One of the most popular superheroes of all time isn't actually super powered at all. Batman aka Bruce Wayne has captivated audiences for decades, with his mixture of martial arts, detective work, and those wonderful toys. Since Batman is so universally popular, there have been a shit ton of adaptations and actors who have stepped into his cape and cowl to kick some ass and scare the hell out of the criminals of Gotham City. The myriad Batmen have had various levels of success, so what exactly is the secret of a good Batman? We may now have the answer.
Kevin Conroy is a rather successful voice actor who has been voicing both Batman and Bruce Wayne for years. He is perhaps best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the Arkham games and the recently released Batman: The Killing Joke. Having been the voice of Batman for so long, Conroy believes he has cracked the code to a proper performance as the Bats. Here's what he said in a recent interview with IGN:
Well, the key to playing Batman for me has been the fact the persona of the Bat -- the character of the Bat, the putting on of the mask -- is not the performance. The performance is Bruce Wayne. The real essence of the man is Batman. That's when he's his most comfortable; he's at his most naked, most emotionally raw when he's in the bat cave alone. When he goes out to Wayne Technologies. faces the world and puts on a suit -- that's the performance. Bruce Wayne is the performance element. That's always been my key to the character, and I think when you play it that way it makes the Batman so authentic. It makes it less of an artifice. It just makes it ring true. So that it's not just putting on this odd costume and pretending you're someone you're not.
This is a pretty dark take on the character, and might be exactly what some of those less successful Batman portrayals had been missing.
Kevin Conroy has clearly taken a rather deep look into the psyche of Batman. Although he hasn't portrayed him in live-action, Conroy has been playing the character for longer than any one actor has. As such, he's had the time to really examine and dissect Bat's brain, and discovered that Batman is his true self while Bruce Wayne is more of the character. Batman has been emotionally closed off since his youth. In addition to witnessing his parents' murder, he's also seen and done so many things as a crimefighter than he can't really come back from. As such, wearing the cowl is when Bruce Wayne can truly be himself, rather than the faux playboy billionaire that plays for the Gotham public.
This is a stark transition for how we usually think of Batman. Traditionally, Bruce is the person and The Dark Knight is the alter-ego. But similar to Superman, it seems that it's the norma civilian half of his life that is truly the farce. Perhaps this is another reason the two come to blows in Batman v Superman, they're just too similar.
What do you think of Kevin Conroy's assessment of Batman? Do you agree, or is Bruce Wayne a more important entity in the vigilante's mind? Sound off in the comments below.