It's not cheap to become a superhero or supervillain. The start-up costs and overheads involved in becoming a crime fighter or evil genius mean that any seriously powerful superhero or villain has to be, basically, independently wealthy in order to make it big. That's unless, of course, they happen to be endowed with unusual natural gifts or mutations, like Spidey or Superman (neither of whom feature among the richest of the superheroes).
The less naturally gifted heroes, or those who depend on winning a position of power and influence to do their heroic / villainous duties, need weapons, vehicles, technology and perhaps even a super secret or wildly impressive Head Quarters, none of which comes cheap. In addition to all these costs, most superheroes have take time off work in order to save the day, which most blue-collar types simply can't afford to do - most crime doesn't fit neatly outside your 9-5 schedule. And in the case of a supervillain, it takes a lot of energy to focus on killing someone who's virtually unkillable, and how can you hold down a job while also trying to take over the world? There's simply not enough time in the day for it all and so, having a real job gets pushed to the back burner in favor of saving the world or wreaking havoc.
The folks over at Buddy Loans recently released research which ranked superheroes and villains based on their riches - based on the wealth of information that the comprehensively constructed comic book world provides - and it's interesting to note that most superheroes acquired their wealth through inheritance, while supervillains tend to be business moguls, working their way up through the system. This isn't the case for all, of course, but it's certainly a significant trend. We've taken a look at these eight - some very well known, some a little more niche - richest characters in the comic book universe, elucidating how they came by their wealth and how they use it.
8 Magneto: Net worth- $500 million
Max Eisenhardt, otherwise known as Magneto, is one of the most famous (and most popular) villains in the Marvel universe. Magneto is a mutant with the power to control magnetism. Most of his wealth likely comes from stolen Nazi gold, which seems fitting considering his family was tortured during the Holocaust. Magneto also owns his own island, given to him by the United Nations. But while Magneto's wealth is still pretty respectable, it doesn't come close to that of his nemesis in the X-Men world. If we consider his wealth potential, of course, he might be quite a bit higher on the list. After all, Magneto can, theoretically, attract all metal objects, meaning he could draw in all the precious metals of the world if he so wished. He's too busy focusing on his noble ideals and waging wars to bother, obviously.
7 Professor X: Net Worth - $3.5 billion
Charles Xavier, known as Professor X, founded the X-Men, and he even runs a private school for mutants. Professor X was born to a wealthy and well-respected nuclear scientist, and he inherited a large amount of his wealth when his parents passed away. However, he also made a name for himself professionally in the field of genetics and psychology, accounting for a portion of his large net worth. His X-plane alone is estimated to cost around $33 million, which isn't chump change for most of us but barely made a dent in Xavier's bank balance.
6 Green Arrow: Net Worth - $7 billion
Oliver Queen, known as Green Arrow, fights crime with archery, specifically with trick arrows designed to be non-lethal. He is a wealthy playboy turned outspoken political activist who joined the Justice League after secretly funding the League early on. Most of his wealth came after he inherited Queen Industries when his parents were mauled to death by lions while on safari. Queen Industries initially made their riches from munitions and weapons, but went on to fund charities and Queen's crime fighting.
5 Dr. Doom: Net Worth - $35 billion
We're playing with the big boys now: Doctor Doom not only rules his own country in Europe, he also has an entire army of robots at his command. Victor Von Doom is not only an extremely rich villain, he's also one of the most dangerous and smartest. In order for her son to become a ruler, Doctor Doom's mother sacrificed her soul to the devil. He's brilliant, evil, and very rich - and he even built his own time machine! A boss villain if ever there was one.
4 Lex Luthor: Net Worth - $75 billion
Supervillain, business magnate, president and even philanthropist? These are all words that can be used to describe Superman's most famous villain... Lex Luthor. The last one seems the most surprising, sure, but Lex is credited with donating millions of dollars to Metropolis for parks, foundations, and medical charities. Of course, this could all be an elaborate scheme to build up his public persona so he can do super evil things and even run for President of the United States (where he funded his own campaign). That seems to be more fitting for a man known as one of the most ruthless villains in the DC universe.
3 Batman: Net Worth - $80 billion
Becoming a superhero costs a lot of money, especially if you do it the way Bruce Wayne does. You know, like, having your own batcave, driving around in speciality custom-made vehicles that cost around $80 million each? Those things add up. Batman doesn't have any natural super powers, so he depends on expensive tech to allow him to fly, obliterate villains and keep track of Gotham's many villains. Bruce Wayne's money came mostly from a huge inheritance after his parents died. He inherited a multi-billion dollar company known as Wayne Enterprises and he owns tons of patents, inventions, and products, continuing to bring in even more money almost as fast as he's spending it.
2 Iron Man: Net Worth - $100 billion
No one doubted Iron Man would appear on this list: After all, even his regular-guy alter ego Tony Stark is a rich and powerful magnate of celebrity status. Stark owns one of the biggest munitions companies on earth and spent $1.5 billion on his Iron Man suits alone - Iron Man is another comic book fave who depends on pricey accoutrements for his powers, as he's not a genetic superhero. Of course, Tony Stark's intellect combined with his financial situation make him the hero he is: He isn't just a billionaire playboy, he's also highly educated in the fields of engineering, and Stark Industries manufactures advanced weapon and defense technologies. Along with building weapons for the military, Stark Industries has also built helicarriers used by S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet, even Tony Stark isn't the richest superhero on the list...
1 Black Panther: Net Worth - $500 billion
Black Panther is probably the most powerful superhero on this list: He started out as the ruler of a fictional African country called Wakanada, a country which happens to be the world's only deposit of Vibranium. Vibranium is an extremely valuable and precious metal so laying claim to the world's entire supply means Black Panther's assets are worth more than even Stark Industries. Indeed, the wealth he gains from his reserves of this metal make him worth more than most of the world's other richest superheroes combined.