Are there superheros who cannot use their powers to rake in gobs of cash?

I have a long-standing assertion about the comic-book super-hero genre; to wit, that there is no reason for any superhero to be anything other than filthy rich. I am of the opinion that any superhero worthy of the name has at least some talent which could be used to make them large amounts of cash, if they so choose.

First, consider your iconic, costumed defender of the downtrodden and protector of the innocent. Even without looking at his powers, if he is making a good run of superheroism, then he is very recognizable and very visible. Even a small-town hero should be able to work in a few endorsement deals. If a superhero is well-known and has a loyal fanbase (probably with no few amount of people he’s saved in it), then he’s a prime target for a corporate sponsorship or two.

Secondly (although this applies more significantly to the crimefighters), there is significant income to be made in looting the poor. Remember, you have already determined that you have sufficient authority to deprive these criminals of their liberty without due process; surely depriving them of a little of their ill-gotten gains can be no worse crime?

Thirdly, we consider the career combatants: those superheroes whose powers are secondary to their ability to kick ass and take names. Depending on their specific capacity for violence, such heroes would do well to subcontract out to the military of their choice, or optionally form their own mercenary band.

Now, far more interesting than these generalities is pondering how specific heroes could make money, ideally without violating any of the hero’s moral precepts. I’ll give a few examples.
Cyclops (X-Men): This hero has the power to shoot concussive beams of force from his eyes. He has demonstrated an amazing ability to point-and-shoot with his eyebeams, and has enough force to blow away large chunks of buildings. The obvious use for this power is in a military setting, serving as a counter to close-air support. Cyclops is effectively carrying an unlimited supply of anti-armor missiles with him. All he needs to do is find an ongoing war in which one side is using armored vehicles and the other lacks the logistical support to field armor-piercing weapons in force, and offer his services. It is certain that Cyclops could earn his worth (and enough to cover equipping his entire squad with sniper-baffling red visors) very quickly.

Spiderman (Spiderman) Ah, Peter Parker, all in his small NY apartment. Obviously, he has yet to ponder certain aspects of his powers. The simplest way he could earn a great deal of money would be to hire himself out as construction equipment. He can lift enormous weights, produce fantastically strong webbing to aid in temporary scaffolding and serve as additional safety netting, and climb freely. It is very likely that he could completely replace the costs of a crane for moderate construction projects.
So, what other superheroes can you all think of, who have powers that can, on reflection, be leveraged into providing valuable services? Alternately, can anyone name a superhero whose powers simply aren’t conducive towards making money?

You’re forgetting the obvious one: they could go to Hollywood and sell their stories.

Well, there’s already a good few people who’ve made gobs of money using their powers; Emma Frost, Dazzler, and Stacy X I can think of off the top of my head.

Jubilee I can’t see making much money; her powers just aren’t that impressive, especially with the days of pyrotechnics and CGI. Maybe as a busker. And I think she’s one of the depowered ones, now.

Mr. Fantastic doesn’t strike me as having a very marketable power. Without his brains, I don’t think he’d have a very successful career in super-work.

Wolverine could work in landscaping, trimming hedges.

I’m not sure what Toad could do for himself. His only interesting power is the ability to jump really high, and he’s personally repellant enough that he probably couldn’t make a career as a performer.

Shadowcat would have a tough time, I think. Her power is phenomenally strong, but its major peaceful uses (rescuing accident victims, for example) are the sorts of things that it’s ghoulish to charge for. She could probably make fat stacks of cash working for a mercenary outfit or something, but I can’t see her enjoying that sort of work.

Captain Marvel (DCU) is probably constrained by the mystical/divine power sources he draws on from using his power for commercial gain.

He was given his powers for a reason, & it wasn’t to clean up in the commodities market.

Stick a mask on him and bill him as “The Human Spider.” Problem solved. :smiley:

Though there are likely policies in place against it, I can’t imagine any sports team that wouldn’t jump through hoops to get superhuman players to sign up. How about a batter who could hit the ball out of the atmosphere or a basket ball player who can literally fly down the court?

As far as specific heroes
Storm: Could make a fortune providing rain during droughts and sunshine for parades and picnics.
Flash: Or any speedster really. Start a delivery service or buy a big treadmill and a turbine and start a power company.
Human Torch: Can you say fireworks?
Batman: World’s Greatest Detective Agency. (Not that Bruce Wayne generally needs the money.)

Depending on her media incarnation or stage of life, Rogue might* either be economically unviable, or a complete über jack-of-all-trades.

*“Might” being the operative word, depending on how creative you get. Even the movie Rogue, with limited powers and unimpressive combat skills, might find work as an interrogator. Why bother intimidating or torturing a captured terrorist when you could just have someone steal their memories with a touch? With a bonus, the process doesn’t leave any marks on the subject’s body, even if you go overboard.

The geek in me finds this amusing since is already happened: There was a team of formerly Communist speedsters who worked as the Kapitalist Kouriers, until one lost his speed midway up a building.

Great minds…

And the poorly-named Wonder Man made bucks off of his invulnerable skin by becoming a Hollywood stuntman.

I’m uneasy about Plastic Man’s job prospects, however. Everyone else could just do tours, like Aquaman or Hawkman. Too many of them would be snapped up by the military, though.

It’s a good thing Oliver Queen is already rich, because there isn’t much work out there for archers these days. What’s he going to do, hustle drunks at a Ren Faire? :smiley:

Depending on whom you ask, Cyclops’ ability to instantly calculate angles in his head–so he can dispatch multiple opponents with a single shot–is also a super-power. (He shares this ability with Captain America, though I don’t think either is written as using it much these days.) He could be an awesome pool hustler, though I think he’d find playing it professionally very boring; he’s demonstrated that he can clear the table with a single shot, so there’s no challenge in it at all.

I only got half-way through your sacrilege…Corporate Sponsorship!!!

But then again, Marvel has been whoring themselves out for several years.

Hey, if the world’s getting saved anyway, what’s it matter if the hero has a Pepsi logo pasted on his figurative ass? A hundred years from now, no one’s going to remember if some cans of soda pop got sold, or if one of the saviors of humanity didn’t have to worry about making a mortgage payment. The thousands—well, eventually, millions—of the descendants of the people who’s lives were saved…that’s the only lasting legacy. Everything else…“dust in the wind.”

Now, if you’ll please allow me to excuse myself, I have to dust my black coat. :smiley:

I’m suddenly hungry for a Hostess Fruit Pie! …those pimps made me spend my paper route money on delicious hostess fruit pies. Daredevil made them so tempting.

[Captain Amazing]

“You know, gingavitis can be a crime, that’s why I use Mighty-Whitey toothpaste. It’s what helps my teeth look… Amazing.”

[/Captain Amazing]

[Agent] So, you say your name is Matter-Eater Lad and you can eat anything? Well, first, that name has to go. We’ll call you “Mangetout” or something classy like that. Then we’ll have to figure out a way to jazz up that act. Face it, kid, nobody’s gonna care that you can eat anything, except those Nathan’s people once a yeatr with that hot dog thing.Can you juggle, or something?[/Agent]

For those of you concerned about Mr. Fantastic and Plastic Man, I have two words for you–house painting. :smiley:



And now that I think of it, to hell with Mr. Fantastic and Plastic Man.

Where’s Elasti-Girl? :smiley:

There was a “silly Green Lantern” named Buk-50 who used his ring to become the universe’s best furniture mover.

Guy Gardner: “Didn’t it occur to you that you could use your ring to just MAKE the money?”
Buk-50: “And lose my time-and-a-half on weekends?”