In more than 80 years of history, many different actors have portrayed Batman, and many have them have made meaningful contributions to the character. But as far as we here at ScreenCrush are concerned, one version stands head and shoulders, cape and cowl above the rest: Kevin Conroy, who voiced the Dark Knight on Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game series, along with dozens of other movie, TV series, and video game appearances.

We’re not just saying this because Kevin Conroy suddenly passed away after a brief battle with cancer. Months ago, before word of Conroy’s illness and death became public, we made the video below, arguing that Kevin Conroy — not Ben Affleck, not Michael Keaton, not Val Kilmer, not George Clooney, not even the amazing Christian Bale — was the definitive portrayal of Batman across all media. No, the one true Batman was, is, and always will be Kevin Conroy.

The video below explains why. It wasn’t just the grit in Conroy’s distinctive voice, or even his longevity in the role that made him the superior Batman. (Conroy played Batman for more than 30 years, longer than any other person in history.) As he revealed in his own recently released autobiographical comic, “Finding Batman,” Conroy’s own personal life had a huge impact on how he portrayed the role. Watch it below:

Rest in peace, Kevin Conroy. You may be gone, but your Batman will live forever. And it will likely never be surpassed, either.

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