More than any other actor out there, Kevin Conroy is Batman.
Starting with the groundbreaking Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, Conroy has voiced the Dark Knight more than 40 times in TV series, animated films and video games.
He's often credited with perfecting the distinctive voices of Batman versus Bruce Wayne. Wayne's voice, Conroy says, is actually the character's disguised voice.
"One aspect of the character that I discovered early on is that Batman is not the mask," he said. "Bruce Wayne is the mask."
Conroy, one of this year's celebrity guests at Tampa Bay Comic Convention, will take part in a Q&A at the event at 5 p.m. Saturday in Ballroom D.
He recently posted a mysterious tweet from the granddaddy of comic conventions, Comic-Con International: San Diego, reading: "Hustling off the stage at the massive and packed Hall H of SDCC, you pressed a letter in my hand. I've read it and thank you for sharing your journey. What a beautiful testament to the legacy of Batman."
Hustling off the stage at the massive and packed Hall H of SDCC, you pressed a letter in my hand. I've read it and thank you for sharing your journey. What a beautiful testament to the legacy of Batman pic.twitter.com/McxoTlb8oI
We wrote to Conroy to ask him if he could explain. Here's what he said, in its entirety:
"I have a very personal connection with all my fans. I appreciate their affection for me and they know that I reciprocate that affection.
"An example of that happened recently at San Diego Comic-Con. I did a panel on the stage of the enormous Hall H. It's the largest hall in the convention center and holds thousands. At the end of the panels there are always organizers there to escort actors off the stage to prevent the audience from rushing the stage and causing a traffic nightmare as we try to exit. But one man caught my eye and seemed really intent on stopping me. I broke away from my handler (I could feel her thinking, 'Oh no there Kevin goes again') and bent down at the foot of the stage to hear what he wanted.
"He started to gesture wildly at his companion. I realized that he was deaf and his companion was his interpreter. The interpreter explained that he needed to give me a letter, and that I (Batman) had helped through so much in life. That he needed to thank me. I felt an impulse to embrace him and it became a very emotional moment.
"On returning to my room, I wondered, how could the voice actor have such an impact on a deaf audience member? I read the letter. It turned out that he hadn't been born deaf, he lost his hearing as a child due to infections. Some of his last memories of sound were of Batman never giving up, of Batman overcoming anything life threw at him.
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"The voice he still heard in his head all these years later was my voice. He wrote that when he felt overwhelmed as a child he would hear me telling him to never give up. I had been on that difficult journey with him and not even known it. The letter ends with the fact that he now has a young son of his own and they watch Batman together. Not only did he survive but he created a family of his own, he's triumphed.
"How does an actor thank an audience member for a letter like that? It truly brought tears to my eyes."
I can't believe you captured the moment when you gave me the letter! You are a gift. https://t.co/o34oWBkQIa
IF YOU GO
Tampa Bay Comic Convention
$30 to $60 (12 and younger are free). Noon to 12 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. tampabaycomicconvention.com
Contact Christopher Spata at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @SpataTimes.