The story of ‘Batman’ is a story that has been told countless times in an immeasurable number of ways since it’s inception three-quarters of a century ago. But even with the numerous ways that Batman’s story has been told, there aren’t any versions that can even hold a candle to the 1992 adaptation ‘Batman: The Animated Series’! From the darker story tones and nearly flawless character designs, to the now iconic look of the timeless Gotham City the show gave us, there was very little that could be done to improve this show, and while a number of other adaptations have been enjoyable, few are held in such high regard as ‘Batman: The Animated Series‘.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the critically acclaimed fan favorite series, and with this fantastic milestone, DC Entertainment has announced that the series will finally be coming to your home in HD in an all new Bluray collection to be released sometime next year! This past week at New York Comic Con 2017 we were able to sit down with series star Kevin Conroy, the voice of the titular Batman, and talk about his time on the show and wonderful memories he’s made voicing the character for the last twenty-five years. Check out the full interview below!
If The Joker was Batman’s best friend, what do you think would be his favorite or best aspect of the friendship between them?
Kevin Conroy: I think that Batman and The Joker are Yin and Yang to each other. I don’t think that one would really exist without the other. Joker would not be The Joker we know if there wasn’t The Batman to play off of it, and Batman wouldn’t be the Batman we know if he didn’t have The Joker to play off of. They define each other in so many ways, so I can’t imagine either one without the other. They wouldn’t be the same people.
Do you remember the very first recording session where you were all together for ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ first Joker episode?
KC: I do! Because I knew Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, as most people knew him. And I thought “The Joker? That’s kind of odd. Mark Hamill?”, and then he came in and just physically became this madman! I wish you all could have seen him the way that I saw him in the recording studio because his face just transforms. Very rubbery. And he just devours the microphone! It’s kind of an intimidating presence to be with, but he’s a lot of fun! And he’s a theater actor and I’m a theater actor, and we like to play off of each other. He’s very generous! He generally wants me to be good, but because he knows the better I am, the more I’ll have to give him and the better he will be! And I genuinely like when he’s good because I know he’ll give me more. SO there’s a real generosity when we’re in the booth together that I just love.
Did he tell you any ‘Star Wars’ spoilers?
KC: No! He’s actually really good about that! He never tells us anything.
Is there a Batman story that you haven’t done yet that you really want to do? For a long time it was ‘The Killing Joke’, but now that it’s behind us, what would you like to do next?
KC: Well there are two wonderful ones that come to mind, ‘Death In The Family’ and ‘Hush’. Those are two hot stories and I would hope that they would be done and I would hope that I would be involved!
As someone who has assumedly been reading ‘Batman’ comics for at the very least the last twenty-five years, do you have a favorite version of Robin?
KC: Of the versions of the character? Tim Drake. Definitely!
Speaking of Robin, how is your relationship with Loren Lester? Just to make Batman and Robin work well together, did you become close?
KC: Well, Loren is also one of these very generous actors that is just very easy to work with. A lot of that has to do with Andrea Ramano and the casting. She doesn’t tend to bring people in who don’t play well together, so you know when you’re going into an Andrea booking that you’re going to get very generous people. Loren does a lot of work with Andrea, so we’ve been working together for twenty-five years and we have a great relationship.
Were there any moments during recording that still stick out to you to this day?
KC: One of my favorite recording moments was doing ‘Mask Of The Phantasm’! The scene at the grave of Bruce’s parents, because it had to be very emotional and very honest. Andrea had me do it a number of times, and each time I kept getting deeper and deeper and deeper, and she knew what I was doing, and she finally got to the point where she said “perfect!”. And afterwards I remember saying to her “that was like an acting class!” because it was just… to be given that opportunity to explore an emotional range like that? I loved it. Actors like challenges, and that was a challenge.
What was your reaction when you found out that ‘Mask Of The Phantasm’ was going from a ‘Direct to Video’ to a big screen production?
KC: I was amazing and ecstatic and pleased, because the first time I saw any footage of Batman, early on in ’92, we did the recordings first, and sent them off to the artist, and they’d come back six months later, and you do a process called ‘ADR’ where you link up the sound to the visual and clean up the soundtrack a little bit. So the first time you see physical footage for any episode is during ADR. So in the first six months of the show, we hadn’t done any ADR yet, and no work had come back from the artists yet! So we were recording kind of into our imaginations! We had sketches we were working off of, but we hadn’t actually seen any show or footage. So the first time I saw footage was for ‘On Leather Wings’, the pilot. So I’m sitting in the studio, and the ADR studio is a full screen so it’s like a slightly smaller movie theater with a beautiful sound system. And this *whoosh* sound system comes on and these lights come up and I look over at the technician like “did you have any clue that this is what we were working on? I had no idea!” and it was just so unbelievable. It was so beautiful. So when they said that ‘Mask Of The Phantasm’ was going to be a feature film, I just knew that it was going to be that kind of experience. That all encompassing big and beautiful experience. They did this show like it was a feature, you know? It wasn’t ever done like it was a small screen project. It was always done like a big screen project that just happened to be marketed to the small screen.
You can most recently catch Kevin Conroy voicing Batman in ‘Batman And Harley Quinn’ available on Bluray, DVD and Digital now! Don’t forget, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked to Kevin eitehr, be sure to check out our first interview with this living legend here! ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ is set to come to Bluray sometime in the next year thanks to Warner Brothers Entertainment. Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ right here on ScienceFiction.com!