The Best '90s Superhero Cartoon Voice Over Actors

List Rules
Voice over actors that did the best job of bringing the characters to life.

Voice acting may be the most important element of a successful animated show, and though the voice acting in superhero cartoons of the '90s wasn't always the best, it was some of the most fun voice acting of all-time.

The majority of hero voices were bland, square-jawed, Anglo Boy Scouts, and most of the heroines were even more boring. Most male villains were either cackling high-pitched banshees or dumb thundering brutes, while the bad girls often took the sleazy seductress route.


Without strong voice work, everything else falls flat. Flavorless portrayals let the parade of muscle-bound hunks blend together into an unintelligible mush. For example, on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there is nothing aside from headbands and weapons that visually separates the main characters. It was left to the cast to differentiate the four unique personalities. Without delineated vocal stylings, they would have just been Turtles #1-4.


The voices that sounded truly unique to their characters are the ones that really stood out, and they usually did so by setting a baseline that referenced the key characteristics that had made the character popular in the first place. The best cartoon superhero voices of the '90s utilized accents, vernacular, tempo, pitch, timbre, and tone to craft a performance that fit their character, that could never be mistaken for another character, and let the audience know what that character was about from the moment they first spoke.


The following are the best voices from superhero cartoons of the '90s.

Photo:

  • 1
    605 VOTES
    Joker
    Video: YouTube

    As Voiced By: Mark Hamill

    For as long as Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman, Mark Hamill has been right there with him to voice his nemesis, The Joker. With high arcing melodies and sarcasm grumbled from the corners of his mouth, Hamill portrays all the madness, silliness and psychosis of Gotham's most prolific mass murderer. If his tones were mapped to musical notes, he probably would have utilized a wider range than any other actor on this list. 

    While the villains of Batman: The Animated Series were often left driving the narrative, Hamill never let The Joker's monologues become boring. Instead, they became lyrical soliloquies.

    Though it hardly seems possible, Hamill's turn as The Joker took a massive step forward when the show introduced Harley Quinn as his lover and nuisance. Hamill's half of the deranged relationship came off as equal parts loving and exploitative. Even with the stupendous voice work of Arleen Sorkin to play off as a foil, The Joker never let anyone steal center stage.
  • 2
    520 VOTES
    Batman
    Video: YouTube

    As Voiced By: Kevin Conroy

    If you grew up in the 90's, it's almost cringe-worthy to hear another actor voice The Dark Knight. Kevin Conroy took up the job in 1992 on Batman: The Animated Series, and he continues to work as Batman in the DC Animated Universe and Arkham video game series

    He presented different voices for Batman and Bruce Wayne, which no actor, live action or voice, had done before him (looking at you Adam West). His Batman speaks with a low, deep, authoritative growl, while his Bruce Wayne voice is still deep, but with the crisp, airy cadence of a millionaire Playboy. 

    With a character as comprehensively prepared for danger as The World's Greatest Detective, it is often up to Conroy's tones to instill a sense of peril and drama. Only when his booming growl descends into panic have events truly spiraled out of Batman's control.
  • Alfred Pennyworth
    Video: YouTube

    As Voiced By: Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

    As Batman's surrogate father, field medic, confidant and conspirator, Alfred J. Pennyworth wears a lot of hats, but thanks to the unflappable voice work of Efrem Zimbalist Jr., he never lost his cool. With a stiff upper lip and an accent to match, Alfred maintains an air of disdain for Bruce Wayne's nocturnal habit, even though he clearly loves him like a son. 

    The word "sir" could have a myriad of different connotations depending on the pronunciation. It could denote a scold, a concern, a reprimand, or an inside joke. Despite his less than explicit objections, Alfred never stopped serving Batman as faithfully as he served the Wayne family and made a recurring jest by introducing himself to Batcave guests as Batman with a deadpan delivery. 

    Sadly, Zimbalist died in 2014, leaving a pair of well-polished shoes that will be difficult to fill. 
  • 4
    407 VOTES
    Harley Quinn
    Photo: DC Comics

    As Voiced By: Arleen Sorkin

    There has yet to be a more popular character introduced to the Batman Universe since Harley Quinn made her debut in 1992. Her addition was so seamless, it's hard to believe that she was introduced on Batman: The Animated Series and not as an invention of the original comic books. 

    A big part of the appeal was the voice work done by Arleen Sorkin. With an over-the-top Brooklyn accent, Harley was instantly bombastic, comedic, and edgy. Her high pitched, sing-song performances betrayed malice and an ambiguous morality. She portrays a character whose mirth and malevolence only serve to win The Joker's favor. The threats of violence, jail, or Batman are meaningless to her compared to losing The Joker's affection. The many times he did turn his back on her, Sorkin took the character's heartbreak through peaks and valleys where a wounded puppy channeled her sorrow into murderous rage.  
  • 5
    235 VOTES
    Lex Luthor
    Video: YouTube

    As Voiced By: Clancy Brown

    Lex Luthor is obsessed with killing Superman and can't find a modicum of happiness in his ridiculous wealth. He's actually pretty crazy, but it's that motivation, combined with a veneer of sanity that makes him such a successful CEO, President of the United States, and occasional wrangler of super-villain teams. 

    To portray such a delicate balance takes the cool, collected approach of Clancy Brown. The veteran live action actor has been voicing Superman's arch nemesis since 1996 and seen Lex go through a few changes including switching races more than once. 

    Luthor's intense narcissism makes him the epitome of calm, even when his plans are falling apart. He always thinks that his intelligence and technical expertise will help him outmaneuver his enemies. Brown's unwavering gravitas make the listener buy in and momentarily forget that Superman always finds a way to put Lex back in his place (which more often than not, is prison). 
  • 6
    188 VOTES
    Spider-Man
    Video: YouTube

    As Voiced By: Christopher Daniel Barnes 


    Spider-Man: The Animated Series wasn't as long-lived as the shows for Batman or the X-Men, but it was remarkably fast paced and comprehensive. The anchor of it all was the voice work by Christopher Daniel Barnes.


    He was appropriately enthusiastic for a teenage hero, delivering Spider-Man's mid-combat one-liners with minimal cringe factor.


    It wasn't an elaborate performance, but it was personable and relatable which is what works for Spider-Man. That way, we never forget that it's Peter Parker under the mask. For the same reason, the character was voiced the same way whether he was in or out of costume.