If Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill get their wish, then the recently released “Batman: The Killing Joke” won’t be their last work in the animated Batman franchise. In front of an ecstatic capacity crowd at Toronto’s Fan Expo, the pair said that they would love to lend their voices to animated adaptations of the celebrated “Hush” and “A Death in the Family” stories.
Hamill and Conroy closed out the Labor Day Weekend convention with a riotous Q&A that celebrated the nearly 25 years since the launch of “Batman: The Animated Series,” as well as the recent release of the “Batman: The Killing Joke” animated adaptation.
The spirited discussion — during which Hamill praised Canadians in general as “the nicest people” and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “pretty cool” — earned repeated rounds of applause from the crowd of more than 3,000 fans. But the biggest cheers came when the two voice actors responded to an audience question about where they would like to take their characters.
“What do you think about doing ‘Hush’?” Conroy asked Hamill. “What do you think of doing ‘A Death in the family’?” Hamill shot back. The crowd, understandably, went nuts.
While the comments by the two actors are pure speculation and may only represent their personal wishes, the recent release of the R-rated “Batman: The Killing Joke” animated adaptation could open the doors for more mature material like Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s grim 2002 “Hush” and Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo’s 1988 “A Death in the Family,” in which Jason Todd’s Robin is murdered by the Joker.
Conroy and Hamill were consummate showmen. Conroy thrilled the crowd with an impassioned delivery of his signature line (“I am vengeance. I am the night. I am Batman!”) while Hamill politely indulged audience members who imitated his iconic Joker.
Hamill also explained that this performance of the Joker was always shifting. His performance was informed in part by his Broadway performance in “The Elephant Man,” as well as the Universal Studios horror films of the 1930s, including Claude Rains’ turn as the Invisible Man. The secret of playing the Joker was making him unpredictable, explained Hamill: “If you’re unpredictable, you’re never boring.”
Throughout the Q&A Hamill and Conroy displayed an obvious obvious camaraderie and admiration for each other as performers. “Mark is someone who understands that the better I am, the better he will be,” said Conroy about Hamill, who returned the compliment with, “He’s my Batman. There’s Kevin and then there’s everybody else.”
The animated “Batman: The Killing Joke” was written by Brian Azzarello and directed by Sam Liu. It is based on Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s graphic novel of the same name.
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