When you read anything you are using your own voice for the inner monologue. This however can be changed, often to fit a given scenario. Here’s an example, look at the image below for at least ten seconds then proceed to read the following quote.
“With blood and rage of crimson red, ripped from a corpse so freshly dead, together with our hellish hate, we’ll burn you all- That is your fate.”
Most people just read the Red Lantern Oath in Morgan Freeman’s voice. Now as amusing as that little trick is it can have some very interesting applications. Think of Batman, when you read his dialogue what voice do you use? Are you using Christian Bale’s voice or are you using your own? This may be attributed if you have just finished watching one of the Dark Knight movies. On the opposite end maybe you have never seen a Dark Knight movie and thus can’t use that gravelly voice when reading. Batman is an easy case study as there are so many iterations of the character. Compare two people from different generations; one person grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series where Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy and the other person is watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold where Batman is voiced by Diedrich Bader. In this instance these are the only sources of Batman media either has seen. If you gave both a Batman comic neither has seen before would they read the dialogue the same way? No, you would expect their inner monologues to sound different. With that can we say which person is reading it using the correct voice? Simply put, it’s too arbitrary a question. There is no better voice as there is no scale, it’s all preference.
There is a larger topic that the Batman example points to; does the voice change the character? Would a rougher voice make a character seem darker? If so, does that mean comic book writers need to concern themselves with the voice in which their work is being read? I personally think it would be amusing if at the beginning of a comic, or any form of writing, a little note told me what voice to use specifically from the creator.
Another case study is when actors decide to portray a comic book character. One must expect casting attributes a portion of their concern to how the character sounds along with the general look. But when looks gets covered up, more emphasis should be placed on voice. This responsibility also falls onto the actor, who can alter their own voice to match what they think the character should sound like. Look at Hellboy and Ron Perlman. When Ron reads Hellboy he has no reference for the voice thus uses his own. However this is not the voice we hear in the movies.
Have you ever listened to your voice recording? Sounds different right? This is because when someone else hears your voice they are only hearing the projection. When you hear yourself the vibrations from your vocal chords are transmitted through the soft tissue and bones of your body back to the ossicles and cochlea causing addition signalling noise changing how the sound is interpreted. Applying this to Hellboy and Ron Perlman makes you wonder what he believes Hellboy should sound like.
In short we use the voice as a catalyst for information exchange, literally and emotionally. Yet altering the voices we use can play significantly in our interpretations of the source. To deny the existence of this parameter is both naive and insensitive, but it also shows how diverse characters can unwittingly be or become.