The iFanboy Letter Column – 12/11/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s searching for the ultimate party where on the way, you and your friends get stuck in a 1980s movie-esque adventure. For others, Friday is the day it really starts to get cold.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


A friend I were recently discussing the way we hear some of our favorite characters when we read the comics. For example, despite all the hype Nicholson and Ledger get for their portrayals of The Joker, it always comes back to [Mark] Hamill as the voice we hear whenever we read the character.

In this vein, are there any famous characters who’ve been voiced in such a dead on manner, that anytime you read a story about them, you can only hear that one voice? Or, how do imagine some of these famous characters to sound in your own heads?

Jordan (Endigo)

Endigo, you raise an interesting question that’s similar to a question we often get about what music do you hear in your head as you’re reading (i.e. when you read Batman does your head give you a Danny Elfman soundtrack? That sort of thing) and it dawns on me that even though we’re all reading the same comics, with the same words and artwork, we each have our own unique experience that we create in our mind. When you read the X-Men, do you hear Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? or perhaps the guy who voiced Wolverine in the 90s comics? Same thing with Spider-Man, do you hear Tobey Maguire or one of the various animated voices over the years? This question becomes even more relevant as the world of motion comics emerge. If you watched the Spider-Woman motion comic, did that define how you heard Jessica Drew from now on, complete with a British accent? I’m speculating here, but I think you’d find it more common to hear that people put the animated voices to characters as opposed to real life people, as you’ve done with The Joker. Why? Well, and again I’m speculating, but I think the drawn nature of those characters lend themselves to porting over to comics. When you see a movie, even though Heath Ledger “became” the Joker, he’s still Heath Ledger, and it’s hard to push that persona from real life to the comics pages.

Personally, I don’t hear Mark Hamill as The Joker, nor do I hear Nicholson or Ledger. Nope, for The Joker will always sound like Cesar Romero from the 1960s Batman television show. But that’s just me, nothing takes away from the stellar performance that Mark Hamill did in those cartoons. But even then, as I think of it, I don’t believe I place voices in my head as I read my comics. Maybe that’s just a case of me not having as much fun reading my comics, but then again, I’m not the one who does voices around here, so maybe I’m just deficient in that area, but I just read them with my own inner voice, no dramatization going on. But that’s just me, there’s no right or wrong way to read comics and it sounds like you’ve got an added layer of fun to your reading, so keep with it.

Ron Richards


I’ve been reading the trade of Final Crisis: Revelations this evening and began wondering something. Are there any comics that you’ve read where you really liked the story but wished that you could get someone else to do the art chores on it? I mean, I’m sure you all have your favorite artists that you would love to see do anything you can name, but I’m thinking about those stories where you wish anyone but the person who worked on it would redraw it.

Why did this question occur to me while reading this trade? Oh, no reason…


No, I think… I think I see where you’re going with this. My partners may disagree with me on this, but I think there is definitely a taste range in comics, and there are some artists who aren’t necessarily bad, but who some readers just don’t connect with. That specific artist on the book you mention who has also done some other recent books, to somewhat less critical acclaim than he might hope. Some would say outright, “he sucks!” and that might be the case, but I also have to think that the editors and creators on these books must have chosen them for some reason. I mean, if someone’s not good, why would they keep getting work? Sure it happens, but it doesn’t seem like it would keep going on. I’ve met plenty of writers and editors, and they know what’s good and what isn’t. They also have their own personal tastes, and that plays into it. There’s one very big name writer, and he and I were speaking about our favorite artists, and the lists had nothing in common.

Let’s take Chris Bachalo for example. I first came across him on a book called Steampunk many years ago. I think it was written by Joe Kelly. It was also the most confusing art I’d ever seen up to that point. Yet at the same time, a lot of artists consider Bachalo the second coming. Just this past week, we were talking about Dark Avengers Annual, and the others were saying they really liked him. I, on the other hand, still got confused by his storytelling. It just doesn’t connect for me. But obviously, I can’t say “he sucks.” It’s just not my thing. Granted, I’m probably more forgiving than most, but I suppose it’s easier to love than hate.

Now, if I was Ron, I could probably offer Greg Land’s name immediately, who’s been drawing Uncanny X-Men. I say if Marvel is willing to hire him, and people are willing to buy the book, good for all of them. Personally, I haven’t been a fan of a lot of the art in the Avengers books over the last couple of years. Back when Bendis first came on, we saw guys like Steve McNiven and Jimmy Cheung on the books, and they were awesome. I’m not nearly as keen on Deodato or Billy Tan on those books. I actually don’t really like David Finch that much either. But then, a lot of fans seem to, and for some reason, these talented writers and editors seem to want them as well. We’ve always got the choice not to buy those books if we’re not excited about it.

And that right there, was one politically correct answer! But it is actually what I believe.

Josh Flanagan



Batman and The Outsiders #11-14I’m a trade buyer and I recently got into Batman and The Outsiders. I started at the crossover with Checkmate, awesome, and bought up to the present. Well, there’s a very pronounced gap between “The Snare” and “The Deep”. Four issues actually; numbers 11 through 14. Were these collected somewhere else? I’ve searched Amazon for hours, yes, through your site, and can’t seem to find find them listed as anything except as single issues. Help me iFanboy, you’re my only hope.


Sometimes you don’t want to muse and ruminate on the big comic books issues of the day. Sometimes, you just want a simple mystery to solve and a person to help.

Now let me just grab my rumpled trench coat and unlit cigar and let’s get down to business.

The issues that you are looking for, Batman and The Outsiders #11-14, were part of the “Batman R.I.P.” story. They were written by Frank Tieri and three of the issues (#11, 12, 14) were drawn by Ryan Benjamin and one (#13) by Fernando Dagnino.

These issues are not available in trade format.

Why is that, John? Well, sir, therein lies the greatest mystery of all: Why exactly does DC Comics seem to work so hard to make it difficult for trade paperback readers to sample their wares? It’s not like there isn’t money in the trade paperback and collected edition market or anything. And it’s not like their chief rival isn’t pumping out trade paperbacks like a mentally unbalanced woman trying to get a reality TV show.

My own personal theory is that the trade paperback department at DC Comics is staffed by paranoid schizophrenics, but I could be wrong.

Conor Kilpatrick


  1. Most of what I think of, or hear in my head when reading Batman comes from The Animated Series.  I love that show, watched all the time as a kid and still watch it here and there on DVD.  Especially Gordon, the Joker and Mr. Freeze.  Ron Perlman’s Clayface was pretty awesome too.

  2. That’s the best excuse I have heard for the DC Trade program by Conor.

    I have always heard Mark Hamill’s version in my mind when reading anything Joker related. Well maybe not right now; cause Morrison has made Joker UBER insane and I can’t see Hamill portray the Joker like that. Either way I will always have the laugh and mannerisms by Hamill for the rest of my life. It’s such a wonderful performance and even with fantastic live action roles, I always think Hamill is the best Joker.

  3. I’ve also been scratching my head about DC TPB stuff.  I recently got into Judd Winick, and I love his work so much that I have been trying to buy up all I can get my hands on…and that means buying a fair number of books off of ebay apparently, because they’re out of print from the publisher!  These are less than 10 years old, but you have to really hunt for them.  It’s like they don’t want you to be able to read anything about Kyle Rayner at all…

  4. I agree with TNC that the context has to be appropriate.  But, for the most part, I hear the casts of the 90’s Batman, Superman, X-Men, and Spider-Man animated series in my head.  That’s probably because I grew up in the 90s and watched those in place of comics as a kid.  Steve Blum, who’s done a lot of recent Wolverine work, is slowly taking over for the guy who was on the 90s cartoon.

    And I’m going to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the unnamed artist of Final Crisis: Revelations is of NO RELATION to the aforementioned Billy Tan who has drawn a few books at Marvel. 

  5. The way some companies decide to trade their books (Sometimes even simple books that aren’t part of big crossovers and stuff) boggles my mind. ack.

  6. I don’t even hear Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man when I’m watching the movie.

    Here’s a problem I have in the "voice" arena: I wish I had never heard Ed Brubaker speak, because now for whatever reason every time I read Criminal, I hear him reading the story out loud to me in my head. Even when female characters are talking. I have this problem with no other writer.

  7. @ABirdseysView: Yes, we know, The Unnamed Artist just finished drawing a very high profile DC book.

  8. Burgess Meredith will always be the Penguin for me

  9. Thanks for tackling my question there, Josh. You really did answer with a lot of tact. Amazing. I’ve heard from multiple interviews and Twitter postings of comics professionals that the lists of favorite artists as written by fans and by industry people are very different. It’s interesting that you actually had that conversation.

    Re: Ron’s Question – I have to admit that I don’t hear voices when I’m reading comics. Perhaps this is why I enjoy audiobooks so much. When the reader of the story is cast correctly, it adds a wonderful bit of dimension that I usually miss. Oh, and Mark Hamill’s voice only comes out of the Joker’s mouth when I’m reading a comic drawn in the style of the animated series. 

  10. I mostly read my books out loud to myself, so it’s a bit of a mix depending on how energetic I am that day. 

  11. I always read books outloud to myself, with voices. I do a mean Volstagg impression.

  12. For Batman, I hear Burgess Meredith as Penguin, a mix of Ceaser Romero and Hamil for Joker and Frank Gorshin for Riddler. I hear TAS Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, and of course Harley.

    I don’t really associate a voice with many other comic characters. I probably hear 90s X-Men Wolverine, Cyclops, Prof. X, Jean Grey, Rogue and Gambit. Probaly the whole cast, too. I actually probably hear Kelsey Grammar as Beast, but I was doing that before X-3 (Dream Casting meet feared movie!).

    I feel every artists has their place. To be honest, I never minded Land’s art in CrossGen’s SOJOURN. I actually think his line art was stronger back then (still tracing) then it is now. And he was colored far better. I really enjoyed Phillip Tan’s art on FC: Revelations, but I can understand not liking it. While I thought his art for Batman and Robin wasn’t great, I felt people blew the quality out of proportion on the last issue.


  13. I totall hear the voices from Batman: The Animated Series when reading Batman books and for the most part that is the case for the 90’s cartoons and Spider-man and X-men.  One exception for sure is that I now hear Patrick Stewart’s voice for Xavier.

  14. @ABirdsEyeView: Oh well I also hear Conroy and the rest of the cast as well.

    That cartoon put a big impression on my life so I can’t get them out of my head. It doesnt help that a recent video game has made me remember a bit clearer on how they sounded.

  15. I hear lots of voices in my head, but none of them are comics related.

  16. I definitely hear Tim Daly as Superman’s voice. And I always will.

  17. I was once in a conversation about hypothetical movie casting for a particular comic book — sort of a low/middle-tier comic that is never going to get a movie made of it, so it was just a thought exercise.  Somebody suggested Felicity Huffman to play a particular character, and my gut response is, "No, she looks the part, but has a low voice and the character in question has a high-pitched voice."  Which, when I thought about it for 5 seconds made no sense, because, obviously, I had never heard the character speak.  But she had a voice in my mind.  The above is an example of how comics fans can process things in weird ways.  That said, I think the voices I hear, when I do hear them, are not generally based on actors who may have played the charactefs, but just what sounds right to me.

    Possibly, we’re all paranoid schizophrenics. 

  18. Vertigo has a weird tendency to shuffle stuff around for their trades, transplanting stoylines out of order and such. Northlanders comes to mind. Vol. 3 will contain issues 9, 10, and 17-20, so I’m getting everything in the trades, and I don’t have a better solution to offer, but it still bugs me a little.

  19. When I read Iron Man I hear Downey jr.

  20. Batman: The Animated Series pretty much sums up all Bat voices for me.  Bullocky, Montoya, Gordon, Harley, Bruce, even Alfred.  It’s all the voices of the actors in that series. 

  21. When I read DC books I almost always tend to hear the Bruce Timm DCAU voices.

    I always think of Josh Radnor’s voice when I read Amazing Spiderman these days.  Especially when Kelly is writing.

  22. Glad to see my question answered with such great insight. It’s also interesting to note that for a lot of people seem attached to the voices and performances they first grew up with. Would seem it’s just like someone’s first Doctor or Bond.

  23. I’m another who doesn’t hear voices – it must extend the fun, rather, pausing to switch between voices.

  24. I don’t think they are crazy at DC. Stupid, maybe, buyt not crazy. DC is following the philosophy that trades are for collecting complete stories. When certain issues don’t easily fall into that format they don’t reprint them. Sometimes they split them up and repackage them in a form distant from the original if that makes more sense from a story or marketing sense. Marvel treats their trades more like an on-going collection of the individual issues, i.e they are just bigger versions of the exact same phenomenon. Sometimes Marvel pays a little attention to story to avoid doing something crazy stupid, but they are much more completionist than DC. I also wonder if there is a philosophy creeping in here, in which DC wants to keep the floppies more special, to keep the unique weekly comic book experience alive. This would also explain their stupidly slow trade release methodlogy: The harder it is to trade wait, the more incentive you have to buy the floppies. While I think that is stupid (if people are buying the trades, make more trades and you will make more money!), at least it is better than the alternative, that DC trade is slow because of incompetance.

  25. Weird. now that I think about it I hear most of the nineties animated characters in my head when I read comics.  But the thing is Ive been reading alot of those books (ie X-Men) longer than that. I wish I could remember how I use to "hear" them.  I do know that NO ONE has ever gotten Storm’s voice right and that I also heard Kelcey Grammar’s voice for Beast before the movies.

    P.S. My boss identifed me as schizophrenic to some other employees on Monday…it was in a complimentary fashion. 

  26. All these people hearing voices in their heads. Makes me worried.

  27. Frank Gorshin will always be The Riddler.  He defined that character.

  28. I hear Hamill’s voice for the Joker only when Dini writes him. Harley is always the voice from B:TAS, no matter who’s writing. The same goes with Gordon and Bullock. Otherwise, I tend to make up my own voices.

  29. If I have prior experience with a character from a different medium, I always hear that voice in my head.  With most characters, I hear the voices from the cartoons that aired during the 90’s, like Batman TAS, X-men and Spider-Man

    If I have no prior history with a character I usually take into account where they’re from.  For example, with John Constantine I always hear a British voice in my head.

  30. @k5blazer Amen.

  31. Batman, Superman and Joker are always the Animated versions for me.

    Everyone else has Cockney accent.

  32. I usually hear the actors who best defined the characters from some other medium. So for Batman comics, its Kevin Conroy and the cast of BTAS, but I still hear Burgess Meredith as Penguin or Gary Oldman as Gordon. Same goes for Superman and STAS. Then for other comics like Criminal or whatever, I just read it without matching any voice to the characters

  33. I don’t hear specific voices when I read my books. It’s just the voice of my inner monolouge. The same even extends to say, this website. I listen to Ron, Coner, and Josh every week and I know what they sound like, but when I read their posts on this site they all just sound like me.


    I do however know what I think characters SHOULD sound like. Ask me what Batman sounds like and I’ll answer Kevin Conroy without hesitation. Lois Lane has Dana Delany’s voice. Like some else posted above The Joker is a mix of Caesar Romero and Mark Hamill. Groo is Arnold Swartzenegger. 

  34. I tend not to hear a certain voice when I read comics, but I did actually make a concerted effort to do so when re-re-re-reading Killing Joke recently, where I did in fact use Hamill’s Joker and a mix of Conroy and Bale’s Batman voices (basically, Conroy but with a bit of a growl to it, but not as indistinguishably as Bale’s). Sometimes when I read Wolverine, he’s a bit like the ’90s cartoon version.

    Jeff’s question perfectly sums up my feelings on Billy Tan’s work on New Avengers.

  35. Kevin Conroy IS the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne. The End.

  36. Am I the only one who uses video game voices for the characters? I mean I use Steve Blum for Wolverine (I know he does the voice in the new tv show but Im pretty sure X-men Legends was his first wolvie gig). But most of the time I have made up voices for the characters that I use. I cant really describe them to anyone else, but theyre there

  37. A lot of the x-men voices for me come from the first series, especially wolverine, cyclops, the professor etc. I kinda wish storm’s voice stayed with me from that but everytime I think of it I think of doctor orpheus from venture bros. I guess halle berry was more ultimate ororo than regular ororo right, because she’s sound a bit more like mr eko from lost? Rogue will always be anna paquin but I always want her to have ms marvel powers in every incarnation. bats’ voice is probably from the justice league show, but supes comes across as a cross between lois and clark/superman movie supes. but then there’s people like tim drake and connor kent who I have no idea what they sound like! I do wonder if tim’s bat voice from battle for the cowl would sound like his red robin voice though! This is fun! 

  38. I hear whoever did the 60s spider-man cartoon’s voice when i read spider-man

  39. Like most of you, when I read comics, I’ll almost always hear the 90s animated voices. Exceptions would be Kelsey Grammar for Beast (but the 90s animated Beast voice was pretty close to Kelsey Grammar anyway I think), RDJ for Iron Man, a mix of Patrick Stewart and TAS for Xavier, a mix of Gary Oldman and the B:TAS for Gordon, and Neil Patrick Harris from the MTV series for Spider-Man (with some 60s animated Spidey spliced in here and there). I think NPH’s voice was pretty spot on. Young, snarky, well-acted and varied, and generally awesome overall.