Wednesday, July 7, 2010

March of the Penguins

This is NOT a post about "March of the Penguins" (French: "La Marche de l'Empereur"), a 2005 French nature documentary film about the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antarctica. The film won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

This blog post: "March of the Penguins" is to showcase some of the Penguins a.k.a Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (super-villain and arch-enemy of Batman) that have been produced and released as a toy and action figure as a result of the movies or TV series (including the animated ones) in which they have appeared over time.

There's the Danny DeVito Penguin from "Batman Returns (1992)", whose hands were now flippers, with a thumb and index finger, and the remaining three fingers fused together. This Penguin was bald, with his remaining length of hair long and stringy. Instead of a tuxedo, he wore a more gothic, Victorian-style outfit, with a jabot as opposed to a bow tie. Combined with his long dark coat/robe, the full white front of the bodysuit gave him an even more penguin-like appearance.

Next up is a 8-inch Mego Penguin from 1974. He comes with a stiff vinyl fabric tuxedo jacket, as opposed to the Joker's cloth one. Standard black dress shoes and no other accessories. The Mego Penguin was a popular Batman character in the early 1970s due to Burgess Meredith's portrayal of the feathered fiend on the Batman television series.

In "The New Batman Adventures (TNBA)" animated series, The Penguin was re-designed in the classic way and his deformed version was scrapped. He was now a reformed "legitimate" businessman and owned The Iceburg Lounge, Gotham's hottest nightclub, while still working behind the scenes on various dirty deals in a 'Kingpin'-type role.

French Quick Restaurant’s exclusive line of DC Super Heroes and Villains included the TNBA Penguin. One of the really astonishing aspects of these toys is the relative scale - Batman is 8 inches tall although not shown here. Penguin is relative in size and height to Batman.

The Mattel Penguin from the latest rendition of the animated Batman, "The Batman" series, reverts back to Tim Burton's dark interpretation in terms of the look, sporting a bald top, red hair and small sharp teeth (already reviewed in the previous post).

The smaller scale Penguin (on the right in the picture below) is from "Batman The Animated Series". "Batman: The Animated Series" which aired in 1992 has been met with almost universal acclaim, and has been highly praised for its sophistication, mature writing, artistic ambition, and faithfulness to its source material. [source: wiki] It was this series that kick-started my toy collecting hobby way back in 1994 so they have a sentimental value to me.

Due to the close relation in time between "Batman Returns" and the animated series, the film version's physically freakish depiction of the character was adapted for the animated series, but he retained the traditional refined mannerisms and personality of his comic counterpart.

Medicom Kubrick released a Batman series based on characters from the Batman movies and the Danny DeVito Penguin from "Batman Returns (1992)" gets his own Kubrick figure too, along with his penguin as well.

The Penguin had armed his legion of penguins with missiles and mind-control devices, intending to send them out to 'punish all of Gotham's children.'

Last but not least, we have the Lego Penguin. Lego has also gone the way of "Hollywood" and has been releasing movie-related products from Star Wars to Indiana Jones, Batman and the latest, Toy Story 3.

There you have it - a short history of the Penguins in my humble abode. I think the number of clowns outnumber the penguins (thanks to Hot Toys) but there are definitely more Batman (or is that Bat-men) ;p


Poh Wee Seng said...

Awesome...!!! Seems like you have everything a toy collector could ever dream of.

Korndamned said...

Damn.... you got me. I was thinking penguins figures... haha you got me.... hehe

LEon said...

Wow I am very impressed with your collection of Penguins! Nice title too!

Anonymous said...

No love for the Kenner "Batman Returns" figures?

True, the Kenner Penguin has no likeness to the movie's version of the character - thanks to a cheap toy company's attempt to save money. They repainted a Penguin figure released in the 80s that was based on the comic books - so while he has a paint-job more reminiscent of the movie (black, white, and red, as opposed to blue, yellow, and white), he's much more in line with Burgess Meredith's portrayal.

But Kenner also released a pair of Penguin commandos, with accompanying rocket packs, which look pretty cool.

Also, the Penguin released in the "Legends of the Dark Knight" line of figures in the 90s was also pretty sweet looking.

Here's hoping that Hot Toys releases figures from the Burton/Keaton Batman movies, so that we can get a proper Devito action figure!

alex teo said...

thanks guys for the kind words :)

@ anon - I didn't pick up any of the Kenner "Batman Returns" Penguin figures and I'm also hoping to see Hot Toys take on Burton/Keaton Batman & DeVito Penguin.

There is a Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman femfig in the works (link:


Anonymous said...

does the head turn on the kubrick penguin? Does the hat come off?

alex teo said...

head turns, hat stays CHEERS

Anonymous said...

ah thanks. when you say the hat stays, I assume you mean it's removable but his hair comes off too. Thats how the joker kubrick is

pete said...

I actually made a custom of the Animated Series penguin and made it into a Batman Returns style penguin since they look so similiar. i painted the face an offwhite like in the film, vest colored silver, bowtie made black and painted the hands black to look like shiny gloved flipper hands. the BTAS penguin is the cloest we will ever get to a kenner-sized Returns penguin, just needs a repaint job.

however i really want that Returns kubrick missle penguin cuz while the penguin commandos from the kenner line are good, the kubrick version is much more movie accurate and is actually in very good scale with the kenner line of batman movie toys. deifnetly need that one.