Who’s the greatest person to ever play Batman? Anyone from the 1960s might say that it was the late Adam West, and some might argue that it was Michael Keaton or Christopher Nolan. But us Millenials know the truth. When it comes to Batman, the GOAT wasn’t even someone who played it live-action but left a massive impact. That person was Kevin Conroy, who, we recently learned, passed away after battling cancer. He was 66 years old.
When people thought about Batman for thirty years, his voice came to mind. Beginning in 1992, Kevin Conroy provided the voice of the Dark Knight in Batman: The Animated Series, a role that he would keep returning to for the rest of his life. The fans loved Kevin Conroy as Batman. Just something about his voice captured the essence of one of the greatest fiction heroes. It was just so dark and serious; we couldn’t get enough of it.
Kevin would continue to play Batman throughout the history of the DC Animated Universe. He was so prolific and popular that Batman made at least one appearance in every DCAU show. And when he did, people paid attention. From his days with Robin to the possible future of Batman Beyond, Kevin Conroy remained a constant for fans.
Eventually, though, the DCAU ended, but that wasn’t the end of Kevin’s tenure as the Caped Crusader. Far from it. He would reprise his role as the iconic Dark Knight in Rocksteady’s hit games, the Batman: Arkham series. His return as Batman, with Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Joker, was a big part of the game’s massive success.
Following this, Kevin would reprise his role as Batman several times, much to the delight of his legion of fans. With his passing, fans of Batman are left absolutely devastated.
I was too young to watch Batman: The Animated Series in its heyday, and I only discovered it through either watching newer shows like Batman Beyond, Static Shock, and Justice League and later through streaming services. I became a fan of his by playing the Batman: Arkham games. I was lucky enough to meet him at NYCC several years back and get him to autograph my game copy.
And take a photo with me.
Kevin Conroy was a great guy, and I don’t think anyone can ever hope to match him as the Dark Knight. But the fact that so many people are mourning his loss is a comforting feeling. When people think of Batman from now on, they’ll hopefully think of Kevin Conroy along with him.
RIP, Kevin Conroy. You are Batman.