Evil Emperor Penguin

posted in: Laura Ellen Anderson | 4

We all adore penguins, right? From the charming best friend for Oliver Jeffer’s lost boy to Polly Dunbar’s Penguin, via the brilliant little Tango, they’re all cute, friendly and oh so lovable.

But what if there were an EVIL penguin? Wicked to the very core and set on world domination?

Let me introduce you to [cue evil laughter and claps of thunder]…


Evil Emperor Penguin (the brain child of Laura Ellen Anderson, @Lillustrator), wants to rule the world. Whether plotting to conquer world leaders at their annual picnic get-together, designing machines to release powerful ‘fear foam’ that will cause havoc among the entire human race, or breaking into the Houses of Parliament, Evil Emperor Penguin (EEP) is determined to make the world bow down before him.

Loyally assisted by an abominably cute abominable snowman clone called Eugene and a super brainy Jeeves-esque octopus called Number 8, Evil Emperor Penguin releases wave after wave of dastardly wickedness from his massive underground Antarctic bunker. His plots, however, never quite manage to work they way they’re meant to. Whether it’s the malfunctioning Big Red Evil Button which accidentally releases pink unicorns and rainbows, or a blocked tube in the Ferocious And Really Terrible machine that causes a nuclear stench cloud (the clue’s in the name…) to be released at the wrong time, Evil Emperor Penguin keeps having to return to the drawing board. If that weren’t bad enough, EEP’s arch enemy, Evil Cat, is also on the loose, and when that craven kitty manages to kidnap Eugene things get even more complicated…

With not just one sinister superhero but two, a hugely diverse and entertaining cast of sidekicks, these high octane, preposterous storylines packed with outrageous humour will surprise and delight in equal measure. Who knew just how brilliant fiendish villainy could be?

Now what I haven’t mentioned so far is that the stories in Evil Emperor Penguin are told in a series of comic strips, each 4 pages long (though some stretch over multiple parts). If you’ve never tried a comic strip with your kids, this is a great volume to introduce them to the format. Not only does it opens with a directory of characters and settings so that new readers can instantly feel at home, Laura Ellen Anderson’s drawing style is clean, bright and inviting.



So inviting indeed, that we wanted our own megalomaniac penguin to play with…


Yes that’s right. We started with an empty deodorant container and tooth floss roll. Bet you didn’t know such terrors lurked beneath the polished exteriors of those who want to take over the world!


A bit of acrylic paint, felt, a balloon, some pipe cleaners and a my-little-pony later, we had our cast of comic characters ready to release on the world.




Life has changed irrevocably now. Whilst Evil Plans lurk round every corner on our home, I can nearly always manage to avoid disaster because the volume of giggles coming from my girls alerts me to the mischief and mayhem which is being plotted…

Whilst making our characters we listened to:

  • Horrible Histories’ song about four very bad roman emperors… (a fabulous Michael Jackson take-off)
  • Careful With That Axe, Eugene by Pink Floyd
  • I Want to be Evil by Eartha Kitt

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Evil Emperor Penguin in this handy book format include:

  • Reading Evil Emperor Penguin in the weekly comic The Phoenix! Time Magazine calls this comic the 2nd best comic in the world (and the title which actually wins 1st spot is a graphic novel for adults). We subscribe to this brilliant, highly entertaining, extremely varied, ad-free, plastic-tat free comic, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Evil Emperor Penguin is one of the regular strips in this comic, and the book my review is based on is a compilation of some of the best EEP storylines so far.
  • Dressing up like Evil Emperor Penguin. I may yet do this. With a black morph suit, a red cape, some flippers, a yellow beak, and then some white felt on for evil eyes and chest…. I think this would be such a cool Halloween costume!
  • Making your own rainbows. Whilst I can’t guarantee a herd of unicorns will also appear, these tutorials will definitely bring a bit of magic into your home: Here’s a simple tutorial using a mirror and a pan of water, and here’s another using CDs.

  • If you liked this post you might like these other comic book /graphic novel posts by me:

  • The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs! and a stop motion video of naughty dinosaurs
  • Meet Hilda: A comic book heroine full of kindness and curiosity
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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    4 Responses

    1. Simone Fraser

      Zoe, I seriously think you should publish a book about all the creative projects you do with your daughters. I would buy more than one copy, I assure you. = D

      • Zoe

        Thanks Simone 🙂 I’ve always held off going down the book route for a variety of reasons – but one of them is about making people pay for ideas I’m happy to give away for free. So my question to you is what difference would a book make? Why a book (that costs you money) rather than a blog (which doesn’t cost you money)?
        Zoe recently posted..Evil Emperor Penguin

      • Zoe

        Thanks Chantal. We had a fun time hunting around the house of reusable objects that were “penguin” or “yeti” shaped – amazing what you can “see” with a bit of imagination!

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