Just in time for IRON MAN 2’s release this week, Ranker’s put up a list of the 20 Richest Comic Characters of All Time. What don’t you take a look at the list, yourself, before we talk about it?
Ranker's 20 Richest Comic Book Characters (in descending order)
- Black Panther Namor
- Lex Luthor
- Iron Man
- Dr. Doom
- Green Goblin
- Green Arrow
- Prof. X
- Blue Beetle
- Iron Fist
- Mr. Fantastic
- Dr. Strange
First off, where are Daddy Warbucks, Richie Rich and Uncle Scrooge?! Sure, Mr. McDuck doesn’t rub elbows with superheroes all that often in Duckburg, but... but... he takes daily swims in a pool of gold coins! I think that’s a little more extravagant than building yourself a goblin glider or buying a steady supply of billy clubs. This whole list reminds me of Forbes’ annual “Fictional Fifteen”, which lists characters like Jed Clampett (from THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES), Thurston Howell III (from GILLIGAN’S ISLAND) and C. Montgomery Burns (from the SIMPSONS) in addition to Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. They usually take it a step further by estimating each character’s net worth and assessing the shrewdness of their investments.
Seeing this list just reminds me the Albert Goldman quote from the documentary OVERNIGHT.
"No man is really changed by success. What happens is that success works on the man's personality like a truth drug, bringing him out of the closet and revealing...what was always inside his head."
I think you can easily substitute “money” for “success” in a lot of places here, especially for characters like Batman and the Green Goblin. They both used their fortunes to realize their totally outlandish pet fantasies. Some billionaires build shrines to themselves… Bruce Wayne builds cars, tanks and helicopters under a bat theme he’ll use to wage war on crime. Osborn has just as intriguing a psychological profile as Wayne does. While you can talk about how “Batman” is the true identity while “Bruce Wayne” is the mask with validity, what I always found so intriguing about Norman Osborn is that he’s perfectly functional, successful businessman who has manic laughing fits when he’s alone in his office. As soon as he’s done with a board meeting, he hops out the window, dressed as a fairy tale creature. I always found THAT to be the creepiest aspect of the character.
The last thing I’ll say is that this proves that, in real life, superheroes would need a lot of funding and capital to operate. While KICK-ASS varies in its realism, it does strike home the point that a middle-class kid couldn’t just go out and fight crime. He’d need money for the free time, the weapons and the training, and a network to cover his (pun intended) ass.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. What do you maniacs in the Comic Vine community think of this? Pretend we’re on MAD MONEY and dish about the financials.