When Kevin Conroy was cast to voice Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, nobody could have known that he would be the defining voice of the Dark Knight for literally decades.
Today, he'll join a Q&A session with fans on Facebook, organized by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and looking back on his years as a dark avenger of the night.
Conroy joined ComicBook.com yesterday afternoon to discuss the his work. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more details on the Q&A, which takes place at the official Batman: The Animated Series Facebook account starting at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
What is the most common question that you get from fans?
The thing that never goes away is probably why has Batman lasted for 75 years? Why does he resonate with audiences so much? That always comes up: What do I think?
Do you think that after decades of being in this role, the questions have stopped being about you, and started being about the bigger picture?
I don't get a lot of questions about me. It's funny; it's always Batman-related questions. And there's such an ethos about the character, there's such a body of work, and it's such a legendary character, that people are fascinated by the character and they just want to talk about it.
And they all have such personal relationships with the character. You know, it's an animated character, so they can invest in him themselvse with their own imagination. And he does resonate, and he's resonated for almost eighty years. People always want to talk to me about that, and I usually go back to mythology -- the Greek legends, the Roman legends. The way the ancient cultures taught right and wrong was with stories about Orestes and Achilles and Agamemnon and Menelaus. Today, comic books are our mythological stories. That's how we're teaching people about good and evil: through Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman and The Flash.
You know, it's the same thing. Those stories in the ancient world were contemporary; they were entertaining. They became classics over time, but Batman is like our Achilles; he's our great warrior, battling for goodness.
If you watch The Flash on television, at the police department they have a big mural on the wall and they've talked about the fact that the seven gods in this mural were chosen particularly because they represent the Justice League.
Well, they stole my metaphor! I don't like that.
You know there's only one thing for that, right? Now you have to go be a villain on The Flash, like Mark.
Wouldn't that be fun? Yeah.
So what do you think of Ben Affleck? I'm sure you've been asked a hundred times, but I haven't asked you yet!
[Laughs] I think he's an incredible actor and I'm sure he's going to be wonderful in it. I don't know what to say; I know that there's a lot of controversy about it.
I feel like the controversy has waned somewhat since people started to actually see him.
Yeah? I haven't actually seen him, so I don't know. I just know what a talented actor he is, so I think he's going to pull it off.
We talked last time about the fact that you didn't have much background in Batman beyond the Adam West show when you took the job...
Yeah, I had no background at all in the whole Dark Knight legend. I didn't understand what I was getting into; they had to bring me up to speed.
I really approached it as an actor, and it was a fascinating world to get exposed to.
Coming in fresh like that, did you have any particular favorite episodes? It seems like you'd be reading the scripts in a totally different way.
I think being a virgin to it all gave me a really unique perspective and I approached him as sort of a classic, tortured hero. I use the analogy to Hamlet a lot. He's a really classic hero.
The story that I think resonated the most with me was Mask of the Phantasm. That is a great movie and it's a wonderful story, and it gives you the whole background of what this dark drama is from his youth, this challenge that he has within him.
There's a scene at his parents' grave where he's asking them to release him from his vow because he's fallen in love with this woman. You really get to know Bruce Wayne and Batman in that film and you see the two sides conflicting. I think it's a wonderful movie.
Because you've done such a breadth of work with him, you got to play Bruce Wayne more than anybody. In a feature, typically there isn't a lot of Bruce Wayne. Is that an area where you really feel like you've been able to put your stamp?
I do think the fact that I did two different voices early on resonated with people; they understood what that was about.
I never understood how the wealthiest and most powerful guy in a city could put on a mask and nobody knew it was him, you know? There had to be a better disguise than that.
And then having the Batman persona be the natural persona, not the costume, but having Bruce Wayne be the costume, I think was something the fans really got into, too. They appreciated that take on the character.
I really got into the psychology of the character; I understood him. Everyone has a public and a private persona, and we spend our lives I think trying to reconcile those. I really related to that in a very personal way.
It's also interesting because there's no shortage of stories of the Greek and Roman gods coming to Earth disguised as human beings for their own ends.
I know you can't talk about anything upcoming for you, but are you excited to hear Mark doing The Killing Joke?
Well, I don't think that's been determined. I know there's a lot of rumors about it. A lot of that is wishful thinking. I hope they do it; I really hope they do it, and I would love to do it with Mark, but as far as I know, there's still no answer. There's a big push for it with the fans, and I know that Mark would love to do it and I would love to do it.