15 Actors with Multiple Superhero Animation Voice Credits to Their Names
1-2. Paul Soles and Paul Kligman
Specialties: Heroic everymen (Soles), blustering authority figures (Kligman)
Spider-Man (1967-70) was the first animated adaptation of the Spider-Man comic book, and for many fans it remains the best (it’s certainly hard to top the catchy theme song or the show’s jazzy incidental music). While the animation was handled in the U.S., the voice talent was purely Canadian: both Pauls were longtime fixtures in the Toronto acting scene (Kligman died in 1985), and Soles is still active today (with Stratford Festival appearances and a short cameo as a pizza shop owner in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk among his recent credits). Best known for their roles as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson, respectively, the two Pauls also lent their voices to various background characters (“Police Officer” and the like) when needed. They also gave voice to several other characters in The Marvel Superheroes show — which isn’t suprising, since it and Season 1 of Spider-Man were both produced by Toronto’s Grantray-Lawrence Animation before the company went bankrupt in 1967.
3. John Vernon
Specialty: Official — and occasionally officious — authority figures
To a generation of Animal House fans, he’ll forever be known as the evil Dean Wormer. But Vernon, who died in 2005 at age 72, enjoyed a long acting career in both Canadian and American productions. As a young actor, he gave voice to both Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner in 1966’s The Marvel Superheroes; later in his career, he returned to superhero animation with great performances in Batman: TAS (as mob boss Rupert Thorne), 1994’s Fantastic Four (as arch-villain Doctor Doom) and Spider-Man (as the supernatural Doctor Strange), and 1996’s The Incredible Hulk (as General “Thunderbolt” Ross).
4. Ron Perlman
Specialty: Guys you just don’t want to mess with, a’ight?
A true DC animation geek knows who Andrea Romano is, but for the rest of you out there she’s the casting director or voice director for, geez, just about every cartoon ever made. Seriously, check out her IMDB page and see for yourself — she’s done a lot of voice casting in her day. So it’s fair to say she knows something about casting the right voice for the role. Little wonder, then, she keeps returning to Ron Perlman when the script calls for someone with a touch of menace in their voice. The guy under the Hellboy makeup in two film outings (so far) has delivered solid performances in just about every DC Animated Universe series ever made, from Batman: TAS (Clayface) to Justice League (Orion) to Teen Titans (Slade). He also growled the Hulk’s lines in the Fantastic Four and Iron Man series from the 1990s, and — no surprise — he’s also voiced Hellboy animated movies and video games. Clearly, the man has found his place in life, and God love him for it.
5. Mark Hammill
Specialty: Slightly deranged — OK, completely deranged — sociopaths
Give Mark Hammill some credit — for a guy who could have been devastated by the typecasting that came with being Luke Skywalker, he certainly appears to be having the time of his life, career-wise. A lot of that might be due to the fact the self-confessed comic-book fan has managed to pick up a lot of work over the years in the superhero animation field… though never, oddly enough, as the handsome, well-adjusted hero of the show. But you need someone to play a gargoyle (The Incredible Hulk)? A menacing hobgoblin (Spider-Man: TAS)? A ruthless Nazi (The Super Hero Squad Show)? A parent-killing mobster (The Batman)? A dude whose own family calls “Maximus the Mad” (Fantastic Four)? A loopy yet harmless Flash villain (Justice League Unlimited)? Then Mark’s your man. Oh yeah, and then there was that one other gig, a small recurring role he had as a murderous clown type, the “Jester” or “Jokester” or something like that…
6. Tara Strong
Specialty: Gals with spunk, prepubescent boys
I (heart) Tara Strong, and not just because she’s a fellow Canadian born a stone’s throw from my current postal code (go, Leafs!). I love her as Ingrid Third in Fillmore!, I love her as Raven in Teen Titans, I love her as Barbara Gordon in The New Batman Adventures, I love her as Timmy Turner in The Fairly Oddparents — hell, I never saw Garbage Pail Kids, but I probably love her as Patty Putty in that, too. Her IMDb page says she’d love to do more live-action productions but can’t find the time because of her voiceover work — and with a talent for voices (Huntress, X-Men’s Marrow, Emerald Empress, Vicky Vale, and Illyana Rasputin, among many others) like hers, I can believe it.
7. Kevin Michael Richardson
Specialty: Guys who speak softly but carry a large stick… or sometimes just the stick
Full confession: when I first heard there was going to be a new Batman cartoon (titled, imaginatively enough, The Batman), and that it would not feature Mark Hammill as the Joker, I was a little skeptical at first. “OK, Mr. Michael Richardson, or whoever you are,” I yelled at my TV, “show me what ya got.” He got a lot, people. A lot. That version of the Joker gave him a great opportunity to let loose, which must have been a nice change of pace for him given the quietly menacing characters he tends to end up voicing, from Tombstone on The Spectacular Spider-Man to Baron Mordo on the direct-to-video Doctor Strange movie, or the ultra-scary Trigon on Teen Titans. Then again, he gets a fair share of hero types, too, from Nick Fury (Super Hero Squad Show) to Bishop (Wolverine and the X-Men) to… B’Wana Beast (Batman: The Brave and the Bold)? Well, a gig’s a gig.
8. Michael Rosenbaum
Specialty: Punks, smart-asses, the occasional arch-nemesis in training
As everyone knows, Rosenbaum’s first big break was in the hilarious comedy Sorority Boys, in which he played the cross-dressing Adam/Adina. Just kidding. While his face is familiar to Smallville fans the world over, Rosenbaum hasn’t let his hours of screen time as Lionel Luthor’s problem child keep him away from animation gigs, with speaking parts in Static Shock, Batman Beyond, Project Zeta, and Teen Titans on his CV. But it’s his role as the Flash in Justice League/Justice League Unlimited that deserves special mention, especially during the episode “The Great Brain Robbery,” in which Flash and Lex Luthor mystically switch personalities and Rosenbaum, the face of Lex Luthor, has great fun giving voice to Lex Luthor in Flash’s body.
9. Grey DeLisle
Specialty: Strong women, distaff members of mystery-solving gangs
One of the few actors to give voice to Daphne over the Scooby Gang’s long history, Grey DeLisle can also claim another little-known honor. So far, she’s the only person to have voiced two separate love interests for Marvel’s Thor: the heroic Lady Sif in the Hulk Vs. direct-to-DVD film and Amora the Enchantress on the The Super Hero Squad Show — the same show, incidentally, on which she also played Ms. Marvel. Her singing career was evident in the “Menace of the Music Meister” episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which found her Black Canary character belting out her feelings for the Caped Crusader.
10. Jennifer Hale
Specialty: For some strange reason, anyone with red hair
It’s a fact — many of the cartoon characters voiced by Jennifer Hale have red hair: Mallory from The Mighty Ducks, Jean Grey from Wolverine and the X-Men, Sam from Totally Spies, Starfire from Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Giganta from Justice League, Gspltsnz (Mr. Mxyzptlk’s main gal) from Superman: TAS, Spider-Woman from Iron Man: TAS, Jessie from Jonny Quest. Coincidence? Almost definitely! At least her turn as the Black Cat in the 1990s Spider-Man series offered her a chance to rock the platinum look for a change of pace.
11. Clancy Brown
Specialty: Coldly calculating types or greedy crustaceans — take your pick
The other actor having a lot of fun during that particular episode is Clancy Brown, who provided the voice for uber-nasty Lex Luthor in Superman: TAS, Justice League and 2009’s Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-DVD movie — and, for one glorious episode, the voice of Flash-trapped-in-Luthor’s-body. (“Are you going to wash your hands?”/”No, ’cause I’m evil.”) When he’s not voicing Superman’s arch-nemesis, he’s portraying the thoughtful Capt. Stacy (Spectacular Spider-Man), the chilling Mr. Sinister (Wolverine and the X-Men) or the really chilling Mr. Freeze (The Batman). But who cares about that stuff? He’s Mr. Krabs! Bikini Bottom’s very own purveyor of the Krabby Patty! How that alone hasn’t gotten him a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame yet I’ll never know.
12. Phil LaMarr
Specialty: Damn, just about anything you can think of
Want an idea of how talented this Phil LaMarr guy is? Listen to a sample of him voicing Virgil “Static” Hawkings in Static Shock, then listen to clips of Justice League’s Green Lantern, Samurai Jack’s title character, Bolivar Trask from Wolverine and the X-Men, and Black Vulcan in Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (or even Robot Chicken’s Black Michael Jackson). And while you’re at it, throw in Futurama’s Hermes Conrad and Jazz from Transformer: Animated. Now ask yourself: How can all these characters be voiced by the same person? With immense style, people. With style.
13. Carl Lumbly
Specialty: Characters with gravitas
Like most of the people on this list, Carl Lumbly has carved a tidy career for himself as a character actor, someone who may not necessarily headline the show but nails a scene like nobody’s business (fans of ’80s TV shows might remember him from his extended runs in Cagney & Lacey or L.A. Law). The man behind M.A.N.T.I.S. in the mid-’90s, Lumbly played the Martian Manhunter in both Justice League series and also lent his distinctive voice to characters in Batman Beyond, Superman: TAS, and 2009’s Black Panther.
14. Jason Marsden
Specialty: Younger dudes who may or may not have a bug up their butt about something
How do you get on this list, people? It’s simple: if you ever played a character on a superhero cartoon called Spunky Spencer, then you’re in, simple as that. Often confused with that James Marsden dude (you know, the guy who filled out Cyclops’s tights in the three X-Men movies), Marsden is the go-to guy for younger guys and sidekicks who appear just left of the main action: Gear on Static Shock, a teenage Clark Kent in Superman: TAS, Firefly in The Batman, Justice League’s Snapper Carr and, of course, the aforementioned Spunky, an ex-child star who was kidnapped by another ex-child TV star during one fun episode of Batman: TAS. Ah, Hollywood.
15. Lauren Tom
Specialty: Outspoken women of color, pint-sized menaces
Dear Lauren: I’m OK with the fact you were once Ross Geller’s girlfriend on Friends. We all make mistakes in our youth. I just want you to know I adore you for more than your work on Broadway, your movie roles, your one-woman show, and your always hilarious turn as Minh Souphanousinphone on King of the Hill. No, I also adore you for your roles as Dana Tan on Batman Beyond, Angela Chen on Superman: TAS, the troublesome Zyx on Legion of Super-Heroes, Gizmo and Jinx on Teen Titans — heck, even as “Ice Maiden #3” in that Batman: TAS episode when Mr. Freeze was back in town. Don’t ever change. Sincerely, me.