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Author Topic: Voice Compare: DC edition  (Read 122 times)

Offline Tomato

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Voice Compare: DC edition
« on: October 08, 2019, 08:24:32 PM »
So every so often, I like to go on the website beyondthevoiceactors.com and look up different portrayals of different voice actors who have done various roles, notably those of comic book characters. Like many, I read comic with a particular voice in mind, particularly since I grew up watching the DC animated shows.

However, while obviously there's a preference there (I think most of us will admit to hearing Conroy and Hamill) others aren't so clear cut. Barry Allen, for example, wasn't in the dcau... The Flash was always Wally West in that series, and even though Michael Rosenbaum went on to voice Barry elsewhere, he's still specifically the Wally West Flash to me. Other characters, like Dick Grayson, have half a dozen solid voice actors so it's hard to say one is definitive over another.

I thought it'd be fun to compare notes, talk about who we hear for a character and why. I should also note that while I call out voice actors, this isn't limited to just animated roles. If you hear John Wesley Shipp as Barry, even though he never specifically "voice acted" the character, say so.

Anyway, just to keep this a bit focused, I figured we'd narrow our focus to ten characters for now. Most of these I expect people here to be on a similar wavelength with, but I'm curious to see how many people break ranks.

Batman
Superman
Wonder Woman
Barry Allen
Hal Jordon
Martian Manhunter
Aquaman
Green Arrow
Black Canary
Hawkgirl

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 09:08:41 PM »
Cool idea and cool topic, 'Mato!

Yeah, obviously, Kevin Conroy IS Batman.  Full stop.  But it's true, many of the others aren't as definitive.  For the most part, it's Timmverse all the way for me, but there are some gaps, and some of these are not as clearcut as others.  I suppose....

  • Batman: Conroy, obviously.
  • Superman: While I like the JLU version reasonably well, Tim Daly remains the gold standard for me.  He just has more depth and personality, more cheerful strength, in his voice than other actors.
  • Wonder Woman:  JLU was the gold standard for me, but going back and watching through it again over the years, there's a softness to her voice/delivery at times that I don't love.  I haven't heard any that I like better, however.  I'll be curious about what everyone else says about her.
  • Barry Allen: So, as you said, Barry is tough, largely because he just hasn't been voiced that much in distinctive ways.  I suppose I'd have to say the Brave and Bold version would be my go-to.  Barry should have a strong but light-hearted voice.  He benefits most from a more standard 'superhero' voice, methinks, bu the's got to have some humor and joy in his voice too.  Though brief overall, B&B's portrayal of Barry is also one of my favorites.
  • Hal Jordon: Similar problem, not many versions.  However, I think we do have a definitive version, and it is probably not the one that other folks would pick.  The animated series version of Hal is actually quite good, and his portrayal is pretty spot-on, but I think I would have to choose the really excellent version from The New Frontier.  However, if Nathan Fillion was ever given more space to really dive into the character, I feel like he would easily own the role.
  • Martian Manhunter: JLU, unquestionably.  Nothing else has captured the soulfullness, the hidden wit, and the depth of the character.
  • Aquaman: Also tough, because, although he's had several portrayals at this point, most of them have been pretty badly off, even if well done.  He's the 90s, Namor-lite character, complete with deep, gruff voice, in the Timmverse, one of the universe's very, very few missteps.  There are two different voice actors, though, and I think the JLU one is the better of the two.  He's got more lightness and humor...in that he has any at all.  His animated film, aside from being awful in general, also takes a similar approach to him.  B&B captures the personality a LITTLE better, though it swings too far in the other direction.  I have a lot more love for that John DiMaggio portrayal these days than I did at the time, but he's still just not right.  For me, I suppose I'd have to go with the classic version from his own show in the 60s.  It's a fairly flat portrayal, but it's fun and heroic, and just plain joyful.  He's enjoying his adventures.
  • Green Arrow: JLU, without a doubt.  He's got the perfect mix of snark and wit, seriousness and sarcasm.  The episode where he hums his own theme music is one of my favorite bits in the entire series.  That captures the character better than a zillion seasons of the grim n' gritty live-action bow and arrow murderer.
  • Black Canary: Same, though this is more of a matter of a lack of alternatives.  The JLU version is good, but not quite as definitive as some of the others.  Part of that is that she is outshined by Ollie.
  • Hawkgirl: JLU, once again, and once again, unquestionably.  Although the portrayal was pretty one-note at the beginning (whose wasn't?), the actress really brought a lot to the role and captured the character pretty perfectly by the end.  She's always been the more impulsive of her heroic pair (even back in the day), and though they ramp up her aggression in the beginning, they do capture more of her personality eventually as well.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to say!








« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 09:10:22 PM by BentonGrey »
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 04:07:45 AM »
So obviously I had some ideas for this list going in, but to be fair I did go back through

  • Batman: So I'm not going to beat around the bush, Kevin Conroy is 100% the best overall Batman voice, period. He balances both Bruce and Batman well, while adding an emotional warmth to the character, at least in the animated series, we haven't really seen much in the years since. However, I will say Bruce Greenwood (Under the Red Hood, Young Justice)'s portrayal, while not really great at distinguishing Bruce from Batman, is also very good and is probably my second choice.
  • Superman: This one is surprisingly tough. Daly and Newbern (STAS and JLU) both give great performances, and both add elements to the character that work well to their respective series. That said, I think Daly's performance is just a bit better, by virtue of having an entire series to develop the character vs Newbern having to share the spotlight with a full League.
  • Wonder Woman: Susan Eisenberg, but mostly because of her later work in the role (JL:Doom being a good example). Her portrayal in JL/JLU was good, but I agree with Benton that it's a bit too soft at times. However, given later portrayals give her more of an edge, I suspect a big part of that was as much direction and fear of alienating young boys as anything else. Were the series to exist now when WW is allowed to be more of a BA because of the film, I don't think we'd be having the same discussion.
  • Barry Allen: Barry's a bit tough because, but after going through the different portrayals, I think Neil Patrick Harris's portrayal (New Frontier) is my favorite version of the character. Neil's take on Barry is sort of old school (in keeping with the nature of the film) but the way he talks as Barry feels quick, but not impetuous like Rosenbaum often felt.
  • Hal Jordon: Meh. Much as I hate to say it, while I love Josh Keaton(GL:TAS) in a lot of other roles... in my mind, he was not the right fit for Hal. Now, don't misunderstand, I get WHY... they wanted a younger, more Ryan Reynolds type to play Hal for the show, and he works well enough even if I'm more partial to an older Hal. As for Fillion... I don't mind him per se, but he tends to be a bit too soft spoken sometimes for my taste, and some of his early performances weren't great. Going back through things, I think my favorite Hal is actually Christopher Meloni (GL: First Flight). He has that older more seasoned type voice, but brings an attitude to the role I think works quite well for Hal.
  • Martian Manhunter: Carl Lumbly (JLU), pretty easily. Not only does he perfectly capture J'onn's character, but he single handedly defined how the character would be portrayed from then on out.
  • Aquaman: Meh... I don't know about this one. What's frustrating is, going through the list of voice actors who've played the character there's a few who only get one line who I'd love to hear more from. Both Alan Ritchson (New Frontier) and Josh Keaton (Crisis on Two Earths) both have decent takes on the character, but because each only gets one line it's hard to extrapolate a whole range (and yes, I'm aware Alan also portrayed Aquaman in Smallville, but it's a completely different take). Of the characters who really got to voice him... I guess I prefer Scott Rummell (JLU) but none of them really fit the character very well.
  • Green Arrow: Kin Shriner, again from JLU. Don't get me wrong, I like arrow more than Benton, but as far as what I hear in my head when I read the comics version, it's the voice from JLU.
  • Black Canary: Honestly, I've gotta give this one to Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice). Part of that is because she has more to DO in YJ, but I also feel like her more sultry, whispery voice voice works better for a character whose power is blasting you back if she yells too loud.
  • Hawkgirl: Maria Canals (JLU), pretty easily. Part of that is my attachment to the JL cast, but tbh there really hasn't been another notable performance for the character in animation.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 12:43:21 AM by Tomato »

Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 05:57:29 PM »
When did Kevin Conroy voice Ollie?
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2019, 12:42:51 AM »
He didn't, I'm an idiot. I believe someone told me when I was younger that GA had the same VA as Batman, so I've always just... believed it without ever actually looking it up. It'll be fixed to Kin Shriner in a second.

Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2019, 01:07:56 AM »
Kevin Conroy did voice The Crimson Avenger in JLU though. Mind, he has one line of dialogue in a Batman-heavy episode, and JLU did that kinda thing a lot, so there you go.

On the topic of Susan Eisenberg, she reprises WW in DC Universe Online (replacing Gina Torres, who did the voice in early builds of the game) And as she is an NPC mentor leading other heroes into battle, she has a more commanding, sterner tone for much of her material. And a very cheesy shout out to Firefly ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal").

Not much to say. Pretty much all of the above characters get the JLU kudos for me if they were a major character in JLU (with the exception of Black Canary, who, yeah, I'd say was better voiced in YJ).

I have an interesting answer for Flash though. Post-crisis, my Barry voice is Rosenbaum, both because he voiced him in JL: Doom and because pretty much every version of Barry since, well, Grant Gustin in the CW series, has been written to basically BE the pre-flashpoint Wally (jokier, more of a dork, more in a learning stage of being the Flash, as opposed to the more mentor-esque version in YJ) Even Geoff Johns IMO tried to make him jokier in an attempt to sell him to the crowd that grew up on Wally, as opposed to the version that died in Crisis, who, well, was as boring as a lot of characters from comics made before 1986 or so.

On the topic of JLU, since Canada doesn't get the DC Streaming service, instead they got the rights to show a bunch of the DC shows on regular tv, and that includes syndicated reruns of Batman: TAS and JLU. So I've been rewatching JLU lately and it's quite pleasant to see just how well it holds up.
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2019, 01:17:46 PM »
Even Geoff Johns IMO tried to make him jokier in an attempt to sell him to the crowd that grew up on Wally, as opposed to the version that died in Crisis, who, well, was as boring as a lot of characters from comics made before 1986 or so.

I wouldn't go quite that far. There's plenty of characters made before 1986 that are interesting. I'd say it was more anyone from pre-Marvel that could often end up boring. Not that they didn't try to flesh some of those characters out once Marvel took the world by storm, and in a lot of cases they succeeded with aplomb. Just look at GA. But with others like Barry or Hal, it was much more of a struggle.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2019, 09:16:49 PM »
Great stuff, guys!  Yeah, JLU reigns supreme in so very many ways.  Rosenbaum is good as Barry, but I prefer the more specific to character interpretations elsewhere, like in B&B.  Hmm, I could see Gina Torres doing quite a good WW.

'Mato, First Flight, interesting.  It has been a really long time since I saw that, but I remember it being good and a pretty solid take on the character.  As for your points on Aquaman, your choice is an interesting one, but that one line is just, as you say, very little to go on.  It is a great one line in Crisis.  I would like to hear more from that guy as Aquaman.

Ohh, yeah, the YJ BC is a good choice.  I think that might well be the more definitive interpretation, though she has some fantastic stories in JLU.

As for the side topic of Barry's personality (or lack thereof), I thought that the N52 run, despite its significant problems, nailed WHO he was pretty darn well, bringing to the surface much that was implicit in previous runs.  Barry had a personality in the 60s and 70s, it was just lightly drawn and hard to distinguish from the rather general 'heroic persona' which was the default for most DC characters.  Yet, looking back, you can see the character under the surface.
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2019, 11:37:44 PM »
To be more clear, I ultimately went with JLUs va (on mobile so Im not copying all the names this time) as the best option  for Aquaman, but only because he's the best out of what's available. I'd prefer a voice somewhere in the middle between the sternness of JLU, the regality of YJ, and the lighter edge of BatB.

Interestingly enough, I *did* discover that Josh Keaton (CoTE) has, in fact, voiced Aquaman elsewhere, specifically in a moba DC made called "infinite crisis". I have no knowledge of the game (I don't play mobas so if I heard about it I likely ignored it) and the servers are shut down, but one of these days I might pull it up, see if I can't pull the audio files to see if they're any good.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2019, 08:00:46 PM »
Ahh, I misread, I see.  Yes, I agree.  I do rather like the characterization (what we see of it) of the YJ version, but having Phil Lamaar voice him means that I just hear John Stewart every time he opens his mouth.  The voice isn't quite right. 

Interesting!  If you ever do that, you'll have to share the results with us!
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Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2019, 09:22:53 PM »
I mean, Barry did have a personality.

It just wasn't a very compelling one.
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2019, 10:31:35 PM »
See, I always kinda got Hal's personality, especially after rebirth: hotshot ladies man pilot. A bit bare bones, but it was always there. No, I think the issue with Barry specifically is the fact that he spent so long as Saint Barry, the hero who died saving the Multiverse. Most of what we saw of him in the decades after his death was through the eyes of Wally West, who idolized Barry to a frankly unhealthy degree. For my generation, all there was for decades was comic book Saint Barry, with a touch or two of super friends if you happened to catch that on tv.

Because of that, so much of his original personality had been ground down in people's minds to be the perfect saint DC turned him into, so that even in his Rebirth book he remained basically a blank slate. It wasn't until later stories (n52 series, tv show) that they actually rebuilt his personality: an earnest but clumsy dude who wants to do the right thing using his powers and his mind. That personality was there before, as much as with any silver age character, but because he'd been deified for so long I think even the writers had to go back to the well to bring that personality forward.

Offline kkhohoho

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Re: Voice Compare: DC edition
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2019, 03:16:35 AM »
Yeah, I never saw that with Hal. They tried to make him something more, occasionally paying lipservice to being exactly what you describe. But when push comes to shove, he's the ultimate straight man. Not too outgoing, not too reserved. Not too aggressive, not too calm. Not too much of anything to stand out. There are moments where the writers try to paint him as more than that, sometimes going as far as to truly make him a hotshot in flashbacks of his early days or before he became Green Lantern. Or even going the other route and making him more reflective and contemplative. But beyond that, he's the personification of even-keeled. Which makes him bland and banal as all get out.

As for Barry, I don't think his Post-Crisis stuff has that much to do with it. Solo stuff aside, I've read his classic League appearances, and he comes off as a calm and laid back dude, if somewhat dull. Which is fine, but compared to any of the other Flashes, he doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Wally is DC's Peter Parker starting out, and even when he moves on from that, he still has more to him than Barry ever did. Jay has sheer charisma. And Bart is a hyperactive punk who (at least in the comics) was literally raised on videogames and doesn't know how the real world works as a consequence. If you put Barry next to any of the competition, is he really the one you'd most want to read about?
The Golden Age; 'A different look at a different era.'

http://archiveofourown.org/works/1089779/chapters/2193203