Not much is known about the Penguin's past. He was a regular foe of the hero Batman and his sidekick Robin. In his first recorded appearance, the Penguin began a crime spree across Gotham City until he attracted the attention of the Caped Crusaders. Growing tired of their constant meddling, the Penguin framed Batman for the theft of a jewel. Batman broke out of prison, and with the aid of Robin cleared his name and rounded up the Penguin's minions. The Penguin however, escaped and returned to menace Batman and Robin many more times.
While traveling across the United States on a train, Dick Grayson spoted the Penguin, prompting Batman and Robin to investigate. They found that the Penguin was turning in criminals for reward money and then busting them out of jail and hiring them into his gang. Batman and Robin ended the operation, rounding up the criminals. During the fight, the Penguin seemingly drowned in the Mississippi River.
Surviving, the Penguin relocated to Florida where he set up a legal gambling operation with Jim Crow, Buzzard Benny, and the Canary. They allowed their patrons to win big and then in turn follow them home and rob them of their winnings. This attracted the attention of Batman and Robin who confronted the Penguin again. Aided by the Canary, who switched sides, the Dynamic Duo foiled the Penguin's scheme, although the Penguin eluded capture once again.
Later, one of the Penguin's defeats was turned into the subject of a radio program serializing Batman's adventures called "Racket-Smashers", in which a group of criminals emulated the crime told in that story.
When the Penguin resurfaced and committed yet another crime spree, he utilized different exotic birds to facilitate his crimes, and was once more be stopped by Batman and Robin, yet manage to escape once again.
In one of his more ruthless schemes, the Penguin set himself up as an underworld adviser, planning fool-proof crimes for other criminals. Upon their successful robberies, the Penguin would then murder the crooks take their stolen loot. Batman posed as "Bad News" Brewster, a rival criminal organizer. Although the Penguin saw through this disguise, Batman and Robin finally succeeded in capturing the Penguin.
The Bird/Umbrella Obsession
The Penguin soon became less violent as a criminal and begin committing various crimes featuring his two favorite obsessions: birds and umbrellas. He would develop a massive ego that would easily be shattered making him prone to fits of criminal rage whenever he, or any of his preoccupations were mocked.
Breaking free from prison, the Penguin overheard the warden of the prison mock his modus operandi for his crimes. Furious, the Penguin began using a series of gimmicked guns and fishing poles, but was still defeated by Batman -- ironically enough by means of an umbrella. Free once more, the Penguin attempted to rob three eccentric millionaires. Although Batman and Robin failed to capture him during the first two robberies, he got caught while attempting the third when it turned out that the man he intended to rob had been dead for a year.
When the Penguin escaped prison again, Batman and Robin attempted to capture him by opening up an umbrella repair shop. Learning the location of his hideout, they failed to capture their old foe and after a chase through the city, the Penguin tripped himself up with his own umbrellas and was captured. While in prison, the Penguin met the Joker and the two became instant rivals, breaking out of jail and attempting to steal a valuable emerald. When competing with each other proved to be a failure, they worked together and succeeded in their theft. However, their differences with each other eventually returned, which Batman and Robin played off to capture them.
Taking the son of one of his fellow crooks under his wing, the Penguin attempted to teach the boy all about crime. Uninterested, the boy instead wrote a book detailing the Penguin's crimes. The Penguin liked the idea so much he attempted to get it published. Unable to find anyone to publish the book, he attempted to steal the supplies needed, leading to the boy helping Batman and Robin capture the Penguin. Afterwards, the book was published to show readers that crime doesn't pay.
Escaping again, the Penguin attempted a new scheme: Seemingly freezing wealthy individuals, the Penguin would demand large sums of money to reveal how to thaw his victims out alive. Batman and Robin foiled this scheme by finding the Penguin's hideout and finding his victims were never really frozen at all but replaced with dummies. The Penguin was once more be captured by Batman and Robin.
After another break out from prison, the Penguin started another crime spree halted by Batman and Robin. The Penguin was next tricked by three crooks into keeping Batman and Robin busy while they commit their own crimes; the scheme fails and all the crooks are captured and the Penguin is delivered a humiliating defeat when Robin single-handedly captures him.
Getting out of jail again, the Penguin opened a seemingly legit business when he started a restaurant called the Penguin's Nest. However, when the Penguin attempted to get arrested soon after, Batman deduced that he had been keeping copies of the signatures belonging to his wealthiest patrons so that he could get a forger in prison to write checks in their name. Batman foiled this plot by giving him a false Bruce Wayne signature that landed Penguin in jail for fraud. After saving a warden from a fire while in prison, the Penguin was released on parole to Batman and Robin. While the Penguin originally intended on going straight, he was infuriated by a cartoon that mocks penguins and begins a crime spree based on the cartoon. He was ultimately thwarted and thrown back in jail by Batman and Robin. Breaking out of jail once more, the Penguin became the assistant to reclusive ornithologist, Professor Boyd, using Boyd's aviary as the staging ground of his bird related crimes. Batman and Robin tracked the Penguin down and once more arrested him.
Released from prison once more, the Penguin set up his own bird-shop, selling birds to prominent people around Gotham City. In reality, the cages had bombs that are smuggled into the rich homes allowing the Penguin to blast his way in and rob them. Once more, Batman and Robin deduced the Penguin's plot and capture him. In his next scheme, the Penguin extorted the cities singers by using a gas ejected from microphones to ruin their singing voices if they refuse to pay. Using their detective skills, Batman and Robin learned the secret to the Penguin's crimes and captured him again. When the Joker and Catwoman began dominating the headlines, the Penguin committed another series of spectacular crimes to overshadow them. However, even though his crimes are inspired by rare birds, the clues lead Batman to capturing the Penguin once more. Starting a new series of crimes, the Penguin wasq forced to improvise when his hideout and trick umbrellas were destroyed by a lightning strike. Using unconventional means to commit crimes with umbrella-like objects, the Penguin was still easily captured by Batman and Robin.
Once more in jail, the Penguin began using code to get information out of jail to break out, and then later commit crimes. Getting a hold of the Penguin's code book, Batman learned the Penguin's crime plans and captured him once more. Breaking out of prison again, the Penguin vowed to no longer use birds in his crimes. However, his most recent crime spree was be marred when he was ironically tripped up by different birds each time. In one of his most humiliating defeats, the Penguin captured a bunch of chicks that had swallowed a fortune in diamonds and their own peeps gave him away, allowing Batman and Robin to easily capture him. Released from prison again, the Penguin appeared to go straight with a new side-show attraction featuring "Pee-Wee the Talking Penguin", however this was a fraud and he was using a penguin costume to commit robberies to get money to pay off his previously hired goons. Ultimately, Batman and Robin figured out the hoax and captured the Penguin sending him to jail for fraud for the second time in his criminal career.
Getting out of jail early for squealing information about Squeeze Miller, leading to Miller's execution, the Penguin was surprised to find that he was named in the crook's will. In order to inherit a fortune, the Penguin was required to commit a series of specific crimes using specific words. Because the first letter in each birds name spelled out the name "Penguin", Batman deduced how to capture the Penguin and sent him back to jail, where the crook realized that Miller's "fortune" was really worthless. Paroled from prison once again, the Penguin attempted to convince the Birdlovers' Society to elect the Penguin the state bird. After the Society mocked him, he got revenge by robbing them one by one until stopped by Batman and Robin. Escaping from prison again using mechanical wings made in the prison shop, the Penguin and his minions committed a series of crimes using the devices. They later captured Robin in an attempt to force Batman to reveal his true identity. However, Batman foiled the Penguin and rescued Robin. Escaping prison once more, the Penguin found getting henchmen hard to come by due to his poor record of captures at the hands of Batman and Robin. Inspired by a newspaper article, he committed a series of "white feather" inspired crimes, until captured by Batman and Robin again.
Paroled, and once again feigning gong straight, the Penguin purchased a mansion that he converted into a combination museum/bird sanctuary and began returning stolen loot to his past victims. Batman and Robin deduced that the Penguin is really planting gas bombs so that he can return and re-victimize the people he has stolen from again at a later time and capture him. On his birthday, the Penguin received presents mocking him from other criminals in the underworld. Furious, the Penguin began another series of bird related crimes, and as in all other similar schemes got captured by Batman and Robin. Once more paroled on good behavior, the Penguin was asked to release his birds as a sign of good faith that he has reformed. Opening his own umbrella company called Penguin Umbrellas Inc, he even fooled Batman into thinking he's reformed to the point where Batman endorsed his product. However, this was all a complex scheme to rob the people of Gotham City by means of the magnets built into each umbrella. After robbing the city, he fled to the Oasis Beach Island on the Caribbean, where he attempted another umbrella-related theft when he was captured once again by Batman and Robin.
In his last recorded appearance, the Penguin once more pretended to become a legitimate business by using clever mechanical frauds of mythical birds and passing them off as the real deal and charging people admission. He then attempted to make the people fear Batman by associating him with a terrifying Man-Bat creature of his own design. This, like all of his other schemes, failed and the Penguin was once more captured.
Fate and Legacy
Any further exploits of the Earth-Two Penguin remain unrecorded, and his ultimate fate is unknown. It's entirely possible that he, like many of villains that battled the Batman of Earth-Two, wound up retiring from crime. He would have a counterpart in the parallel universe known as Earth-One, although the two would never cross paths.
Whatever the fate of the Penguin, his existence would have been erased from history along with that of his Earth-One counterpart following the dissolution of the multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Following the Crisis, the single universe would have it's own incarnation of the Penguin, who's own origins and past would have elements similar to his Earth-One and Earth-Two counterparts.
Following the creation of a new multiverse, the universe Earth-2 is in many respects similar to the original Earth-Two universe. If a version of the Penguin exists in that reality remains to be revealed.
- 39 Appearances of Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-Two)
- 1 Images featuring Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-Two)
- Quotations by or about Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-Two)
- Character Gallery: Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-Two)
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- ↑ Detective Comics #58
- ↑ Detective Comics #59
- ↑ Batman #11
- ↑ World's Finest #6
- ↑ Detective Comics #67
- ↑ Batman #14
- ↑ Batman #17
- ↑ Batman #21
- ↑ Detective Comics #87
- ↑ Batman #25
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- ↑ Detective Comics #99
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- ↑ Batman #33
- ↑ Batman #36
- ↑ Batman #38
- ↑ Detective Comics #120
- ↑ Batman #41
- ↑ Detective Comics #126
- ↑ Batman #43
- ↑ Detective Comics #134
- ↑ World's Finest #35
- ↑ Batman #48
- ↑ Batman #51
- ↑ Batman #56
- ↑ Batman #58
- ↑ Batman #61
- ↑ World's Finest #49
- ↑ Detective Comics #171
- ↑ World's Finest #55
- ↑ Batman #70
- ↑ Batman #76
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