How Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill Nailed Their Batman/Joker Dynamic

Fans around the world are still in mourning for the tremendous loss of actor Kevin Conroy this past weekend.  Conroy passed away at the age of 66 after battling an illness, and the loss of the man who provided the definitive voice of Batman for most, if not all, fans was a heavy thing to accept.  Part of the success of Batman: The Animated Series and the Arkham series of video games was the special dynamic Batman had with his arch-nemesis, The Joker, and the special sauce there was certainly the voice talents of Conroy and his co-star Mark Hamill in their respective roles.  The duo had irreplaceable chemistry, and now we can look back on their special bond and how they created a rivalry that surpassed even its comic book roots.

How Kevin Conroy And Mark Hamill Nailed The Batman/Joker Dynamic
Image: WBTV YouTube Trailer Screencap

The magic that we as fans got to take in and enjoy for 30 years was created by a once-in-a-lifetime pairing of talents in Conroy and Hamill.  The pair were put together by the great casting director Andrea Romano, who cast a wide net in looking for vocal talents to fill the cast, and it was a net that caught two big fish in Conroy and Hamill who would go on to define their respective characters.  This was created not only through natural chemistry but by two men who knew their characters inside and out and by their special recording practice, which was quite uncommon.

"Oh, we recorded together almost as a rule!" said Conroy in a 2014 interview with DC.com.  "That's a wonderful thing about Andrea Romano. She started out as an actor. So she has a real love for actors. She loves to work with them and has a great respect for them. She understands how actors work. She knows that to get the best performance from people, they need to be fed by other actors. If you're acting in a vacuum, it's just never as good. So she always insists on everyone being together. The bookings for all of Batman: The Animated Series were done as radio plays where she'd have all the cast in a studio together, and as a result, those recordings were phenomenal."

Conroy continued, specifically about working with Hamill and how the two created magic by recording together instead of just reading lines separately and relying on editors to make it work.  "So Mark and I would work together as a rule, and we've always worked really well together. He's a very talented guy. And talk about someone with knowledge about the history of animation! He has an amazing animation collection and almost an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the genre."

Conroy and Hamill didn't just have chemistry as performers but as human beings as well.  This led to them working together on countless projects for 30 years and forming a timeless bond.

While there have been numerous Batman and Joker matchups and will continue to be for all of the time, perhaps none will ever approach the duo of Conroy and Hamill, both in quality and quantity.  Theirs are the voices we, as comic readers, always hear in our minds as we visually ingest words from a bubble to bring them to life in our heads.  Whether the actors who created those voices are still here on Earth or not, they will live on forever, fighting a never-ending battle of good versus evil in the Gotham City of our collective imaginations.

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Ryan FassettAbout Ryan Fassett

As a lifelong fan of movies, comics, wrestling, and collectibles, Ryan is excited to share his thoughts on all of it with you. He is also an active filmmaker and published comic book writer, along with being a connoisseur of soda.
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