As I've mentioned before, some 'In Memoriam' posts hit harder than others, and that's because of the impact some of these talented folks have had on various franchises over the years. This isn't to say not every person deserves some extra attention; clearly, we all have favorites -- for whatever the reason -- and I do try to manage these posts to honor contributions big and small ... but, try as I might, I'll probably never be able to do justice to everyone.
In any event ...
I've often waxed on about how it's difficult to discuss The Batman with folks in my age group. Many of them are vastly more familiar with that -- ahem -- God-awful Batman satire program from the late 1960's that just didn't win me over as a fan. Yes, I watched it -- probably as faithfully as did others -- and, yes, I suppose on one level it was perfectly entertaining. I just never cared for it all that much. Yes, great car. Yes, great talent. Just ... overall? Not for me.
The 1989 movie was a bit of a phenomenon, true. Kudos to Warner Bros. and Timothy Burton for bringing a whole lot of converts to the wide, wide world of The Bat, as the property was finally given the measure of respect it so often deserved but never quite found. In spite of some -- ahem -- curious zaniness that didn't feel natural to the flick, I enjoyed it well enough. Again, it wasn't perfect -- and I will continue to insist that there has yet to be a perfect live action Batman film to date -- but it was acceptable for its time and place.
Perhaps the greatest thing to come out of the experience, however, was the resulting television program. Batman: The Animated Series -- in my humble opinion -- finally gave The Batman his visual due. The Bruce Timm and Paul Dini inspiration was incredibly respectful to the whole universe that had come before in the comic books, and these stories were crafted in such a way as to honor the legacy as well as bring all of its characters into a somewhat modern era.
The icing on that cake? Kevin Conroy was pitch perfect as both Bruce Wayne and The Batman.
Yes, he was perfect. I've never come across anyone who seriously argued otherwise. Of course, I have debated some choices in other DVD properties that Warner Bros. produced for the sell-thru marketplace, but -- near and far -- Conroy has been highly praised for his singular talents in the DC animated universe. In fact, he's been so highly regarded that he continued bringing it to life in various spin-offs, sequels, and other intellectual property for the better part of three decades. That, my friends, is an incredible legacy that speaks volumes to exactly how well everyone who is anyone in the entertainment business felt about the man's ability.
He was and will remain Batman for, likely, a very long time.
Alas, none of us lasts forever, and word reached my desk over the weekend of the actor's passing from cancer.
Prayers are extended to the family, friends, and fans of Mr. Conroy.
May he forever rest in peace.