Every year about this time Forbes releases its list of the 15 richest fictional characters. They figure out the wealth of the various characters by looking at equivalent real world businesses and the price share movements of known commodities in real life. For many years Santa Claus, whose worth was always calculated as infinite, made the top of the list. This year he was not placed on the list because of the ongoing controversy (especially among children) as to whether Ol' St. Nick is fictional or not.
Anyhow, here is the list:
1. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks
2. Montgomery Burns
3. Scrooge McDuck
4. Richie Rich
5. Jed Clampett
6. Mr. Monopoly
7. Bruce Wayne
8 .Tony Stark (Iron Man, to those who don't read comics)
9. Prince Abakaliki of Nigeria (the fictional billionaire of the well known scam)
10. Thurston Howell III
11. Willy Wonka
12. Lucius Malfoy
13. Tony Montana (of the 1983 film Scarface)
14. Lara Croft
While I am no expert at finances, I must say that I do have some problems with the list. I am not at all sure that Daddy Warbucks should have made the number one spot. The reasoning of Forbes is that his fortune would be made even greater by the conflict in Iraq. I am not so sure, however, that the war in Iraq would bring in more money, however, than oil or chocolate bars. Indeed, using that reasoning, I think Tony Stark (whose Stark Industries manufactured weapons) would rank higher on the list than he does. Too, I am not sure that Warbucks is even still alive. According to official Little Orphan Annie canon, he was born in 1894. He would have to be 112 by now. Indeed, Annie herself (who probably inherited his fortune) is probably about 90 by now...
I have to admit Jed Clampett is probably pretty old by now as well, but then hillfolk are known for extraordinary longevity (just how old was Granny?). Given that he is probably still alive and spry as ever, I honestly think he should have made the top of the list. While known to spend his fortune in ways others might consider unwisely and generous to a fault, his fortune is based in oil. Given the price of gas lately, I rather suspect Clampett is raking a good deal of money of late. Too, Clampett owns Mammoth Studios. DVD sales from its old movies, not to mention the rise of movie downloads on the Internet, have probably increased his fortune even more.
I also have to question Willy Wonka making the list. As I understand, he no longer owns his famous chocolate company. As I understand it, he handed over his company and his famous factory to a fellow named Charles Bucket years ago. Since then Wonka has only served with his company in an advisory position. I would then say that Mr. Bucket (who insists most people just call him "Charlie") should be on the list in Wonka's place.
I also have to question Tony Montana being on the list. Although one of the wealthiest drug lords of the late Seventies and early Eighties, he met an untimely end in 1983 when gunned down from behind. Since Montana has long been dead, he should have hardly made the list.
Anyhow, I really don't have a problem with the rest of the list (although I think one could debate whether Bruce Wayne is richer than Richie Rich (I think he is myself...I mean, the Batmobile and all those gadgets had to cost a pretty penny...). And I must say that it is the one thing in Forbes I read each and every year. Anyway, for others interested in it, you can find it here.