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Off THEIR Minds: How Can Superheroes Pay Their Bills?

We ask James Robinson, Kyle Higgins, James Tynion IV, Peter Nguyen, Brian Buccellato, Jim McCann, Sam Humphries, Joshua Williamson, Matt Fraction and Josh Fialkov what they think.

It takes a lot to be a superhero. It's not just about having superpowers or special abilities. It takes a certain amount of drive and commitment. Being a hero can be a thankless job. Aside from having to dress up in skin-tight clothing, heroes have to make big sacrifices. They need to be a hero whenever the demand arises. This often makes their personal lives a secondary priority.

But superheroes are people too. Most of them have civillian lives. The question this time is how do they pay their bills? If they're fully committed to being a hero, that can easily get in the way of trying to maintain a full time job.

Is sponsorship an option?

At Emerald City Comicon, we asked James Robinson, Kyle Higgins, James Tynion IV, Peter Nguyen, Brian Buccellato, Jim McCann, Sam Humphries, Joshua Williamson, Matt Fraction and Josh Fialkov to answer this question.

Not every hero is friends with Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. What do you think heroes can do to pay their bills and prevent getting kicked out of their apartments?

Sponsor images by Roberto Vergati Santos.

52 Comments
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Posted by darknightspideyfanboy

can you do one with batman and coca cola zero lol

Posted by MuyJingo

Finders fees. rewards and donations. I'm sure people would be willing to donate some money if they were just saved or had been saved in the past, and the hero needed it.

Posted by ssejllenrad

No photoshop needed for Booster...

Posted by VioletPhoenix
Posted by Fantasgasmic

wasn't this question one of the major premises of Spider Man?

Posted by blackcobalt

For some reason it would make sense for them to just take whatever cash is laying around whenever they take out some gang's hideout. Isn't that how Scarlet Spider and Hawkguy got themselves set?

Posted by Cavemold

ads. work for the government,

Posted by Perfect 10

get a job like everyone else. being a hero is civil duty, not a source of income. that's what cops do, collect a check. heroes save lives cause its the right thing to do, not because of green paper

Posted by omniforion

http://myanimelist.net/anime/9941/Tiger_&_Bunny

Posted by YourCounterpoint

@omniforion said:

http://myanimelist.net/anime/9941/Tiger_&_Bunny

As soon as I saw this article I was gonna post something about T&B lol.

Posted by omniforion

Yeah, it was the most obvious and instant thing that popped into my head. I never finished it but I watched the first 6 episodes and if you are interested in this topic than I would suggest you watch the show. :)

Posted by MarvelMan1985

It always drove me crazy that the X-Men had their building destroyed 3 times, but they had the resources to build it up once again a few months later...without real explanation how they paid for it haha.

Posted by Rumble Man

Posted by feargalr

I love these off their minds videos!

Edited by Mezmero

These videos are still great. I think a better question is how mutants can pay their bills. Tony brought up how weird it is that Cyclops put away a ton of cash. Wolverine obviously has always done mercenary work and Warren's got his family fortune but the rest of them don't seem like they can hold down a job. I'd imagine the job market has a low tolerance for mutant powers in the current Marvel timeline. Demolition would be the perfect task for most homo-superior characters but it would also put a lot of humans out of jobs. Anything involving entertainment would be borderline carny freak show territory which I suppose depends on the dignity of a given character.

I've brought it up before but I think Superior Spidey should patent the secret web fluid formula for military use. Tony Stark has done it with real weapons so why shouldn't Spidey? Soldiers can use it to climb or repel walls, subdue enemies with nonlethal force, and create diversions or cover for an effective retreat. In Punisher War Zone Rucka explores the idea of this technology being used for evil. The guilt would've been far worse for Parker if he had been paid for it but it sounds like something Otto wouldn't mind doing. Peter's body may have a pretty good job at Horizon Labs but a Superior Spider-Man would need more money to make crime fighting more efficient in his day-to-day lifestyle. The only thing he's responsible for is getting that paper. People already mentioned Tiger and Bunny so yeah...sponsorships.

Edited by Avenger85

Mercenary work.

Deathstroke knows how to get stuff done...

Posted by DH69

i prefer the method they use in the comics, come up with something revolutionary and then have a big company buy the patent, rights, and make sure it never gets released.

Posted by Sifighter

Well I think being an Avenger and a member of the justice league is a paying job, but I think most heroes either have a job or steal from criminals.

Posted by MrGutts

I think they question should be. If they do have a normal job, how do they keep it?

Posted by jwalser3

Isn't that why they have jobs for their secret identities?

Posted by GothamRed

Through smugness, it seems like a long shot but it's been very profitable for some heroes

Posted by Bokkie

Reminds me of Johhny Storm in Fantastic 4, Rise of the Silver Surfer where he wears all those sponser badges on his suit.

Posted by jinxuandi

I always wondered how Kyle Rayner or Steve Rogers (waaay back when he was an artist) could hold have the time to meet their deadlines while being a full-time superhero, often away for days or even weeks at a time.

Another pet peeve: why does every superhero have a white collar job? Almost every hero is a scientist (Flash, Spider-Man, Atom, Mr. Fantastic), corporate bigshot (Batman, Iron Man), military officer (Captain America, Green Lantern), has another well-paying job (Superman, Daredevil) or doesn't need a job (Wonder Woman, Thor). Is a six-figure salary a requirement for gaining superpowers? Where are all the janitor super-heroes?

Posted by blackkitty

Let's be honest here, with their physiques they can easily get jobs as models, strippers, or play themselves playing themselves at conventions and birthday parties.

Posted by cbishop

I love that he said "Stealing is the best way" with a straight face.

Posted by Paracelsus

Let's see- Janet Van Dyne is not only a heiress but a fashion designer, Matt Murdock and Jennifer Walters( Daredevil and She-Hulk to you and me) are attorneys, the Beast is a bio-chemist of some repute(even before he got to be blue and furry) as is Henry Pym, Reed Richards is a top notch scientist(even before the ill fated spaceflight turned him, Ben, Sue and Johnny into the Fantastic Four), Simon Williams(aka Wonder Man) is a Hollywood actor/ stunt man, at least three heroes are rulers of their respective societies:Sub Mariner, (Altlantis) Black Panther,(Wakanda) Black Bolt( Inhumans) and his consort Medusa and are therfore de facto independently wealthy. I should think that it's pretty unlikely to see a hero/heroine out collecting unemployment benefits- if not absolutely impossible. Others I think are self employed and can come and go as they pleased( try telling your boss that you couldn't come into work yesterday because you had to save the earth/universe from(insert name of villain or extraterrestrial) here) such as Tony Stark, Don Blake or Bruce Wayne.

Terry

Posted by TheAmazingImmortalMan

@jinxuandi: Toad!

Edited by w0nd

Marvel wise the only person who isn't being paid for super hero-ing on the avengers is spider-man. Ms.Hand said he had to take his mask off and he refused. The rest all seem pretty rich. Lawyers, Scholars, Kings, Diplomatic characters, and Scientists. Even Peter once he got his job with Mr Modell had good income, he just sucks at balancing his life and super hero life.

Posted by Kairan1979
@jinxuandi: there's always Rorschach.
Posted by DarkDay

@jinxuandi said:

I always wondered how Kyle Rayner or Steve Rogers (waaay back when he was an artist) could hold have the time to meet their deadlines while being a full-time superhero, often away for days or even weeks at a time.

Another pet peeve: why does every superhero have a white collar job? Almost every hero is a scientist (Flash, Spider-Man, Atom, Mr. Fantastic), corporate bigshot (Batman, Iron Man), military officer (Captain America, Green Lantern), has another well-paying job (Superman, Daredevil) or doesn't need a job (Wonder Woman, Thor). Is a six-figure salary a requirement for gaining superpowers? Where are all the janitor super-heroes?

It's a little cynical of me, but in my opinion most of those guys are villains. That's not to say that anyone who is poor and suddenly got powers are immediately going to turn to crime but I'd say there are many more blue collar guys with powers on the villain end of things. The only heroes that I can think of that aren't white collar for the most part are street levelers of certain flavors.

Posted by daedalus25

@Rumble Man said:

Captain Amazing was the first one who came to my mind as well.

Posted by nappystr8

I'm with Buccellato. Hero or villian, with all those powers, the temptation to rob a few banks and get that easy money is a tantalizing proposition.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

@cbishop said:

I love that he said "Stealing is the best way" with a straight face.

lmao

Posted by RustyRoy

I always wondered why they don't use some of their powers to to do stuffs other than saving the world. Anyways the Government should pay for the heroes who work under them, the other heroes should get help from Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, whoever is left should find a job.

Posted by Teerack

Why would you use Ironman in the image examples? He pays his bills by being a billionaire :P

Posted by JamDamage

Sam Humphries afro is AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by jinxuandi

@DarkDay: I don't really think you're being cynical, I just think it's a lot of lazy writing that's accumulated over the years. Frankly, it's easier to write a blue-collar villain than a white-collar villain because their motives become very simple. They're trying to build a better life for themselves through robbing banks or running a gang. (This isn't to say there are no white collar villains, of course, but their motives are usually personal rather than financial).

On the other hand, it's much easier to write white collar heroes. First, comic writers themselves almost always come from white collar backgrounds and the first thing writers are taught is to write what you know. Additionally, as implied by the subject of this very thread, it isn't easy to write a compelling, long-running story about a hero struggling to pay their bills, because traditionally, the conflict in super-hero stories is moral (good vs. evil), not economic or class-based. Marvel actually succeeded in telling a few stories about blue-collar heroes in the 60s and 70s, but slowly gave all of their characters jobs that made it easier to tell super-hero stories.

Just a minor annoyance I've picked up from reading comics.

Posted by Mild_Karl

I think some of them have jobs, right? (Peter Parker as photographer, etc).

Before Watchmen delves into this a little bit. Dollar Bill is sponsored by the National Bank Co so they more or less foot his crimefighting bills, though he's more of a marketing tool than an actual superhero. In contrast, Hollis Mason (aka Nite Owl) masquerades as a average joe policeman at day, further investigates off the beat in his secret identity at night.

Posted by Pokergeist

SHIELD will pay your Bills if you work for them.

Or if you want to to run your own bushiness.

Posted by kennybaese

I think my favorite part of the video is Matt Fraction slowly eating a donut behind Sam Humphries and staring into the camera.

Posted by Crash_Recovery

1. Already be independently wealthy (Batman, Iron man, Black Panther, etc)

2. Live at home (Spider-Man, Invincible, any Teen Hero

3. Live off the grid (Rorschach, Punisher, etc)

Posted by SlimJ87D

A better question is, how do some of them get sleep. How does Wolverine of all people get sleep when he's in almost every avengers, x-men and his own book? Specially during the time he cut his time in SF and NY.

Posted by Juandicimo_Magnifico45

Oh man, Josh Fialkov's anser was so funny.

Posted by blackair9

@jinxuandi: if you remember for years spider man was a basically a starving college student working part-time as a photographer. I've rehabbed houses, after a long day I can't imagine a blue collar guy /gal wanting to patrol the streets till the wee hours of the morning looking for supervillans.

Edited by blackair9

heroes like Cloak and Dagger have to be operating like the Punisher keep some of the villians ill gotten gains as operating expenses. I remeber how DC illustratted Bulleteer trying to make money to make ends meet, that was addressed veryinteresting way.

Posted by hcd43

They need money,so..

Posted by Sirrus_Grove

Bounty hunting bring in the crooks with bounties on their heads.

Edited by weaponx
Posted by TheMultiverse

LOL, just thought of something. How long would it take Flash to deliver mail to every home (that gets mail) on the planet? like....3 minutes tops? (i've never read flash, maybe this is has come up before).

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Matt Fraction probably gauges the answer best by relating the question being dependent on just what the socioeconomic status of the hero is. Ones like Stark or Wayne obviously aren't hurting for cash. Ones like Peter Parker or Superman are a bit more blue collar. All dependent then in my opinion on just what their station in life is. Of course then it begs the question if the hero is powerful enough...couldn't he use them to his advantage to rise in status? Intriguing!

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