he is directly referenced in Justice League (2017). In a scene with dialogue between Bruce Wayne / Batman and Alfred Pennyworth, the latter makes a quip about how people used to only have to worry about "exploding wind-up penguins".
- He appears in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, this time voiced by David Ogden Stiers. The plot involves the Penguin, Rupert Thorne and Carlton Duquesne in an illegal arms deal with the President of Kasnia. Of the three Batwomen, the Penguin shares a personal history with Dr. Roxanne Ballantine; he framed her fiancée Kevin years before, which led him into prison in order to find evidence that would get his sentence commuted. When Batwoman proves to be more than he expected, the Penguin hires Bane to kill her. In the aftermath, he is arrested with Thorne and Duquesne.
- Tom Kenny reprised his role of Penguin in the animated movie The Batman vs. Dracula. In the movie, after escaping from Arkham Asylum, the Penguin, after accidentally nicking his hand on his umbrella knife and bleeding on a corpse, accidentally resurrects Count Dracula in the Gotham cemetery (while in search of buried treasure). Dracula then hypnotizes the Penguin to work for him and the Joker is turned into a vampire by Dracula despite Penguin's warnings. Batman later gives the Joker and the other vampires the antidote after several tests. Penguin is later released from the spell upon Dracula's death but is arrested for attempting to steal the treasure (which belonged to a criminal mob), and for trying to kill Vicki Vale for Dracula, and is thus returned to Arkham Asylum, since the police don't believe his rants about "vampires with big honkin' fangs".
- The Penguin appears in the animated film Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite (an adaptation of the video game of the same name), voiced by Steven Blum.
- The Penguin's umbrella can be seen in the Batcave in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, at the end of the film.
- The Penguin appears in Batman: Assault on Arkham, voiced again by Nolan North. He is hired by Amanda Waller to give the Suicide Squad arms, equipment, and shelter in his Iceberg Lounge for the night prior to their mission to infiltrate Arkham Asylum and take out the Riddler. He appears to have worked with Deadshot before and respects him as the city's best assassin, as he chooses to only work with the best, and he holds a grudge against the Joker and Harley Quinn for their having sunk a truck of his cigarettes "just for a laugh."
- The Penguin appears in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League, where he is voiced by Tom Kenny.
- The Penguin appears in Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, voiced by Dana Snyder. This version is more muscular and somewhat unevenly-shaped as his legs are smaller than the top half of his body. He appeared to have aged a bit due to his wrinkles and graying hair, although he is still very strong. His monocle is robotic, allowing him to secretly analyze his surroundings and listen in on conversations. Tired of the scorn he receives for his looks, he decides to destroy Gotham with meteorites. To this end, he forms his Animalitia, consisting of Cheetah, Killer Croc, Silverback, and Man-Bat. He cures Man-Bat of his affliction occasionally for the genius of Kirk Langstorm, who builds animal robots to serve as the Animalitia's army. His plan ends up foiled and he escapes into a pod, which unfortunately lands in Antartica. Snyder reprises his role as Penguin in the sequel Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants.
- The Penguin appears in the direct-to-video animated film Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, voiced again by Tom Kenny. He is among the villains that audition for a spot in the Legion of Doom. Penguin alongside Joker and Man-Bat are rejected because the Legion of Doom doesn't have enough parking spaces at their headquarters.
- The Penguin makes a cameo appearance at the end of Batman: Bad Blood, where he is seen in the middle of a car chase with the police and the Bat-Family members goes to stop him.
- The Penguin appears in Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Gotham City Breakout with Tom Kenny reprising his role. He is among the villains unintentionally freed from Arkham by Superman. Near the end of the movie, he is defeated by Cyborg and sent back to Arkham.
- The Penguin appears in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and its sequel Batman vs. Two-Face, voiced by William Salyers.
- The Penguin appears in The Lego Batman Movie voiced by John Venzon who was uncredited for the role. He appears as one of the numerous villains trying to destroy Gotham City. Unlike most of his performances in film, Penguin appears as a minor character and has only a couple of lines. His sickly appearance, outfit (mainly the spotted tie and fluffy coat), and pointed teeth are based on Danny DeVito's portrayal in "Batman Returns". His clothes have been designed to look stretched over his stomach with the buttons about to pop, mimicking his obesity.
- A Feudal Japan version of Penguin will appear in the animated anime film Batman Ninja.
- The Penguin has appeared as a boss in several Batman video games, including Batman: The Caped Crusader, the various video game adaptations of the movie Batman Returns, Batman: The Animated Series and Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Super NES.
- At one point he was planned to appear as a boss in The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Sega CD, in which he would try to kidnap Summer Gleeson. The Penguin was cut from the game because it was tight on villains, but the storyboards for his animated cut-scene are displayed in Paul Dini's book, Batman Animated.
- The Penguin is the chief villain of an online flash game, Batman: The Cobblebot Caper, which is modeled after The Batman animated series. His ultimate plan is to construct a giant mechanical phoenix which he intends to use as a war machine against Gotham City.
- The Penguin appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by David Jennison. Following Bane's defeat, a cut-scene features the Penguin stating his anger at the competition from the Falcone Crime Family, Bane, Two-Face, the Mad Hatter, Hush, Killer Croc, the Catwoman and the Joker due to all the chaos, but being a cunning crook, he plans on tricking them into wiping each other out and taking Gotham for himself. The players discover that a hacked kiosk contained a message from Two-Face describing the Penguin's smuggling operation in Gotham's old subway tunnels. The Penguin is served by Cryo Pengbots, Louie Sluggers, Machine Gun Tommies, Nickie Blades, Pengbots, Pyro Pengbots, Tammy Two Guns and a Pengbot Maximus.
- The Penguin makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us sporting his Arkham City look. In the Arkham Asylum level, if one of the characters is thrown through the cell door on the right side of the second tier, they will be attacked by Two-Face, Killer Croc, Riddler, and Penguin before being punched by Croc into the next tier of the Arkham arena.
- The Penguin appears in Lego Batman: The Videogame, with his vocal effects provided by Tom Kenny. He is one of the leaders of the Arkham breakout. His plan is to use mind-controlled penguins to wreak havoc in Gotham. To this end, he employs the Catwoman, Bane, Killer Croc, and the Man-Bat. He has the ability to call out robotic penguins from under his top hat. He can use his umbrella both as a gliding apparatus and a rifle. Despite his comic book appearance he has some ideas and characteristics of Danny DeVito's Penguin (e.g. taking over Gotham with a penguin army, having a liking for raw fish, and working with Catwoman). Being a Lego character, he cannot be portrayed as fat (although his clothes have been designed to look stretched with the buttons about to pop in some versions), nor does he have his signature pointed nose.
- The Penguin appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Steven Blum.
- The Penguin appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by JB Blanc. His appearance is based on the Batman: Arkham version.
- In all of his appearances in the series in the Batman: Arkham series, The Penguin is voiced by Nolan North and Ian Redford in a Cockney accent. Where he has been redesigned without penguin-like mannerisms such as the waddle or the squawk-laugh, but retains his beaked nose and monocle (here depicted as the bottom of a glass liquor bottle, said to have been shoved into his face by the friend of a young man that Penguin was torturing after cheating at cards. Penguin says that the bottle is lodged too far into his brain and the surgery to have the bottle removed would kill him). He is also still obese, sickly, a heavy smoker, and bald.
- While the Penguin is not featured as an actual character in Batman: Arkham Asylum, as a key character in Batman's universe he is repeatedly referenced. An asylum security guard notes that he had witnessed the attempted smuggling of sharpened umbrellas into Arkham on at least one occasion before, a reference to the character. Additionally, an Iceberg Lounge advertisement can be seen in the Intensive Treatment wards, while a collection of trick umbrellas and top hats (apparently confiscated from Penguin upon his admittance to the facility) may be observed on display in the old Arkham Mansion. He is also one of the villains whose name is listed on the party list.
- The character later physically appears in Batman: Arkham City, In this game, Penguin is also responsible for Victor Zsasz's descent into villainy, having cheated a young Zsasz out of his inheritance at a game of poker. He also wears what appears to be an electrolarynx strapped to or implanted in his neck. According to the Arkham City Stories included in the game, Cobblepot became trapped in the open-air prison perimeter of Arkham City after refusing to vacate his residence at the Iceberg Lounge (which was condemned as part of the new project). Cobblepot went on to establish himself as a warlord in the new criminal underworld, using the nearby museum to enshrine defeated enemies, vying with the Joker and Two-Face for control of Arkham City. At the start of the game he and his minions attack the just-incarcerated Bruce Wayne, only to have his hand broken by Wayne (which results in its being bandaged in such a fashion that it resembles a flipper-hand). Later in the game, Batman tracks him down in order to retrieve Mr. Freeze, who Penguin is holding captive, as Freeze is the only one who knows how to cure Joker, Batman, and half of Gotham of the TITAN poison. Making matters worse is the fact that Penguin is holding several undercover cops captive. Despite his use of Mr. Freeze's freeze gun and the captive Solomon Grundy, Penguin is ultimately defeated by Batman. Mr. Freeze adds insult to injury by locking Cobblepot in the exhibit planned for Bruce Wayne, where he remains for the rest of the game.
- In Batman: Arkham Origins, a younger version of the Penguin is credited as Gotham's number one weapons dealer, using a legal loophole by staying aboard his refitted cruise liner, The Final Offer, to evade the law, while his goons make deals with the other gangs in Gotham. He is first mentioned after Batman scans a smashed recon drone found during the Blackgate riot, revealing that Penguin had been using it to spy on who he thought was Black Mask, but was really a disguised Joker. After interrogating one of his dealers, Batman makes his way to Penguin's ship. After fighting his way through Penguin's thugs, his assistant Tracey, and Electrocutioner, Batman finds and interrogates Penguin for information about Black Mask. Penguin mentions a murder in Lacey Towers, but is unable to reveal more before Batman is attacked by Deathstroke. In the game, Penguin does not yet have the bottle in his eye from Arkham City meaning the accident will happen after Origins. In the DLC "Cold, Cold Heart", the Penguin's thugs are working with Mr. Freeze in his revenge mission against GothCorp CEO Ferris Boyle. Mr. Freeze had offered the Penguin weapons in exchange for his aid breaking into GothCorp, only for Penguin to attempt to betray Mr. Freeze into making him give them superior weapons, culminating in Freeze trapping Penguin in a vast block of ice while Batman leaves Penguin to shiver until the police arrive. During the credits of the "Cold, Cold Heart" DLC, it was mentioned in a news voiceover that Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Ferris Boyle have been arrested by the police.
- The younger Penguin later returns in the spin-off game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate as one of the criminals released in the Breakout, having been imprisoned after the events of Cold, Cold Heart. Along with the Joker and Black Mask, Penguin takes control of one of three buildings at Blackgate; Penguin takes control of the Cell Blocks, being able to control movement around the island. He recruits any inmates not loyal to the clown or Sionis; when Bronze Tiger saves a guard from being hanged by his men, Penguin forces him to fight guards to the death in his makeshift arena in the Exercise Yard. Batman later arrives and defeats Bronze Tiger, who injures Penguin with a gun. Followed all the way to the entrance to the Arkham Wing, Penguin is soundly defeated by Batman. Penguin later escapes thanks to a guard he bribed, and kills said guard to keep him quiet.
- The Penguin appears in Batman: Arkham Knight. He is portrayed as "grungier" and more like a mob boss, now with a shaved head and a gold chain. Due to the warmer weather, the Penguin is seen without his long coat. He has allied himself with Two-Face while in preparation for Scarecrow's united assault on Batman and his allies. During the game, Batman receives information that Penguin knows the location of Barbara Gordon, who was kidnapped earlier by the Arkham Knight. With the help of Nightwing, he infiltrates Penguin's hideout, and learns of Simon Stagg's involvement in her capture. Later, Batman and Nightwing team up to take down all of Penguin's weapon caches. He also appears as a hallucination during Joker's takeover of Batman's mind, and is gunned down alongside Two-Face, Killer Croc and the Riddler. Finally, a radio report of a museum dedicated to the Penguin as "Batman's arch enemy" is heard during the Joker's nightmare about being forgotten. After all of his weapons caches are destroyed, Penguin is captured and taken to the GCPD by Batman. If he is taken down after Scarecrow is defeated, he ends up mocking Batman because his identity as Bruce Wayne has been revealed and especially because of how much trouble the Dark Knight is about to face now that everyone in Gotham knows who he is. If it was before Scarecrow's defeat, he will rub in how he nearly killed Nightwing during the last weapons cache's destruction, only to be vaguely threatened to be killed by the Dark Knight in response, and although Penguin initially tries to call his bluff, he ultimately ended up intimidated when he learned that Batman hadn't been himself that night. In the "Harley Quinn Story Pack" DLC, set before the events of the main game, Penguin communicates with Quinn over the radio, guiding her through the Blüdhaven Police Department as she sets to break Poison Ivy out. In the Arkham Episode "GCPD Lockdown", taking place some time after the main game, Penguin attempts to escape imprisonment from the GCPD, but is stopped by Nightwing.
- The Penguin appears in Batman: The Telltale Series, voiced by Jason Spisak. This iteration of the character is the childhood friend of Bruce Wayne and a member of one of Gotham's great families, and is far more physically fit and less deformed than most versions of the character (the normal, obese character design is reserved for his father). However, the Cobblepots lost their fortune in an unspecified event, driving his father to suicide. His mother, Ester, was also committed to Arkham by Thomas Wayne so he could take control of land owned by the family. Oswald moved to the UK, but got involved into a life of crime and conflicts with the police, particularly in Essex. Whilst there, he became known as "the Penguin" due to a distinct gas mask he uses in his criminal dealings. He returns to Gotham some time before the series, having joined the "Children of Arkham" and get revenge on the Wayne family. Though he initially warns Bruce about the revolution, he leads the group in various attacks and helps take control of Wayne Enterprises as its CEO, using his position to help fund the group and monitor Gotham. Penguin can also be partially responsible for Harvey Dent's fall from grace by disfiguring him during an attack on a mayoral debate, should the player choose not to intervene. In the fourth episode, Penguin is able to hack into Batman's network, forcing the vigilante to either leave his home to Dent and his enforcers, in order to stop him, or abandon the Batcomputer and his gadgets to protect his secrets. Regardless of what is chosen, Oswald is eventually defeated, either by Batman at Wayne Enterprises or through the combined efforts of Bruce and Lt. Gordon.
- In Batman: The Enemy Within, a sequel to The Telltale Series, the Penguin's mask and his monocle-like device are kept in a display in the Batcave. Also, the news reveals that Oswald pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to 40 years at Blackgate, where the guards consider him a "Model Prisoner" for his charming and smart attitude.
- An 8″ version of the Penguin was created by the Mego Corporation as part of their "World's Greatest Super-Heroes" line in 1974. Mego also released a 3 3/″ Penguin as a part of their Comic Action Heroes line in 1976.
- The Lego Batman line includes one particular set, The Batcave: The Penguin and Mr. Freeze's Invasion, which features Penguin. He appears as a minifigure in the set, with short, unbending legs, the classic top hat and monocle and a purple pin-stripe suit, but lacks the familiar pointy nose. Penguin rides in a submarine reminiscent of the one in the 1960s TV series and is assisted by miniature penguin robots. The set also includes a depiction of the Batcave.
- He also appears in the Batman Lego promotional video. He is the final villain to be caught (after Two-Face, Mr. Freeze and Joker).
- The Penguin was featured in the 1980s Super Powers Collection toy-line, featuring various DC Comics villains and heroes. The Penguin's appearance was much like that of the time, with a blue coat and top-hat. Penguin had "umbrella action" where his legs could be squeezed together, triggering his arm (holding an umbrella) to move up and down; this figure sculpt was later used for the Batman Returns figure line, with a new black paint application.
- There have been various toys of the Penguin for cartoon series, from the sophisticated aristocrat to the deformed outcast styles.
- Recently the Penguin was made into a toy by Funko who made small 3 3/″ figures with large heads and also soft toy version of the Penguin. The Penguin figure looked much like he had in Burgess Meredith's style from the 1960s, along with the comic book look. The figure featured an umbrella accessory, but the plush did not.
- The Penguin is played by Patton Oswalt in an episode of the CollegeHumor skits, "Badman," slightly redesigned to look more in line with the Nolan Batman films. In the short, he and Commissioner Gordon try to explain the concept of death to an oblivious Batman, who thinks that the henchman felled by the edged weapons merely go to "sleep".
The character of the Penguin, particularly as portrayed by Burgess Meredith, has often been used as a theme to mock public figures that supposedly resemble him. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, has made numerous references comparing former Vice President Dick Cheney with the Penguin, including a laugh similar to the one heard in the 1960s Batman series.
In May 2006, a Republican-led PR firm, DCI Group, created a YouTube video satirizing Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. The video portrayed Gore as the Penguin using one of his trick umbrellas to hypnotize a flock of penguins into believing in the existence of global warming and climate change.
- List of Batman Family adversaries
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- "The Penguin's Nest"/"The Bird 's Last Jest".
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