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Off My Mind: Why Do Mad Scientists Turn to Crime?

Wouldn't their inventions bring in all the money they would need?

In comic books, one stereotype for villains is the evil mad scientist. These evil geniuses make elaborate devices and plans when trying to come up with the perfect crime. They create brilliant machinery and gadgets that will assist in their schemes and help fight off any superheroes that might try to stop them.

Often, their plans include ruling the world. Realistically, would ruling the world bring that much joy? You would think there would be a lot of responsibility in having a whole world to run. Being that they are so intelligent, they should know there would be a better way to achieve some of the goals they are after. 
It doesn't take a genius to figure out how they can achieve success without resorting to crime. What should these evil scientists do differently to avoid being captured and going to jail? 
 == TEASER == 
These brilliant men (and women) should use their intellect and inventions to make money. With all the gadgets and high-tech arsenal they create, they could patent them and make a fortune. They could use their brains to create devices or cures for the ailments of mankind. They come up with such elaborate schemes and if they focused that energy into creating something useful or even something cool, they could make money and gain the world's respect. In some cases they commit crimes in order to have more funding to further their misunderstood research and experiments. But if they tried selling or patenting their creations, they wouldn't have to resort to crimes.
We know money doesn't necessarily equal happiness. Often these men were ridiculed during their youth and decided to dedicate their lives to right the wrongs that were put upon them. That doesn't have to mean ruling the world. Why not be a successful inventor and show the bullies what someone can do when they apply themselves?  
It's all about power and respect. These brilliant men and women should know better than to resort to crime. Despite showing a vast amount of intelligence in their planning, they rarely manage to take the heroes into consideration. Even when knowing the heroes' weaknesses, they still fail in their schemes and get caught. Committing crimes and repeatedly going to jail isn't the best way to show how intelligent you are. 
 Surely Lex could create an invention that could easily make 40 cakes...
The evil geniuses of the world need to realize that they can achieve their goals without stealing or trying to rule the world. It could be that when doing their research and planning they lose their patients and want immediate results. These mad scientists will never be a threat until they realize there are other ways to achieve their goals. Crime doesn't pay and they will always get caught.  
Will they ever learn that crime isn't the answer? What mad genius will be able to go against the stereotype and try to use their intellect for good rather than evil? Some have tried but who will manage to succeed?
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Posted by Danial79

I think it's usually that they're scorned and disgruntled and jut want to hurt the world.

Posted by xerox_kitty
Uncanny X-Men #531

Lex is certainly an evil criminal mastermind, and he definitely has the chrome dome for it.  But he doesn't have the labcoat or glasses.  No mad scientist is worth his (or her) NaCl without a labcoat!  ;)



MarvelMan Family's Finest #3


Posted by Danial79

Hell hath no fury like a scientist scorned :P

Posted by J1ml33

because they need to pay their bills ! take the lovely Ivana baiul

sure she is mad scientist of sorts but she does`nt do dangerous experiments in anything 
but a boring old lab coat ( she works in a expensive chin chilla and white tiger fur lab coat )
And she is a mad scientist with class !
Posted by Kamen Rider Kajiki

Because its fun and they are just nuts?

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

Society can't understand our genius

Posted by dondasch

We're looking at you, Victor von Doom.

Posted by weapon154

Bruce Banner didn't.

Posted by Gokujam

What would our heroes have ti do if the scientists did all that boring stuff??
Posted by IrishX

It's the "mad" part of the Mad Scientist.....

Posted by NightFang

They believe only the smart should real the world! 

Posted by moffattbooks

most do it out of social injustice, that others bully their way into power and from past experience don't address all of the problems.  Also for the control over a mad scientist will see that, want to make everything fair so no one has an unfair advantage over another but always ends with them taking more personal freedoms away that could threaten another person's freedom.  Neverending cycle.  
If I were to be a mad scientist, I'd do it to get all the sexy nerdy women....not a harem...unless they wanted that

Posted by HT101

I love that you put Dr. Horrible in with this group of people.  These guys are already so messed up in the mind that trying to change their ways wouldn't work out for them.

Posted by Icemizer

There is no money or fame to be made in being just a mad scientist. Ah but being a mad scientist criminal now thats when the dough and the fame start rolling in. Others who dont have your natural knack for creating ray guns will come to you for new weapons. Countries looking to take advantage of their neighbors will be asking for new and shiney gizmos all the time. You may even pull a daring heist of some other needed scientific part that you dont have the time to build yourself strengthening your underworld reputation. Then gold of gold you actually capture a hero and almost finish him off. Congratualtions you are a super scientist criminal!!
Posted by J1ml33
@Icemizer:  not if you use government resources  and funding to do it .
Posted by InnerVenom123

Spider-man once asked Norman Osborn why he doesn't just cure cancer or help the world in some other way. Y'know what his answer was?


Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Because the Super Science Game gets pretty boring.....

Posted by GraveSp

I think it was during the War Games of Batman but Robin joked about this idea once with the Trickster.  He either thought it or said it but he wondered why Trickster turned to crime when his shoes would have made him a millionaire.  

Posted by warlord1234

Most scientists turn to crime is because they need money for the resource and funding.

Posted by blaakmawf

I think they start crazy and are driven by their insanity to be obsessed with their work and thus become geniuses.

Posted by Fantasgasmic
@Kamen Rider Kajiki said:
" Because its fun and they are just nuts?

Best Insano quote ever, "Science does not work that way! You can't just make up science-y powers with no explanation like this. That would be like me spontaneously throwing lightning bolts out of my fingers screaming, 'SCIENCE!!!!' … :-o"
Posted by Billy Batson
@InnerVenom123: good answer
Posted by Loki9876

Some people sell their stuff like the hammers or ex luthor.

Posted by Trodorne

you need to be insane to make sense of this crazy world. 
 i mean i would develop a machine that would pick out peoples IQ and take those lesser ones and make them run the maze of doom. why? because im insane!
 another would make a chemical that would turn rain cloulds into raining peanuts, and id hold the world hostage. you know how many people are allergic to peanuts? the death toll could be off the charts. why? Insane...
 or my other device that would launch switzerland into orbit just by using Ionic particles and gum drops..just for the sole purpose of owning all the clocks in the world. and great chocolate and cheese. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA!

Posted by JonesDeini

That's easy, because they're MAD!!!

Posted by Outside_85

A) Their nuts. 
B) They were severly bullied in school and want payback. 
C) Their projects costs too much and are without proper sponsors. 
D) They really arent that smart when it come down to it, bit like the people who are really good at something like math but fall way below the mark in most  other fields. 

Posted by Icarusflies

Because they're MAD scientists….duh!

Posted by leokearon

It's their ego, they know they are smarter than most people, so they think they are better than everyone.
Posted by perry_411

Maybe you get mad scientists b/c Christians are scared of science. When was the last mad scientist born in comics?

Posted by Grendel

Lack of sex.

Posted by Hailinel

Well, if they made an honest living, they wouldn't be evil geniuses.

Posted by DarkSyde79

I’ve always thought that the term “mad” scientist was too much of a blanket assertion. I’ve always prefer’d when the “mad” scientist was paint’d along the lines of the mob doctor. Either using their skills to aid criminals and their organizations or having weak ethical natures as a result of a lack of morals or some kind of obsessive behavioral problem.

Posted by mrmisanthrope

On the main page this article is titled "evil scientists" though here it's "mad scientists".
Either way, the key words here are "evil" and "mad". That's why they turn to crime, because they're evil and insane. You kind of answered your own question.

Posted by TerryMcC

Because if they didn't superheroes would be reduced to handing out parking tickets.
Posted by soundbite
@IrishX said:

It's the "mad" part of the Mad Scientist.....


ding ding ding.
Posted by Evpraksiya

40 cakes how evil of Lex...

Posted by guardiandevil801

because their mad bored and just evil
Posted by midnightmare

Most the time they can´t find an sponsor for their proyects(Doc ock), the ones they find are alredy criminals(thinkerer), they think they are superior to anyone else(Dr. Doom), they want revenge(wizard), they are insane(Dr. Sivana) or they are the weltiest man in the world an even that isn't enougth(Luthor).   

Posted by nacarrell

It is simply a matter of ego. Sure, they could fight cancer, and show that they are better than scientists and a disease. Or they could rob a highly secure bank or take over a nation and prove they are better than EVERYONE. I think they take into consideration the heroes, and they are just one more step to prove how awesome they are.

Posted by Marshal Victory

A sane person in a insane world must seem insane.Its a fine line tween genius an insanity.Tho some belive in that line dwells evil,in truth their is but the shades of grey. In the color blind world lacking morals.One should feel pity for the poor evil genius.After all they dont see the wonderful colors of the world.
Posted by Gearo

I think their just experimenting how an ordinary person can take control of the world.

Posted by brendon277

I think it's just because most of them are like nerds and been made fun of so they just wanna get payback and get rid of some anger i guess if u know what i mean

Posted by Herx
@Kamen Rider Kajiki said:
" Because its fun and they are just nuts?

Im going with Doctor insoano on this on. :P
Posted by Aetheldod

Perhaps we are a bunch of nihilistic misanthropes that just want to eff tthe world mwahahahahaha !!!! Also we hate the "heroes" bunch of hypocrates .....

Posted by MiniPato


Posted by Xyberius13

Didn't they do something like this in Kingdom Come?  
I mean making the "evil geniuses" put their mind to something more beneficial for society. 

Posted by Soldier zero

I'm Surprised that nobody has already quotes this webcomic considering the subject. 

Posted by DTheory777

I think they wake up one day and decide to take over or experiment on everyone.

Posted by JamesYee

Because a mad scientist who doesn't turn to crime is called a Telemarketer.  :)  
Seriously, trying to turn your invention into good tends to either end up making you a "As seen on TV" guy or a stuck in the corporate machine.  These super intelligences can't stand that!   
Besides, give me super technology over everyone else and hell yeah I'm going to try to take over the world.  The world is messed up and only MY intelligence can save it from itself!  MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Posted by Deadcool

I have some theories:

  • Because they have another interest: sometimes there are things that they want to do that from their point of view is a noble cause, like change/conquer the world, but they can't do it by conventional means, for example: The Doctor Octopus, Norman Osborn, Lex Luthor, Hugo Strange, Doctor Doom, the Leader, etc.
  • Because they were created: Long time ago they used to be good people, but by an accident or another unexpected event changed their life and they are criminals to reclaim their lives or revenge, for example: Ultimate Shocker, Tinkerer, Doctor Octopus, the Leader, Mister Freeze, etc.
  • They work for someone else, that is evil: They get paid even more if they work for someone evil, or they share the same point of view as their boss, for example: Arnin Zola, Ultimate Doctor Octopus, etc.
  • Lost hope for the humankind: These are the most interesting kind of scientist, because I actually share some of their points of view, these are good examples: The Mandarin, Doctor Doom, etc.
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