The Penguin has constructed many different umbrellas for his arsenal. He never goes anywhere without at least one of these, and he sometimes carries several in a special quiver. The exact umbrellas he has on hand may vary on any given day, but they have commonly included:
Ornithology * Business & Finance * Political Science
The Gotham City Criminal Underworld
Oswald Cobblepot did not have a happy childhood; he was still young when his father died of bronchial pneumonia. Oswald's mother blamed this on his being caught in the rain without an umbrella, so she always insisted her son carry one. Though Mrs. Cobblepot was an invalid, she kept the family business -- a bird shop -- going with the help of her son, and her sister-in-law, Miranda.
Oswald's appearance, his name, and his ever-present umbrella made him the object of torment by other boys, who called him "Gobble-Gobble" and said he waddled like a duck -- or a penguin. His only real friends were the birds in the family shop.
With the help of his aunt, Oswald attended college, majoring in ornithology, finding that he often knew more about birds than his professors.
But not long after graduation, Oswald's mother died. Her long illness had run up enormous debts, so much so that even the kindly Miranda was unable to help out, and everything in the store -- including the birds who were Oswald's only companions -- was seized by creditors.
Angry at what the law had done to him, Oswald was determined to switch to the other side and become a thief. He went to a known criminal, Angie by name, and offered is services, only to be laughed at and thrown out as Angie called him what the kids had called him years before -- a penguin.
Oswald then made a vow: "Before I'm through, the Penguin will be a name to be feared and respected! And the umbrella will be a weapon of crime second to none!"
When next he confronted Angie, it was as The Penguin, complete with the full-dress suit that accentuated his resemblance to that fowl. When Angie threatened him, he was shot dead on the spot, with the first .45 caliber umbrella. Angie's two accomplices quickly agreed that the Penguin would be their new boss.
As his first job the Penguin stole a rare Prussian egret from a penthouse suite. He then escaped with his parachute umbrella, leaving his confederates to the mercy of the police -- whom he himself had called!
Soon after, the Penguin joined another gang, again taking over after killing the boss. His career of crime was off to a good start, much to the consternation of the Caped Crusader.
Ever since then, the Man of 1,000 Umbrellas has been one of Batman's most implacable foes. Often he has based his crimes on birds and has sometimes employed real ones. His trick umbrellas are indeed formidable weapons, adding to his deadliness. The Penguin's comical appearance hides a vicious, murderous criminal mind.
He has one major weakness, however. This is his vanity, which the Batman has played on several times to trap the Bold Bird of Banditry.