- I have never received the recognition my criminal genius deserves. The Joker and the others-- they're all second rate charlatans compared to me... and yet, because my appearance strikes some as comical-- I have always been portrayed in the media as an insignificant bumbler constantly thwarted by the Batman. But I ask you-- Have any of the others ever fared any better against the Batman? And consider this-- In virtually every confrontation, I have successfully completed at least two or three brilliant crimes before Batman's single victory.
- — Penguin src
The Penguin was an enemy of Batman, a criminal who committed crimes with bird themes.
Oswald Cobblepot was the son of a bird shop owner and his invalid wife. His father died of pneumonia while Oswald was still a young boy. Thinking that her husband had gotten pneumonia from being out in the rain without an umbrella, Mrs. Cobblepot always forced young Oswald to carry an umbrella. The young Oswald was taunted by his classmates due to his rotund physique, waddling gait, and umbrellas, netting him such hurtful nicknames as "Penguin" and "Gobble-Gobble". Oswald sought refuge and found friendship in the birds at his father's shop, now run by his mother and Aunt Miranda. With the help of his aunt, Oswald attended college, picking up a major in ornithology and surpassing even his own professors.
Tragedy struck Oswald's life once more when his ailing mother died, and her mounting medical bills caused collectors to close down the family shop. Furious that the law came down and took everything he held dear, Oswald vowed to lead a life of crime. His first attempt in getting into organized crime was approaching a criminal named Angie. When offering his services however, Cobblepot was one more rejected and once more called a "Penguin". Furious, Oswald vowed that the word penguin would become the most feared in all Gotham City, and took it as his name. Now wearing his trademark top hat and suit, Oswald once more approached Angie, this time killing the man with the first of many trick umbrellas. Thus started the career of one of Batman's most consistent foes: The Penguin.
His first heist involved the theft of a rare Prussian egret, a mission that the Penguin succeeded at by sacrificing the men he is working with to the police, thanks to a tip that the Penguin called in himself. The Penguin then murdered the leader of a gang and took over it's operations, cementing him as a career criminal in Gotham City.
His first recorded clash with Batman and Robin involved a series of thefts wherein the Penguin left eggs as clues to his next crimes for the Batman to find. Batman eventually tracked the Penguin down and captured him when one of his clues literally came back and bit him when the baby alligator inside hatched and bit his leg. This defeat led the Penguin into going into semi-retirement. However, he returned to plague Batman and Robin once more after being mocked by other criminals. Staging a series of bird related crimes, the Penguin was once more foiled by the Caped Crusaders.
Free once more, the Penguin hatched an elaborate plot to try and trick Batman into planning his next robbery by putting up many umbrella displays around Gotham City, and bugging them with microphones to overhear Batman's musings about what he was up to. This plot was, of course, foiled by Batman and Robin. Next the Penguin was manipulated by Andrew Helm's Corti-Conscious machine into battling the Justice League of America . He next teamed up with the Joker and Riddler in a plot to turn Batman in the so-called "Bat-Hulk" with an experimental new gas. This plot was foiled by the combined efforts of Batman and Metamorpho.
When attempting to rob a bird sanctuary in Metropolis, the Penguin was almost murdered in a complex plot wherein Catwoman hypnotized Lois Lane into attacking him, however this plot was thwarted by Superman. The Penguin next gathered his gang and armed them with "weapons of the future" to combat modern crime fighting technology. With the exception of his robotorellas, most of these were simple gimmicks that were foiled by Batman and Robin. During this caper, the Penguin was delivered a humiliating defeat when he was knocked out by Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth, who, in an ironic twist, struck the Penguin over the head with an umbrella. Put in jail, Oswald was briefly disappointed when he heard of Batman's retirement, although this turned out to be a ruse.
The Penguin escaped from jail and was once more apprehended by Batman and Robin during a period when Batman was attempting to shake off the effect of the Scarecrow's fear pills. The Penguin was next manipulated by Dr. Destiny along with a group of other crooks in an elaborate plot against the Justice League of America wherein each crook switched bodies with their greatest foes. During this caper, the Penguin briefly switched bodies with his hated enemy Batman, but all the crooks were ultimately defeated and turned over to the authorities.
Loose in Gotham City again, the Penguin and other costumed villains were concerned about the arrival of a western mob encroaching on Gotham City. In an attempt to make a show of power, the crooks attempted to prevent the mob from killing Batman so that they might do so themselves, with information provided to them by the Penguin, who in turn was tipped off by another crook known as Mr. Espers who was also secretly helping Batman in the hopes of eliminating his competition.
Laying low for a time, the Penguin returned once more to commit a more ambitious crime: kidnapping King King Peeble IV, the 12 year old ruler of Swawak, in a bid to gain power over his kingdom. This plot was foiled by his arch-foes Batman and Robin, with assistance from Talia al Ghul. The Penguin was next a pawn of King Kull of Earth-S, when he took control of the Rock of Eternity and threatened all existence. This plot was foiled by the combined efforts of the Justice League of America, the Justice Society of America, and Shazam's Squadron of Justice. During the battle the Penguin and Ibac were defeated by Green Arrow and Spy Smasher.
Returning to more conventional crimes, the Penguin began a series of thefts involving jewels that had connections to prominent historical figures known for their short stature (such as Napoleon), using robots of extinct birds to help him keep Batman occupied. Once again, the master detective solved the Penguin's clues and recovered the stolen loot, but he failed to capture the Bumbershoot Bandit. However, the Penguin continued to use his "little man" motus operandi in his next series of capers and got captured by Batman. When Batman and Robin were outlawed by Gotham City council, they operated outside of the law to foil one of the Penguin's diamond heists. Next working with Terra-Man, the Penguin hypnotized Superman into thinking he was the Sundance Kid and sent him against Batman. Batman snapped his friend out of the trance and the two heroes captured Penguin and Terra-Man. When attempting to steal a Pterodactyl egg from the Hudson University museum, the Penguin ran into opposition from Robin, who easily defeated him in battle.
After another stint in jail, the Penguin sought to murder the four criminals who testified against him in court. The murders brought both Batman and the Black Canary to stop the murders. They eventually brought the Penguin to justice. Free again, the Penguin kidnapped a millionaire with the aid of a trained falcon. However, he was defeated by the combined efforts of Batman, Robin and the Green Arrow. The Penguin was next involved in a complicated scheme to foil Batman involving a fake Joker who pretended to murder him, this plot failed. The Penguin was part of a coalition of Batman's greatest foes who were defeated by Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Talia al-Ghul.
Once more seeking out grander crimes, the Penguin's stole a new early-warning system developed by the Pentagon and planned to sell it to Russian spies. However, he was tracked all the way to Antarctica by Batman, who once more defeated him, before learning that Penguin had planned to double-cross the Russians.
During Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Penguin was among the many costumed heroes and villains gathered by Alexander Luthor and Harbringer to rally support to save the slowly merging multiverse from destruction at the hands of the Anti-Monitor.. When the Anti-Monitor was seemingly destroyed, the Penguin was one of the villains recruited by Lex Luthor into a coalition of super-villains seeking to seize control of the surviving universes. The Penguin was dispatched to Earth-S and clashed with the heroes sent to liberate that world.
Following the conclusion to Crisis on Infinite Earth's and the collapse of the multiverse into one single universe, the Penguin of Earth-One was erased from existence and replaced with a new version of Oswald Cobblepot much like many of Batman's rogue gallery. Elements of the past history of Earth-One's Penguin also happened to his New Earth counterpart. However, it is yet to be clarified what historical events remained following the Crisis on Infinite Earth's and other subsequent reality altering events such as the reinstatement of the Multiverse.
- The Penguin first appeared in Earth-Two continuity in Detective Comics #58 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. He first appeared in Earth-One continuity in Batman #99 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.
- This version of the Penguin, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- In one possible future, the Penguin reformed and devoted his life to ornithology.
- 66 Appearances of Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-One)
- 12 Images featuring Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-One)
- 4 Quotations by or about Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-One)
- Character Gallery: Oswald Cobblepot (Earth-One)
- The Best of DC #10 - "The Origin of the Penguin!"
- Batman #99 - "The Golden Eggs"
- Batman #155 - "The Return of the Penguin"
- Batman #169 - "Partners in Plunder"
- Justice League of America #40 - "Indestructible Creatures of Nightmare Island"
- The Brave and the Bold #68 - "Alias the Bat-Hulk"
- Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #70 - "The Catwoman's Black Magic"
- Batman #190 - "The Penguin Takes a Flyer -- Into the Future"
- Batman #191 - "The Day Batman Sold Out"
- Batman #200 - "The Man Who Radiated Fear"
- Justice League of America #61 - "Operation:Jail the Justice League"
- Batman #201 - "Batman's Gangland Guardians"
- Batman #257 - "Hail Emperor Penguin!"
- Justice League of America #135 - "Crisis in Eternity"
- Batman #287 - "Batman-Ex -- As in Extinct!"
- Batman #288 - "The Little Men's Hall of Fame"
- Detective Comics #473 - "The Malay Penguin"
- World's Finest #261
- Detective Comics #492 - "The First Bird"
- The Brave and the Bold #166 - "Requiem For 4 Canaries!"
- The Brave and the Bold #185 - "The Falcon's Lair"
- The Brave and the Bold #191 - "Only Angels Have Wings"
- Detective Comics #526 - "All My Enemies Against Me"
- Batman #374
- Detective Comics #541
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 - "Worlds in Limbo"
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 - "War Zone"
- Batman #400 - "Resurrection Night"