Bad Guys

Right now I am in three different stages of production with Rapid City.The finished pages of issue 1 are in the process of being lettered and prepared for print. Issue #6 is currently being illustrated. And I am putting the last few touches on the script for issue #34.

The story running through issue #6 is about a psychotic killer, Maxwell Murder, stalking a young woman who he believes he has already killed.

Issue #34 is building toward the climax of a story about betrayal, revenge, and redemption in the villain community of Rapid City.

In both of these stories, I work hard to humanize the bad guys, while still keeping them very bad guys. These kinds of characters fascinate me. Not just because they are id-driven wish fulfillers, but because they turn internal flaws and damage into actions. We all walk around with pettiness, jealousy, rage, mistrust, and a buffet of other flaws. For the most part, though, we struggle with our flaws. Bad guys don't. They embody their flaws, and thus they embody our flaws.

We watch because they give in to the impulses that we struggle against. Bad guys are a thrill to watch precisely because we try so hard to not become them. These characters are initially interesting because some deep-down part of us wants to be like that, or at least wonders what it would be like to give in. But then the better parts of our humanity step in and remind us that struggling to resist those impulses is what makes us human. When we accept and understand that this is true, these bad guys take on the fascinating allure of forbidden fruit. That allure only exists in a civilized human because we have struggled against, and risen above, those base impulses.

Some individuals, though, never mature beyond lusting after the bad guy's id-driven life style. They don't understand. They don't get it. They don't get that fictional struggles between good and evil, even the ones where evil wins, exist to remind us that evil is a thing to be struggled against. They don't get that even the coolest of bad guys are cautionary tales, not role models. They don't get that bad guys are a reminder of why we struggle against our dark sides, not a validation of giving in to them.

In fiction, bad guys are fascinating.

In real life, though, bad guys are just pathetic assholes.

-Josh