Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, though born in a middle class background, had a hard time growing up. When Oswald was brought into this world, his mother placed him in his father's arms and with one look, Tucker Cobblepot drops Oswald on his head out of disgust. Oswald's father had no love for him while his mother smothered Oswald with her affections. Oswald's father refused to let his son sleep in the same bed that he shared with his wife so he would place him at the foot of the bed like a dog and would have sex with his wife in the hopes of having another yet normal child.
As Oswald got older, his brothers looked upon him with the same disgust as their father. Due to his short, stubby appearance, and distinctive nose; Oswald would get teased and mocked by other children who would often compare him to a bird. They would hang Oswald from the monkey bars with his hands and legs roped to the bars so he would look like a bird in mid air. There were other instances where children would bust in on Oswald while he was in the restroom and say "The Penguin is laying an egg." The ultimate form of cruelty was when Oswald's siblings and his schoolyard bullies invaded his man made aviary. The malicious children tore down every nest in the aviary and the defenseless Oswald cringed in horror as he watched the eggs crack on the floor
His only respite from the torture was when he would feed the wild birds that visited his greenhouse. He developed an affinity with the animals, and they were his best friends. However, Oswald embraced his moniker as the Penguin because even though penguins are clumsy creatures in an environment that isn't their own, they are adaptable to new surroundings and when threatened, a penguin's retribution can be swift as well as decisive. For Oswald, he embraced the hatred and disgust from his family or school mates thereby turning it against them as a means of justice. In a short while, Jason, Robert and William Cobblepot were taken from this world leaving Oswald as the sole heir to the Cobblepot Legacy. Tucker Cobblepot eventually died from pneumonia and Oswald's mother became a catatonic from all the tragedy that she had suffered.
For years, he felt like an outcast. This was the main cause that drove him to a criminal life. "Penguin" was one of the nicknames that other children would call young Oswald to tease him. Obsessed with anger, he made many plans to get revenge on his school bullies. Once he set a small host of captured magpies on a group of high school prom queens who were bothering him. They returned the favor by beating him with bats. Bleeding, he managed to get home. He went in to check on his adopted pets, and one bit him. In a rage, he beat it to death. After finishing school, he adopted the "Penguin" name and used his family fortune to set up a socialite hang out club called the Iceberg Lounge. He has been involved in several criminal enterprises, from being an illegal boxing promoter, and a prominent criminal on the Gotham black market. He has had many run-ins with Batman since. Another trait that comes from his childhood is his classic umbrella. When he was young, his mother would make him carry an umbrella with him all the time to prevent him from rain as she feared that he might get ill and die like his father before him. He uses the umbrella as a cane to help him walk, but it also acts as a sheath for a hidden blade.
The Penguin was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Golden Age/ Silver Age
Originally, the Penguin was a more traditional villain, often stealing precious items (more often then not, bird related). He was a frequent foe for Batman and would often team up with other members of Batman's rouges gallery.
Although not used much after the Crisis reboot of DC continuity initially, he was brought back later on as a more deadlier foe (as were many of Batman's villains) and eventually became a figure more in relation to a mob boss, often selling weapons and providing other such services to Gotham's underworld rather than dealing with things hands on.
Penguin had used his notoriety in his favor and had turned away from a life of crime to pursue a more "honorable" profession as the proprietary of the popular Gotham City's night club " Iceberg Lounge." Truth be told, the Iceberg Lounge isn't exactly completely kosher, but Batman lets it slide because it is a good source for information on Gotham's outlaws. In the Gotham underground, the Penguin returned to crime and formed an short lived alliance with Tobias Whale.
After being muscled out of Gotham by Tobias Whale, Oswald tries to reclaim his stake in Gotham's criminal underworld with the Mad Hatter's assistance. In Gotham, he must contend with a new Black Mask ( Jeremiah Arkham) and the return of the Falcone Crime Family. After Batman ( Dick Grayson) defeats the new Black Mask, the Penguin gets involved with the Birds of Prey's investigation on who the White Canary is? Once the Birds of Prey find out about White Canary's identity, Penguin left them to fend for themselves.
Major Story Arcs
The Joker's Asylum
The Penguin finds a prostitute by the name of Violet at the black market. He takes her in after feeling sorry for her situation. He begins to fall in love with her, but she comes to despise him when she discovers he ordered a series of murders in a jealous rage. He brings her back to the black market and has her put back into the same cage he found her in.
When Gotham is driven into a large scale gang war, Penguin doesn't participate directly. He instead sells weapons, and various super villains, such as Firefly and the Electrocutioner to the various gangs. Batman soon decides to eliminate the Penguin, sending Tarantula in who defeats his bodyguard Deadshot, who holds him at gunpoint demanding him to leave Gotham after his offer to pay her fails, Penguin then leaves Gotham for Bludhaven where he fills the void left by Blockbuster, while returning to Gotham frequently to tend to the Iceburg Lounge.
The Penguin plays a substantial role in the Gotham Central story, where former Gotham Detective Harvey Bullock breaks into the Iceberg Lounge, where he puts a gun up to Penguin's head and accuses him of hiring the Mad Hatter to kill the 1996 Gotham Hawks championship team. Harvey is then arrested, where he tells detectives Driver and MacDonald his theory of Penguin's involvement due to a snitch who said Penguin had lost big on a bet involving the Hawks.
Harvey returns drunk later, shooting two of Penguin's men while taking Penguin hostage on a roof, threatening to throw him off. But he is talked out of it by detectives Driver and MacDonald, who appeal to his years spent as a cop but not before Bullock knocks Penguin unconscious.
The Penguin featured briefly in the events of Infinite Crisis. In the limited series' seventh issue, he is briefly seen as part of the Battle of Metropolis, a multi-character fight started by the Secret Society of Super Villains.
One Year Later
While the Penguin is away from Gotham City, the Great White and Tally Man kill many of the villains who worked for Penguin, and frame Harvey Dent. Great White had planned to take over Gotham's criminal syndicate and weaken all his competition; Penguin included. Upon his return to Gotham, the Penguin continues to claim that he has gone "straight" and reopens the Iceberg Lounge nightclub, selling overpriced Penguin merchandise. He urges the Riddler to avoid crime, as it's more lucrative in their current, non-criminal lifestyle.
He's "hired" by Batman as a snitch, using his criminal contacts to give Batman an edge over Gotham's criminals. He is also in a gang war with Tobias Whale and Intergang a war that, ultimately, he loses along with his privileged position, due to having lost Batman's support after his mysterious disappearance, and Intergang taking advantage by the return of the Apokoliptan Gods.
Where is Batman/ Brightest Day
After losing his title as a leading crime boss in Gotham, Oswald manages to regain control of the Iceberg Lounge from Johnny Stitches but now he must contend with a new Black Mask that threatens his stake in Gotham's criminal underworld. Penguin joins forces with the Mad Hatter and through hypnosis, they manipulate Batman (Dick Grayson) as their enforcer against the Black Mask. After Black Mask's unveiling as Jeremiah Arkham, Penguin enlists the aid of White Canary as well as Savant and Creote in order to destroy the Birds of Prey. Huntress swears that one day she will have her vengeance for Penguin's involvement in the attempts to murder her teammates.
At Penguin's Iceberg Lounge, Oswald has his night club closed for renovation due to numerous repairs that need to be done. Oswald is also holding auditions for new waitresses and he is easily agitated by his new yet clumsy staff of employees. Oswald loses his patience and takes his frustration out on one young woman who became a waitress. Just as Ozzy was about lay a hand on her, Hank Hall aka Hawk: Avatar of War, crashes the scene. Hawk turns off his comm link to Oracle and tells Ozzy that he has a few things to discuss with the foul bird of villainy. Hawk must have just roughed up Ozzy because Cobblepot is later shown in the middle of night in pajamas because he has fallen under the sway of Bedbug who instructs him to loot local convenient stores.
Batman: Dark Knight
Bruce goes undercover to find answers in regards to the illegal operations that have occurred at the Boom Room. Alfred cuts the power at the Boom Room so Batman can get inside the manager's heavily guarded office. Batman cracks open the manager's safe and finds a necklace that belonged to Dawn Golden, another childhood crush. Suddenly, Batman is overtaken by the club's security.
It was a trap set up by Penguin. He took the Batmobile offline thanks to his techno savvy militant goons. Batman gets the upper-hand and defeats Penguin's present security and he begins to interrogate Penguin but Penguin refuses to be a "stool pigeon." Unfortunately, Penguin's other goons have advanced technological weapons like portable rail guns and start firing at Batman. Penguin escapes while Batman makes short work of the other goons. Batman catches up with the "fleeing bird" and beats him while demanding answers to his questions.
Unfortunately, Batman comes under attack by Killer Croc, who escaped police custody. Alfred listens in horror by via comm link as Killer Croc grabs Batman and smashes him into a wall thus knocking him out. Later on, Batman awakens tied up to a support beam in a vacant room with a TV in front of him and bombs strapped to him. As Batman tries to escape, he is slapped in the face by Killer Croc and the TV automatically turns on. The television displays a sick-bed where Penguin taunts Batman with the unsettling fact that Dawn Golden may not have much time since the heat in her room will begin to pick up. Penguin explains that Dawn Golden made fun of Oswald’s demeanor which is not the wisest thing to do with Oswald. Dawn had apparently entered some freak date competition with her friends in order to induce pity and ridicule on those less fortunate. It looks like Dawn Golden's "goose is cooked."
Before the television turns off, Penguin tells Batman that he has 8 seconds before the room explodes. Killer Croc can’t believe Penguin would have the guts to betray him so he makes a hasty exit while Batman breaks free of his bonds. Batman manages to get out of the room before it explodes and looks for Dawn because he could recognize from the television that the room Dawn was in was somewhere inside the building. Batman discovers her in the basement where he frees her and makes his way back to the streets. Back at the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin is speaking to a demon (possibly Aleister Golden) who is angered at Oswald’s failure because he was expecting Penguin to open the gates of Hell with a pure sacrifice (Dawn Golden).
Batman: Gates of Gotham
The first three bridges in Gotham City were built during the 1800s by the Cobblepots, Elliots and Waynes. Unfortunately, those same bridges were destroyed by an explosion in the present day. Dick and Tim managed to save as many survivors as they could. Later on, Dick gets a tip from an informant that a week ago, Penguin smuggled in a shipment of about a hundred pounds of Semtex (a plastic explosive) from Hong Kong to Gotham because he had a potential buyer lined up for the purchase.
Dick meets up with Commissioner Gordon because Gordon has just picked up some troubling news from the Gotham Gazette. Gordon informs Dick that thirty lives were lost to the explosions and a mysterious note was sent to the gazette's chief editor. The note stated that, “the families will fall by the gates of Gotham.” Dick decides to act on his tip and pay Penguin a visit with Gordon. As Dick interrogated Penguin, he learns that Penguin had sold the Semtex to someone who wore an unusual costume and used the name of Oswald's ancestor as an alias.
Gordon offers Penguin protective custody since the destruction of his ancestor's bridge and the content of the mysterious note no doubt means the bomber intends to kill Penguin in due time. However, Penguin refuses Gordon's offer and says his newly built Iceburg Lounge is a fortress. Dick decides if Penguin won't cooperate then he will have Tim and Cassandra Cain keep watch over the Iceberg Lounge while he doubles the security at Wayne Tower.
During the reopening night of the Iceberg Lounge, Tim and Cassandra notice several people fleeing in terror from the club. It seems Penguin has discovered a bomb in his office and its up to Tim to disarm it. Unfortunately, Tim is unsuccessful in disarming the bomb and Cassandra pulls Tim out of Penguin's office before the lounge explodes. Penguin is met with utter disappointment since he has lost his nightclub once again.
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice
Oswald was leaving the Iceberg Lounge when he bumped into a patron who insulted him for his carelessness. When the patron recognized who Cobblepot was, he immediately apologized for his arrogance. Oswald brushed it off for the time being. Oswald instructed his men to steal the Dragon Egg ruby from a Gotham socialite named Barbara Chantell. Oswald's men ambush Mrs. Chantell's entourage with gunfire and decapitate Mrs. Chantell because she refused to give up the ruby which hanged from a secured necklace. Oswald's men bring the ruby to him so he could present the ruby to his mother as a Mother's Day gift. Afterwards, Oswald has that patron who insulted him brought up to his office. The patron is afraid that Oswald is going to kill him but Oswald instructs him that no harm will be brought to him but he can't say the same for those he loves. In just a short time, Oswald has the patron's apartment building burnt down with his kind yet elderly landlord trapped inside. Oswald mocks the patron by saying those old brownstone apartments are firetraps waiting to happen. As for the patron's parents, they too would suffer an unforeseen accident. Oswald's men established a dangerous detour on the icy mountain roads in Gotham and had the brakes of their car cut. Their car sadly sped off the road at fell into the rocky off shores of Gotham Bay. The patron's final torment was the loss of his girlfriend Jenny who accompanied him to the Iceberg Lounge. One of Oswald's men snuck up behind Jenny and gave her a hotshot full of heroin while she was on the loud and crowded dance floor. Oswald then grabs a 357 magnum from a drawer and puts one bullet in it. Oswald then slides the gun to the grieving patron and tells him to be courteous by going outside rather than stain the carpets of his office with blood.
Detective Comics: Faces of Death
Penguin opens The Iceberg Casino and tries to wipe out several low end criminals and take there territories for himself, but he is stopped by Batman when his plans involving blowing up innocent people and the murder of Charlotte Rivers.
Dark Knight: Cycle of Violence
Penguin is in the middle of interrogating an employee who stole a painting of Cobblepot's mother, when Scarecrow walks in. Penguin has made him a blimp that will emit Super Fear Toxin 451-A on to Gotham.
Death of the Family
Penguin goes into a church to meet with powerful criminals but finds them all dead in a praying position. Joker meets him there and tells that crime is like a religion and asks him to join him. Penguin agrees to join him along with Riddler and Two-Face. Later, when Batman goes to the prison to catch Joker, Penguin is seen along with Riddler and Two-Face dressed up in a medieval costume. They also have hostages dressed up like the Justice League. Joker tells Batman that he is the king and must sit on his throne (electric chair) or the hostages die. When Joker's plan is complete, he tricks Penguin and the others and traps them behind bars so they can't get to him.
Powers and Abilities
No doubt one of Batman most intelligent villains, equal to such criminals as the Riddler, Penguin is a superb criminal mastermind. Penguin is a brilliant planner and can make almost every situation fall in his favor, to the point of even his archenemy admitting the clever bird’s intelligence. Cobblepot is a great organizational leader and has many underworld connections making him a force to be reckoned with.
Like Catwoman with cats, Penguin has been known to have an almost psychic connection with birds, and yet again, very much like Catwoman, they both use their favored animals in assisting their various burglaries and robberies. Despite not being the most intimidating fighter appearance-wise, Oswald is actually an expert in Judo and has been trained in bare-knuckle boxing. While he has been depicted as being able to go toe-to-toe with Batman, like the Joker, some have depicted him as being able to be taken down with a good solid punch, but it’s all up to the writer.
Being one of Batman’s most dangerous foes and one of his most persistent ones, Penguin has been known to be able to make all sides go against each other, and the only winner in the end is Cobblepot. The foul-feathered fowl is a great manipulator in that regard, and has come out the winner in many situations. In his early years, he was known to be able to escape Batman multiple times.
Equipment and Weapons
Cobblepot uses his umbrella as a sheath for a hidden blade. In Batman: The Animated Series, he has flamethrower and a sub machine gun umbrellas as well. One is used for transportation such as the infamous helicopter umbrella.
Batman: Earth One
He is the corrupt mayor of Gotham City. Penguin was involved with the underworld and with some help from his connections, he managed to arrange the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, his political adversaries, leaving young Bruce orphaned. Some years later, he is confronted by Batman (Bruce Wayne) and after a fight he found his death at the hands of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce's butler and former guardian. He is shot by a shotgun and crashed through a window, landing on the street.
Oswald Cobblepot was the mayoral competition for Dr. Thomas Wayne. Dr. Wayne wanted to change Gotham for the better by becoming mayor but Oswald refused to let another Wayne disgrace the Cobblepot legacy. When the Waynes went to the Monarch Theatre on that fateful night, Oswald paid a corrupt cop named Jacob Weaver to cut the power to cinema. The Waynes decide to leave but not the way Cobblepot intended. Weaver had his men stationed at key points to kidnap Waynes but when they heard the gunfire, Weaver and his men fell back. Cobblepot was still pleased that Dr. Wayne was dead because things worked out better by having some unknown vagrant (Joe Chill) do the Waynes in and no alibi required.
Years later, Bruce became Batman in order to fight his way to the truth. Oswald feared that this Batman may get too close to the truth of what happened that night the Waynes were murdered. Oswald has a mentally disturbed assassin named the Birthday Boy kill Weaver to keep him from talking but that doesn't stop Batman. The Birthday Boy left clues as to where he was hiding out. Batman interrogates the Birthday Boy and finds out that Cobblepot hired him to kill Weaver. Batman confronts Penguin at his Iceberg Lounge but he underestimates the Feathered Felon. Cobblepot sticks Batman with a trick stiletto from his umbrella then he removes Batman cowl. Cobblepot is shocked but at the same time amused that Batman is Bruce Waynes. Fortunately, Penguin would never get the chance to exploit Bruce's secret because Alfred arrives on the scene and empties two barrels into Cobblepot's chest.
Batman vs Lobo (One Shot)
The Penguin in this Elseworld is a much smaller version. He resembles a cross between a Penguin and a Squid; his feet resemble a squid's tentacles. He was killed when Lobo stuck a large cigar in his mouth and lit it; the cigar exploded, removing his face.
The Doom that Came To Gotham
In this Lovecraft-inspired Elseworlds, Cobblepot helms an expedition to the Antarctic that ends in death for most of his crew. Cobblepot himself goes feral, and lives amongst the mutant penguins from Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness."
This live-action film featured some of Batman's most notorious villains such as Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin, who was played by Burgess Meredith. Penguin and the villains try their hardest to outsmart and outmatch Batman and the boy wonder, but are thwarted and unable to succeed. The late Burgess Meredith was the first person to ever play the Penguin and pulled it off with class and elegance, different from his counterpart Danny DeVito in Tim Burton's film "Batman Returns".
Played by Danny DeVito. In this movie, the Penguin has a radically different origin story. He is depicted as being deformed from birth, possessing flipper-like hands with only three digits (a thumb, an index finger, and a third digit formed of the remaining three fingers). He is abandoned by his upper-class parents, thrown into the sewer and raised by the zoo's penguins.
Played by Burgess Meredith.
Played by Robin Lord Taylor. In the FOX television series Gotham, set in the years after the Wayne murders, Taylor plays a major character in the series and depicts a young Oswald Cobblepot as he begins his journey to becoming the future Penguin we know today. Early in the show he survives a revenge assault to his left leg that gives him his trademark waddle limp, after which he becomes violently enraged by anyone who compares his walk to that of a penguin.
Originally under the employ of the gangster Fish Mooney, Oswald attempts to create a power play by acting as an informant for the police regarding Mooney's plans. When this is discovered, Cobblepot is ordered to be killed, a job which falls into the hands of a young detective Jim Gordon who is forced to make the kill to appease Falcone's regime and prove he can go along with the GCPD's corruption. Gordon fakes Cobblepot's death however, telling him not to return to Gotham. Oswald doesn't stay away long though, and soon sets about rising up the criminal ranks under a new name. He eventually finds work in a restaurant run by Sal Maroni, as well as being an informant for James Gordon, while secretly playing all sides against each other for his own gains. His grandest accomplishment seen in the first season is taking ownership of a mob nightclub which he renames Oswald's. His character is demonstrated to be a complex psychopath, ranging from sycophantic momma's boy, to charismatic negotiator, to bloodthirsty lunatic delighting in the planning, execution, and even the sport of murder. By the climax of Gotham's first season, Cobblepot appears poised to take the reins of Gotham's underworld.
Played by Frank Welker
Batman: The Animated Series / New Batman Adventures
Voiced by Paul Williams
Voiced by Tom Kenny
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Voiced by Stephen Root
Batman Arkham Asylum
Penguin's umbrella could was found through one of Riddler's riddles.
Batman Arkham City
During the story of Arkham City it is revealed that after the events of Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharp twisted the events to his liking and became mayor of Gotham based on his heroics and a promise to clean up the city. The day after he won the election, Arkham City was proposed; a huge part of a run down part of the city would be sealed off and all the criminals and criminal patients from the asylum would be let loose inside. Cobblepot however saw the opportunity to acquire the Pinkney Cyrus Museum of Natural History which formed the bulk of the building his Iceberg Lounge was housed in. Eventually Jim Gordon and the GCPD had to evict him from the building as the area was about to be closed, but Cobblepot resisted, citing he had bought the buildings fair and square. When Gordon insisted, Cobblepots men opened fire and killed three officers, afterwards Cobblepot was sealed inside. Inside Arkham City Penguins sets himself up as one of three powers within the city, laying claim to the west part of the prison surrounding the Iceberg Lounge with Two-Face in the north centred around the Solomon Wayne courthouse and Joker in the east in the Sionis Steelmill. While Two-face is a lesser problem to him, Penguin is engaged in fighting a turf war with the Joker.
Penguin is part of the first actual fight you have in the game, as he is found waiting for Bruce Wayne to be admitted into the prison, where it is revealed he is seeking revenge for the Wayne's having ruined the Cobblepots in the past. Later however it is revealed it was more likely due to bad business choices made by Oswald's descendants rather than the Waynes who ruined them. Later he becomes a central obstacle in Batman's way when he kidnaps Mr. Freeze, who's working on a cure for the Joker's Titan-poisoning, forcing him to venture through the Museum and all the exhibits Oswald keeps around.
In-game the Penguin appears much like he does the the comics, short, pouchy and with his distinctive nose. But in place of his usual monocle the Penguin is forced to wear the clear glass bottom of a bottle over his right eye, which is a result of a bar fight. It is later revealed that Penguin and his men had caught some guy who owed him money in a bar and started torturing him, the guy's brother stepped in and shoved the bottle bottom into Oswald's face for it. The bottle couldn't be removed without it being fatal to Oswald, in retaliation he had the brothers eyes put out and shoved him out on the freeway. Also in game Oswald has a ventilation grill in the side of his throat, possibly due to many years of smoking.