‘Teen Titans,’ ‘Powerpuff Girls’ voice actor Tara Strong talks celebrated career ahead of Motor City Comic Con

The iconic voice of Bubbles, Raven, Hello Kitty and more appears at this weekend’s Motor City Comic Con.

Tara Strong headshot

Dozens of pop culture icons and creators are gathering this weekend at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi for Motor City Comic Con.

But some actors at the long-running event deliver dozens of personalities all by themselves.

Renowned voice actor Tara Strong has appeared in numerous roles in TV, video games and films, including several live-action shows.

Strong made her mark in animation, voicing everyone from Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents, as Bubbles in the original Powerpuff Girls TV series, as Raven in Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans, as well as the animated versions of Batgirl and Harley Quinn.

Most recently, Strong played an AI in the box office hit “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. III” and Miss Minutes in the Disney+ series Loki.

Strong says it’s events like Motor City Comic Con that remind her why she brings so many iconic characters to life.

Listen: Celebrated voice actor Tara Strong cherishes iconic roles, fans in her career

The following interview was edited for clarity.

Tara Strong: I love going to comic cons. I really missed them during COVID. It’s such a wonderful way to give back to the fans. I’m quite sure my predecessors did not know how beloved they were. But because of the internet, people can look up who their favorite voice actors are, and getting love on whatever social media platform you use is wonderful. But meeting people in person is different. People want hugs and they start crying. And mostly they say ‘Thank you for my childhood,” or “Fairly Oddparents got me through when my parents divorced,” or “I was suicidal ‘till I met Raven. I had no friends except My Little Pony.” When you see it in the real world, it’s just such a wonderful way to experience how much performance and shows really matter to people literally around the world.

Quinn Klinefelter, WDET News: You’ve voiced such a huge number of iconic characters. Some of your latest though are playing an AI in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. III” and a kind of sketchy clock in the Disney+ series Loki. What kind of choices do you make to give even an inanimate object a personality?

Well they’re often inanimate, right? We as voice actors get to be the voice of a hot dog! It’s quite often not something that would normally talk. In fact, my first job was the voice of Hello Kitty, who didn’t even have a mouth prior to me doing her voice when I was 13.

But like anything else, I don’t think of myself as a clock or as a pony. I think of myself as the living being in that scenario. And I, as the voice actor, have to imagine the action in my mind, since it’s not happening in front of me. I’m not on a soundstage. So for Miss Minutes, for example, when I first booked it I said, “Is she sentient?” And the team couldn’t really tell me. That could be because they didn’t want to tell me [laughs]! But from my perspective, she was and she had her own goals and her own agendas. So it’s not like I thought, “Oh, I’m a clock.” Instead I thought, “I’m this woman who works for this very important, time-controlling world universe.” And it was so much fun. I didn’t really know what it was until I booked the job. They often give very big shows code names, so that what you’re doing doesn’t get leaked to the internet. So when I booked it I was like, “Oh my God, it’s Loki!”

Then I was on the Zoom with the team from Loki and it was pretty exciting. And they had already filmed the show using some kind of little puppet as a stand-in for Miss Minutes. It’s not as wonderful or glorious as the final product, but they had something to work off of. And any scene that I had with [Loki star Tom] Hiddleston, it was really fun to sort of watch him play off this inanimate object so brilliantly. And then I got to sort of slide-in. And it’s so funny to have this very sweet southern voice delivering pretty dire information, right? Like, “You either do this or you die!”

Just between us, can you really just spill the entire plot for Loki [season] 2?

I wish I could. But then I’d have to prune you, right?

I’m pretty sure this is probably not an original question, but if you look at your credits for all the parts you’ve played, it literally fills up pages. As you said: Hello Kitty, Timmy and The Fairly Oddparents, Bubbles and Powerpuff Girls [and] all the way through everything else. Bubbles got a big cheer in the newsroom here, by the way. Plus a slew of live-action roles. Out of all those and the many, many more that you’ve done, do you really have any true favorites?

Yes, my very favorite voiceover role I ever did was the “Little Mermaid 2.” And that’s because I was such a big fan of the original. I used to run around my house impersonating Jodi Benson. So to get in the booth and sing with her was quite surreal. And she was exceedingly kind. And to play a Disney princess in a movie and it be the Little Mermaid was pretty extraordinary. And since then, I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun. Powerpuff Girls is so much fun to record, as is Fairly Oddparents and Teen Titans, which we’ve been doing as an ensemble cast for over 20 years. So those probably rank pretty high. And now Miss Minutes, she’s really taken over as one of my favorite characters. She’s just such an interesting character to play on such a fantastic show that she sort of slid into my top five for sure.

Is there anything that you have not been asked, something that you really wish people knew about Tara Strong?

Hmmm. The only thing I’d really like people to know is voice actors are so appreciated by their fans, but often Hollywood doesn’t appreciate them as much. And it’s very easy to say, “Oh, you’ve been doing that voice forever. But we’ll replace you with a big on-camera celebrity.” And that’s very hurtful. When you’ve helped create a character that’s made a studio billions of dollars in merchandise, it feels like a betrayal.

And of course, I understand the logistics behind money in Hollywood. But I also believe that when someone’s been doing a voice for 20, 30 years, to give them the opportunity to do a film that character is in is something I think they should probably do a little bit more. Just appreciate us as much as the fans do. Because in a world where fans have a say, it’s just wonderful to be appreciated. And, coming back to your first question, that’s why I come to these comic cons. Are you gonna come down to this one?

I don’t know. I don’t want to be pruned. I gotta be careful.

[In a southern, Miss Minutes voice] You’re gonna have to come so you can let us know how we’re doing! [Bubbles’ voice] And yeah, bring everybody else in the office because I’ll be the prettiest girl at the party!

Motor City Comic Con takes place May 19-21 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Tickets and schedule are available at motorcitycomiccon.com.

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  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.