When we featured the first series of the brilliant Gotham TV series back in 2015, I wrote that the backstory of Oswald Cobblepot was never covered in the comics. Well, it turns out that I was completely wrong – though in my defence the origin story dates to 2011, which is about ten years after I fell off the comic book wagon.
That origins tale in question is Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, written by Gregg Hurwitz and illustrated by Symon Kudranski. The tale was originally released as a five-part miniseries of comics and is now naturally available as a trade paperback.
It seems that Pain and Prejudice has been adopted by Bats-fans as 'the origin story', pretty much like how the legendary The Killing Joke became the official Joker origins for many. Unlike Gotham that starts with Cobblepot as a young man already tied to the mob, Pain and Prejudice follows two parallel narratives – one with the full-blown mob boss Penguin and the other with Cobblepot as a young child.
It's brilliantly woven together – having the young Oswald rise against all the horrible crap thrown at him juxtaposed with The Penguin building his empire almost turns our waddling villain into an anti-hero... and in turn, Batman almost comes across a yet another bully for Oswald to deal with. It's great and really makes you root for this grotesque gangster.
Speaking of comics, I'm an old-school collector who prefers paperbacks. However, apparently DC has a great comic book app for tablets, so if you're not a stickler for print-on-paper and are interested in some of these Cobblepot comics we've covered over the years, consider giving that a go.