The 10 Best Cartoons Voice Directed By Andrea Romano


The lasting impact of legendary voice director Andrea Romano is undeniable. Her portfolio consists of some of the greatest cartoons of all time, with a vast range stretching from wacky comedy to drama to satire. Almost every project she has worked on has pushed the art of animation in new, bold directions – and her contribution cannot be overlooked.

Romano started off as an actor in New York before becoming a talent agent, then a casting director, and finally a voice director. She prefers actors record in the same room, stating in the heart of batman documentary (via Youtube): “A major part of acting is reacting[…]I would never ask an actor to do something that I wouldn’t do[…]Everything, I would it first so that they could see that it’s okay to do it that broad.” Her instinct and leadership has raised the bar for voice acting, proving that imagery alone is not enough to create a great cartoon. These are some of the best picks in her diverse resume.

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Tiny Toon Adventures


Tiny Toon Adventures

Tiny-Toon Adventures was Romano’s first gig at Warner Brothers, the studio where she made her name. The zany kid’s comedy was centered around the next generation of Looney Tunes receiving instruction in the art of being funny from their iconic predecessors at Acme Looniversity.

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The trick of casting was twofold: finding actors with distinctive voices who could match the wild energy of looney tunesand also getting talent who could imitate the original voice actors. The series won a number of Daytime and Primetime Emmys and revived the Warner Bros. Animation Department. It was replaced by the musical Animaniacs (also voice and casting directed by Romano), yet it remains important for introducing a new generation to looney tunes characters.


The Boondocks


The Freeman family from the adult comedy series The Boondocks.

The Boondocks is a complete 180 from almost all of Romano’s other work. The hotly debated adult satire has an 8.5 rating on IMDb and a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (but an 80% audience score), highlighting its disputable legacy. Either way, The Boondocks stands apart from longer-running series like South Park and The Simpsons for its political and social commentary from a Black perspective.

Controversies aside, using Regina King to voice both brothers was a stroke of brilliance. Her Huey is great, but her profane Riley is the true star. The late John Witherspoon as Granddad was also excellent. The show is on HBO Max, though one of the more contentious episodes has been removed.


Batman: The Animated Series


Batman The Animated Series featured image

Not only did this Emmy-winning superhero show jumpstart the 14-year-long run of the Batman-centric DC Animated Universe, Batman: The Animated Series reinvented children’s programming. Its intimate portrayal of the World’s Greatest Detective was dark, brooding, and profound.

According to the documentary heart of batman, Bruce Timm wanted his and Eric Radomski’s “dark-deco” creation to sound “like a movie from the 1940s.” Romano goes on to explain she sought-out actors with stage credits, likely due to their energetic projection and ability to communicate emotion to a large audience. Mark Hamill’s performance is continually ranked as one of the best versions of the Joker – including live-action.


Batman Beyond


Terry McGinnis As Batman Beyond

The sequel to BTAS explored a sixty-plus Bruce Wayne being beaten by the most indiscriminate of foes – old age. This “Timmverse/Diniverse” installment gave viewers a futuristic Gotham with teenager Terry McGinnis inheriting the cape and cowl and later spawned a comic book series.

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Kevin Conroy had already proven himself an iconic Batman with his urbane Bruce Wayne and gravelly Caped Crusader in BTASbut in Batman Beyond his talent is even more impressive. He had to voice an older version of Batman while simultaneously portraying the younger version in other DC Animated Universe shows. Romano also gave Will Friedle his first voice role as Terry, a character he helped give a cult following.


SpongeBob SquarePants


spongebob squarepants patrick birthday

Like it or not, SpongeBob’s influence cannot be denied. Over the course of 23 years, 13 seasons, a Broadway adaptation, and a blockbuster movie, it has become a media franchise and household name. Stephen Hillenburg’s off-the-wall comedy about a happy-go-lucky sea sponge continuously finds a way to insert clever subtext between educational anecdotes about the ocean.

Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, and Rodger Bumpass lead the voice talent as the naive, lovable hero SpongeBob (he makes his voice sound squeaky), his dim yet equally lovable best friend Patrick, and their curmudgeonly neighbor Squidward. The voices, thanks to Andrea Romano’s skillful directing, are a huge part of sucking viewers into Hillenburg’s visionary world.

Static-Shock


Static Shock in action in animated series.

Milestone Comics’ most popular creation was given his own TV show in the fifth installment of the DC Animated Universe. Static-Shock was the first superhero television series to star an African-American and often embedded deeper cultural issues into its plotlines than shows that preceded it.

The indomitable Phil LaMarr (who also voiced Green Lantern in the DCAU) has over 250 voice credits to his name and Static is one of his best. He expressed Virgil’s intelligence, wit, and kindness with suave dignity. Tear-jerker “Static in Africa” ​​is a stand-out episode, featuring guest actors Carl Lumbly and Michael Jai White while addressing unique issues to the African-American experience.

Justice League


The Justice League animated team.

This highly-acclaimed series united the most iconic DC superheroes. The characters and their affiliated shows had been carefully wound together by crossover episodes in Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyondand Static Shock, and would continue in Justice League Unlimited.

Related: The 10 Most Underrated Members in Justice League Unlimited

For this series, Romano brought together an ensemble cast of stellar voice actors who helped establish the grounded yet thrilling world of the DCAU. The heroes in Justice League represent humankind’s (and sometimes alien-kind’s) best attributes and the actors imbued their characters with naturalism, humanism, strength, and nobility without sounding fraudulent or stiff.


Teen Titans


Teen Titans Animated Series

After working together on BTAS and Batman BeyondGlen Murakami and Romano collaborated again on Teen Titans. The anime-influenced ensemble show stood out for almost never addressing the heroes’ secret identities, inviting its young viewers to project themselves onto the characters.

The show’s lasting popularity can be attributed to its humor, complex character arcs, thematic maturity, and strong casting and vocal work. Raven stood out for being particularly well-crafted; she was the focus of some of the best episodes in Teen Titans. Tara Strong’s portrayal of the reclusive empath helped revitalize the character.

Avatar: The Legend of Korra


Though not quite as focused as its predecessor, the Legend of Korra was a mature, exciting, and sometimes exceptional series that expanded the mythology of the Avatar universe. Korra’s best episodes were character-driven mini-movies that explored the protagonist’s emotional complexities and featured some of the best animated action sequences to be seen on air.

Like many of the superhero shows Romano has directed, the voice work required actors who could sound natural yet convey deep emotions. This is featured best in Janet Varney’s nuanced portrayal of depression in “Korra Alone” and James Remar as Tonraq pleading for his daughter to hang on in “Venom of the Red Lotus.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender


Avatar The Last Airbender Fight Scene Aang

Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s masterpiece proved children had the intelligence and patience to watch serialized programming and raised the bar for storytelling, with themes about genocide, redemption, forgiveness, and destiny versus free will.

Tea Avatar voice talent includes big names like Mark Hamill and Jason Isaacs, but he is really the younger actors who shine. Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena, and Dante Basco became role models to a generation. Dee Bradley Baker’s vast, invaluable contribution cannot be praised enough. After a universally panned movie by M. Night Shyamalan, Netflix is ​​attempting a live-action series. While the future of the franchise continues to evolve, its legacy – and Romano’s – is securely cemented.


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