8 Career Mistakes of Superheroes

Faster Than a Speeding Pink Slip

Superheroes such as Batman have to deal with everything from muggers to evil alien gods. But sometimes life can be more difficult outside the costume. Most superheroes have to juggle their crime fighting with a legitimate job, but it’s a juggling act many find difficult. Various comic book superheroes have lost their jobs when their obligations to the greater good intruded on their careers. And others still have jeopardized their careers in ways that had nothing to do with fighting crime. It seems even supermen and women have bad days on the job. Here are eight heroes who have made career mistakes, with sometimes disastrous results. Photo Credit: DCcomics.com


Peter Parker (Spider-Man): Revealed His Secret Identity

Peter Parker has always had an awkward professional life. While he spent time as a high school teacher and scientific researcher, his most gainful employment has been as a photographer for the Daily Bugle – a New York tabloid that just so happens to consider Spider-Man public enemy No. 1. This awkward dance comes to a head during the 2006 Civil War storyline, when Spider-Man decides to reveal his secret identity in support of an effort to make superheroes registered government employees instead of vigilantes. Parker’s boss, J. Jonah Jameson, doesn’t react well when he discovers that his sworn enemy has been drawing a paycheck from him for years and promptly fires Parker on the front page of the next day’s paper. Take a lesson from Spidey: While honesty is the best policy, it’s sometimes better to keep your mouth shut if you want to keep your job. Photo Credit: Marvel.com


Michael Jon Carter (Booster Gold): Trusted the Wrong Man

Most superheroes fight evil for the greater good and keep a day job to pay the bills. Booster Gold became a superhero because he wanted to become rich and famous, even going so far as to hire a manager and build a company around his personal brand. Unfortunately, his selfish and fame-seeking ways catch up with him when his manager, Dirk Davis, reveals himself to be part of a cult of evil robots. He drains Booster's bank accounts and leaves him penniless, destroying the hero’s already poor reputation in the process. The lesson? Be careful who you go into business with. Photo Credit: DCcomics.com


Clark Kent (Superman): Never at His Desk

When you're a reporter in the city of Metropolis, your job is simple: Report on the exploits of Superman. Unfortunately, Kent never seems to be around when the Man of Steel is fighting the latest villain above the streets of Metropolis, usually leaving fellow Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane to always get the big scoop. In fact, Kent has a bad habit of sneaking away from his desk at various points throughout the day without explanation. Despite his constant truancy, Kent has established himself as a top-notch journalist, and the comic writers have generally played his workplace conflicts with editor-in-chief Perry White for laughs rather than as a serious plot point. “Even if you go back to the old [1950s] series with George Reeve, Perry White was always fuming because Clark Kent wasn’t around,” recalls comic book historian Mark Evanier. “Then he’d suddenly show up with the story.” Photo Credit: DCcomics.com


Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar): Might Have Used His Powers to Get Ahead

The occasional X-Man, who has the mutant power of super speed, is probably best known for being one of the most prominent openly gay superheroes in comics. But before the French-Canadian mutant became a superhero, he had a burgeoning career as downhill skier, where he won various medals in professional competition. Years after retiring from skiing to become a full-time superhero, Northstar is participating in an exhibition race when he is forced to reveal his secret identity to save a young girl’s life. Upon discovering that the famous skier is a super-fast mutant, spectators question whether he’d ever used his powers to cheat in competition. Northstar admits that he may have subconsciously used his powers without realizing it, and later relinquishes his medals. While he had already ended his professional career, any hope of returning to the sport is crushed. Photo Credit: Marvel.com


Tony Stark (Iron Man): Drinking on the Job

It's not easy juggling a superhero identity and a civilian job, especially when that job is running a multibillion-dollar corporation. In the 1979 “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, the stress of these dual identities finally starts to weigh on billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who moonlights as armored superhero Iron Man. His constant drinking begins taking a toll on his professional life as owner of Stark Industries, and at one point he suits up as Iron Man while drunk, with predictably disastrous results. His undoing comes when he drunkenly snaps at his loyal butler, Jarvis, who resigns from his position and sells his shares of Stark Industries stock on his way out the door. SHIELD, a United Nations spy agency that had long coveted Stark's military technology, quickly buys up the shares to take a controlling stake in the company that Stark built. Seeing how his constant boozing has caused his life to unwind, Stark finally decides to lay off the sauce. Photo Credit: Marvel.com


Nick Fury: Disobeyed Orders

As commander of SHIELD, Fury was responsible for combating superpowered threats in the Marvel Universe. But when the president of the United States refuses to sign off on military action against Latveria, a fictional country supporting superpowered terrorism, Fury takes matters into his own hands. He recruits a team of superheroes, sneaks into the country and strikes a crippling blow against Latveria's government. He then mind-wipes the superheroes to keep his illegal actions a secret. When the deposed Latverian leader retaliates a year later with an army of supervillains, Fury's insubordination becomes public. Needless to say, Fury loses his job as top spy and is forced to go underground as a fugitive from the law. The lesson? Don't disobey your boss, especially if your boss is the leader of the free world. Photo Credit: Marvel.com


Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible): Assaulted His Boss

The former Mr. Incredible never quite took to his job as a claims adjuster for an insurance company, and was constantly in trouble with his boss due to his bad habit of actually helping clients get the insurance money they deserved. But the last straw came when Bob’s boss, Mr. Huph, prevents him from stopping a mugging taking place outside their office. The enraged Parr strangles his boss and throws him through several walls. Bob’s career in insurance comes to a swift end. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Incredible makes another career blunder when he agrees to a series of freelance superhero jobs for an employer who turns out to be a supervillain. Some heroes just don’t take to the professional life. Photo Credit: Pixar


Charles Xavier (Professor X): Endangered Students

These days, a public school teacher can be fired if he or she so much as breaks up a fight. So it’s probably a good thing for Professor X that he owns a private school and doesn’t have to answer for his actions. The telepathic mutant founded Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters ostensibly as a prep school, and while his teenaged students do get a top-notch educational experience, they’re also routinely sent into extremely dangerous situations as the X-Men. Xavier’s habit of endangering his students’ lives eventually catches up to him, though. He steps down from his position as headmaster after a student body riot kills three students, and shortly thereafter it’s revealed that he had sent several previously unknown students to their deaths in a mission gone horribly wrong. The revelation furthers his alienation from the school he founded, and former prized pupil Scott Summers (Cyclops) now heads both the school and the X-Men. It’s a valuable lesson for any leader: No matter how lofty and high-minded your goals, you still need to treat your followers with respect. Photo Credit: Marvel.com


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