Written by Dylan Brandsema
MegaCon Panel Recap: Kevin Conroy on Batman, Killing Joke & Venture Brothers
One of the biggest panel events of MegaCon 2016 Day 2 was a Q&A with the legendary voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy. Almost every seat in the room was filled within minutes of the doors opening. At exactly 3:30 PM on the dot, Conroy burst out of the backstage door, sprinted on the stage, struck a mighty hero-like pose and shouted with a mighty, triumphant holler “I am vengeance! I am the knight! I AM BATMAN!”. The crowd goes nuts. Conroy knows how to start a simple panel off with a bang.
Before the audience questions commenced, Conroy riffed a little bit about his upbringing as a theater actor and the struggles that came with it, his time at Juilliard School, and of course, how he came The Bat, which was apparently his first voice-over role in animation. He said an interesting quote that came about when talking about working with newer actors: “You can’t teach someone how to act. You can only teach them to teach themselves how to act.” Certainly a bit of wisdom for any aspiring actors in the audience.
One of the first questions was on the topic of whether or not his approach to recording Batman was different for the cartoons and as opposed to the video games (Rocksteady’s Arkham series). The answer was simple: Yes. Conroy mentioned that recording the cartoons is easier because, traditionally, cartoon voice-over casts usually record scenes together, therefore allowing better chemistry between actors, as where video game dialogue is usually recorded in separate. With that, he added that the Arkham games were much more precarious than other Batman works because there was never a solid script to go off and it requires upwards of hundreds of possible variations of the story – he said, in fact, that the for the most recent game in the series, Batman: Arkham Knight, there was over 37,000 lines of dialogue to be recorded.
Midway through the panel, Conroy, along with the rest of the room, burst out laughing as an audience member asked about his preparation for his role of Captain Sunshine on Adult Swim’s Venture Bros. Conroy mentioned that he didn’t think it was going to be anything special, and just treated it like any other job – until, of course, he read the script 30 minutes before the recording session and realized that the character was essentially an ultra-gay Batman. He contemplated his decision to take the role for a long time, and, according to Conroy, the show’s producers took $20 bets against each other on whether or not he’d actually do it. Obviously, someone made a profit.
As expected, the elephant in the room during the 45-minute session, was, of course, the subject of the much anticipated forthcoming R-rated feature length adaption of the highly regarded, critically acclaimed graphic novel The Killing Joke, which sent fans into a hype frenzy when it was announced months ago. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, Conroy wasn’t able to answer any fan questions regarding details about the production or about the film itself, but he stated he was extremely excited to get to work with Mark Hamill again, Tara Strong, who is voicing Batgirl, Ray Wise, and, as usual, Bruce Timm. It’s safe to say we’re all excited too.
Dylan Brandsema is a staff writer for Pop-Break specializing in film and television. When he isn’t writing reviews or spending too much analyzing the medium, he’s writing and directing his own independent films as well as drinking way too much soda. Currently at full-time film major at Full Sail University, Dylan eats, sleeps, and breathes everything related to the cinema. You can follow him on Twitter @SneakyOstrich69.