“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” So wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. The fictional rich, particularly those in comic books, are especially different. For one thing, many have superpowers, not to mention financial reserves that make most real-life country’s GDPs look paltry.
Being rich and a comic book character has advantages, especially if someone comes from old money and grows up in a grand house. Turning the vast and spreading family manse—fortuitously equipped with secret passageways and a cave system below—into a fortress or lair is the inevitable next step. Here are the four fanciest mansions in comics and animation.
Stately Wayne Manor
Probably one of the most famous and classiest estates in comic book history, Wayne Manor and its most famous resident reminds us of the strange nature of identity. Or, as The LEGO Batman Movie asked us, does Batman live in Bruce Wayne’s basement, or does Bruce Wayne live in Batman’s attic?
Wayne Manor’s history depends on the writer telling it, but it’s well-known that the Waynes have occupied the property for generations and that it’s located just outside Gotham. This means Batman commutes to fight crime! As a staff of one, poor Alfred Pennyworth has his work cut out for him, whether he’s dusting all the furniture or ensuring the mansion’s many types of solid wood doors are locked up to keep out Jokers and whatnot.
Richie Rich, the “poor little rich boy,” emerged in 1953 when billionaires were somewhat uncommon creatures. The Riches were later upgraded to multi-billionaires, though it’s unclear if this outstrips Bezos and Zuckerberg numbers. A lot of that money went into building and maintaining their gargantuan home, which had its own time zones! Guests, staff, and bad guys frequently got lost in the thousand-room mansion, and Richie often found discarded piles of cash, gold, and jewels the Riches forgot they stockpiled.
The Xavier Institute
Where do you room and board your X-men? In an X-Mansion, of course! It was originally called the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters—headmaster Charles Francis Xavier’s (aka Professor X) terribly clever way of disguising his school and training facility for young mutants. The Institute is Xavier’s childhood home, and like an iceberg, there’s much more happening below. The Institute’s regal architectural flair disguises the underground high-tech training areas and airplane hangar.
The last of the four fanciest mansions in comics and animation isn’t a mansion per se but may be larger than any in this list—at least supernaturally. Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange’s townhouse hangout is famously located at 177A Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, New York. Writer Roy Thomas came up with the address for two reasons: Firstly, he lived in an apartment at that address. Secondly, he was amused at the thought of such a massive building fitting into such a small space—magically, of course.