- Alternative Character Interpretation: He can either be a somewhat odd looking man or fully deformed, and a sophisticated aristocrat of crime or a brutish pig pretending to be such.
- Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Ever since Batman Returns in 1992, the comicbooks tend to depict that film's version of the character, i.e. a physically repulsive, deformed, pasty-skinned, long-haired freak instead of a rather normal, pudgy man.
- Complete Monster: While Penguin usually has some mitigating factors from his villainy, these version stand out in depicting him as a heartless thug pretending to be a gentleman.
- Batman: Earth One Volume One: Mayor Oswald Cobblepot note takes Corrupt Politician to new levels. Cobblepot runs Gotham like his own private Mafia and tried to have Thomas Wayne killed for running against him as Mayor. He represses the courts through fear and intimidation, allows crime to run rampant and utilizes an insane Serial Killer called Birthday Boy by providing him with young, female victims. When a judge fails to stop Harvey and Jessica Dent from investigating him, Cobblepot has the judge's eldest daughter given to Birthday Boy in payment for the assassination of a corrupt officer who has become a liability, promising that should he fail again, the judge's younger daughter will be next. When he finally confronts Batman, Cobblepot tries to slice him to pieces with a sword umbrella, laughing about the corrupt nature of Gotham City and how his only regret was that a mugger got to Thomas Wayne before his plan went off.
- Batman: Arkham Series: Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin, stands out in this franchise as a calculating and sadistic mob boss, intent on ruling Gotham's criminal underworld through any means necessary. A vicious crime lord who runs illegal gambling rings and fight clubs—where the losers of each are tortured and murdered—Cobblepot engages in weapons trafficking and black arms deals, supplying Gotham's criminal element with weapons that cause catastrophe all over the city. An absolutely horrendous employer, Cobblepot routinely tortures and murders his own men for failure, feeds them to sharks and hands them off to Solomon Grundy to be ripped to shreds for the most petty of reasons, and leaves an entire gang of them to die in enemy territory to strike a minor blow against his enemy. Cobblepot also sets Wayne Manor aflame during a charity gala, brutally tortures any police officers he gets his hands on in Arkham City, forces dozens of Blackgate guards to fight to the death for their survival, and bombs an entire building filled with his own men. Cobblepot is a ruthless sociopath masquerading as a "gentleman," with no care or concern for anyone but his own selfish desires.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Penguin in the Batman: Arkham Series is a brazen homophobe. Come Gotham, he's bi.
- Jerkass Woobie: Not always, but some version of the penguin are pretty sorrowing despite what hes done.
- His depiction by Danny Devito in Batman Returns stands out. Hes a perverted creep who is openly willing to murder every firstborn child in Gotham, but he was also abandoned by his parents at birth, suffers horrifying deformities and his only companionship is literal birds that he loves dearly.
- Likewise for the Gotham version. He's obviously far from a good person, but hes beat up, humiliated, betrayed, and even tortured so much it can be pretty easy to feel sorry for him. This isnt even mentioning how often he loses everything he works legitimately for, and literally everyone he ever loved dying in his arms, including his beloved parents, his mentor, and almost his best friend.
YMMV / The Penguin