With the TV influx of these two chilly knaves, I was thinking about their roles in the both the Silver and Bronze Ages and why are they still popular. Or are they?

First the Bold Bird of Banditry,

  • I always got the impression that the Penguin was the leader of Batman's foes from both the comics and the TV show. Was he the smartest bird of the bunch?
  • He juggled several gimmicks at the same time and despite his outdated look, was always thinking outside the box and embraced new technology. Could they have evolved him into a less-comical character?
  • I'm not 100% sure but I don't think that Carmine Infantino drew him in any of his "New Look" Batman stories though he did the covers. Did he not like the Penguin?
  • Gardner Fox did as did Bob Haney as the Penguin appeared in both Justice League of America and Brave & Bold. Did he rank high on the super-villain scale?
  • The Penguin has appeared in every incarnation of the Dark Knight excluding the last trilogy. Why has he remained so popular? Was he automatically assumed to be Batman's #2 nemesis? Was it Burgess Meredith's wonderful portrayal? Was he simply kid-friendly?

Next the Frozen Felon,

  • In his origin, Len Snart somehow infuses his gun with ice powers. He didn't know why nor did he understand the process. After he was defeated, why wasn't the coldgun destroyed? And if it was how could he build another one?
  • Was he the leader of the Rogues? Or was it Mirror Master? Both seem to be in charge at different times.
  • Speaking of the Rogues, if Cold wasn't teaming with them, he was fighting them. Yet he seemed to enjoy hanging out with them on their "off" days. Was he really friends with any o them?
  • He was lonely though and looked for love in all the wrong places. At least it gave him an unique motivation. Does anyone think that he would have retired if he met Miss Right?
  • With Mister Freeze in BATMAN & ROBIN, Iceman in the X-MEN movies, Blizzard in AGENTS OF SHIELD and now Captain Cold in THE FLASH, is this the best time to be an ice character? Maybe Polar Boy has an agent now?

My own personal theories is that both have a good side to them. Captain Cold has been shown to have a benevolent nature underneath the ice. And I could see a retired Oswald Cobblepot running an exotic bird shop, regaling the neighborhood children about how often he baffled the Bat while giving them a safe haven from the streets.

Anyway, how do you feel about DC's newest TV stars? And where would you rate them in their respective (or disrespective) rogues galleries?

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I'd forgotten about that Joker appearance, Phillip, so thanks for correcting me.

And thanks especially for recognizing and addressing my main point, that a Penguin appearance in a Gardner Fox Justice League of America story doesn't mean he's a big-time villain. That doesn't seem to be the criteria that Fox was using.

I initially wrote that Schwartz's and Fox's villain choices may have been partly shaped by a concern about using major villains from series edited by other editors. By the time the Penguin and the Joker appeared Schwartz was editing the Bat-titles. But Angle Man probably was Wonder Woman's major foe in the period. The Parasite didn't debut until 1966, Black Manta 1967.

Captain Comics said:

The Commander and Mr. Silver Age will likely correct me, but I think they dropped the angle of Cold looking for love after his second or third appearance . . . .

Actually, Captain Cold's fickle infatuations became something of a running gag throughout the Silver-Age Flash run.

As you mentioned, Cap, it started with Cold falling for Iris West, in The Flash # 114 (Aug., 1960).  Iris' decidedly negative response to that caused the Frigid Felon to turn his ardour toward fashion model Miss Twist, as seen in The Flash # 134 (Feb., 1963).  This was followed by a number of further infatuations:

Television model Priscilla "Dream Girl" Varner, in The Flash # 140 (Nov., 1963)

Ayesha, the Maharanee of Jodapur, in The Flash # 150 (Feb., 1965)

Silent-film actress Laura Lamont, in The Flash # 193 (Dec., 1969).

Thanks, Commander! I remember Iris and the film star, but the rest didn't stick with me.

Philip Portelli said:

Fox did use the Joker in #34 and Luthor in #61. Did he use them properly is another question. I would say no, especially regarding Luthor.

Interestingly both stories revolved around schemes of Doctor Destiny and he included the Penguin in #61 as well!

The Penguin also made an earlier JLA appearance, in #40's Indestructible Creatures of Nightmare Island -- in which he teamed up with none other than Captain Cold.

I've also heard the argument that Penguin is Batman's smartest foe. Supposedly he loses because his ego causes him to want to fight Batman face to face, whereas he'd win if he set his plans in order then stayed away. Thinking of Batman's rogues' gallery, I'd always think "Joker, Penguin, Riddler..."
Note who's mentioned here:


And wasn't that a great closing song? And what did we get for live action? Na na na na na na na...Batman!

How many people unfamiliar with the comics that saw Batman Adventures think Captain Cold is Mister Freeze with a different name?

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