Legacies of the Bat-Voice: Conroy vs. Greenwood!
Hello Readers!! Welcome to an interesting new introspective. This time out, I will be doing a brief look-back, legacies, and current comparison of the two DC/Warner’s biggest name players in voice acting Batman in Warner/DC’s various animated movies, TV series, and video series releases. This introspective will also include in-depth opinions from members of Tucson’s local popular independent comics outfit, Evil Robo Productions.
Back in September 1992, after the rampant success of both of Burton’s Batman movie Opuses, Batman and Batman Returns, Fox/Fox Kids brought in the big guns for Network television…that of a monumental partnership with DC/Warner animation to create a Batman animated show like never before: Batman: The Animated Series.
The series debuted in September 5th, 1992 and went on to win three Emmys and several Emmy nods. It won unanimously over with fans and critics alike for being the most faithful and best adaptation of what Batman truly is with its Art Deco settings, dark plot and thematic complexities, snappy dialogue, and probably most of all, great voice cast ensemble. Of all the voice cast in that ensemble, the main character definitely being the most important to the series…it was actor Kevin Conroy who made Batman animated character magic happen.
Conroy kept to the character in its original series run, the off-shoot adaptations like The New Batman Adventures, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and numerous original animation movies and video releases for all these titles here. Conroy also served additional role time on various Batman computer and console game releases as well. With this large undertaking of the caped crusader, Conroy became the very fabric of what the animated Batman character was…style, wit, complexity, and a dark, foreboding attitude approach to driving the criminal element down to size. It seemed to fans, admirers, and critics alike(even myself), that no one could be exactly like or even replace him satisfactorily then, or even in the immediate future for that matter..AND that for being any Batman animated venture.
Batman Best scenes from Justice League. (Conroy voicing)
Enter Actor Bruce Greenwood… Noted actor and star of various hit movies like Star Trek, I, Robot, Thirteen Days, National Treasure, Book of Secrets, and Capote. He made recent strides into the DC animated universe; particularly with his first role into Batman, in the highly raved DC animated feature, Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Greenwood went on to be voice cast as the Batman regular on the Hit Cartoon Network DC animated series Young Justice. Both projects, with Under the Red Hood in particular, gained a very popular following with fans and critics alike. Speculation following with some (particular in this author’s opinion) that Greenwood held his own talents well in delivering Batman to “Under The Red Hood”. It now seems that, especially given a darker premise for the role, as well as a rough but fatherly attitude to his underlings (i.e. Robin), Greenwood can give a great performance for the dark knight. Can it really be possible that Batman/Bruce Wayne can be played by at least one other actor than Conroy and maintain complete satisfaction of fans/critics the same in regards to his character? Or is Kevin Conroy truly to be the man-voice of Batman for all time no matter who else takes helm later?
Under The Red Hood scene (Greenwood voicing)
I finally decided to pursue the opinions of some of my city’s best Comics authorities as well as best and most creative comic book talents locally published for their feedback on this..
Eric S., Head of Evil Robo Productions
“I think Bruce Greenwood did a swell job, but I’m still trying to adjust to his voice acting. Kevin Conroy will always be Batman in my mind, but Bruce Greenwood is coming in there as a close second. In time, if they continue using him as the voice of Batman, he will be Batman…”
Santino C., Evil Robo Productions
“After watching Under the Red Hood and Young Justice series, I instantly noticed the new Batman Voice. Though I grew up with Kevin Conroy as Batman and his voice for the Dark Knight is as iconic and irreplaceable as Mark Hamill’s Joker, I think.
Greenwood is handling the role perfectly. Greenwood throws off a stern and demanding voice, very fit for Batman, and especially fit for the Batman of Young Justice. It’s almost fatherly, but in the way that their dad is a mask wearing jerk who sends his kids off on life threatening recon missions. This compared to what I perceive of Conroy’s voice, which is more brooding and dark. Though, that is exactly what Batman is in some interpretations, it doesn’t need to remain a constant (take Dedrich Bader’s voice on Brave and the Bold for example). I think it’s time for Batman to seem less brooding for this generation of Batman cartoons, and Greenwood’s voice is right on the money for a new Batman. He throws off more that he is a smart tactical fighter who doesn’t need to waste time with words, over a brooding and dark figure of vengeance.
As much as I love Conroy’s voice for Batman, I’m still excited to see where Greenwood goes with his roles as the Bat!…”
Johnny R., Evil Robo Productions
“Bruce Greenwood’s voice acting as Batman on the Young Justice show is definitely top notch. He really seems to have a good feel for the character, and his generally gruff voice does add to that. However, as far as I’m concerned, Kevin Conroy is the one true Batman. His is the voice I always imagine as Batman when reading comics, and it always will be. Bruce Greenwood is doing a good job, but for my money, he’ll never replace the classic…”
In total, it seems now that, given the opinions of our authorities here..there can be a divided audience.. One where there is a willingness to accept both stars as the best representatives of voicing the Bat. And who know, Conroy and Greenwood may both end up serving as the dominant mainstay of future DC works after all..
Conroy can still be heard present on the ROCKSTAR game release of BATMAN: Arkham City. Also, he will be present on the next big DC animated movie release in early 2012, Justice League: Doom.
That is it for this feature… Check out next features when we salute ten years since the release of the amazing landmark DC animated series JUSTICE LEAGUE and our Phoenix Comic Con Look Back Q&A: Billy Dee Williams at his conference panel.