November 14th, 2022
Kevin Conroy passed away on November 10th, 2022. For many people, he was known as the voice of Batman.
For some of us, he simply was Batman.
It’s odd, because last month I started a series of essays about Halloween costumes I’d worn as a kid, and what those characters meant to me; I had started a piece about Batman, but I couldn’t finish it.
One of my most vivid memories of childhood is from September 5th, 1992. I was 7 years old and still living in our first house, on the west side of Minneapolis. I had taken every pillow in that house and laid them around the floor in the TV room to watch the much-advertised first episode of Batman: The Animated Series, leaping from pillow to pillow, emulating my hero.
I’ve written about this before, but Batman (and Spider-Man) taught me a major life lesson at that young age.
As a kid (and I think this is normal), I wanted every bad guy to die.
I could not understand why the Joker (or Green Goblin) were allowed to live.
But those heroes continued to believe in the power of being human; they were committed to the idea that every life is precious, and that ideology extended to their enemies.
Whether or not their foes actually wanted to change, they all deserved the opportunity to.
That lesson stays with me to this day.
And it is not a lesson I see shared among many fellow adults now, which is apparent if you’ve ever visited the internet.
Conroy isn’t just the voice of Batman; he’s the voice of reason and compassion in my head. As a man, he embodied all of the heroic attributes of his alter ego, a life that he beautifully shared in a DC comics story recently.
I found out the morning of opening day at the convention about his passing. It reminded me of the convention where I encountered him in real life, regularly walking down his aisle, just to hear my hero talk, the hero I never found the time, or courage, to speak to.
People die. They do. (I write about it a lot.)
But parts of them live on as long as we do, as long as we remember and live by them.
Good night, Batman.