Q: Do you think reading stores about “bad” behavior allows us to safely explore the internal darkness we all share? Or is the attraction there simply because these types of stories give us the classic combination of deeply flawed characters trying to deal with unworkable situations?
Now that I write those alternatives, maybe they are actually two perspectives of the same system?
A: I think people read these kinds of stories for a lot of different reasons. Part of it probably is because everyone has that dark place inside but most people never go there, so there’s a bit of a vicarious thrill involved.
But criminals read stories like this to see reflections of themselves and their world, from what i understand. And I know my own checkered past is what drew me to reading Jim Thompson and David Goodis when I was in my early 20s.
I think some of what it comes down to is that most of us know there’s a line, and that if you cross it, there’s very little hope of going back to regular life, and so we read about the people who went ahead and crossed it anyway, instead.
(Excerpt taken from the response page of the comic, CRIMINAL — THE SINNERS 02 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.