Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, ready to do battle

If superheroes were real, chances are, most of them would be rich — or at least sponsored by someone who is. This isn’t because the rich are more dedicated to the cause of justice, mind you: The question simply is, how else could a superhero be a superhero? How else could you pay for the costumes, the replacement costumes after the first ones get ruined, the secret headquarters, the themed vehicles, and the equipment made from advanced tech? How else could you compensate businesses when your epic battles trash their storefronts? Really, how else could you even have the time to be a superhero, unless you were independently wealthy? If you’re a working stiff whose boss is cool with you disappearing for a few months to fight the Beyonder, you’re living an enormously unique life.

Though most Marvel heroes aren’t rich, the mythos has its fair share of good guys supported by hefty caches of wealth. The wide-ranging nature of the narrative also makes the sources of that wealth quite a bit more varied than they are in the real world. There are the business moguls and the world leaders you might expect, but some of Marvel’s wealthiest earn their money through esoteric trades like monster-hunting, retrieving sunken treasure, and even work in other dimensions.

Regardless of how they got it, here are Marvel’s richest heroes, ranked.

Union Jack

Joey Chapman, AKA Union Jack, from Marvel Comics

Joey Chapman is the latest in a long line of English heroes who have fought evil as Union Jack. While the previous Union Jacks, who date back to World War I, were part of the wealthy Falsworth family, Chapman was born into the working class, and earned his mask through a baptism of fire.

Chapman’s entry into the Falsworth family comes through his best friend, Kenneth Crichton. Crichton is the grandson of Lord Brian Falsworth, who fought alongside the Invaders in World War II. Shortly after Crichton reveals this to Chapman, the vampire Baron Blood infiltrates the Falsworth mansion. Chapman dons the costume and proves his worth in battle against the vampire, leading both Kenneth and his grandfather to agree that it should be Chapman who carries on the Union Jack tradition.

In spite of his meager beginnings, Chapman’s access to the Falsworth fortune and his own work with the British Secret Service affords him plenty of resources to pursue his fight for justice. This wealth helps pay for his numerous gadgets, his bulletproof costume, and the high-tech motorcycle he calls Beryl.

Doctor Strange

Stephen Strange begins his superheroic journey by spending all the wealth he’s earned as a surgeon on anything that might heal his hands. Becoming a master of the mystic arts eventually mends his broken digits — and it also makes him rich.

This wealth is most obvious in Strange’s ownership and upkeep of his Greenwich Village Sanctum Sanctorum, and the long employment of his faithful friend and comrade in arms, Wong. There are plenty of other obvious examples of his wealth lying around his home: While many of the antiques and artifacts in his vast collection are no doubt the product of adventure, some of them were just as likely purchased with mundane currency. In 1989’s Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #11, readers learn Strange owns a nearby warehouse, for the sole purpose of storing the cryogenically frozen corpse of his brother, Victor. Earlier in that series, Strange’s pockets prove deep enough for his friend Sara Wolfe to set up a memorial foundation in his name, when he’s believed to be dead.

With magic at his command, there is likely no end to the ways Strange can generate income. If he needs a fresh cash injection, he can reach into another dimension until he finds a valuable artifact or an overflowing chest of gold. He might not always be attached to the material world, but he sure can get what he wants from it.

Elsa Bloodstone

As any fan of Highlander knows, one of the surest roads to riches is to stay alive for a few centuries. This process eventually turns worthless knick-knacks into priceless antiques, and even the most modest investments into money factories. This is a lesson well-learned by the eons-old Ulysses Bloodstone, a caveman saddled with a mystical stone that gives him both his surname and his unnaturally long life. He spends his considerable time on Earth hunting monsters and searching for Ulluxy’l Kwan Tae Syn, the creature who killed his ancient tribe.

Ulysses eventually finds both vengeance and his long-awaited eternal reward, but not before siring a daughter. In 2001’s Bloodstone #1, Marvel fans meet Elsa Bloodstone, who learns of her father’s fantastic past while settling his estate. Not long after, with the help of the fabled gem her father left her and a solid set of superpowers, Elsa follows in her father’s footsteps.

Elsa also inherited Ulysses’ massive fortune upon his death. Her first solo series was short lived, but she continues to use her wealth to fund her crusade against the world’s monsters, perhaps most memorably in the acclaimed series, Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

The Wasp

Janet Van Dyne, better known as the Wasp, begins her crime-fighting career after the death of her father, Vernon. Vernon was a world-renowned inventor at the time of his death, and his demise not only inspires Janet to become a hero, but also gifts her with a ton of cash. Early on in her Avenging days, Janet openly enjoys her riches more than most wealthy superheroes. She’s known both among her teammates and the public as a socialite and an incorrigible flirt, not to mention a fashion plate. Eventually, however, she curbs some of her more dilettante-ish ways, and truly becomes one of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Janet never loses her love of the finer things entirely, however. A fashion designer whose career predates her time as an Avenger, Janet uses her fortune to further her art in everything from her ready-to-wear offerings to her own wardrobe. She changes her costume so often that it’s not at all rare to see her in one outfit in one issue, and a different one in the next. Her designs can also be glimpsed in other corners of the Marvel universe: Karolina Dean can be spotted wearing Van Dyne-branded clothing in the 2017 Runaways comic series.

Moon Knight

Oftentimes, when new writers and artists are assigned superheroes who have never been majorly popular, those creators shake up the character’s essential traits. Marc Spector, AKA Moon Knight, is a perfect example of this, as recent takes on the character have tended to minimize the fact that this mentally splintered superhero is a bonafide billionaire.

Long before he became the Fist of Khonshu, Spector became a renowned mercenary and heavyweight boxing champion. By the time he begins fighting evil as Moon Knight, Spector’s investments have yielded some seriously rich rewards. While his resources are not inherited as Bruce Wayne’s are, Spector’s wealth is one of the reasons some fans see him as Marvel’s answer to Batman. Not only does he mostly work at night like the Dark Knight does, his wealth also affords him an arsenal of themed weapons, vehicles, gadgets, and costumes. While he’s not as widely known in the Marvel universe as Batman is within the world of DC Comics, Moon Knight isn’t to be underestimated. Dude has his own specially designed Moon-Chopper, after all, once flown by his sidekick, Frenchie.

Professor X

While Charles Xavier is best known for the good he has done for mutantkind, little of that good would have been possible without his considerable wealth. Indeed, the grounds and the mansion used for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the original home of the X-Men, is inherited from Xavier’s father. That fortune is likewise used to build the more secret parts of Xavier’s School, like the Danger Room, in addition to the X-Men’s vast variety of high-tech vehicles.

Since accountants’ spreadsheets would probably not make the most thrilling reading for comic book fans, hard numbers about a character’s wealth are hard to come by. However, because of a story from the early ’00s, we know that at that time, Charles Xavier’s net worth was $3.5 billion. This is revealed in 2002’s New X-Men #129, when the artificially-evolved superhero known as Fantomex tries to extort Xavier.

Of course, it’s likely that Xavier’s fortune has increased considerably since 2002. Not only is the founder of the X-Men known for investing wisely, but the 2019 event Dawn of X likely did a lot of good for Xavier’s bottom line. In this event, Xavier helps to found a new sovereign mutant state on the sentient mutant island of Krakoa, a process that includes lucrative deals with other nations seeking medicines only available on Krakoa. As one of the members of Krakoa’s leading Quiet Council, Xavier is sure to have piles of money that probably dwarf what he had in 2002.

Archangel

Archangel’s real name is Warren Worthington III. With a name like that, you’d better be rich — and boy howdy, is he ever. Worthington has often acted as one of the X-Men’s deepest pockets: Having inheriting billions from his family and acting as head of Worthington industries, Archangel funds everything from missions to equipment. It has not been unheard of, in fact, for the also-wealthy Charles Xavier to borrow money from Archangel in order to make repairs, additions, and improvements to the Westchester school. Financially speaking, Warren is solely responsible for the founding of the first version of X-Factor. When he and the rest of the original X-Men advertise the team as a mutant hunting service with the goal of secretly helping the mutants they are hired to track down, it’s Warren who bankrolls their equipment, their headquarters, and their new uniforms.

Warren’s history has often worked against his resources, however, as when the rest of Worthington Industries’ board of directors uses his temporary amnesia to take the company from him. With the help of attorney Matt Murdock (AKA Daredevil), however, Warren takes back his family’s company in 2012’s Wolverine and the X-Men #19.

Iron Fist

Daniel Rand, the immortal Iron Fist, is more than just a hero wielding mastery over kung fu and the hard-won power of the Iron Fist. Rand is also CEO of the Rand Corporation, a position which has afforded Rand and his allies comforts and advantages. It has also, however, attracted new enemies.

Originally the Rand-Meachum Corporation, the company passes briefly into the care of Harold Meachum, Daniel’s father Wendell’s old business partner. Wendell Rand had visited the mystical city of K’un-Lun once upon a time, and searches for it in the snows of Tibet years later, with his son, wife, and Meachum in tow. Disaster strikes, and when Wendell hangs helplessly from the edge of a precipice, Meachum, who sees this as an opportunity to seize control of the company, stomps on Wendell’s hand, causing him to fall to his death. Daniel’s mother Heather subsequently sacrifices herself to save Daniel from hungry wolves, allowing the young Danny Rand to find shelter — and more — in K’un-Lun.

As an adult, Danny returns to NYC and regains control of Rand, though his revenge on Meachum is stolen from him by an assassin. He has since used his vast wealth to fund his work as the immortal Iron Fist, including funding the Heroes for Hire, an organization Rand and Luke Cage, among others, use to help fight crime.

Nighthawk

Kyle Richmond, AKA Nighthawk, is perhaps the most obscure superhero among Marvel’s wealthy. As part of the Squadron Sinister, Nighthawk was originally a villainous Batman clone in a group of villains blatantly modeled after DC Comics’ Justice League. He later changes sides, most prominently as a regular in Marvel’s first Defenders series. The team was initially known as Marvel’s "non-team," because of its unpredictable roster and lack of any kind of official rules, leadership, or base of operations. Throughout that first series, Nighthawk often voices his opinion that the Defenders should become more structured, and frequently uses his wealth to try to accomplish that goal.

Like many rich Marvel heroes, Kyle Richmond inherits his wealth from his father Arthur, along with control of Richmond Enterprises. Nighthawk doesn’t always prove to be a vigilant owner of the company, however. While he’s busy first committing crime and then fighting it, he allows his friend J.C. Pennysworth to handle the reins. Pennysworth is later revealed as the head of the racist terrorist group, the Sons of the Serpent. Richmond uses his wealth to establish the Richmond Riding Academy, which doubles as a base of operations for the Defenders — or at least is intended to serve as such. With certain Defenders regulars like the Hulk and Doctor Strange often not showing up, Richmond complains about all the money he spent for nothing — particularly on the oversized conference chair he had made for the Hulk.

Emma Frost

While Professor X’s history is not without its morally questionable moments, Marvel Comics canon has long maintained that he never uses his psychic abilities to help with his investments. However, Xavier isn’t Marvel’s only psychic, and they don’t all share his principles. Emma Frost, for example, is not shy about using her formidable telepathy to gain an edge in the financial world. It’s likely a good chunk of her wealth may come from even less legal ventures. Frost is, after all, the former White Queen of the Hellfire Club, which is not known for its respect for the law.

As the heiress to the Frost fortune, including Frost International, which specializes in technology and electronics, Emma has been set for life since she was born. When the X-Men establish the mutant safe haven of Utopia, it’s Frost’s wealth alone that supports the island. Her power has grown considerably in recent years: With almost the entire population of Earth’s mutants having joined the sovereign nation of Krakoa, Frost’s position on the island’s Quiet Council is a lofty perch indeed. Krakoa is a unique source of world-changing medication other nations are willing to pay billions for — all the people of Krakoa are making plenty of money from the nations that once oppressed them, and Frost is as ruthless a businesswoman as you’re likely to find. It’s a safe bet she’s making what everyone else is making, and then some.

Mister Fantastic

Reed Richards cares about amassing wealth as much as his nemesis Doctor Doom cares about promoting democracy — that is to say, he doesn’t. Put him in a lab and give him the chance to explore the cosmos, and you’ve got a happy Mr. Fantastic. But believe it or not, things like the upkeep of an active portal to the Negative Zone or the storage space for Fantasti-Cars isn’t cheap. So it’s a good thing Richards also happens to be one of Marvel’s wealthiest heroes.

Richards wasn’t always wealthy, but the patents for the inventions he churns out, not to mention the merchandising rights for the Fantastic Four, bring in the big bucks. This allows him to pursue his own work, and keep his family safe in New York City’s Baxter Building. Utterly uninterested in the trappings of wealth, Reed is the kind of guy who doesn’t see his riches until they’re gone. Thus, he and the rest of the FF are hit hard when their property is seized in an early ’00s storyline. After Doctor Doom is dragged to Hell, the FF dismantles the government of Latveria in the hopes of undoing Doom’s years of tyranny. When they return home, their assets are seized by the government for their unsanctioned invasion of a foreign nation. It isn’t until Richards emerges as one of the most prominent pro-government heroes in the 2006 Civil War event that the United States releases their stranglehold on his property.

Silver Sable

Anyone who’s played the PlayStation Spider-Man game should be familiar with Silver Sable. Unlike many rich Marvel heroes, Sable didn’t inherit any wealth from her father –unless you count the skills she’s used to become one of the world’s most well-known mercenaries. Her father trains her to fight after the murder of her mother, and she goes on to found her own soldier-for-hire company, Silver Sable International.

Silver Sable’s wealth is enough to afford her the acquisition of high-tech weaponry and a vast variety of other equipment made from cutting edge materials. It is also enough to allow her to hire other world-class mercenaries, including super-powered operatives. While in business she can often be seen as cutthroat, Silver Sable does not amass riches for riches’ sake. Much of her wealth goes to aid her homeland, the fictional nation of Symkaria. As a neighbor to Latveria — the nation ruled by Doctor Doom — Symkaria often finds itself suffering from the conflicts between Doom’s home and other nations, and has endured multiple periods of revolution and unrest over the years.

Hercules

Like Thor, the Marvel hero Hercules isn’t just a modern-day strongman with a love of Greco-Roman myth — he’s the bonafide immortal article, and his long life has afforded him some very deep pockets. While the impulsive, party-loving Avenger doesn’t come off as the most cerebral dude, a good portion of his wealth comes from keener foresight than you might credit him with.

This is never more clear than upon news of his death (don’t worry — he gets better) in 2010’s Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1. When Venus and Namora do the hard work of closing out Hercules’ estate, they learn he was one of the first investors in Stark Industries. He initially invested $100,000 in the young company, and at the time of the strongman’s death, that investment was worth "a second line of zeroes." He also owns a large number of breweries and wineries, as well as apartments and homes all across the globe. When Athena initially tasks Venus with the job, she tells Venus that Hercules "was buying properties and companies on a whim … then quickly forgetting most of them." We get a flashback of a grinning Hercules, his arms full of the gold and artifacts he used to buy these properties.

While Hercules is one of the richest heroes in Marvel, he himself may not even know it. If ever there were a superhero in need of an accountant, it’s him.

Iron Man

When you think of rich Marvel heroes, you will almost definitely think of Tony Stark, the invincible Iron Man. Inheriting both wealth and Stark Industries from his father Howard, Tony can’t be accused of sitting on his laurels. Stark is a tireless inventor and innovator, always trying to do more with the genius he was born with than simply make a buck and fight crime.

In spite of the dozens of heroes who have been part of the mighty Avengers, it’s likely that no single person has more to do with the creation of the team than Tony Stark. More often than not, his wealth has financed the Avengers, even before he reveals his secret identity to his colleagues and later, the public at large. It’s Stark who owns Avengers Mansion, it’s Stark who employs their butler, Edwin Jarvis, and it’s Stark who pays for and designs the team’s Quinjets. Not to mention, of course, the considerable amount of time, money, and resources Stark puts toward designing and building his many Iron Man suits, nor the innovations he’s created for other heroes, like Spider-Man’s famous Iron Spider suit.

Stark’s wealth and company come under fire frequently in the comics, and in plenty of instances, he’s found himself broke and unemployed. But Stark’s genius and determination don’t allow him to stay down for long.

The Inhuman royal family

There are characters whose wealth is almost impossible to quantify, because their existence is utterly incomparable to anything in the real world. Black Bolt, Medusa, and the rest of the Inhuman royal family are a perfect example of this. The Inhumans are a sub-species of humanity that was experimented upon by the alien Kree millennia ago, a process that granted them extraordinary abilities. Their origins give their rulers access to stunning amounts of wealth.

Having made homes in both the Himalayas and on the Blue Area of the Moon, the royal family claims real estate holdings that are entirely priceless. They also have in their possession advanced Kree technology, which plenty of Earth’s militaries would pay dearly to get their hands on. Finally, the family possesses the Terrigen Crystals used to activate the Inhumans’ superpowers. These crystals are among the rarest materials on Earth.

There is quite a bit of question as to what the Inhumans’ wealth actually is, at this point. After the events of the 2018 miniseries Death of the Inhumans, the members of the royal family are the only Inhumans left alive, save for some so-called "NuHumans." NuHumans are humans who didn’t know they shared Inhuman genes until said genes were activated by the Terrigen Bomb in the 2013 event Infinity. How this has affected the royal family’s bottom line is a mystery.

Namor the Sub-Mariner

Namor, the King of Atlantis, has any real estate mogul in the real world easily beat. The mighty Sub-Mariner claims all of the Earth’s oceans as his kingdom and — according to him — the ships that traverse are allowed to do so only because of his charity. While few world leaders recognize Namor’s claim to two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, he has the muscle to back his claims up. In recent years he’s become much more active about punishing "surface dwellers" who defile and pollute his territory. He’s gone so far as to form the Defenders of the Deep, a group that includes underwater heroes and villains, some of whom — like Tiger Shark and Orka — are old enemies of Namor’s.

When you’re a world ruler in Marvel Comics and a superhero, losing your throne becomes a uniquely big deal. As such, Namor has found himself dethroned more times than the entire cast of Game of Thrones. Yet even without a kingdom, the Sub-Mariner has managed to secure significant wealth for himself. Early in the ’90s Namor the Sub-Mariner series, for example, Namor reinvents himself as a businessman by using treasures he finds in the deep. The fortune these rarities bring him allows him to found Oracle Inc., with the intention of using its wealth to heal the environment.

Black Panther

No organization on Earth could surpass Wakanda in terms of net worth, and no individual could top T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and the superhero known as Black Panther. Though the 2016 Black Panther series sees T’Challa’s power as ruler rendered less absolute by a new democratic government, he still has more control over his nation’s wealth than any other single person.

The source of the nation’s wealth is vibranium, a substance that cannot be found in significant amounts anywhere else on Earth. Wakanda’s Great Mound — where Wakandans mine the metal — is theorized to be the site of a meteorite explosion that occurred approximately one million years ago. Vibranium is the most versatile metal on Earth, and has helped to make Wakanda not only the richest, but also the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. Wakandans were in space long before either the United States or the USSR exited the atmosphere, and their cities are filled with wondrous technological marvels.

While T’Challa does not always flex his financial muscles, it is not unheard of. For example, in the 2002 Black Panther storyline "Enemy of the State II," when he finds himself at cross purposes with Tony Stark, T’Challa — with seemingly little effort — stages a hostile takeover of Stark Enterprises.

Thor

There are riches whose worth cannot be properly counted with numbers. Quite a few of those unfathomable riches are the property of Thor, the god of thunder.

In 2019’s Thor #16, Odin steps aside, allowing Thor to become the new All-Father and the king of Asgard. Once that happens, every drop of gold in the land often referred to as the "golden realm," plus every priceless artifact locked away in Odin’s vaults, becomes the property of the mighty Thor. Nailing down a price for such powerful artifacts would be impossible, even if you brought them to Pawn Stars or Antiques Roadshow. This sort of wealth is very literally mythical.

Of course, one of the most valuable artifacts in Thor’s collection is the one he’s best known for: His iconic hammer, Mjolnir. While it’s best known for its ability to summon and control lightning (and to, well, just hit things really hard), its versatility is also impressive. With Mjolnir, Thor has been able to turn himself intangible, to absorb an enemy’s life force, and even to travel across dimensions. Not to mention the fact that the Odinson is one of only a handful of people who have been able to wield the weapon at all. If there’s a Marvel weapon with a higher price tag, we don’t know it.