In the 78 years since Batman was created, there have been countless comic reboots of the character, several dozen suits, 7 actors have voiced animated versions, and there have been 9 men that have suited up on-screen as the caped crusader. No matter which part of previous eight decades fans jumped into the Batman timeline, each has a favorite and can wax poetic about him. Debates as to who wore it best, who said it best, and who should be forgotten could go on for hours.
But when Kevin Conroy speaks about his favorite version of Batman, it tends to carry a bit more weight than the opinion of average Joes. Conroy, whose voice talents helped make Batman: The Animated Series one of the most acclaimed cartoons ever, has become synonymous as THE Batman in the animated and video game genres. He’s got the most experience, hands down, having continuously voiced the character for over 24 years.
Just as “the best Batman” can be debated, so can his biggest nemesis, The Joker. These two are one of the most storied hero/villain duos to have ever graced page or screen. During a panel at Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con this weekend, Screen Geek caught that Conroy had nothing but high praise for Mark Hamill, who has voiced Joker (off and on) for 24 years as well. The pair most recently re-teamed for Batman: The Killing Joke, and of his long-time co-star, Conroy said:
“Like Mark Hamill, I thought was “hands down” the most incredible Joker. But then we saw what Heath Ledger did, and wow this just a crazy amount of crazy. He’s not better than Mark, but he’s just another kind of crazy.”
Part of what made Christopher Nolan’s 2008 The Dark Knight so compelling was Heath Ledgers unique, and terrifying, sociopathic take on the Crown Prince of Crime. He and Christian Bale played off each other in a fluid and captivating way, that it’s no wonder Ledger’s sudden death left such a void in the Batman film world.
As for what the most prolific Batman thought of Bale’s performance, he had two very different opinions on Bruce Wayne and Batman, saying:
“Each actor brings such a different art to the character, it’s really fun. I think Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne was probably the best Bruce Wayne. I think the voice he used for Batman was bizarre. [As for] Ben Affleck, a lot of people gave him a lot of crap for getting cast. People on Twitter were going crazy about it and I said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Give him a chance.” I think he surprised a lot of people. He’s really wonderful. He does really well on both Batman and Bruce Wayne.”
Never one to shy away from his honest opinion, Conroy still believes there’s room for variety and thinks it’s “fun to see different actors [and] what they do with [the role of Batman].”
Kevin Conroy’s Batman can next be heard in Batman: Arkham VR, a PS4 exclusive, and in Injustice 2 set for release in 2017.