Before superheroes became a regular fixture at the box office, they ruled Saturday morning programming. Almost every superhero show prior to September 5, 1992, presented versions of the characters that talked down to their target audience of children and wholly ignored the prospect of attracting adult fans. Shows like Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Superfriends, and The New Fantastic Four(1978) presented plots utterly devoid of any subtext or subtlely, choosing instead to craft intentionally simplistic, episodic stories that were as anodyne as they were predictable.
Batman: The Animated Series changed all of that. With an innovative animation style and sleek character designs paired with intricately woven scripts, Batman TAS presented a version of the Dark Knight that didn't patronize younger viewers with toothless stories while simultaneously providing a rich narrative for older fans as well. Although Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Eric Radomski brought the show to life visually and narratively, voice actor Kevin Conroy brought the Caped Crusader himself to life.
Conroy's majestic voice as Batman was so incredibly potent that he would continue to play the character for the next 30 years. From countless sequel series, spin-off movies, and video games, Conroy became the definitive Batman to millions of fans. While countless actors inhabited the role of Batman on the silver screen, Conroy's turn as the Caped Crusader remained constant. It isn't uncommon to hear comics fans say that Conroy's voice is the one they hear while reading Batman's dialogue. Similar to George Reeves and Christopher Reeve inhabiting Superman's red boots before him, Conroy was Batman to a couple of generations of fans.
Sadly, Conroy passed away on November 11, 2022, leaving behind a treasure trove of great performances as Batman and even more broken hearts. One of the people deeply influenced by Conroy's turn as the Dark Knight back in 1992 is Sean Gordon Murphy, who eventually became a titan in the comics field. Through his excellent White Knight series, Murphy has deftly homaged almost every aspect of Batman's mythos, but few features as prominently as the 90s animated series. In the video linked above from Murphy's Instagram page, the artist shares a Cameo that Kevin Conroy recorded for him. The monologue Conroy reads is from Murphy's own comic and serves as the perfect message for grieving Batman fans worldwide.
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Conroy. You were the absolute best ever.