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The World's Finest Presents

Kevin Conroy: How do we move on?
Written by James Harvey for The World's Finest (2022)

This took awhile. It's been a few weeks now since the news came out, that Kevin Conroy passed away, but it doesn't really feel like it. Born Nov. 30, 1955, Kevin passed away on Nov. 10, 2022. It was cancer that took him. And it still feels fresh, like it was yesterday. New. And so does the hurt, but I imagine it's going to be like this for some time to come. When such a pivotal figure in one's life passes, it's not something that just dissipates in a day or two. It lingers. And this will. And that's ok.

So much of my life is linked to this one man, and I don't think that's really hyperbole. Seriously, I mean, if you're reading this, you're reading this on a website that was started because of Batman: The Animated Series. A lot of who I am as an individual and where I am in my life is connected to this show and, specifically, Conroy's performance as the Dark Knight. A Batman: The Animated Series interview nabbed me an award at my university. I applied for art school, my own style heavily influenced by that classic cartoon, and that Batman-style jam-packed portfolio got me in. It's just bonkers to think about that.

Honestly, whatever I have to say is likely no different than what the other countless news outlets and fan sites will. About how much of a true and tremendous loss this is, about how Kevin is no longer around and how unfair that feels. How unfair it is. That, outside of any work he may have completed, that we won't be privy to any more work from him. It's a selfish thought, but an honest one. More importantly, he was a constant presence that loomed large, and still does, and always will.

It speaks to something else, though. Now, he'll live on for decades (maybe even centuries) through his impact on those he's touched in his life, through his work and his role as an LGBTQ+ icon (and that last part is likely still news for some). But our time sharing this planet with him ... is done. And that is something that's still difficult to comprehend. I can only imagine how much more amplified this is for his friends and family. To have something that's been such a steady fixture in one's life to be suddenly yanked away is ... debilitating. It was and, to an extent, it still is.

But this is where something special can happen. This is where we have the ability to do something pretty big, and pretty important. It's now up to us to keep Kevin's spirit with us. I have no doubt what I'm feeling is the same for countless others. His body may no longer walk on the same dirt as us, but we can keep his essence, name and legacy alive and here with us. And we will, and that's something I believe wholeheartedly in. We'll be remembering his great works for ages to come.

But there's a role for us here, too. This means we need to reach out to others as we cope and learn to accept. Conroy's passing has left a deep wound, one that likely won't be healing any time soon for many of us, and that's where we need to extend a hand. Not just to share our positive memories, but to also help. For a lot of folks, myself included, they've lost their Batman, their hero, their beacon. And a lot of them are having difficulties. And that's where we're needed the most. To help those who can't help themselves, or are lost. Is this a little dramatic? Sure, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Chances are, a lot of what I'm feeling is the same for countless others. We're hurting, and, personally, there's no point in dwelling in that. It's there, and it's going to be there for a while, and there's nothing wrong letting all that hurt in. But remember, countless fans are going through this, too. You are not alone, and there are others around if you need someone to talk to. The forums here, on social media, don't hesitate.

Watching Batman: The Animated Series (or any of his works) is different now, but that's okay. That's how this goes, and it hurts, but it's a part of life that we all must deal with at one point or another. But the best way to get through this, and we are - we are! - is to do it together. Remember, we are all here for each other. There will be pain still, yes, but we can temper that by remembering why Kevin meant so much to us, all the good memories tied to his works, and the sheer thrill and joy we got from every single performance. By keeping his friends and family in our thoughts. By sharing these memories and feelings with others, and taking solace in the fact that no one can take Kevin's impact and meaning away from us.

Thank you, Kevin. Thank you so much.

Dec. 12, 2022

"Conroy Forever" by artist Jordan Gibson, others by Warner Bros. and DC Comics

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