In the Marvel Universe, the Avengers and Tony Stark made sure that being of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes paid and came with some serious benefits.
Before crowning Sam Wilson as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Captain America, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier revealed that members of the Avengers don’t make any real money from being on the team in the MCU. As shown throughout the series, Sam Wilson was left more or less on his own for his personal finances, despite his history with the team.
However, that’s not entirely the case in the Marvel Universe, where being an Avenger has far more tangible benefits. According to the team’s charter, both active and reserve members of the team are paid a stipend, usually by the Maria Stark Foundation or Tony Stark himself.
For most of its existence, the Avengers have been governed by a charter and a detailed set of bylaws. First presented in full as a back-up feature in J.M. DeMatteis, Al Milgrom and Jack Abel’s Avengers Annual #11 in 1982, these documents established the legal operating parameters of the team within the Marvel Universe, giving the team jurisdiction in the United States, its allies and other United Nations countries.
While the Avengers are considered a non-profit organization, both active and reserve members of the team can be paid a stipend from funding provided by the Maria Stark Foundation. According to the charter, active members of the team are paid $1000 a week, while reserve members who are effectively on-call are paid $100 a month. As the Avengers butler Jarvis explains in Jim Shooter, Bob Hall and Dan Green’s Avengers #213, many of the team’s early members refused the stipend, in which case they also have the option to send the money to a retirement fund.
Adjusted for inflation from that figure’s 1982 print date, those stipends are equivalent to $2815.50 a week for active members and $281.55 for reservists in today’s money.
Beyond that, the active members of the Avengers are also entitled to free medical and life insurance. The charter, which was written with the team’s Avengers Mansion headquarters in mind, also states that active members may be provided with living quarters and have “unlimited meal privileges” at their base. After the United States government suspended the Avengers’ charter in the early ‘90s, the United Nations reapproved the charter with a renewed focus on international membership and an amendment that explicitly set out the situations the team deal with in In 1991’s Avengers #329, by Larry Hama, Paul Ryan and Tom Palmer, but the rest of the charter remained the same.
Right now, it’s not entirely clear if the charter is still in use. However, a few relatively recent stories suggest that at least some tenets of the charter still hold true. In 2005, J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Deodato Jr and Joe Pimentel’s Amazing Spider-Man #519 saw Peter Parker, Mary Jane and Aunt May move into Avengers Tower during his tenure with the team. When the Avengers went on a recruiting drive in Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opeña, Dean White, Justin Posnor and Morry Hollowell’s Avengers #2 in 2015, Iron Man convinced Spider-Man to join again with money.
Presently, the team operates out of Avengers Mountain, which is the converted body of a dead Celestial in the Arctic. Like Avengers Mansion, it has living quarters for every member of the team, and She-Hulk, Black Panther and Iron Man were all said to have rooms at the headquarters.
Although the Maria Stark Foundation served the team’s interests for many years, Stark eventually lost control of the charity. After that, the team’s operations were funded through Parker Industries and Stark’s personal fortune. Since reforming around Avengers Mountain, the team has received material support from Wakanda and the Alpha Flight space program, although it’s not clear if the primary funding for the team comes from Stark, T’Challa or another source.
Even though the Avengers have gone through dozens of permutations since the charter was released, the team has always had at least some consideration for compensating its members in comics. While the MCU’s Avengers have been left on their own more than once, Marvel’s comic book Avengers have always tried to make sure that the members of the team have a roof over their heads at the very least.
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