Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crime As Crack

I was just reading Mark Engblom's latest post on Flash #126's Doom of the Mirror Flash, when this part of the post popped off the screen at me:

In "The Doom of the Mirror Flash", the Mirror Master escaped from prison and into Orinocas, a dimension populated entirely by attractive women. By all rights, the story should have ended right there, but Mirror Master soon grew bored and yearned to commit crimes on Earth once again.

No, not the part about the attractive women, that was bolded in Mark's original. It's that bit about "yearned to commit crimes". This was actually a fairly common theme in the DC Silver Age, especially in the adventures of the Flash, that criminals were not criminals because they sought an easy way to the good life. Rather, they were compelled to steal, almost as if it were an addiction. Here's how the Mirror Master describes it in that story:

But he finds that the women are so cooperative that there's no thrill in it for him:

Beautiful women at your beck and call and unlimited wealth are not enough. What would explain this compulsion not only to commit crimes, but to face a challenge in doing so? Isn't it obvious that this is like an addiction?

Obviously the Mirror Master, like many crackheads, enjoys his drug of choice. But what about the criminal who wants to break free? Just like a junkie, he does not find it easy:

And of course, any sensible 12-step program recommends complete abstinence; if you fall off the wagon, you may not be able to get back on:

If anybody has some other examples of criminals acting as if crime were a drug, please put them in the comments. I plan to add to this post over time as it's an interesting topic. For the most part, criminals do have normal motives for the crimes they commit: to obtain wealth and power.

Update: Here's a very specific instance from Detective #76:

Update: When the Crime Doctor returned in 1980, Michael Fleisher remembered that aspect of the character.