Recently the editors of Forbes Magazine came out with their annual list of the fifteen richest fictional characters. Among them are two secret identities of comicdoms’ most popular and enduring heroes: Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. The technological genius in the metal suit came in sixth place with a net value estimated at 9.4 billion dollars, thanks to his genius and his family's lucrative legacy in defense contracting. The Dark Knight on the other hand came in eighth with $7 billion, thanks to his vast inherence and the varied holdings of his family business, Wayne Enterprises.
It is undeniable that Tony and Bruce’s money plays a large part in their alternate careers as crime-fighters, but it is not the expensive toys that make Iron Man and Batman heroes. Plenty of men and women don masks and fight the good fight without the benefit of wealth, and in some cases in spite of it. In that spirit, here are the least wealthy, but by no means less valuable comic book heroes.
Net Worth: $1,100
Source: Used Archery Equipment and Returned Wedding Rings
Residence: Star City Forest
The poster boy for bad decision-making, Green Arrow (aka Oliver Queen) has had more reversals of fortune then a legion of mortgage brokers, stock market speculators and Claus von Bulow combined. His losses are not limited to financial ones, in addition to repeatedly regaining and losing his family’s fortune, he was also ousted from his position as the Mayor of Star City, divorced by his wife Black Canary, rejected by his biological and adopted children before finally being expelled from the Justice League. Green Arrow now lives a solitary existence in the mystical Star City Forest as a heroic pariah.
Net Worth: $350 in Birthday savings bonds and passbook savings
Source: Freelance Photography
Residence: New York City
Peter Parker’s repeated failures to properly monetize his web-fluid invention as well as his heroic ubiquity (such a highly visual hero is a good vehicle for advertisements) might finally be ending with his recent partnership deal with famed inventor and multi-millionaire Reed Richard. However, for now his if not successful, at least enduring, career in photography and occasional substitute teaching allows him to live at a subsistence level even in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
Newsarama Note: These assessments are based on 2010's income tax filings, and do not reflect Parker's new lucrative job as a think-tank scientist.
Net Worth: ~$60
Source: Intrinsic Value
Residence: Doctor Magnus’ Laboratory
Iron is one of small team of “living” robots called the Metal Men, each constructed entirely of a basic metal or alloy and who possess the intrinsic usefulness of that source metal. Iron, in tribute to his metal’s sturdiness, is the strong man of his team. Unfortunately, unlike a couple of his teammates, namely Gold and Platinum, the price of iron, especially used (or “scrap”) iron is at most twenty US cents per pound. So even at a hefty 300 pounds, Iron would be worth less then one hundred dollars if he needed to sell a chunk of himself to pay the rent.
Net Worth: ~$52
Source: Partially Decayed Vegetable Matter
Residence: Louisiana Swampland
Ostensibly a plant elemental and was recently revealed to be the guardian of the Earth’s life-force, the hero known as Swamp Thing squats in the swamplands of Louisiana. Economically, Swamp Thing lives off the land, though he has no legal claim to his swamp, that if he were ousted from, it could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If he were finally taken down by the Floronic Man and mulched down, his bulky form could generate hundreds of pounds of lawn/garden care materials like peat moss, which can sell for almost $10 per 50-pound bag.
Net Worth: $3.50
Source: One Frayed Pair of Purple Pants with an Expanding Waistband
For a great deal of time after the accident that cursed Dr. Bruce Banner with the gamma-radiation powered alter ego of The Hulk, he was a hunted man. Forced to flee to avoid exploitation of his condition while he looked for a cure, he was unable to settle or hold down steady work in his chosen field of nuclear physics. The Hulk’s rampages, whether triggered for heroic action or by enragement, would afterward leave Dr. Banner stranded with just the clothes on his backside, miles from any place he’d found temporary home. This transient lifestyle, while making him an expert at ‘living off the grid,’ precluded the gathering of wealth in the traditional sense. Recent events in his life point to a return to this behavior after a period of stability was followed by a return to his rampaging behavior, an extra-solar exile and extended large-scale conflict.