One of the strengths of the DC Universe has been the strength of the rogues' gallery. Often times they're as famous - if not more infamous - than our heroes.
I think the driving thing was curiosity about the universe. That fascinated me. I didn't think anything about being famous or anything like that, I was just interested in the concepts involved.
Indeed, wretched the man whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.