Who is Batman’s Favourite Batman? A Conversation with Kevin Conroy
Kevin Conroy, the iconic voice of Batman in animation, games, and countless comic readers’ imaginations, never gets tired of meeting fans of the Dark Knight. As a trained stage actor, Conroy feels immense joy engaging with an audience, but that element of performing is absent in studio recording booths. That’s precisely why the 60 year old actor enjoys meeting fans at shows like Toronto’s Fan Expo.
In a round table interview with the Batman: The Animated Series alumnus, Conroy explains to Geekpr0n why he believes his 24 year tenure as the voice of Batman means so much to fans.
“Batman has a unique relationship with his audience. People are passionate about him, and they kind of project that onto me.” Conroy, who has been voicing the character since 1992, is always floored by the personal stories fans will share about what Batman has meant to them. “A military guy came up yesterday and said, ‘I had PTSD and just watching the show really helped with my recovery.'”
“When you do animation,” he adds, “you go into a very personal part of people, because it’s their imagination. And you reach a part of the imagination that live action never can.”
Aside from his work in the world of animation with shows like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League, Conroy is well known in the gaming community for voicing the Dark Knight in the trilogy of critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum games.
Geekpr0n: One of the coolest things on the floor is the Batman Arkham VR setup. Were you surprised that they brought you back in for that?
Kevin Conroy: I was pleasantly surprised! I love working! I didn’t even know it was here. I didn’t know it was done! I don’t know what to say because I haven’t seen it, but I was really happy when they asked me to do it.
What I’m amazed at is that the Arkham Asylum trilogy – I understand why that arc ended, and I know it ended very dramatically – I just can’t believe they’re not going to figure out a way to have it segue into something else! Because it’s so incredible. And the audience is screaming for more, the story seems to be screaming for more, and there are all these characters. But from what I know, there are no plans for another one.
GP: Everybody will point towards Animated Series episodes or a straight to video films, but I’m of the mind that Batman: Arkham Knight is one of yours and Mark’s best performances. What was it like going in for that final chapter?
KC: I’m really proud of the performances in that. I agree with you, I think Mark and I both hit home runs with that one. It’s what made me want to do more of them. I love the way that ends.
Tribute: Donald Trump has said that he is Batman. Can you tell us why he is not Batman?
KC: That is shameful that he said that. He is so the antithesis of Batman. Batman is a pure source of good, doing the most good he can for the most people, the most amount of time. And he does it all anonymously! Trump’s got his name plastered all over buildings he didn’t have anything to do with building! Batman sees himself as a servant. Trump is the other end of the spectrum.
T: Does he remind you of any villains in the DC Universe?
KC: Hahahah! That’s interesting.
KC: He does, actually!
GP: So now that we’ve seen Ben Affleck in two of the films, how are you feeling about his portrayal as the most recent live action Batman?
KC: I think everyone was so critical of him being cast and I said on my twitter, “give the guy a break! He’s a wonderful actor, I’m sure he’s going to figure it out.” And I think he’s terrific at it, I really do. I think he surprised everyone.
The only issue I have with these most recent Batman movies is the level of violence, and that has nothing to do with the actors. One thing I love about Batman is he never kills anybody. That’s why Arkham Asylum is such a rich place – they’re all in there! But in these latest movies there’s a lot of killing going on, and to me that kind of crosses a line.
GP: What has been your favourite interpretation of the character, besides one that you yourself have played?
KC: You know, I used to think that Mark Hamill was the definitive Joker. Because he’s perfect, he’s brilliant. And then I saw Heath Ledger’s, and I thought “wow, he’s really perfect too,” but in a different way.
So different actors bring different things to roles, and I love seeing different actors playing these roles. I think it was very smart of Warner Bros. to not lock one person into the franchise, which means lots of different actors. It’s a really smart idea.
And I like Michael Keaton, Christian Bale is perfect as Bruce Wayne, but then his voice got kind of weird. But I think Ben Affleck is maybe doing the best job. He’s brilliant at it.
We at GEEKPR0N want to thank Kevin for taking the time to talk with us, and we want to remind you that he’s going to be at FAN EXPO all weekend long, so be sure to stop by and say hi to him!