With a new(ish) Batman on the way, I’m reminded again that Kevin Conroy was an all-timer

June 22, 2024
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Batman is one of the most iconic superheroes in comics, and one of the most complex, with almost a century of accrued lore behind him by this point. With that Marianas Trench of mythology to explore, adaptations have always made perfect sense. From early film serials to TV shows and onwards, we live in a world where Batman is always being remade and reimagined by someone.

One of the most successful reimaginings is Batman: The Animated Series, created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. In stark skyscraper canyons dropping away beneath menacing red skies, this cartoon introduced a new generation of viewers to Batman and his rogue’s gallery. The art was stellar, as was the noir-infused storytelling, but the casting was just as important. Here was Mark Hamill as the Joker, and the late Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn. And holding it all together was Kevin Conroy, stern and perfectly unknowable, and bringing just the slightest trace of grim humour, as Batman.

I’ve been thinking about Conroy a lot these past few days. A fan favourite, his death in 2022 devastated the community, and it underlined something that had been felt for a long time: here was truly a Batman for the ages. This summer has brought news of a new Batman game, Batman Arkham Shadow, with Roger Craig Smith returning to the character after his turn in Batman: Arkham Origins. New Arkham games are always welcome, and I’m sure Smith will do a great job. But it’s been a perfect opportunity for me to think of Conroy again and be thankful for what he brought to the role, regardless of the medium.

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