They may be Earth’s mightiest heroes, but are they Earth’s best-paid heroes? The superhero vocation seems to be part of the gig economy at best, but you’d think that The Avengers, who have literally saved the entire planet and even the entire universe, would rate a comfortable pay scale with full benefits from someone. If not the government, then at least S.H.I.E.L.D., or even Tony Stark. Do the Avengers make scale for assembling? Or does Captain America have to drive for Uber on his days off from punching out Hydra agents?
Well, in the MCU the answer is… not so much. While Iron Man presumably has access to Jeff Bezos-level personal wealth, Cap has an ostensible stipend of some kind when working for S.H.I.E.L.D., and Thor is … a god? Anybody who’s on the team and doesn’t get paid on the regs presumably has to scratch for a living when the bill collectors come knocking. This was well established by Sam Wilson’s financial woes when he couldn’t even score a bank loan in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. C’mon, the guy’s literally named after the actual Uncle Sam — can we at least get the guy on the G.I. Bill?
That said, in the comics, team members have historically received a stipend according to the original Avengers’ charter. Funds are derived from the Maria Stark Foundation or from Tony Stark himself, and currently, amount to one thousand dollars a week, or $2700 in 2022 dollars, while reserve members get $100 a month.
Although most Avengers have traditionally waived the stipend, some members do use it in lieu of a day job (or not being part of a powerful pantheon of gods). It even enticed a young Spider-Man to try out for the team in 1966’s The Amazing Spider-Man volume 3 in order to quit his job at the Daily Bugle and buy some medicine for poor old Aunt May. Spidey tried to land the gig several more times over the years before he was officially invited to join.
As for the regular MCU heroes, maybe it’s time to renegotiate? Do superheroes have agents? Maybe Bucky should phone She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Or Matt Murdock.
Get paid, Avenger!