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You might not be familiar with Kevin Conroy's face, but if you're more than a passingly casual fan of Batman, it's likely you'll know his voice. The actor has voiced the superhero for the last 30 years in a variety of media, starting with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Since then he has lent his talents to animated movies, video games, and even made a brief live-action appearance as an alternate version of Bruce Wayne in The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover TV event in 2019.
Most recently, Conroy has turned his attention to writing, sharing his own story in a comic strip included in the new DC Pride 2022 anthology. In the story, entitled 'Finding Batman', Conroy recounts how playing Batman has helped him live more openly and proudly as a gay man, noting in particular that when he first auditioned for the part, he was struck by how Bruce Wayne balanced his public-facing persona with his secret identity: something he struggled with himself while closeted.
"I often marveled at how appropriate it was that I should land this role," he wrote. "As a gay boy growing up in the 1950s and '60s in a devoutly Catholic family, I'd grown adept at concealing parts of myself. Of putting aspects of myself in a separate box and locking it away... Better to wear a mask, I thought."
'Finding Batman' has already been described as being worthy of an Eisner Award by some critics; the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a piece of work in the comic book industry. As well as touching on the homophobic abuse he was subjected to at times, Conroy also draws parallels between the traumatic event that sets a young Bruce Wayne on his path to caped crusader—the murder of his parents—and the loss and injustice he experienced in his own life, beginning with his father's death, then losing many of his gay friends during the AIDS crisis of the '80s.
The story concludes with these fictional and real-life tragedies overlapping in Conroy's mind, culminating in him bringing to life the voice of the character that would go on to define the next three decades of his life.
"It seemed to roar from thirty years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning," he wrote. "Yearning for what? An anchor, a harbor, a sense of safety, a sense of identity. Yes, I can relate. Yes, this terrain I know well. I felt Batman rising deep within."
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