What are the salaries of non-wealthy superheroes?

Who’s the wealthiest superhero comic character is a subject of frequent debate. However, the salaries of superheroes who aren’t one percenters isn’t discussed as often. (Granted, neither are the salaries of said wealthy superheroes, just their total assets’ value.)

Zippia, a career assistance site, discussed in an article last year how much various famous superheroes earn; they even created an infographic listing their estimated salaries for various superheroes. The heroes chosen are those the general public are familiar with, i.e. either the most well-known superheroes or whoever’s had a prominent TV show or movie (thus the inclusion of Ant-Man).

The figures in the infographic are based on figures from Zippia’s own site, as well as sites like Glassdoor. Afterwards, I’ll give my two cents on each entry, and make my own guess for salaries (based mainly on Bureau of Labor and Statistics figures).

Infographic
Infographic by Zippia.

Superman

My estimate: $90,540 (BLS statistics)

Yes, it’s true reporters often don’t exactly earn huge salaries. But unlike most reporters, Clark Kent is one that works for a New York Times-caliber newspaper, the “Daily Planet,” and as one of its top reporters. Between that factor and assuming Metropolis has New York’s cost of living, it’s safe to assume Clark’s eating something fancier than ramen. While the median reporter salary is $39,370 (as of 2017), the top 10% of reporters earn at least $90,540.

Clark also spent a long stretch in the 70s and 80s as a TV news anchorman, which would’ve commanded an even higher salary. The median salary for a broadcast news analyst is $62,910; the top 10% earn at least $195,520.

Note the same salaries above would apply to Lois Lane, as well.

Storm

My estimate: $95,380 (BLS statistics)

As noted, Storm is usually an instructor at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The BLS estimates a secondary teacher at a private school earns a median salary of $53,120. The top 10% of teachers earn at least $95,380.

In Ororo’s case, I assume Xavier pays her a higher than average amount. Xavier’s wealthy;  there’s the various superhero-related missions and equipment; I assume free room and board are included among Storm’s benefits; and finally, there’s the unique nature of Xavier’s school (teaching/assisting young mutants). Thus, I doubt he’s paying Ororo what she’d earn in a run-of-the-mill public school.

Spider-Man

My estimate: $32,490 (BLS statistics)

Peter Parker’s traditional freelance photographer status (recent comics aside) means his income’s highly fluctuating, though the BLS states photographers make a median income of $15.62 an hour. Even if he worked full time at that rate, Peter would only earn $32,490 a year, which isn’t enough to live alone on (or very well) in New York. The salary does fit with Peter’s frequent money problems, as well as often needing to live with his Aunt May.

Wonder Woman

My estimate: $73,347 (Registered Nursing)

In older comics, Wonder Woman worked as an army nurse in her alter-ego of Diana Prince.

As a military nurse, Diana’s salary would be quite excellent (the amount I quoted above is an estimated average); and that’s before taking various benefits into account. I’ll ignore that as Princess Diana, Wonder Woman should actually be wealthy by “Man’s World” standards.

Daredevil

My estimate: $119,250 (BLS statistics)

Matt Murdock seems to be a successful lawyer living in New York City. I’ll ignore that despite Marvel wanting to cling to 1980s-era images of New York for Daredevil, “Hell’s Kitchen” nowadays is a fairly expensive/gentrified neighborhood.

Mr. Incredible

My estimate: $49,710 (BLS statistics)

As an insurance salesman (as seen at the start of the first “Incredibles” film), Jack Parr’s able to support his family, albeit not glamorously. (The amount I quoted above is a median amount.)

The Hulk

My estimate: $118,830 (BLS statistics)

The average salary for physicists is $118,830. That said, it’s hard to say what Bruce Banner earns—being on the move (or run) half the time as the Hulk isn’t exactly a stable source of income.

Dr. Strange

My estimate: $251,890 (BLS statistics)

The infographic’s probably a good guess for Dr. Strange, at least back when he was a surgeon.

Jessica Jones

My estimate: $50,700 (BLS statistics)

Being a private investigator, as the infographic notes, isn’t the most lucrative career.

Ant-Man

My estimate: $102,180 (BLS statistics)

The Scott Lang of the comics is/was an electronics engineer, and his superheroics seems to be tied to those skills. Thus, I listed what an average electronics engineer earns. The lowest 10% bracket (which might tie better to his origins of having a hard time finding adequate work) earn less than $60,250.

The Martian Manhunter

My estimate: $79,970 (BLS statistics)

As John Jones, the Martian Manhunter traditionally worked as a police detective, which let him use his Martian skills in secret. I listed above the average income for such detectives and criminal investigators.

Conclusion

Aside from Peter Parker, the superheroes above should be earning anywhere between somewhat adequate to quite comfortable salaries, even accounting for likely differences in family sizes, costs of living, etc. While they’re no Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne (or T’Challa), Superman and most other superheroes’ salaries aren’t giving them too many problems.

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