Kevin Conroy Addresses The Controversy Of Batman: The Killing Joke

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One of the many great things about the Caped Crusader is that he’s so malleable, and therefore can be enjoyed by people of any age group. No matter if you’re a toddler or a grown adult, there’s most assuredly a story featuring Gotham City’s greatest protector that’s bound to satisfy.

If anyone can back up this claim, it’s most certainly Kevin Conroy. Having first lent his pipes to the World’s Greatest Detective nearly thirty years ago in Batman: The Animated Series‘ earliest recording sessions, he’s since gone on to reprise the iconic role in other projects like Justice League Unlimited, the Arkham series of video games, and direct-to-video flicks such as Batman: The Killing Joke.

While recently speaking with Red Carpet News TV regarding the subject of adapting Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s classic graphic novel, Conroy first touched on some of the points we mentioned earlier:

“Batman has a very broad audience. It was originally — the first Batman animated series was on prime time on FOX. It was never designed to be a kid’s show, but they knew that they were going to have a kid’s audience, too. So they had to keep it a very adult show — which it obviously is, with very adult storylines and sophisticated artwork and sophisticated music — but they could never show a child in danger. They had to go by certain standards and practices in the States that you have to respect if you know you’re gonna have audiences under 12. You just have to do it.”

Batman: The Killing Joke

As Kevin continued, he addressed the controversial nature of the material, and how it may not play to certain demographics:

“So The Killing Joke, the issue I had was that — it was a great, mature story for Batman/Joker, but I know that a lot of the audience is still under 12, and that’s rough. That’s a rough story for people that young.

“And I have a lot of friends who said, ‘I love that movie you did, but I’m not gonna let my kids see it for ten years [laughs]. I have it in a box, and he’ll see it when he’s older.’ But no, I didn’t have problems with the story, I just understood people who did.”

To be frank, I’m glad Batman: The Killing Joke received the R-rating because while it may not have been the first animated picture starring the Dark Knight to feature mature themes, major retailers would often file the likes of Year One, Under the Red Hood and Assault on Arkham under the children’s section, which probably made for some awkward moments whenever unwitting parents had to explain the adult content found in PG-13 offerings to their preschoolers. But when you slap the “R” on something, maybe people will take some discretion.

Of course, there’s also the matter of the Batman-Batgirl tryst that rattled some cages, but that’s a can of worms to open on another day. If you want to read my defense of that creative move, though, then be sure to check out my Blu-ray review from a couple years back.

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