Though it’s just one short story – as part of the brilliant comic book anthology special, DC Pride 2022, and which you can pre-order in hardcover from Amazon here – I have felt very strongly about focusing on Finding Batman in the last few days.
The reason for this is that the autobiographical story’s writer, Kevin Conroy, passed away on the 10th of November 2022. It was just a few weeks shy of his 67th birthday; he was taken far too soon.
Finding Batman is a story about Conroy’s difficulties as a gay actor in the 70s and 80s, particularly as the AIDS crisis seemed to worsen the already awful homophobia and bigotry not just in the entertainment industry, but in society at large too.
Conroy’s struggles go beyond having to deal with such overt, awful homophobia however – as his home life was also deeply challenging for numerous reasons.
Though a shocking and affecting read – with J. Bone’s art giving it the feel of an indie comic memoir and Conroy not shying away from the troubling language and awful situations he found himself dealing with – Finding Batman does of course have an uplifting, cathartic ending.
Conroy ended up playing Batman first in the 1992 animated series, but also took the role beyond that and into other media too; perhaps most notably in the phenomenal Arkham series of games.
Having played the role for thirty years, Conroy’s voice was often the one that readers heard in their heads when digesting a Batman comic; he was so perfect, so iconic in the role that he was undoubtedly the Batman for generations of Batfans.
Kevin Conroy’s untimely passing – due to intestinal cancer – has hit me particularly hard, as a fan of his since the early 90s. So I needed to raise awareness of his story; his triumph against serious adversity and the way in which the iconic role of the Dark Knight was brought to life in a way that meant he truly made the character his own.
Conroy’s loss is a tremendously difficult one to bear, but he leaves us with a stunning body of work and will be forever remembered as the Batman.
Rest in Peace, Kevin.
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