Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ooh, this is gonna bug me.

Long-time readers will remember that I have a great filing system: I always find what I'm looking for the last place I look. Between that and my creeping senility sometimes a search for a particular page or image may go on for weeks.

Case in point: I was doing some research for a homemade strip involving the Penguin. He's not my favorite Batman villain, although I will say I really liked him on the Batman cartoon, even as that show has been overshadowed by the superior Batman: the Animated Series and the newer Batman: Brave and the Bold. On the Batman, Pengy was the descendant of the Cobblepot family, all of whom were odious, ill-bred thieves with aspirations of nobility, pretending to be high society when they were strictly no class. That, and Penguin's hopping, kicking fighting style made him seem a physical threat for the first time in ages.

I don't have the issues in question, but I know Penguin pulled a stint on Ostrander's Suicide Squad back in the day. Ostrander may have been one of the first (if not the first) to play up Penguin's planning and organizational skills, which would later serve to make him more of a Kingpin-style behind-the-scenes crime boss, rather than that fat guy robbing a bank with an umbrella.

Still, there are two problems with the idea of Penguin doing missions for the Squad, in exchange for a pardon or reduced sentence: one, Batman, if not the citizens of Gotham City, would doubtless realize something was amiss if Penguin's sent up the river for nine consecutive life sentences (Pengy's body count in some stories is surprisingly high) then turns up with a get-out-of-jail free card a week later. (Figure the Squad would have to put its "graduates" into witness protection, even though those villains might not sit still for that.) Two, while Penguin is one of Batman's relatively few not-insane villains...every once in a while he's seen in Arkham Asylum, usually in crowd shots. Or...at least, I thought he was.
Jesus, what happened to Two-Face's ears?
I read a batch of Batman comics recently, and was positive I saw more than one with Penguin in Arkham. And there are a few stories were he is acting crazy, but usually he's going to go to prison. I thought I saw him in Grant and Breyfogle's first Shadow of the Bat storyline, "The Last Arkham," but I guess that must've been Tweedledee, Tweedledum, and the Mad Hatter:
As the only one there to have seen the inside of a gym, Batman beats the hell out of everyone there in about two pages.
Grr...I'm going to be reading a lot of Batman comics the next week or two, to see if I can find that again. And then lose it again, if past experience is any indication.

Arkham narrated page from Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins #1, "Scream if you love me" Written by Alan Grant, pencils with Frank Teran, inks by Carl Critchlow.


Anonymous said...

I believe the guy in the above photo is the Mad Hatter

Harry Badface said...

I think Pastrami is right about the Hatter, but the goofy bald guy in the panel below is wearing the Penguin's tuxedo in his place. Also, Disco Lex Luthor appears to be attacking from the front.