How profitable is it to be a bounty hunter in the DC Comics universe? A Redditor calling himself Marc Specter (or /u/temporal712) set out to find out. His mission: read every single appearance of Jonah Hex, track his earnings and expenses, and combined that data with factors like inflation and rare currency values to figure out how much money Hex made in his career, and how much it's worth today.
Specter posted the results in a 49 page document on ScribeD, in which he describes his methods:
Now, how does one go about calculating the fictional net worth of a fictional character?Well, like any other net worth, of course. By adding up all the profits and assets, and subtracting all the expenses. Throughout each appearance, I noted when Hex completed a contract and received money or lost supplies that needed to be restocked and/or lost any money.Unlike other financial inquiries, though, it's significantly harder to find documents to audit when they are over 100 years old, not to mention the fact that Jonah Hex is a fictional character.Hell, most of the contracts Hex took never stated a dollar amount. So how how do we know what Jonah has in assets and profits? We get our answer in Jonah Hex Vol. 1 #19, where Hex states his standard rate for a contract was $5,000, so any contract that isn't given a stated amount will be assumed to be $5,000. Assets and their values will be evaluated and added at the final balance, after all appearances.So we have a process for figuring out profits, but what are the expenses for a famous bounty hunter? For starters, Jonah spends a lot of time on his own on the trail. So he needs basic survival supplies like food, coffee, spare pants, and toiletries. He also tends to lose many horses, saddles, and harnesses, mostly to bullets. Hex loses his Colt 45.'s Remington rifles, shotguns, and ammo just as much. Using the prices and wages manuscripts from the National Park Service and theLibrary of the University of Missouri, we can put together an accurate price guide for anytimeJonah loses any of his supplies. Putting those together, you have…
● Resupply: Dried apricots, dried apples, dried figs, dried peaches, beef jerky, coffee, toiletries, spare clothes = $6.67, $128.47 with inflation.
● Saddle Up: good saddle horse, cowboy saddle, harness = $310, $5,971.03 with inflation.
● Lock And Load: Matching ivory Colt .45's, Shotgun, Repeating Rifle, ammo boxes =$211.50, $4,073.79 with inflation.
● Full Restock: Resupply, Saddle Up, Lock And Load combined = $528.17, $10,173.29with inflation.So anytime these words are put on an issue, we will know to subtract that amount from whatever the total is at the moment. There is also need to account for other various purchases and services rendered that aren't a regular occurrence like the cost of a doctor, a cannon and ammo, a minigun, Train costs, hotel stays and whiskey, and anything he may have bought in the future.
So now we have the Profits, the assets, and the expenses covered, the only thing left is to do the hard work, and to tally up all the money exchanged in all of the character's appearances. I will also be showing the total balance in today's money after each regular balance is added, to make it easier to picture the amount of money we are dealing with using an inflation calendar. The modern total might wobble a bit depending on what year is being used for inflation, but that doesn't really matter until the end, it is just a guideline for now. So without further ado, see you on the other side.
You can read the full, itemized document complete with citations at ScribeD (and embedded below). But Specter also offered a TL;DR on Reddit:
Over his entire life, Jonah Hex made about $750,000 in just straight cash. Combined with other things he received as rewards such as land grants, antiques, and a 30% share of Gotham's most prominent casino, it adds up to just under 30 million. Combine that with inflation, and the rarity and value of the currency he dealt with in coin collecting circles, and Jonah Hex has over 1 billion dollars.
To be precise, $29,835,358.66 without inflation, or $1,067,763,122.15 With Inflation.
One Redditor called Specter's work "the most devoted nerdery I've seen this week." Frankly, that sounds like it's majorly underselling it.