It was announced on Monday that in October we would be seeing a Penguin mini-series written by Gregg Hurwitz. The five part mini-series reveals the "pain and prejudice" that Penguin experiences. Comic Book Resources interviewed Hurwitz about his upcoming work and below are the highlights.
CBR: With this book, you're writing the story of the Penguin who despite being one of Batman's longest-running villains is also one people seem to have a harder time nailing down than some of the other big names like the Joker. What was your first exposure to and first impression of the character, and where was the moment where you felt you got what he was really all about?
Gregg Hurwitz: Yes, Oswald is tougher to nail down, and there have been quite a range of interpretations. If you look at TV and movies alone, it's a wide span between Burgess Meredith and Danny DeVito. For me, the moment I got the character — and a huge inspiration for this series — was reading Jason Aaron's (and Jason Pearson's) "Joker's Asylum" story. I thought Jason A. approached Oswald with compassion and care, as well as tremendous insight into what motivates a man like the Penguin. The contrast in that story between the Joker and the Penguin is a compelling one since Oswald, unlike the Mad Hatter and the Joker, is not insane. In fact, it is his cold sanity that is so chilling.
CBR: This series does focus on Oswald Cobblepot's origin. Where for you did that story need to start, and how much ground did you want to cover in his life overall?
Gregg Hurwitz: It starts at the moment of his birth. And I dig into his childhood quite a bit, his relationship with his mother, his brothers. How he finally spread his wings, so to speak, and lumbered into infamy.
CBR: We know from the solicit that his Mother plays a strong role in the book, and a name like "Pain and Prejudice," can't bode well for that relationship. What kinds of torments in general really shape the man who will be the Penguin through his rise as an adversary of Batman?
Gregg Hurwitz: You might be surprised at the role Mother plays in his life. An overbearing father, tormenting older brothers, and ceaseless bullying play huge factors in shaping Oswald into what he becomes. Once he attains power, he wields it with an iron fist, never to return to the powerless weakling of his childhood. He is someone who will not suffer an ounce of (perceived) disrespect. And no matter what you do, don't laugh at him.
CBR: Speaking of the Dark Knight, what kind of role does Batman play in this story? If we're following Penguin throughout, is there a chance you're first time writing the Caped Crusader will cast him as the villain?
Gregg Hurwitz: Very interesting question. While the focus is on the Penguin here, Batman does swing into the story and play a key role. And yes, if you're Oswald, Batman is the villain. He represents everything that Oswald is not. A broad-shouldered hero who inspires awe and respect merely by entering a room. And Batman also represents all the bullies of Oswald's past, everyone who ever pushed him around and told him what he could — or couldn't — do.
For the entire interview, including talk about the art by Szymon Kudranski, head over to Comic Book Resources. The first issue of Penguin: Pain and Prejudice hits stores this October.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel