Jessie Robertson chats with the cast of Batman: The Animated Series at Louisville Supercon 2018…
As a child, nothing captured the my imagination like the show Batman: The Animated Series; from the dark atmosphere, the colorful villains and the moody, paced story, this was my ritual to be in front of the TV at 4 pm waiting for that full hour of Gotham goodness. This sentiment was the theme of the weekend; there are so many kids like me that had this exact experience. When I saw some of the voice cast would be visiting Louisville, KY for an event named Supercon, I had to be there and speak with these amazing actors.
This was my first Supercon and I have to say: it’s one of the better conventions I’ve been to. Big venue, great layout, easy to follow and very smooth production. The staff were tremendous in their efforts helping me and the whole atmosphere was just fun; it was like a huge party with a DJ booth set outside the main entrance and all day long, groups of people were dancing outside of it. One of the most unique and fun features I’ve seen at any con was a Cosplay Wrestling Event! Yes, only here can you see Star Lord teaming up with John Constantine bodyslamming Loki, as he and Star Lord trade quips about “snaps” and Loki gets his own staff turned against, and mind controlling him into a dance contest! Have you ever wanted to see DC Comics and Pokémon crossover? Well, here you had it with Jessie from Team Rocket, leaving James in the dust to team with her new boy toy Lobo! It was so much fun watching it’s ridiculousness and also those seats provided a nice respite when you needed a break from a busy con.
What else are cons known for? Panels! And there was only one on my radar: the Batman: Animated Series panel, featuring Kevin Conroy (Batman), Loren Lester (Robin/Nightwing), Diane Pershing (Poison Ivy) and John Glover (The Riddler). It was kept fairly short, which I like as some of these panels are super long. This, by the standards of these things, was pretty excellent. All 4 were engaged with the audience, were celebrating their work and all seemed to genuinely care that this show had impact. There honestly is nothing that gives me more goosebumps than Kevin Conroy appearing from behind the curtains, in a heavy register, declaring “I am Vengeance! I am the Night! I….Am…..Batman!” Kevin was the show stealer, as he typically is at most panels he’s in; his story of meeting a hobo that knew him had the audience rolling and rocking on every beat, and a great story about John Glover and himself riding giant horses for a TV mini series was another huge laugh. Loren Lester making the statement that Kevin was the best Batman of all time, while acknowledging Adam West brought the character to the attention of the US audience was a fantastic point.
With Kevin Conroy’s table swarmed, I was able to get in and talk with both Loren Lester and Diane Pershing. What strikes you about Loren is he’s the only one of the quartet where you can still hear tinges of Robin inside his everyday voice. He’s a youthful looking gregarious fellow who was only too eager to chat about this great show. My first question was answered so quickly it took me by surprise!
JR: “I’m sure you get this question all the time: Did you have a preferred character you liked to voice – Robin or Nightwing?”
JR: “Were you surprisde they went there during the show, with Nightwing?”
LL: “Yes, I was as we said in the panel, we had not read the comic books so it was a total shock. One day Andrea Romano called me up and said ‘I have good news and bad news. Bad news is you’re no longer playing Robin,’ and I couldn’t believe it. ‘Good news is you’re playing Nightwing.’ He was his own man now.”
JR: “They even gave him his own hideout, his pad in that apartment building, his own vehicle,”
LL: “Remember, I even got to punch Batman and threw down the mask.”
During the panel, Loren brought up Robin’s Reckoning and how it changed the character fundamentally. When I asked him about that episode, which I believe he said was his favorite, he talked about the pedigree that show brought to the series.
LL: “It was the only episode of the series that actually won an Emmy. It was two parts, and I always love the very cinematic shot of the ropes; his parents swing across on the rope and when it breaks, it swings back and it’s an empty rope.”
JR: “Yes, wasn’t there a deal where they wanted to show it, but they had to find creative license around that?”
LL” Well they couldn’t show too much violence, so they came up with that and it’s just heartbreaking.”
I also got to ask him about my favorite Batman villain, The Riddler (who was there but I didn’t get the opportunity to speak with), and how key Robin was in those episodes.
LL: “Yes, in the Maze of the Minotaur, it was the first case Robin ever solved; it showed Batman that he was not just a ward, a sidekick to agree with him, but an integral part of the team.”
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