Saying that superheroes are a special breed is like saying water is wet, but what we rarely stop to consider are the somewhat normal lives most of them led before their respective shifts into the supernatural. Superheroes come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and some of these men and women actually held jobs that us normal folks would truly enjoy, and even consider special. These are the 15 most overlooked superhero day jobs; they’re not all lives of luxury, but they’re all professions any reasonable person could strive toward in the absence of superpowers.
Bruce Wayne is in fact purely human, but there’s no arguing that he’s been touched by fate in a way that allows him to pull off the monumental challenge of becoming Batman. The man behind the Dark Knight, however, is a man; with friends, cousins, a home, and a multinational conglomerate to fuel his massive bank account. Wayne is one of the world’s most powerful business executives, and he lives the life of a playboy industrialist. How many of us wouldn’t jump at the chance to live that life for just one day? He casually throws it to the wind in favor of his secret, super lifestyle.
Tony Starke, like Bruce Wayne, is a multi-billionaire industrialist playboy and head of a massive corporation. Unlike Wayne, however, Starke doesn’t spend nearly so much energy shielding his true identity while wearing the eponymous suit that makes him Iron Man. That being said, it’s Iron Man that gets all the credit, and the life of a rich genius with so much at his disposal takes the side seat.
Granted, Superman never led a normal life — he never had the chance. He may have spent his life struggling to balance his birthright with his wish to be more human, but in the time he spends as Clark Kent, he often finds himself reminded of just how mundane that really is. The kicker is that his listless alter-ego was a reporter at a major newspaper. Countless journalism students work themselves into the ground just for a shot at a job like that, and it was shown as boring.
Another superhero with a boring normal life that makes many college students salivate — Spiderman, or Peter Parker in this case, was a photographer for a major New York City newspaper. The job was always shown to be boring, pathetic, and beneath him, even though in reality it’s such a highly sought-after career.
Before Bruce Banner suffered the gamma radiation-infused accident that turned him into the Hulk, he was a nuclear physicist at the top of his field. How many kids grow up saying they want to be scientists, how many actually make it all the way to (and through) enough years of university classes to get their PhD in nuclear physics? His job was an amazing one, and it all ended the moment the Hulk was born.
Not many people remember that Wonder Woman actually did have a life outside of superpowers — as Diana Prince. Prince was a liberated young woman who began as an army nurse and worked to become an intelligence officer. Though the timeline is fragmented, and the two jobs are wholly unrelated, they both helped support her main function as a way for Wonder Woman to get the inside scoop on events that could use her intervention. Prince, though a more normal character in comparison to her super alter-ego, was very involved in crisis events and was even adventurous — unlike Clark Kent to his Super Man.
The last of the Green Lanterns, Kyle Rayner was working as a struggling artist in Los Angeles when he was quite randomly chosen to receive the coveted power ring that would change his life forever. It’s funny in his case because the moment he receives the ring and becomes the Green Lantern, there’s never again any reason to revisit his life as a freelance graphic artist — a job many of us would love to have the skill to pull off.
Matt Murdock’s role in the Daredevil saga was no small one — the character was hugely involved in the story. At least, that’s how the writers meant it to be; to the great majority of people, Murdock the lawyer has always taken the backseat to Daredevil, the superhero — and that’s only if he’s not completely forgotten about. As much as we may talk trash about lawyers, none of us could deny it’s one hell of a job, that usually involves all the niceties in life.
Banshee was always known for being one of the relatively few X-Men that had an adult life before joining Xavier, but in that life he experienced quite a bit. He was an inspector working with Interpol at the time his life went to hell, and he spent some time as a roaming detective at freelance before taking the plunge and donning the yellow suit. For anyone who’s ever considered a job in law enforcement, a gig as an inspector working all over Europe is like the holy grail of employment. He just walked away from it all.
We’ve all watched Mythbusters, and seen countless movies or documentaries about the world of special effects and stunt work that drives the massive motion picture industry. Daniel Cassidy, who would be the Blue Devil, was one of those fortunate enough to be an integral part of that industry; he was a stunt man and special effects guru. In fact, it was while wearing a blue devil costume — while filming a movie by the title of The Blue Devil — that he got blasted with energy from a demon and wound up stuck looking the way he did.
Dr. Stephen Beckley led the highly respected life of an astronomer, astronaut, and astrophysicist — an expert in all his fields — when he experienced the incident (and subsequent death) that would transform him into Comet Man. Repeat that three times: An Astronomer, astronaut, and an astrophysicist. Any one of those professions is enough to be more than proud of, and this guy was a big name in all three. Once he attained the lofty prowess of a superhero, all his previous accomplishments melted away.
Mister Fantastic never stopped being Dr. Reed Richards, but his accomplishments as a scientist always took second place to the fact that after the fateful accident in space, he was a stretchy rubber-man. The guy had more PhD’s than most of us have pairs of pants, he invented a ship that could fly faster than the speed of light, and he did it all by the time he was able to legally drink his first beer. All that, and it gets eclipsed by elastic appendages.
Before Thunderstrike became a superhero, he was just Eric Masterson, a humble architect, going about life as architects do, designing and building, generally living a contented and wonderful life as architects tend to do. Then he had a near-death experience and met Thor. His life was understandably never the same after that, but we can’t help but mention again that the guy was a successful architect, something that was basically completely abandoned at the outset of his story.
There are surprisingly few sportsmen in the superhero business, despite the amount of athleticism present. Jean-Paul Beaubier breaks from the pack in that his special place in life outside of supernatural abilities was as a professional skier. He was already pro-level before the onset of his abilities, and afterwards he became too good for other competitors to have a chance at beating him and quit the sport. Just up and quit professional skiing — on a whim.
Not all superheroes come from the universes created within comic books. Hiro Nakamura discovered his remarkable ability while laboring away in the doldrums of a modern cubicle farm at his father’s corporation, Yamagato Industries. Forsaking the job he hated, he left to pursue his prospective life as a superhero, only to return and claim the entire company after his father’s death. As the head executive for a massive corporation, Hiro does nothing. A man who can control time spends all his time elsewhere, while the job he leaves behind is something the vast majority of men could never hope to attain. We blame the excessively spotty scripting for this one.