Kevin Conroy defined Batman for everyone who followed

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James Bond fans will argue endlessly over which actor is the better 007. But when it comes to Batman, there’s no arguing: Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman for nearly 30 years starting with Batman: The Animated Series, is hands down. the best. On this, Batman fans are almost universally agreed. Conroy passed away this week at 66, but it leaves a permanent mark on the legendary comic book hero.

By the time Conroy took on the role, Batman had already been around for over half a century and already had two iconic live-action performances in Adam West and Michael Keaton. In fact, the timing of the series made it almost seem like a cash payment in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie. But the work that artist Bruce Timm, writer Paul Dini, and voice actor Kevin Conroy did on the character swept those portrayals and those that would follow.

Not that any of the other actors who have played the character are bad. Almost all of them bring something new to the role. But Conroy’s voice work helped define Batman and Bruce Wayne as separate, individual people.

It’s not just her literal voice that defined, but the unique perspectives and tones of the two characters. Conroy’s Batman was harassed and tired, but he had infinite compassion. His Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, was charmingly suave in that brown suit and yellow shirt he always wore. Batman and Bruce being different people wasn’t a new idea at the time, but Conroy made it tangible in a way no one else had before. It was something so clear and audible that every live-action Batmen who would follow would emulate it. Bale, Affleck and Pattinson have Batman voices separate from their Bruce Wayne voices.

each actor wear the cape and hood Has brought something to Batman; Pattinson has given us an inexperienced and antisocial Batman who has yet to discover the search for him. Affleck gave us an older Batman in the style of The Dark Knight Returns, a tired but brutal hero. Bale was a perfect Bruce Wayne in a grounded Batman world, and Keaton made Batman lonely and awkward without making him angry. And West’s Batman just can’t be replicated, and shouldn’t be.

Even the other voice actors bring something new to the role. Diedrich Bader plays Batman in the Harley Quinn series and has done so half a dozen times over the years, and he brings a flexibility to the character that no one else has, being able to alternate between the serious and the comedic with fluidity. . Will Arnett’s deep voice was perfect for the LEGO movies.

But Conroy made Batman serious and cool and mature without even doing it. tense. He was genuine and had a lot of heart, from the first few episodes of The Animated Series, through Batman Beyond, to the Batman Arkham games. Batman: The Animated Series will cast a long shadow over the character for the rest of his existence. If Batman is still 50 years from now, those performances will still be compared to the work Conroy did.

There are so many ways to remember Conroy’s immense contributions to Batman history. the batman arkham the games are available on almost every modern gaming platform, and Batman: The Animated Series is available on HBO Max. Also on HBO Max is perhaps Conroy’s best individual performance as the Dark Knight in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a story that delves into the mind and emotions of Bruce Wayne to investigate both characters in a way that’s rarely seen. seen in other places.

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