Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why The Penguin?

There are a few reasons why I went with this character. On the one hand it was the first name that came into my head! I also felt a lot of people picked Marvel characters, so I thought I'd go with a change.

But I'm also intrigued by the various interpretations of the character. In the film Batman Returns, he is an embittered monster trying to become respectable. In the 60's series he was a squawking eccentric, while in The Batman he was an oik pretending to have class.

I've got to be honest, there is also a joy in writing for villains, be able to get a sense of why they do what they do. It seems to me you rarely get villains that are evil for the sake of it and that often adds to the fun.

If you are interested in reading some more, professional, Penguin tales during or after this week then please check out the links below, there might just be something new for never know, and each click and purchase (and you can purchase anything, so long as our link to Amazon is your portal) will help us here at thoughtballoons make a little scratch to get by. Thank you in advance:



  1. Tell me about it.

    I've got something, just need to polish it up. You'll see it come Mnday.


    The Penguin--aka Oswald Cobblepot-- is sitting in an old-style smoking chair in a darkened den. Silhouetted at the window is Catwoman, tapping at the glass.


    From her POV, we see Oswald leaning around the chair.

    PENGUIN: Selina. What can I do for you this evening?

    Close-up on Catwoman, smiling cheekily.

    CATWOMAN: I have a present for you, Oswald--It’s at the front door.

    From a low angle we see Penguin standing at the open front door, looking down at the ground. Catwoman’s shadow can be seen on the wall next to him.

    PENGUIN: Ah, fish, my favourite. You know me all too well, my dear. Let us bring it into the kitchen.

    Catwoman and Penguin are standing in the kitchen looking down at the bench between them.

    CATWOMAN: I scooped it out of Gotham River just this morning.
    PENGUIN: And you thought you’d share it with me? How thoughtful.
    CATWOMAN: You’re a better cook than I.
    PENGUIN: Ah, this is true.
    CATWOMAN: So any ideas on how to prepare it?

    We see a wide-shot of the scene, revealing Aquaman lying unconscious on the bench. Penguin is holding up an umbrella with a blade shooting up from its tip and both are smiling evilly.

    PENGUIN: Filleted, I believe.

    NOTE: I have to thank my girlfriend for this one. When I was pondering over what to write for "The Penguin", she jokingly suggested, "Why don't you have him fight with Catwoman over a fish?" I smiled, replying, "That's it! You're a genius" : )

  3. Hey Danial, once again, very prolific and quick with a good idea. I have to admit, I'm possibly an idiot, but I didn't see that Aquaman reveal coming, well done.

    Catwoman is now portrayed as more of a hero, I think, but this could be set at any time. I love it, simple, easy, has a great one-page punch.

    Say thanks to your girlfriend, man, she's an idea fountain.

  4. Thanks. Not sure about "prolific", but certainly getting faster--This one had a one-hour life-cycle (20min brainstorming and 40min writing), which I was quite happy with : )

    Catwoman's a hero? Oops. Most of my DC knowledge comes from the films/cartoons, so they may be a little... skewed ; )

  5. So much possibility with a character like Penguin/Cobblepot. Good choice. Actually got me back into writing exercises at the possibilities today.

  6. Just spotted the Danial script, very cute. I must admit I am a soft spot for that kind of gallows humour in a comic.

  7. [I'm not sure who, where, or why, but I heard someone say recently, "I couldn't draw to save my life!", which got me thinking: when would such a situation ever occur! Which then lead to this...]


    A man is casually walking along a footpath, passing a dark alley.

    Close-up on the man’s shocked face. He has a flipper-like hand covering his mouth.

    The man is pulled quickly into the alley.

    From the man’s POV, kneeling on the ground, we see The Penguin standing before him. He is pointing an umbrella at the man with one hand and holding out a paper and pencil with the other.

    PENGUIN: Draw me a picture of Superman… flying through Metropolis.

    We see the man, kneeling before The Penguin. He’s taking the paper and pencil.

    MAN: What? Why?
    PENGUIN: Just do it! This umbrella’s loaded. Don’t make me use it.

    The man is drawing on the paper.

    MAN: OK. OK.

    We see a close-up of a crudely-drawn sketch of Superman, flying through a city.

    MAN (O/P): Here.

    The Penguin is shaking his head.

    PENGUIN: That’s just not good enough.

    The Penguin is pointing the umbrella at the man.

    PENGUIN: Waugh. Too bad.

    The same shot as the last but with the umbrella firing.


    [I know, it's silly and pointless, but I had to do it ;-)]

  8. Good stuff, Danial, but this kind of randomness seems to be right up Joker's alley. Penguin is the kind of guy who does things for a clear reason (usually financial gain). But hey, maybe you're three steps ahead of me and already knows how this ends. :)

  9. Long-time reader, first-time play-along-at-home participant, but I couldn't resist this choice. The possibilities were endless. Apparently, though, did not click post last night before the new week's character went up. Here goes nothing I guess, a little one-pager that popped into my head and gave me a chuckle:

    The Gentleman and The Thief

    PANEL 1 – Close Up, torso and head of The Penguin as he lets off a burst of automatic gunfire into the air from one of his trick umbrellas. Clad from head to at least waist in his finest tuxedo. Monocle clenched tightly in one eye. His shouts are drowned out by the loud, repetitive shots, but the effect is not lost on us.


    Penguin: !!!

    PANEL 2 – Medium Shot of the Penguin as he shouts towards a young lady while pointing the umbrella at her. Sitting at a table, she is handing him a pearl necklace, frightened for her life.

    Penguin: !!!

    PANEL 3 – Bright edges as if a flash just fired off from an antique camera, almost dream sequence. The same woman is sitting at the business end of Oswald’s umbrella. There is no necklace dangling from her fingers, only a cigarette. She is calmly smiling. Short 1920’s style hair, big dark eyes, they spell trouble, the kind The Gentleman Thief enjoys most. The glint in Oswald’s monocle matches that of his flirtatious smile.

    Oswald (SFX): [Cooing].

    PANEL 4 –[Continued dream state] Close-up on the tip of Oswald’s umbrella as a flame lights the cigarette dangling from the woman’s fingers. Snowflakes appear to float down slowly in the background.

    PANEL 5 – Low-angle shot, back to "standard" lighting, with Penguin’s upturned head. Shards of glass fall heralding what we know by only the boots we see to be the Batman as he falls down into the scene. The sparkling bits of skylight juxtaposed brightly to his coming down towards Penguin.

    PANEL 6 – POV of the woman, dream state, Oswald is kissing her hand as a shadowy figure stands towering behind him, almost demonic in stature?.

    PANEL 7 – Medium shot, the Penguin has turned around to connect Oswald’s nose with Batman’s fist. A crack from frame top to bottom denotes the shattering of the dream with Penguin depicted in his gentlemanly state, and the fist of Bats in the grittier reality.


    PANEL 8 – Medium shot of Penguin, in handcuffs being led off by a cop, we see only the officer’s hand from off panel. The woman stands in their path, arms folded, scowling. Penguin’s face shows an eagerness for her still.

    PANEL 9 – Close-up a handbag comes down hard on the Penguin’s head. Stars abound to show the pain


  10. Nice one. I liked Panel 7 with the "cracked dream"--very cool idea!

    You wouldn't be able to do such a sketch with a Marvel character (due to their no-smoking policy), but DC seem to have no such qualms.

    Thanks for sharing! Better late than never : )

  11. Casey, that's a pretty neat script. I love that dream breaking panel as well. Creepy little Cobblepot. Good work man, hope you get something for Punisher as well.

  12. Thanks Danial and Ryan for the kind compliments, I really appreciate them. Glad you liked the dual state.

    I won't give too much away, but I might have a little something up my sleeve for this weeks ;)


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