Corporate Titans, Superheroes, Philanthropy

Superhero Corporations: Saving The[ir] World — One Dollar at a Time

Corporations and billionaires — modern day superheroes or villains?

Tyler Price

September 27, 2022

A young boy’s parents are murdered in front of his eyes. After casually taking the lives of two civilians, the killer reaches down and takes a pearl necklace from the boy’s mother. Then, he turns and walks away. The boy stands by, traumatized, as the brutal reality of petty crime is burned into his memory.

That event would go on to influence that boy’s entire life. He dreamed of ridding his city of crime and ensuring that no one else would feel the loss he suffered. However, after inheriting billions of dollars from his deceased parents, that child would eventually reach a crossroads. Eradicating crime ⁠— how was he to accomplish such a lofty goal?

As that boy grew up, he would choose to answer that question not by distributing his massive wealth to those less fortunate, but instead with his own two hands. He would take up a costume and cape to become: Batman.

A tweet that jokes about the way Batman chooses to fight crime. The tweet says: Bruce Wayne: How can I rid this city of crime? Alfred: Mental health care access, economic development, gun reg — Bruce: Bring me a cape.

A tweet from Matt Ford (@fordm) highlighting the comical nature of Batman’s chosen form of heroics.

Most of us are familiar with Batman, the DC Comics’ superhero who protects Gotham City from the likes of villains such as the Joker and the Riddler. However, few people know about Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask and at the head of his family’s billion dollar corporation, Wayne Enterprises.

So just who is Bruce Wayne? The son of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce inherited their billion dollar fortune after they were murdered. Not only did Bruce inherit their vast wealth, but he was also handed the keys to Wayne Enterprises, the massive corporation run by the Wayne family for generations. Wayne Enterprises was founded by merchants in the 17th century, growing in size as it was passed down to each generation of Waynes. The organization was officially incorporated in the 19th century under three companies: Wayne Shipping, Wayne Chemical, and Wayne Manufacturing. In light of the industrial revolution, the company exponentially expanded until it became the large multinational conglomerate company it is in the DC Universe today.

Currently, Wayne Enterprises is the most powerful corporation in Gotham and functions as the lifeblood of the city. The corporation is symbolically located in the heart of Gotham City, in the enormous and imposing Wayne Tower. While the company is mostly active in military defense contracting, Wayne Enterprises has fingers in almost every aspect of Gotham City’s economy through its subsidiaries and corporate branches. These branches include Wayne Aerospace, Wayne Biotech, Wayne Foods, and, most notably, Wayne Technologies, where the majority of Batman’s gadgets are secretly created. The company has an annual revenue of 31.3 billion dollars, placing it among the top fifteen largest fictional companies of all time.

The company has an annual revenue of 31.3 billion dollars, placing it among the top fifteen largest fictional companies of all time.

Within Wayne Enterprises lies the Wayne Foundation, a charitable organization operated by the Waynes that aims to address issues such as poverty, youth homelessness, education inequities, and fund scientific research. The Foundation was created by Bruce Wayne’s parents in their efforts to push the company in a philanthropic direction. Through the Foundation, Wayne Enterprises donated millions of dollars in corporate revenue to social causes around the world.

Bruce Wayne’s time as CEO of Wayne Enterprises has led to him amassing an estimated net worth of $100 billion. Within the lines and pixels of the comic book world, that makes Bruce one of the richest superhero characters ever. Today, in the real world, Bruce’s fortune would make him the 9th richest person on the planet.