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Superheroes occupy a unique place in our culture — through their fantastic abilities and larger-than-life adventures, readers are able to catch glimpses of what humans might look like if we were granted extraordinary power and decided to actually use this power for good.
This quality is part of what makes superhero alter egos so interesting. It’s not enough for us for our heroes to get into trouble on the cosmic scale. For some reason, we also need them to have mundane problems like uncomfortable apartments, family drama, and late rent payments.
As much as we want to see Superman cut a giant robot into pieces with his laser vision, we have a tough time liking him as a character unless we’re also given the chance to see him veg out on the couch with a laptop on his stomach, cursing at Netflix for displaying yet another judgmental “Are you still watching?” message while he binge-watches the new season of Cupcake Wars.
What’s remarkable about superheroes and their day jobs is how much more successful some are at them than others. For every Tony Stark making millions of dollars in his sleep, there’s always a Spider-Man desperately checking the folds of his couch for laundry quarters. Whether it’s due to a lack of ambition, lack of opportunity, or simply too many superhero-related responsibilities, some heroes just have more successful day jobs than others. And when you start to look at some of these heroes side-by-side, the differences can be pretty staggering.
For this article, we wanted to do just that — that is, put some of our favorite heroes side-by-side and look at just how successful each one is when they aren’t busy with their super heroics. So, using salary estimates from our own website as well as others like Glassdoor, we put together a list of some of our favorite superheroes to see just how much money each of them made when they weren’t busy saving the world.
Since there are a lot of articles out there discussing which heroes are the richest, we wanted to focus on some of the more everyday heroes. Meaning, of course, that we decided to leave out Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, and any other billionaire playboy philanthropists that came to mind, instead choosing to talk about those heroes who aren’t on the Fiction 500.
The full list can be found further down, but first, here’s a quick look at the heroes on our list and their respective salaries.
Just how good does your favorite hero have it? Read on to the full list to find out.
Alter Ego: Clark Kent
Day Job: Journalist
We’re kicking off our list with the definitive superhero, Superman himself. His alter ego Clark Kent’s position as a journalist for the Daily Planet isn’t usually given much attention other than to keep Clark up to date on current events while simultaneously allowing him to flirt with Lois Lane, and given the average journalist’s salary, it’s pretty clear why. Superman does better than some of the heroes on our list, but odds are he’s still slurping instant ramen at least a night or two out of the week.
Alter Ego: Ororo Munroe
Day Job: Private School Teacher
As a private teacher at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, Storm is the only educator on our list. It can probably be assumed that Storm makes a bit more than the 50k we have listed, given Professor Xavier’s enormous wealth — but then again, unless Storm has a hidden Ph.D., she doesn’t exactly have a lot of bargaining power. After all, it’s not like there’s a lot of other mutant private schools out there that might offer competitive salaries.
Alter Ego: Peter Parker
Day Job: Photographer
Peter Parker, alias of your friendly neighborhood so-and-so, tends to leverage his own image for money by taking carefully posed action shots of himself. This might have let him support himself back in the 60s and 70s, but given how good cell phone cameras are now it’s tough to imagine Peter’s job being all that secure nowadays.
Alter Ego: Diana Prince
Day Job: Nurse
Diana Prince has held a number of jobs over the course of her time in comics, but it’s her experience as a military nurse that Wonder Woman fans really seemed to latch on to. Maybe it’s due to the wish fulfillment factor, as those in medical industries can often feel like they’re helpless to save others despite their best efforts — a decent analog to Wonder Woman, whose enormous strength might not be much help when it comes to medical matters. Or maybe it’s just because Wonder Woman’s time as a nurse coincided with her time in WWI when she reached Peak Badass.
Alter Ego: Matt Murdock
Day Job: Lawyer
Daredevil, the demon of Hell’s Kitchen, is by day a humble, blind lawyer named Matthew Murdock. Much is made early on of Murdock’s difficulty finding cases and his tendency to do a lot of pro bono work for those in need, but as for later on once his reputation started to spread — well, let’s just say silk sheets and sensory deprivation tanks don’t come cheap.
Alter Ego: Robert “Bob” Parr
Day Job: Insurance Salesman
The paterfamilias of the Parr family, Mr. Incredible is one of the main characters of the Pixar movie “The Incredibles,” a film that is as much a parody of superhero comics as it is a celebration of them. His job as an insurance salesman at the beginning of the film is a source of endless frustration for him, underscoring just how mundane and boring he finds his life once super heroics are outlawed by the government. Based on the average salary of insurance salespeople, the Parrs’ money problems at the beginning of the story make a little more sense.
Alter Ego: Bruce Banner
Day Job: Nuclear Scientist
Dr. Banner is a lot of things, but poor isn’t one of them. Bruce’s enormous salary from his time as a nuclear scientist goes a long way toward explaining how easy the Hulk is able to jump on a plane to foreign countries, looking for exotic and beautiful places to hide out far away from civilization.
Alter Ego: Stephen Strange
Day Job: Surgeon
Recently portrayed on film for the first time by noted thespian and Sherlock actor Baccarat Columbine (Barnable Culpeper? Bandicoot Candlebum?), Doctor Strange is a lesser known Marvel character that nevertheless has a surprisingly devoted fan base. Though he has few material possessions after studying magic with the Ancient One, Strange was almost certainly making a sizable income before this point thanks to his job as a surgeon. Given that he was a fairly famous surgeon, as well, you can bet he was making a little more than even the $260,750 mentioned here.
Alter Ego: Jessica Jones
Day Job: Private Investigator
Private Investigator jobs won’t make you rich, but you can make a living if you’re any good at it. Having super-strength probably gives Jessica Jones a leg up on most of her competition, as you can see in her Netflix series of the same name.
Alter Ego: J’onn J’onnz/John Jones
Day Job: Police Detective
An emissary from a hidden Martian civilization, J’onn J’onnz (or John Jones, as he goes by on Earth) uses the powers granted to him by his Martian physiology to fight crime as a superhero. He’s also one of the few heroes who also fights crime in his day-to-day job as a police detective, where his Martian extra-sensory powers ensure that he’s able to see a little more than his peers around him.
Alter Ego: Scott Lang
Day Job: Ice Cream Scooper at Baskin-Robbins
While primarily a thief, the Scott Lang incarnation of Ant-Man has also worked a number of odd jobs during his time trying to stay out of trouble, before donning the Ant-Man suit and acquiring his powers. In the 2015 Ant-Man movie, one of the jobs Scott works is as an Ice Cream Scooper at Baskin-Robbins — for Scott, this is a humiliating experience made all the worse when he is promptly fired for his criminal past. We can’t say we’re not glad Scott was let go, given that the movie would have been a little less interesting otherwise, but it’s hard to deny that the image of Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd in the Baskin-Robbins team uniform is a sight to behold.
That’s all for this one, but there’s more to see here at Zippia.
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