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Tony Stark, wealthy beyond means, free styling and loving the ladies.  But when trouble calls, he dons the red and gold power suit and goes to fight crime.

Bruce Wayne, wealthy beyond means, free styling and loving the ladies according to the tabloids. But when trouble calls, he dons the cape and cowl and goes out fighting crime.

There have already been polls where Batman and Iron Man try to kick each other’s asses, so we’re doing this weeks match a little different, with this question, “Who’s the better businessman, Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne?”

There’s Rich, and then there is the Major Spoilers POOOOOLL of the Week!

Who is the better businessman?

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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39 Comments

  1. Ricco
    August 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    I’de go with Wayne, right now stark doesn’t have a penny to his name thanks to him miscalculating the longevity of SHIELD.

  2. hermit
    August 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    Tony Stark, because he is actually having fun with his money.

    although, he does make weapons.

    meh, give bruce wayne 15 minutes and he will kick stark’s ass anyway.

  3. websnap
    August 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    No question. No mater what has happened to distract Bruce, he has always been in control and aware of every nuance of wayne enterprises. Hell, he even absorbed LexCorp. Bruce wins.

  4. Frank
    August 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    Neither. Scrooge McDuck is!!

  5. Gaumer
    August 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm — Reply

    Neither! Lex Luthor is :)

  6. lifeisaglitch
    August 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    Batman never got tipsy and lost his company…he did however absorb large parts of Lexcorp. And really if you can compete directly with Lex Luthor and stay ahead, there aint a lot that can bring you down.

  7. wom
    August 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm — Reply

    I have to say Tony Stark. While Tony did lose his company (though he did rebuild a stronger one; eventually buying his original) while falling into alcoholism; he did something Wayne never had to: Start from scratch.

    Wayne started with everything; Stark managed to start over and come back from the edge. Sorry Alfred.

  8. Gibralter
    August 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm — Reply

    I’m going with Mr. Stark. Bruce inherted his money and has other people run his company while he pretends to be a bat. Tony inherted his money, took an active roll in running said company, lost his business due to hostile takeover, Built a new one from the ground up, baught out his old company and is now richer than ever. So I say suck it bat boy!

  9. Brian
    August 25, 2009 at 3:30 pm — Reply

    While Stark did start from scratch … Bruce never had to. Bruce gets this big time. He out manuvers Lex, is very multifaceted (corporate wise), and uses his company as an extention of Batman in fighting crime by helping the city. WayneTech (or insert any other wayne company) is a family company that fights crime on a more proactive front than Batman can. His company makes him a better hero.

  10. Brother129
    August 25, 2009 at 3:41 pm — Reply

    Can someone tell me why I can’t vote on this new MS format? The options won’t come up for me….

    But as far as my thoughts on the issue. This one is pretty much a dead heat. In the Marvel and DC universes, Stark and Wayne have monopoly money…there is always cash on hand in the form of miscellaneous accounts, holdings, properties, subsidiaries, and various secret stashes. While Tony Stark clearly has more fun with his cabbage, Bruce Wayne has always been depicted as philanthropist. From another perspective, all of Stark’s “fun money” goes to whoring, drinking, and armor perfection. Mr. Wayne has all matter of bat toys he’s developed not to mention taking on numerous wards and pupils to instruct in the ways of the bat. Last I checked, Tony Stark ain’t paying no child support:)

  11. Ricco
    August 25, 2009 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    Bruce, Wayne Enterprises still has money unlike Stark who put all his eggs in the same basket (SHIELD) and is now a penniless, wanted, brain damaged moron.

  12. August 25, 2009 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    Brother: for some reason (this has always been the case) you need to vote on the sidebar first.

  13. Jim
    August 25, 2009 at 5:46 pm — Reply

    I guess the best way for me to think about this is who would I more likely invest my own money with. Tony’s too much of a wild card and I’d always be nervous. Bruce, you have my trust.

  14. Brother129
    August 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm — Reply

    Well I guess Tony Stark has the current lead since Bruce Wayne is “ahem”…dead.

    @Stephen: my poll doesn’t show up on the side either….:( Imagine the state of all future MS polls if Brother129 can’t play the role of the dreaded Swing Vote…LOL

  15. Navarre
    August 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    I would see the better business man not as the one who has the most money but as the one most likely to make money. I think Tony is more personally invested in his financial endeavors.

    For Bruce, the money is a means to an end. It is largely a cover and, of course, a way to supply his activities as Batman. The second makes his fortune very important to him but Batman is driven by his passion for justice, not his reliance on finances.

    Tony is, in my opinion, more driven to prove his worth as a person through his financial pursuits than Bruce. Everyone has something that drives them. While Bruce is driven by justice, I feel Tony psychologically ~needs~ the wealth.

    So my answer is Tony Stark.

  16. lifeisaglitch lifei
    August 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm — Reply

    @Navarra

    1st off arguing that Tony is more driven than Wayne turned the argument against yourself. No matter the circumstances or motivation Wayne is the more driven and focused..and if not more intelligent he is at least more cunning and skilled in manipulation, overall judgement, planning and all of them thar Machivellian traits.

    Secondly just because we see Stark attend to buisness more doesn’t make him more adept… I mean look at Reed Richards. Actually that would have been a better pole since this really is all about intellect. Reed VS Wayne or maybe even Queen VS Stark. But do not even try to tell me Stark could take on Wayne i mean he has lost everything twice and the 2nd time Norman Osbourne aint no thing but a Luthor wannabe, and look how LexCorp stock compare to Wayne Enterprises.

  17. Sam Dunham
    August 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm — Reply

    Ted Kord.

    I kid, I kid.

    Hmmm… this is a tough one… on the one hand, we have a guy who didn’t really start his company, has a minimal (or at least lesser) interest in its overall well being, and yet has made some substantal moves (like buying out LexCorp) to maintain his seat at the top.

    On the other hand, we have a guy who started his own company relatively from scratch, has a vested interest in the businesses sucess, but has let it crumble multiple times, most of which being his own fault.

    In the end, I feel that Wayne Enterprises are a better business, but that is more due to the board of trustees in WE. I believe Stark is personally the better businessman on his own, he just has a knack for getting himself into situations that ultimately result in him losing his company, only to rebuild it back to its former glory every time.

  18. Navarre
    August 25, 2009 at 11:07 pm — Reply

    @ lifeisaglitch

    I didn’t say Stark was more focused. I actually think Wayne is more focused.

    I said that Stark needed his business more.

    Bruce Wayne is driven in a way few people are. But he isn’t driven to succeed at business. He is driven to serve justice as a dark knight, avenging his parents and trying to quell the pain inside of him.

    His business is a cover for his true persona and it is a means to an end.

    Tony Stark is driven to succeed in his business first and foremost. Tony’s psyche dictates that he must control his world and his fortune is a way to do that.

    Without Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne still…must…be Batman.

    Without Stark’s armor, Tony would move right along…but must continue his pursuit of control using every resource his mind can provide. And in his mind, his business is that vehicle.

    So I am saying that while Wayne may be better at running a business, Tony Stark has the hunger. And ultimately, I think that is the key difference.

  19. lifeisaglitch l
    August 26, 2009 at 4:57 am — Reply

    Okay i can see how motivation plays a large part. But when you think of how the companies are “doing” it becomes clear motivation works directly and indirectly… Regarding the Wayne fortune as what keeps Batman’s ability to fight crime whenever he has to…wants to… Its clear Wayne does not feel like loosing his company is a viable option. Also i wouldn’t say its an edge that Stark rises and falls with his company. Even though it might mean more to Stark to do well in business i still say Wayne has the upperhand, simply based on previous results and motivation directly or indirectly.

    Also he has a skill set pretty much perfect for business, i mean the worlds greatest detective/spy/psychologist/human behavioral genius…well whatever it is he can get stuff done.

  20. Alastair
    August 26, 2009 at 7:10 am — Reply

    Bruce, is guilty of high level fraud, syphoning money form a public company to fund a highly illegal, operation. Tony has committed some low level payroll stuff, cliaming for a body gaurd that does not exist, but funs iron mand and the avengers via the MS foundationn a clear and accountable way as an investor i there for know he is pissing my money away.

    Also through the MS foundation Tony has helped the world and superhero community while Bruse, spends it looking for ways to prove incapacitate other heros and prove his better then everyone.

  21. senorejaz
    August 26, 2009 at 7:35 am — Reply

    Bruce Wayne only cares for his business insofar as it funds Batman and provides equipment. He can see the advantages of taking Luthor and other corporate villains on in the boardroom. However, it’s never very hard for him as he has other people to actually run the business. Tony Stark has rebuilt his company several times making it stronger and stronger. He is involved closely with running his company and regularly gets involved. As far as I know Bruce Wayne doesn’t give a crap about his company apart for where it serves his purposes as a piggy bank etc. Stark is probably richer than Bruce Wayne because we actually see him invent ultra mega technology and sell it to governments while Batman tends not to share technology from what I’ve seen. Which also makes him a dick.

  22. Navarre
    August 26, 2009 at 8:15 am — Reply

    The entire conversation will remain inconclusive because we cannot agree on what defines one person as the “better” businessman. It is the same as the conversation trying to determine which team is better between the X-Men and the Legion.

    Because we cannot collectively agree on the parameters by which “better” is quantified, we cannot therefore reach a quantifiable conclusion.

    I give Stephen credit then for choosing topics that spark invigorated conversation with little risk of that conversation ending too soon. Although none of us can, at this point, definitively prove our opinions, it’s fun to express them. And, as those opinions come under scrutiny, it challenges us to examine our own thoughts thus leading us ever-closer to our own “truth” of the matter.

    So, all that being said:

    Bruce Wayne sucks! Tony Stark rules! LOL ;-)

    • August 26, 2009 at 10:55 am — Reply

      Because we cannot collectively agree on the parameters by which “better” is quantified, we cannot therefore reach a quantifiable conclusion.

      It is the journey and NOT the destination that matters… The arguments as to how and why each character is superior are the fun bit. As long as we remain spirited and don’t engage in personal attacks, these are the kind of discussions that help to give our comics culture it’s language…

      • Navarre
        August 26, 2009 at 11:29 am — Reply

        100% agreed! Yep, wasn’t suggesting we should have the conversation. I enjoy these things very much.

        Just saying we have to understand we can’t be definitively “right”…which means there’s never any reason for a personal attack and we can all have fun in the discussion.

        Besides, Bruce Wayne sucks, I’m always right, and anyone who disagrees with me is stupid. ;-)

        Seriously, I respect Bruce a lot, including his business acumen. But I’m still currently standing on the side of Stark, for the reasons mentioned previously.

  23. DrNerdo
    August 26, 2009 at 8:21 am — Reply

    We are talking about business acumen here folks, not about who is the smartest of better hero, Bruce may be a better hero in every way and the smartest in many ways, but as far as businessmanship goes Tony wins in every way, not only he has rebuilt is company many times over making it even stronger every time but he pretty much carries it in his back, that in spite of being an alcoholic, having a dangerous taste in women, being arrogant and sometimes megalomaniacal, and having a very very poor judgement all the way, yet he always comes up on top.
    Bruce had his compeny handed to him for free, his greatest archivement in the business world was recognizing the talent of Lucius Fox who is the real man respensible for Wayne Enterprises supremacy, yes Bruce sometimes can surprise as a businessman but that has more to do with his detective work as Batman an is generally as means to an end.
    And Bruce has a complete control over himself much diferent than Tony’s self-destructive tendencies, so we have Bruce Wayne at the top of his game with the help of Lucius Fox against Tony Stark screw-up self and both theyr companies are at the top of their respective Universes. There is no doubt Tony is the superior here.

    • August 26, 2009 at 10:53 am — Reply

      Bruce had his compeny handed to him for free, his greatest archivement in the business world was recognizing the talent of Lucius Fox who is the real man respensible for Wayne Enterprises supremacy, yes Bruce sometimes can surprise as a businessman but that has more to do with his detective work as Batman an is generally as means to an end.

      In the original continuity, Tony Stark ALSO inherited a great fortune from Howard Stark, a notable industrialist and munitions manufacturer…

  24. Gaumer
    August 26, 2009 at 11:24 am — Reply

    MP right again

    Its got to be really tough to be a CEO, ya know?

    They get multi-million dollar BONUSES. Not a salary, a bonus in the 6 figure+ range all the time.

    With this sort of responsibility, I’m not sure how any CEO can do all that one does and still have time to be a vigilante or a Director of SHIELD or anything else.

    I would love to see the stories if either of these two companies ever required a government bailout :)

  25. Navarre
    August 26, 2009 at 11:37 am — Reply

    What if we take it from the premise that we are (for whatever reason) personally needing the business success of one of these men?

    I assume we are defining the “best business” as the one that creates the most profit in the short term while creating a foundation for long-term success. It has not been specified that this business must be ethical though personally I would expect it.

    What if we assumed that at this moment neither Bruce or Tony had any more resources than the average 9-to-5er (to get over any gap in where they started) and we needed to put our fate with only one of them?

    Which one would we trust to bring in the most money in the shortest period of time while creating stability for the long run?

    That person would then, logically, be our representative for the better businessman.

    • lifeisaglitch l
      August 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm — Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree… and thats where i choose Wayne over Stark, and even without Lucious i could see Brucieboy take the buisness world by storm. Also i keep hearing the argument that Stark has “rebuild” his company…yeah cause he messed the fuck up. Dont tell me you believe Wayne couldnt do the same (And has done so in the Batman Beyond univers at age ..what 80?) and also once again, investing more time and getting the same results makes you less adept not more.

  26. Dean
    August 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    Bruce Wayne is a terrible businessman. He barely works. The guy is a trust fund baby that had the good fortune of delegating to good and honorable people. If his all consuming hobby were polo instead of crime-fighting, then this would not even come up.

  27. lifeisaglitch li
    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm — Reply

    @Dean

    Yeah the dude fights alongside with the JLA and is completely (super)powerless…and really theres only so much acrobatics can do. Bruce is depicted as one of the most resourcefull and brilliant men on the planet earth…. Stark is a trustfund baby, Oliver Queen is a trust fund baby.. Bruce Wayne is “Ozymandias rich”, only reason he isnt self made man in a financial sense is because he never needed to be not because he was unable.

    We have to judge from what skills we know he has and the kind of succes rate he has with similar undertakings and not simply presume that he doesnt know a thing about buisness because he rarely goes into depth with it. In almost all incarnations he is shown as highly proficient even though it is not a focus point..Both in the animated series and in the movies it has also served as a plot point, and occasionally in the comics though its mostly rushed through.

  28. Navarre
    August 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm — Reply

    Perhaps DC doesn’t invest much panel time to Wayne’s running of the corporation. Such things are an essential part of the framework of the Iron Man comics.

    This might lead us to conclude that Stark is more about his business than Wayne. And, personally, I still think that is true.

    However, we shouldn’t therefore conclude that Wayne *can’t* run his business just because we don’t focus on it.

    I’m not a fan of Batman because DC has made me sick of him. But that isn’t fair to the character of Bruce Wayne and shouldn’t be a factor in making decisions on this issue.

    This is like my argument about Wolverine. It’s easy to think he’s the baddest man walking because we see him being tough in about 792 titles a month.

    But just because we haven’t seen, say, Kitty Pryde kick ass and take names as often doesn’t mean she can’t. Every time she’s needed that kind of grit she’s risen to the challenge.

    So, in defense of Bruce Wayne, I still think we have to step back, look at everything we know of both he and Stark, and decide who could start, build, profit, and maintain the best based on everything we have ever seen of them.

    I will still go with Stark and I have explained why. But any sort of subjective bias will prevent us from making reasonable conclusions.

  29. lifeisaglitch l
    August 26, 2009 at 6:40 pm — Reply

    “I will still go with Stark and I have explained why. But any sort of subjective bias will prevent us from making reasonable conclusions.”

    And being the geeks we are we wouldnt have it any other way.

  30. Navarre
    August 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm — Reply

    Yeah, you’re right. Everyone knows Iron Man can beat Batman so he’s cooler and that means he’s better at business too.

    But Wolverine can beat anyone so he must be the bestest business-kinda guy ever! ;-)

  31. lifeisaglitch
    August 27, 2009 at 7:55 am — Reply

    Sure dude where do you think Daken got it from ;) (If you dont read Dark Wolverine it wont make sense..also you would be missing out, Daken is like a boardroom ninja)

  32. Navarre
    August 27, 2009 at 9:11 am — Reply

    Not reading Dark Wolverine, no.

    What about Bruce? Doesn’t he have a son (with Talia?) who’s a exceptional businessman as well?

    And, if so, are we once again watching DC and Marvel take their tough-guy poster boys and create even more commonalities?

  33. Navarre
    August 27, 2009 at 10:12 am — Reply

    37 Responses so far.

    Imagine how much activity this poll might create if it was hosted in the forum?

    (just suggesting)

  34. Captain Average
    August 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    Bruce Wayne. Why?
    1. He doesn’t just run a tech company.He’s diversified. Does Stark know how to do anything else?
    2. If Batman is determined to be the best at something, are you going to bet against him?

  35. Navarre
    August 27, 2009 at 9:11 pm — Reply

    1. Usain Bolt only runs?

    2. Yes, I might, depending on the challenge. Even Bruce “God” Wayne isn’t unbeatable.

    But I would never take Bruce lightly either or be surprised any time he is victorious.

    Sure would be a great story if we ever got to see these two go head-to-head in the business arena, with fair representation on both sides.

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