The Verge: Everybody knows how the hero’s journey goes. Joseph Campbell laid it out clearly in 1949’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and countless books, films, and comics have followed the pattern: the call to adventure, the journey into the unknown, the challenges, the transformation, and the return. The villain’s journey, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as iconic and well-established. So stories where villains take center stage — like Wicked, or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, or American Psycho — have to make it up as they go along. When creators have the courage to abandon all those familiar structures, the resulting narratives can be daring and unconventional. More often, though, we wind up with something in between: writers trying to simultaneously subvert those structures and draw on them, making for messy, confused stories.