Not much is known about the Penguin's past. He would be a regular foe of the hero Batman and his sidekick Robin. In his first recorded appearance, the Penguin would begin a crime spree across Gotham City until he attracted the attention of the Caped Crusaders. Growing tired of their constant meddling, the Penguin would frame Batman for the theft of a jewel. Batman would break out of prison, and with the aid of Robin would clear his name and round up the Penguin's minions. The Penguin however, would escape and return to menace Batman and Robin many more times.
While traveling across the United States on a train, Dick Grayson would spot the Penguin, prompting Batman and Robin to investigate. They would find that the Penguin is turning in criminals for reward money and then busting them out of jail and hiring them into his gang. Batman and Robin would end the operation, rounding up the criminals. During the fight, the Penguin would seemingly drown in the Mississippi River.
Surviving, the Penguin would relocate to Florida where he would set up a legal gambling operation with Jim Crow, Buzzard Benny, and the Canary. They would allow their patrons win big and then in turn follow them home and rob them of their winnings. This would attract the attention of Batman and Robin who would confront the Penguin again. Aided by the Canary, who would switch sides, the Dynamic Duo would foil the Penguin's scheme, although the Penguin would elude capture once again. Later, one of the Penguin's defeats is turned into the subject of a radio program serializing Batman's adventures called "Racket-Smashers", a group of criminals would emulate the crime told in that story.
When the Penguin would resurface and commit yet another crime spree, he would utilize different exotic birds to facilitate his crimes, and would once more be stopped by Batman and Robin, yet manage to escape once again. In one of his more ruthless schemes, the Penguin would 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 would pose as "Bad News" Brewster, a rival criminal organizer. Although the Penguin would see through this disguise, Batman and Robin would finally succeed in capturing the Penguin.
The Bird/Umbrella Obsession
The Penguin would soon become 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 would overhear the warden of the prison mock his modus operandi for his crimes. Furious, the Penguin would begin using a series of gimmicked guns and fishing poles, but would still be defeated by Batman -- ironically enough by means of an umbrella. Free once more, the Penguin would attempt to rob three eccentric millionaires. Although Batman and Robin would fail to capture him during the first two robberies, he would get caught while attempting the third when it turns out that the man he intends to rob has been dead for a year.
When the Penguin would escape prison again, Batman and Robin would attempt to capture him by opening up an umbrella repair shop. Learning the location of his hideout, they would fail to capture their old foe and after a chase through the city, the Penguin would trip himself up with his own umbrellas and be captured. While in prison, the Penguin would meet the Joker and the two would become instant rivals, breaking out of jail and attempting to steal a valuable emerald. When competing with each other would prove to be a failure, they would work together and succeed in their theft. However, their odds with each other would return which Batman and Robin would play off of to capture them. Taking the son of one of his fellow crooks under his wing, the Penguin attempts to teach the boy all about crime. Uninterested, the boy would instead write a book detailing the Penguin's crimes. The Penguin would like the idea so much he would attempt to get it published. Unable to find anyone to publish the book, he would attempt to steal the supplies needed leading to the boy helping Batman and Robin capture the Penguin. Afterwords, the book would be published to show readers that crime doesn't pay.
Escaping again, the Penguin would attempt 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 would foil this scheme by finding the Penguin's hideout and finding his victims were never really frozen at all but replaced with dummies. The Penguin would once more be captured by Batman and Robin. After another break out from prison, the Penguin would start another crime spree halted by Batman and Robin. The Penguin is 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 opens a seemingly legit business when he starts a restaurant called the Penguin's Nest. However, when the Penguin attempts to get arrested soon after, Batman deduces that he has been keeping copies of the signatures belonging to his wealthiest patrons so that he can get a forger in prison to write checks in their name. Batman foils this plot when giving him a false Bruce Wayne signature, that lands Penguin in jail for fraud. After saving a warden from a fire while in prison, the Penguin is released on parole to Batman and Robin. While the Penguin originally intends on going straight, he is infuriated by a cartoon that mocks penguins and begins a crime spree based on the cartoon. He is ultimately thwarted and thrown back in jail by Batman and Robin. Breaking out of jail once more, the Penguin becomes the assistant to reclusive ornithologist, Professor Boyd, using Boyd's aviary as the staging ground of his bird related crimes. Batman and Robin track the Penguin down and once more arrest him.
Released from prison once more, the Penguin sets up his own bird-shop, selling birds to prominent people around Gotham City. In reality, the cages have bombs that are smuggled into the rich homes allowing the Penguin to blast his way in and rob them. Once more, Batman and Robin deduce the Penguin's plot and capture him. In his next scheme, the Penguin extorts 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 would learn the secret to the Penguin's crimes and capture him again. When the Joker and Catwoman begin dominating the headlines, the Penguin would commit 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 would be forced to improvise when his hideout and trick umbrellas are destroyed by a lightning strike. Using unconventional means to commit crimes with umbrella like objects, the Penguin is still easily captured by Batman and Robin.
Once more in jail, the Penguin would begin 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, he would learn the Penguin's crime plans and capture him once more. Breaking out of prison again, the Penguin vows to no longer use birds in his crimes. However, his most recent crime spree would be marred when he is ironically tripped up by different birds each time. In one of his most humiliating defeats, the Penguin would capture a bunch of chicks that had swallowed a fortune in diamonds and their own peeps would give him away, allowing Batman and Robin to easily capture him. Released from prison again, the Penguin appears to go straight with a new side-show attraction featuring "Pee-Wee the Talking Penguin", however this is a fraud and he is using a penguin costume to commit robberies to get money to pay off his previously hired goons. Ultimately, Batman and Robin figure out the hoax and capture 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 is surprised to find that he is named in the crooks will. In order to win earn a fortune, the Penguin is required to commit a series of specific crimes using specific words. Because the first letter in each birds name spells out the name "Penguin", Batman deduces how to capture the Penguin and sends him back to jail where the crook realize that Miller's "fortune" was really worthless. Paroled from prison once again, the Penguin would attempt to convince the Birdlovers' Society to elect the Penguin the state bird. When the Society would mock him, he would get 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 would commit a series of crimes using the devices. They would later capture Robin in an attempt to forcing Batman to reveal his true identity. However, Batman would foil the Penguin and rescue Robin. Escaping prison once more, the Penguin would find 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 would commit a series of "white feather" inspired crimes, until captured by Batman and Robin again.
Paroled, and once again feigning gong straight, the Penguin would purchase a mansion that he would convert into a combination museum/bird sanctuary and begin returning stolen loot to his past victims. Batman and Robin deduce 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 would receive presents mocking him from other criminals in the underworld. Furious, the Penguin would begin another series of bird related crimes, and as in all other similar schemes gets captured by Batman and Robin. Once more paroled on good behavior, the Penguin is 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 fools Batman into thinking he's reformed to the point where Batman endorses his product. However, this is 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 would flee to the Oasis Beach Island on the Caribbean, where he would attempt another umbrella related theft when he is captured once again by Batman and Robin.
In his last recorded appearance, the Penguin would once more pretend 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 would then attempt 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 would fail and the Penguin would once more be 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, likely 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
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- ↑ Detective Comics #120
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- ↑ Detective Comics #126
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- ↑ Detective Comics #134
- ↑ World's Finest #35
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- ↑ Batman #58
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- ↑ World's Finest #49
- ↑ Detective Comics #171
- ↑ World's Finest #55
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