You think you have it hard? Try holding down a steady job while also saving the world on a daily basis. And sure, plenty of comic book superheroes only job is donning spandex and fighting crime; but plenty of them also have to pay the rent while they’re doing it. In honor of Labor Day, here are the ten hardest working characters in comics:
10. Karen Starr, aka Power Girl
Unlike SOME billionaires I can mention (cough Bruce Wayne cough), Karen Starr actually goes to work every day, running her global corporation Starr Enterprises. In her off hours, she’s a member (and sometimes leader) of the Justice Society of America, and even has her own solo career as Superman’s alternate reality cousin, Power Girl. And you know she’s busy, because she forgot to put on the front of her costume.
9. Bobby Drake, aka Iceman
It’s not something that often plays into the cocky X-Man’s storylines, but for a good chunk of time, the chilly mutant was a certified public accountant. Seriously. He actually even left the superhero game to go to college, and then worked for a few years as a CPA. Gives new meaning to “freezing your assets.”
8. Commissioner Gordon
Does this guy ever sleep? Between the non-stop slaughter of innocents, petty crime, and caped crusaders running around his city, there’s no police officer in comic-dom so overworked and underpaid as James Gordon. The result? A mostly broken family, and the most permanently hangdog look in comic books.
7. Sean Cassidy, aka Banshee
Irish born Sean Cassidy may be better known for his sonic scream powers, but the deceased X-Man was also an Interpol agent – and later a member of the NYPD. And there was no cushy job for the mutant, either: he was a beat cop, walking the streets day in and day out.
6. Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil
Some could argue that Murdock is probably worse at his job of lawyerin’ than anyone else on this list; particularly as most of his cases end in mistrials due to his dual identity. But Murdock, for decades, has dutifully stuck to defending the innocent both with his enhanced sensory superpowers, and his knowledge of the law.
5. Kyle Rayner, aka Green Lantern
One of the more brilliant touches added into the character of this legacy Lantern was that he was a struggling graphic artist. As opposed to say, Hal Jordan, who had difficulty conjuring up anything but anvils and punching gloves, Rayner was able to apply his imagination to coming up with complex constructions using his power ring. Unfortunately for Rayner, though, at the end of a long day of saving the universe, he still needed to stay up all night finishing drawings and looking for freelance work.
4. Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool
Here’s one character who mixes his superhero life with his job, but mostly successfully. As an assassin for hire, Deadpool makes his money killing people – and also kind of enjoys it. But he makes this list because he never, ever stops working. Even after he was given billions of dollars for a job recently? He just can’t stop. Hey, when you love what you do…
3. Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk
Another Marvel Universe lawyer, Walters has held down plenty of other jobs, but she always comes back to the law. And she’s good at it! Since her identity is pretty much public, Walters doesn’t have the same challenges as Murdock. She also may not be as flashy in the courtroom, but she makes up for it in study, research, and occasional punchin’.
2. Wally West, aka The Flash
As the super-fast Flash, West can finish any job while you’re still finishing blinking – but instead, he chooses to be part of the city he lives in and loves. Central City is a working man’s town – think Detroit in the real world – so West works during the day as a mechanic, at regular speed, before racing off to stop the latest attack by The Rogues.
1. Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man
Is there any man who works harder, for no credit, than Peter Parker, the spectacular Spider-Man? I mean, no, or we wouldn’t have put him at number one. Whether it’s the regular universe version, or Ultimate, one of the most crucial parts of the Spider-Man mythos is that he’s always scraping for cash, down on his luck, unable to pay his rent or take his girl out to dinner. In recent issues, that luck has changed: Parker is no longer a struggling freelance photographer, he’s now a research scientist with Horizon Labs, using the tech he needs as Spidey and coming up with consumer applications for it. But even with the newfound wealth comes new problems: he has to hold down that job, his solo career, and being a member of three other teams. That’s just the Parker luck!