The Penguin

“Fat guy in a littllle coat…”

Ah, the Penguin.

There’s worse Batman villains–the Ventriloquist, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus–but there is no Bat baddie I dislike more than Mr. Cobblepot. A fat guy in a tux with trick umbrellas? And he fights a superhero whose gimmick is that he’s the scariest mutherf*cker on Earth…? I just don’t get it. Yeah, there’s been a couple of good Penguin stories (this one is my fave…)

…but that’s an exception to the rule. I think the reason he rubs me the wrong way so much is that he–along with the Joker and the Riddler–is considered one the top three Batman rogues (is Catwoman still considered a Bat-villain?). Joker, Riddler, they have a great look, a clear purpose, they deliver a legit threat level. They’ve earned their marquee status. But Penguin…? How did he get to be part of that A-list?

Two words: Burgess Meredith.

If he wasn’t so good in that role on the old Adam West Batman TV show, the Penguin would be just another third tier Bat-baddie, he wouldn’t have anywhere near as much street cred as he does and I wouldn’t be subjected to his absurdity on such a regular basis.

How’s that for a lead-in to my Penguin mod? I should never MC kids parties.

So a few years back I customized this sucker for a friend who, regrettably, is a big Penguin fan. The only ‘Clix available for the character at the time was the white tuxedo version from Cosmic Justice so I broke out the acrylics, took a deep breath and wasted an hour of my life that I’ll never get back…

Ingredients: Base body is a Penguin (Cosmic Justice) and…well, that’s about it. The original “bird-themed ice cream man” look was replaced with the classic color scheme from the old Kenner Super Powers action figure line. Some acrylic paint, a FWISH! of matte sealant and the Peng…I almost wrote “the Penguin looks less ridiculous,” but that’s be a lie. Custom Penguin dial here.

EDIT: CarlosMucha over at HCRealms pointed out that a Super Powers color scheme would feature a blue jacket, not black. He’s right, and that’s what I get for not using reference. Weird…when I think “Super Powers Penguin,” in my mind I can totally see him in a black jacket. BY MY BRAIN BETRAYED!

Looking at this figure now–years after I modded him–I have NO idea why I didn’t x-acto those lil’ penguins off the base. I have nothing against them as birds: I love penguins (lower case “P”). But as sidekicks to a villain who fights Batman…? Ugh, it just drains the life out of me. I’m not a fan of cutesy things in comics like that.

Alright, enough with this rant, let’s bring this love-fest to a close with the Dark Knight squaring off against Clown Prince of pork rinds…

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Killer Moth

“Professor Deathmoth.”

No…?

How about “Murder Moth?”

Pretty much every moth-themed moniker you could conjure up will fall as flat as the name of this week’s topic: Killer Moth. It’s the word “moth.” It’s so non-threatening that when you try pairing it with a tough guy name—“killer”—it just accentuates the absurd. “Apocalypse Panda.” See? Some words don’t lend themselves to the sinister. “Death Dolphin.” I bet he’s adorable. “Killer Moth.” Ridiculous. To be taken seriously, this Batman villain’s costume had to be designed so intimidatingly that it offset his name and immediately paralyzed his victims with fear. Nah, just kidding. He looks like he was designed by Cindy Brady on a sugar high…

Can you imagine a gathering of supervillains—Black Adam simmering with rage that he has to work with such villainous scum, Gorilla Grodd secretly wishing to kill every human in the room, Lex Luthor sizing up how to take down his allies—and in walks Killer Moth? They’d think he was the pizza boy from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. Hey, check it out; I think I just came up with a new origin for Killer Moth!

Though the character assassination on this blog might make you think otherwise, I love this character. Normally I prefer supervillains to be more on the menacing side like Doc Doom or Deathstroke, but there’s something about KM (the pants?) that I just dig. If you’re looking for a rock solid fun read starring Johnny Moth here, check out Batgirl: Year One by Dixon, Beatty, Martin & Lopez. It’s also one of the best Barbara Gordon/Batgirl stories out there. Fun stuff

Ingredients: The base body was a rookie Skrull Infiltrator (SuperNova), the hand/gun came courtesy Mirror Master (Origin), the head from Living Laser (Avengers) and the wings were originally from a Wasp fig (Infinity Challenge). After I finished painting him and attaching the wings they looked…wrong. Never be afraid to undo a custom if a part doesn’t look right. The new wings—Queen Bee (Unleashed)—proved a much better fit. His bug eyes were the studs off some WizKids figure (Hawkman’s mace? The bolts from a mech? I don’t remember), his holster came from a random ‘Clix soldier (probably a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) and the moth insignia and stripes on his pants were bits of index card paper hardened with Krazy Glue. Acrylic paint, a *PHSSH!* of matte sealant and call it a day. Custom Killer Moth dial here.

And that’s that, but before I go, some killer Killer Moth nonsense from around the web…

Lego Killer Moth vs. Lego Batman

Killer Moth > Adam West

KM Halloween costume

And finally, the unofficial Killer Moth theme song