Marvel Comics wanted to have an equivalent to what DC Comics had with Batman and Bruce Wayne. They felt they could do something different, but similar. They ended up coming up with the idea of Tony Stark as Iron Man. What made him stand out more than most was that he was open about who he was. Everyone knew Tony Stark was Iron Man, and this was a secret that would come to cost him. As in one Iron Man film, his house was blown up and Pepper Pots nearly died a number of times.
Creator and writer of the original Iron Man comics, Stan Lee, felt that this character should be like how he felt as a kid. If you were a superhero, you would want everyone to know! However, Lee knew that there had to be consequences.
Stark would have to use his wealth to help fight against not only the battles of the world, but the battles of people coming after him on a personal level. Something few other heroes ever had to deal with. While trying to evade death, Tony figured out some ways to have fun. His money often went to buying things he didn’t need, but occasionally, he did things to help out his team The Avengers.
In this article we break down both sides of how Tony spent his money – the impulsive buys and the practical buys. We’ll touch on things from the movies and the comics, from different universes and worlds. In every universe though, we’re sure that Tony’s purchases keep his accountant up late at night in a sweat.
20. Avengers Tower
The Avengers Tower was the home base for the team for a long time. This was once Stark Tower, but due to the need of the Avengers being in need of a base, Stark changed it up. It was a very open place for the heroes, which was both good and bad, as it allowed villains to know their whereabouts for a long time.
Tony Stark had to learn the hard way that being so open with your identity and your base meant the push back would be harder. The Avengers tower was good in theory, but alien species didn’t seem to have much trouble figuring out where they were. That was pretty much the plot of the first film, which, by the end of it, has Tony understanding that he has to rethink both his living situation and how they deal with outer space. It is said that the tower is worth about $600 million.
19. Cloning Thor
Theoretically Thor shouldn’t be duplicated. He’s a God, so we all just figured that he defied the laws of science. Leave it to Tony Stark to figure out a way to defy those laws. He found a way to clone Thor, which ultimately ended up in a disaster, creating the Civil War series in the comic books.
Not only was Tony intelligent enough to do such a thing, but anyone knows that undergoing that task would be nothing short of costly. The technology needed, paired with the time and energy (not just from himself, but for where he conducts his experiments) must have sent his electricity bill through the roof.
When you talk about suits that are expensive, you have to talk about the Hulkbuster. We separate it from the other Iron Man suits coming up because it was designed for something separate. Tony Stark invented and built it with The Hulk in mind. This was needed to keep Hulk under control if he ever got out of hand. So he created a suit worth seven figures that would allow him to take on Hulk and come out winning.
The suit itself functions very similar to the other suits, it is just bigger and built to withstand Hulk – never kill the big green giant, but enough to knock him out, as it does in the film. It is one of the most important suits he owns, and it will be making a return it seems, judging from the trailer from the upcoming film, Avengers: Infinity War.
17. Stark Owns Area 51
Area 51 is known for being the place where the United States is rumored to be keeping a ton of national secrets hidden. However, one of the biggest rumors from the place has to do with aliens. Though there is no proof of aliens existing, the conspiracy still stands. It makes sense, considering the States seems to be built on secrets.
In the world of Marvel, you have to assume that someone who would have access to the base would be someone important. Someone rich, someone who has probably dealt with aliens before, and someone who knows the military. All roads don’t lead to Rome – they lead to Tony Stark. He spends his life fighting, and so he knew that he would need the keys to one of the biggest secretive bases on the planet. Considering he deals with Hulk, Thor, and outer space on the daily, it only makes sense that he would be involved in something like this.
16. The Creation Of Ultron
In the comics, Hank Pim is actually the person responsible for creating Ultron. What he came to be was certainly not in the plans for Pim, who was both an inventor and superhero. You may know him as Ant-Man. In the MCU, Ultron was invented by Tony Stark, with some help from Bruce Banner. The AI was something Tony knew a lot about already and the goal of the machine was to be something he could create that would help the world.
The idea was that he could make several with the ability to protect the world from threats, but obviously things did not go according to plan. The expense in something like this was pretty high. Not only did it take a lot of money for Stark to have the parts around to create him to begin with, but then you get to the ultimate issue. Ultron caused tons of damage, and the clean-up would result in Stark forking over a lot of other funds to help.
15. He Paid Off Bad Guys To Hunt Down His Friends
When he betrayed his friends, Tony Stark obviously was not able to handle things on his own. Things like the Civil War separated the team, and with only certain allies still left to help, Stark had no option. He hired people to help him out, and not the good kind. With many people hating the Avengers, it is quite clear that enemies would be quick to accept jobs to take them out. Obviously when you see an opening, you take it.
Stark would hire these super villains to hunt down his friends. Since they knew Stark rolled in money, they were not willing to do this for a cheap rate. So Stark had to spare no expense in order to make this happen. We know Stark ultimately regrets a lot of actions he took during Civil War, we wonder if the Avengers ever truly forgave him for this one.
14. The Over 50 Ironman Suits
One thing that Tony Stark does better than anyone is invent things. If he’s not inventing them with his own two hands, he has a machine doing it for him – which he also created. Stark knows what he wants, and doesn’t care what he has to pay to make it happen. Collectively, the suits from all three Iron Man films are worth about $10 billion dollars.
Tony has over fifty suits that he is taking into account. He has to put weapons into the suits, consider the count of the armor, installing J.A.R.V.I.S and F.R.I.D.A.Y into the suits as well to have a working system for it. Combine that with all the testing he had to do with his test to make sure that they were working, between the trial and error, that starts to add up. Billions of dollars later, he has an array of Iron Man suits.
13. New Avengers Base
It is well-known that Tony Stark led The Avengers along with Captain America for some time. While Cap handled the team building things, Tony took care of their home. When he realized that the Avengers Tower would not be enough to sustain them, he invested in a new base for his team. It’s estimated that this base cost more than the $600 million dollar base where they were first situated, only because it had to be equipped with other uses. It was almost fashioned as a military base.
The original base cost millions to put up, and it is a little more subtle in how it looks to anyone passing by it as a passenger. The base looks similar to a military base, which works for a superhero team. Combined with the excess of space around it, it makes it secluded, and thus, more convenient for the heroes stationed there.
12. The Endless Amount Of Quinjets
Tony Stark has been proud to invent a lot of amazing things, but perhaps one thing that is most recognized from his time would be the airplane known as the Quinjet. This is different from other jets, due to how fast it goes and the weapons it often has on board. The jet is quite costly, and due to this, Tony Stark has to pay a nice sum of money for them. It seems that the Avengers have trouble landing these things too, with so many being destroyed.
Yet Stark consistently has one or two at the ready at all times for the team to use. Obviously Stark has no need to use a jet, considering his suit allows him to fly to get from one point to another. This means he often buys these jets or gets them custom made for the team. Considering so many of them get crashed, he probably blows all kinds of money on these military flights.
11. Extremis 3.0 Application
Perhaps one of the greatest inventions that Tony Stark ever had would be this application called the Extremis 3.0; it was literally life changing. So, in this universe Tony Stark was sort of changed up to be an egomaniac (more than usual) and his morals were certainly not like the man we know. Due to this, he made the Extremis 3.0 application, which allowed the user to download a virus into their body, giving them the body they desire. Unknown to them, Stark had poisoned the water supply with it already. The application would cost $100 per day to keep up, when he originally released it for free.
The average person had to give up $700 a week due to this, and it wasn’t just one person using it – it was most of the city! Stark made a killing off of it, but had to fork over tons to make it and keep it running. You can read more about this version of Stark in the World War Hate series of comics.
10. Spider-Man Suits
If you saw the recent Spider-Man film, you know Tony Stark and Peter Parker are pretty close. And you also know that he gave him an amazing suit with so many gadgets and abilities that he could fight crime in a terrific way. He’s provided many Spider-Man outfits, and Parker tends to do well in them all. One of the most prominent was the Iron Spider, which Peter will be supporting in the upcoming Avengers film. He may not be the one wearing it all the time, but Stark made it with him in mind.
The idea behind Stark’s investment in Spider-Man was that he saw the potential in him to become great. He saw the intelligence, like his own. He even saw the heart within him to do good for the world. His powers were being used to help and not hurt. This made Tony want to help Peter in any way that he could.
9. His Toys And His Demons
Tony Stark has been known for buying all sorts of random and amazing things that few people would ever go on to buy. He’s usually smart with his money, as it normally goes into his business. However, Stark has bought questionable things that make no sense even for him. For example, he has a series of cars at all times. It is rare we see him in the same one. He even makes sure to get ones that he can play around with to make sure it fits what he needs.
Of course his demons are also paid for. Tony has been known to like alcohol, and he would end up with a drinking problem in the comics. So much so that people worried for his life. The amount of booze, high class or otherwise, would be costly for someone like Stark. Not to mention the fact that we are all impulsive when drunk, so God knows what Stark would blow his money on when he was intoxicated.
8. J.A.R.V.I.S And F.R.I.D.A.Y.
Tony Stark had a friend named Jarvis, who just didn’t have a body. Confused? We’ll spell it out. In the comic books, Jarvis was a person, a butler that Tony had. In the MCU, J.A.R.V.I.S was a system originally created to help Tony with his scientific experiments, but he ended up developing it so well that the system got a personality. It would later also become the hero Vision. In case you’re wondering, Tony was not very creative. J.A.R.V.I.S stood for: Just Another Rather Very Intelligent System.
After Vision was born, Tony needed a new system to install in his suits, and thus created F.R.I.D.A.Y. Her function was to serve as someone similar to both J.A.R.V.I.S and his lover, Pepper Potts. The new technology served as a mainframe for the entire corporation, his life and his suits. Installing J.A.R.V.I.S is said to have cost Tony about $10 million dollars, so the fact that he had to recreate someone to give himself F.R.I.D.A.Y we have to naturally assume that it cost the same.
7. Stark Industries Weapons Development
Tony Stark did not become a billionaire because he was just smarter than everyone else, oh no. He got there because he was able to take over his father’s vision regarding weapons development, and take it into the future. One of the biggest examples of this was the Jericho Missile, considered to be one of the most damaging and accurate weapons ever made. This is not to mention the countless other guns and bombs the industry made. Now obviously they sold very well…but how do you think they made them?
The parts for all of this is expensive. The bombs alone take a lot of time to make, which is labor cost. After learning of what his weapons did to people and how many bad people had weapons with his name on them, he decided to stop making weapons. This led to a huge ordeal within the company. However, this was also a huge hit financially. The moment he stopped making weapons, Stark went on to make technology that helped the world.
6. Stark Expo
Speaking of things Stark spent unimaginable money on regarding his business, the Stark Expo comes up as one of the biggest. This was an event Stark would put on where he would show off all the cool things coming from Stark Industries. At times he would show a number of Iron Man suits, or weapons material. It often depended on the situation. Expos like these are known to be costly for literally any business. So there is a huge downside there, but the upside is that they could make tons of money off of what they show off.
Also known as a “Trade Show,” the cost of building this can be huge. In the case of a Stark Expo, they may not show off anyone but their company. This means they don’t make any money off vendors or other people in the show, so they pay the entire cost. This means Stark Industries likely spent thousands to show off their stuff. Luckily, Tony had a big enough name that whatever he spent on the Expo, he probably made back tenfold with people buying tickets and merchandise from his event.
In Marvel Comics 2, Tony Stark decides he wants to retire from the Superhero business. However, he realizes that he cannot leave the world unprotected, even though he isn’t the one doing it. So he creates an intelligent version of himself, structured in an Iron Man looking suit. He calls this invention, Mainframe, and this suit exists in the universe of Earth-982.
Like his other Iron Man suits, the making of Mainframe was probably over $1 billion dollars. Stark would have to work on it every evening when it returned to make sure it was functioning before sending it back out to save the world. It was one invention which did not go badly, or turn on Stark, which meant Earth was safe for a very long time thanks to Stark.
4. Earth X Headquarters
Speaking of alternative universes, there was one where Tony Stark found himself quite afraid of the outside world. In Earth X, there is a plague, and it turns out to be such a big issue that Stark tries to find a way to protect himself from it. So he builds a base that allowed him to stay out of the plague-ridden world and not allow anyone in that he did not want there. The plague granted anyone who it hit the ability to have superpowers. While this might seem cool, it was not as great as it may seem.
Not all the people affected were good, and as such, not all the people hit with this were given powers that were good. Soon, Stark builds the Iron Avengers. This was a way of helping to protect the Earth without subjecting himself to the plague. It just so happens that this base that Tony was in also had fighting systems engineered into it which he used against Galactus. This probably cost Stark over $60 million dollars – and that’s just for the base, a whole new team adds on to that immensely.
3. Space Ships
Most of the time when Tony Stark needs to travel anywhere, he goes in his Ironman suit. The suit can protect Stark in many environments. While early designs did not allow him to get past certain heights before it shut off, later designs allowed him to use the suit in places like Space or other planets with unpredictable environments. This was key, but clearly if he was going to go into space with the Avengers, he would need a ship to get him there. While various organizations within Marvel have one, he wanted his own.
There are times throughout the cartoons and comics that he would take a ship into space that seemed similar to the jets that he has around. It very well could be that Stark designed his ships to be with a similar design to that. Regardless, the ships had to be made for space and that meant they would cost a lot of money to not only make but to maintain.
2. Daily Bugle
What is so interesting about Tony Stark is that his connection to Spider-Man is quite notable throughout the Marvel universe. While we mentioned the suits, mostly supplied in the MCU version of things, there are more connections. People overlook this at times, but it is still a key purchase for Tony Stark. He bought the Daily Bugle. This is the paper that Peter Parker ends up taking pictures for, and where he also dealt with fierce Spidey hating news director, J. Jonah Jameson.
It is a mere mention, similar to how Bruce Wayne owned The Daily Planet. These things often times are glossed over because they don’t really matter that much. Plus, when tycoons take over papers or media empires, they often let them do what they were already doing. In the case of Stark, he did not do much.
1. Department Of Damage Control
Damage Control did exactly what it sounds like it did. They helped to control damage, but usually only after horrible events happened. The organization was a division of something S.H.I.E.L.D put out to help after major damages caused by attacks on places around the world. Obviously the price for this was quite high, and ultimately Damage Control would be purchased by both the government and Stark.
Now Stark’s inclusion in the purchase was key, due to his massive amount of funds that took pressure off the government and S.H.I.E.L.D. Stark’s inclusion meant that his team was taking responsibility, and helping to fund the clean-up of their team. Though the government took care of some, Tony likely spent about 7 or 8 figures for the industry.
Most likely, this may be the most expensive purchase and brand that he owns, considering no money comes in from this industry. Thankfully, that’s not what Stark thinks about. What matters more to him is the fact that he is able to help the world, and that is what makes him a superhero.
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