Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can Wolverine Build a School?

Wolverine #17 by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
Marvel Comics, 2011

Where does Wolverine get his money from? If he has managed to save up enough to start a new school for mutants in Westchester, he must certainly have exercised several lifetimes of prudent money management. Here is what we had to say about this before:

Throughout his long, long life Wolverine has shown very little interest in matters of an economic nature. He's spent most of his time living in cabins, hovels, and sleeping in the beds and houses of others. His worldly possessions seldom exceed the clothes on his back (usually a jumpsuit made of spandex or leather), a cache of cheap cigars, a motorcycle, and a six-pack of beer. This is the sum of the worldly possessions he has accrued in over 100 years of life. Granted, a large part of this life was spent being mind controlled and experimented on, but in the years since he's escaped from Weapon X, Wolverine has made a series of life decisions which placed him in financial jeopardy.

We know Wolverine likes to live a life of modesty. Previously, I thought this was due to the fact that, despite living the equivalent of several lifetimes, he never took a job that was lucrative enough for him to splurge on things like mansions and jets.

Evidently, this is incorrect. Turns out that Wolverine has been slowly saving for years and has now accrued enough funds to open a school.

I haven't the fainted idea of what it costs to open a school. I doubt that the Xavier Institute was a charter school or received any sort of public funding. In today's Marvel Universe, mutants are still highly stigmatized so it is unlikely that Wolverine will be able to receive any sort of grant or government assistance, unless through nefarious means (snikt snikt). I do, however, know that it is extremely expensive, probably requiring initial funding of upwards of $500,000 to one million dollars. Westchester County, New York, also seems like it would be particularly costly.

Is it possible that Wolverine managed to save up this much money? Actually, it doesn't seem that crazy. Let's assume all assets that he had saved up prior to his kidnapping by the Weapon X program had been wiped (it is unlikely that the sinister Canadian organization let him keep his money). Then, once Logan escapes the program (well after World War II), he had to start with nothing.

He then met Charlies Xavier and joined up with the X-Men in the 1970s. I think it's safe to assume that he started his savings at this point. Assuming that he had been paid a salary for his service (something of which I am not sure, though I imagine he needed some form of income to, you know, eat) and that he served continuously through the present (a stretch, but it would be difficult to account for all the gaps in his time with the X-Men), it is certainly feasible that Wolverine had saved the amount required to at the very least put forth the initial funds. He had been actively working for four decades (longer if you count the time between Weapon X and the X-Men, where he was employed with Department K and probably earned some sweet government pay) and his expenses were minimal (for a while, he took up free residence at the X-Mansion and, as mentioned above, spends very little on material things).

Therefore, it would appear as though Wolverine's modest lifestyle is evidence of prudence and thrift, rather than of having little assets.

Hell, Logan might even be part of the 1%.


Colin Fredericks said...

The cost depends greatly on the number of students you start the school with and the quality of your grounds. Given my guess of how Marvel will show the school (with dozens of students and a rebuilt Xavier Mansion), the cost will likely be higher than your estimates by a factor of 10 or so. Building new dormitories alone for 100 students would cost about 5 million dollars.

ShadowBanker said...

That's probably true. That makes it less plausible that Logan saved that much over forty years.

ohberon said...

Logan has spent quite a while on Madripoor as Patch doing who knows what. It is likely he was able to obtain lucre there.

Will said...

It might not be as expensive as it appears though. The Wolverine and X-Men comic make it pretty clear the land was provided to him and, although the mansion was destroyed, the foundation and sub-basements already existed. Plus, he has advanced alien technology (and mutants with various powers) assisting in the construction, which would likely lower costs dramatically. It is possible that the construction costs could be surprisingly low and you are just looking at the licensing, real estate taxes, and personal property that goes with a school.

Also, he has worked for some pretty shady groups (including all of his Japanese storylines) and probably was paid handsomely, so saving millions might not be that challenging considering how frugally he lives.

ShadowBanker said...

@Will - You're probably right about the low construction costs, but is that really all it takes? Do the property rights still belong to the X-Men? Would Xavier just hand it over? I think Logan would still have to have a deed of some sort, which he'd have to spend considerable money on.

Allen Varney said...

Sure, the comics of our world show Logan joining the X-Men in the 1970s. But in the rubbery mystery of Marvel time, that's only, what, six or eight years ago? Peter Parker got his spider powers at age 15, before Professor X recruited the original X-Men. Now Peter is about 25-26, and Logan came in with the second generation of mutants. He hasn't had all that much time since Weapon X to start saving. Maybe he got a huge lump-sum payment from Xavier or Magneto?

ShadowBanker said...

That's a great point about the Marvel timeline. I guess he could have received a lump sum from Xavier, though the book is making it seem like he saved. There's probably a good post to be made about dynamic optimization with different timelines.

bottleHeD said...

Here's another thought - all those shady criminals / crime-bosses that he regularly busts, what happens to their funds and money? I suspect it gets "channeled" into a special "Wolverine" account.

Chakat Firepaw said...

I think there is a source of money more likely than 'frugal living and saving':

I would assume that, while he has tended to just have enough income to get by, he does periodically come into windfalls. Be those in the form of money/valuables or owed favours. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that he tends to treat those as 'if I need it' resources rather than using them to live the high life for a while.

There is even a good chance some of those would have survived the WeaponX 'reset'. (Sure, the money in the bank goes bye-bye, but what about the stash of gold up in the Yukon?)

So to fund the school he might be doing things like heading to old haunts to collect things stashed there and/or calling up people/groups he has helped in the past.

Jordan said...

Logan is an old friend of Nick Fury, who has literal bases built all around the world. I'm sure that Logan has all sorts of illicit sources for funds. That plus his frugal lifestyle could lead to a LOT of money.