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

Speaking of corporate sponsorship, i’m surprised Booster Gold hasn’t been mentioned.

I can’t see a super-healing ability (like Wolverine’s) being profitable in the absence of other super powers. Unless the ability is so profound that the hero can become a one-person organ farm (“Kidney? Sure. And I’ll have another one by tomorrow.”), and even in that case the selling of organs is illegal. Maybe they could become a plasma donor, and give three times a day, or something?

Wonder Man has held quite a few jobs that rely on his mega-invulnerability. I recall that he once worked as a flak jacket tester; he’d wear the jacket, let himself get shot with a bazooka, and tell the manufacturer how it performed.

Sorry to have to say this, but if you’re going to open up with the idea that heroes should be able to call in debts and favors from people they’ve helped, that opens up the door to the idea that they can also get sued six ways from Sunday by dissatisfied customers, arrested for violating various regulations, health codes, union regulations, building codes… but that’s nothing compared to the simple point that making tons of cash because you have superpowers is woefully unheroic.

Supposed you have the ability to heal any injury.

How much do you charge?
Do you make people to travel to you?
Do you turn people away because you’ve been going non-stop for 24 hours and, although you’ve raked in shopping carts full of cash, you’re just pooped?
Even if there was just a bus crash down the block and these seven people are going to die or be horribly crippled if you don’t save them right now? And do you ask them for payment first, or afterwards?

It’s the message of The Incredibles: Who wants to be super all the time?

[dr evil voice] Well I guess we’ll have to fall back on the usual way. Steal a nuclear warhead and hold the planet hostage for large sums of money. {/dr. evil voice]

(at least, I think that’s close to the line…)

In what was supposed to be an attempt at humor and satire (it isn’t if it’s not funny) Peter Milligan re-created X-Force (in the last 10 or so issues) as a media pop idol team, whose every move was filmed and released for sale and whose members and internal strife (and who lived and died) were controlled by their corporate owners. It did work well enough to show why this was so bad of an idea, but was so over the top that it can’t be said to be a real exploration of the theme.

Captain Amazing in the deliriously funny Mystery Men has endorsement labels all over his crimefighting suit. He looks like a NASCAR driver.

So it could happen.

Dammit, you beat me to it! :smiley:

Except that his supply ISN’T unlimited: he has to charge up on sunlight, and he runs out from time to time–more so when he’s in a fight at night. In a world with powered armor firing repulsor blasts, Cyke doesn’t have any insurmountable advantage. He could get a premium wage as a mercenary, sure, but probably would be better off being an airline pilot.

Has something changed? Because I don’t think Ollie’s been rich in a LLLOOONNNGGG time.

Wow, Shadowcat’s powers would be phenomenal for structural engineering, product creation, and a million different things.

She could easily phase one huge concrete slab into another concrete slab, bonding it down to the molecular level, and creating solid supports with absolutely no chance of failure at a joint or seam.

For building retrofits, she could phase in a reinforcing rod into a concrete wall, bringing it up to code, without having to alter or tear down the original structure in any way.

If they can find a way to fit her with an air tank, she could do some amazing geological surveys, searching for oil or gas, by phasing down a mile or two and seeing what’s down there, without having to drill through the dirt.

Jeez - Gold mining! Diamond mining! Archaeology!

She could be rich by the end of the week if she tried.

The excellent independant comic PS238 has a character aptly called the Rainmaker, who can make it rain at will. His weather control is not quite as versatile as Storm’s (he can’t make tornadoes, or call down targetted lightning, or anything like that), but still quite sufficient for ending droughts. He’s trying to make a living at it, but it doesn’t work too well, since the small towns who hire him by and large can’t afford to pay. And he can’t charge up front, because then his clients would think that he was trying to scam them.

Noelq, is it ever established in the comics what happens when two objects are overlapping when they come back into phase?

Probably Hal Jordan & John Stewart can’t; using power rings for personal gain is almost certainly against the Guardians’ rules. Kyle & Alan could probably rake it in if they felt like it…well, not Kyle anymore, as the guardians are back, but Alan is under no one’s authority but his own.

Also, I’m pretty sure that Justice League bylaws specifically prohibit members from using their powers from personal gain–which, when you think about it, makes them pretty elitist,.

Well, the closest thing that she’s done is that during the Illyana mini-series, in which she’s become the evil “cat”, she kills Nightcrawler by phasing him partially into the floor, and then letting go. His bones are described as being fused with the rocks. To quote the Marvel website, "Kitty also has the potential to kill another being by phasing them into a solid object and then releasing them, causing them to solidify whilst still within the object. " I am assuming that the fusing of the objects can be translated to more peaceful pursuits.

I honestly can’t remember if her picking up two objects, phasing them, and then reconstituting them has been shown as a fact or not. A search on google does not pull up any definite information, either.

Firestorm is a superhero who can transmute objects. In the second Firestorm series in the last 80s, someone wrote in a letter that was published (ah, the letters page…) and which asked that if Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein were that down on their luck, why not buy a bg parcel of land in Nevada, and transmute it to gold?

Gerry Conway was the writer at the time. His response? “Because that would be cheating.” (I think he was being droll.)

Sounds like the terrible lots of vets - I’m told they are often depressed because they put down people’s pets in circumstances where the owners are distressed and cannot pay.

Noelq, is it ever established in the comics what happens when two objects are overlapping when they come back into phase?

In one X-men comic, when thrust into a barbarian timeline by a magic spell, a possessed Vision drives both fists into the steel mutant Colossus, and re-solidifies. Both explode as they try to occupy the same space simultaneously, and Captain America is described as injured by shrapnel.

Any superhero who can time travel at will can write their own ticket, without interfering with history in any way.

Any superhero who can time travel at will can write their own ticket, without interfering with history in any way.

They can even go back in time and undo their duplicate posts before they hit the ‘submit’ button. :slight_smile:

These questions were addressed in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and to a lesser extent Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

In the former, which is set during the Cold War, a key part of the nuclear defense strategy of the United States rests on the abilities of a super-hero called Dr. Manhattan. He doesn’t confer any lasting advantage though, because he is only one man, and not omnipotent. The comic says he could destroy 60% of the U.S.S.R.‘s missiles, but 40% is more than enough to wipe us out.
In the latter comic, which is set in the DC Comics universe, Superman is a U.S. government agent, and is dispatched to destroy the Russian Navy.
The main problem with using superheroes as military combatants is their powers are unique. No wise military strategy rests on a single element so vital that removing it can destroy the strategy. Dr. Manhattan illustrated why that was so by departing the Earth in Watchmen, leaving the U.S. government high and dry.
At a tactical level, Cyclops’ abilities may be awesome, but his effectiveness would lead the enemy to concentrate all their energy on killing him. The nature of his power also means it is impossible to use subtly. Therefore his location would immediately be known, allowing all available firepower to be brough to bear on him. This would require him to surrounded by so much defensive armor and weaponry that he would have no tactical flexibility, and we therefore be useless as a human weapon.

As for Spider-Man acting as a human crane, no way in hell would that be acceptable to the construction workers’ union, the project engineer, the builder’s insurance company, or the local building inspectors. Has Spider-Man’s webbing been strength-tested the way legitimate building materials have? If he uses too little and it breaks is he at fault or his employer? Not only that, webbing dissolves after an unknown period of time, making it unsuitable for any large project. As for him lifting massive objects, having something large and heavy resting on only two bearing surfaces the size of a human hand is inherently unstable. Not only that, but Spider-Man has been known to occasionally lose his powers. The possible liability should anything go wrong would make a lawyer either go into shock or dance, depending on who he represents. And just like in the military, no engineer would plan a project around the unique abilities of one person. What if he called in sick? Work would grind to a halt.

I think the best suggestions are for superheroes whose powers just make them more effective at doing the same things ordinary people do. I think the suggestion of using Rogue as a CIA interrogator is the most practical so far. Professor Xavier could also make a fortune using his powers to play (or even manipulate) the stock market. Wolverine could have a brilliant career as a kosher butcher, if gentiles are allowed to do that.

Or, staying in the X-verse, Longshot. He could win the lottery whenever the hell he wanted–though he’d have to intend to give the money to charity, I suppose, so that his motives were pure.