WHAT? I had to exclaim aloud, when I read that Scrooge McDuck has made it to the top of Forbes 2011 list of the 15 Richest Fictional Characters. His net worth is a staggering $44.1 billion (BD16.6bn), the report said. It even had pictures. But then, this Dickensian-Disney character, the uncle of Donald Duck, has always been a miser to the core, and must have amassed enough to reach this No 1 position.
But why did they push the poor little rich boy Richie Rich to the fourth place? And doesn't Bruce Wayne of Gotham city who turns into its night time protector as Batman deserve a higher place than eighth? And why is the corporate raider on Wall Street, Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) relegated to the 14th place?
The list also had Twilight series character Carlisle Cullen, the icon amongst the young readers, Artemis Fowl II, and chief executive officer of Sabre Corporation from the The Office series, Jo Bennet.
Upon realising that this listing is not fiction, but a fact, I checked up the Forbes website and got deeply worried. The combined net worth of these 15 characters is equal to $135.55bn. Which means they could pose a great threat to countries like New Zealand whose GDP is much less.
Which brings me to another point, what do these guys at Forbes think the real GDP of Atlantis, the fictional city, would have been today? It must be calculated at the base rate of 50 BC, when Julius Caesar ruled Rome, two centuries after Pluto wrote about Atlantis. But, I digress.
Let me come back to my verification. I checked up and discovered to my utter shock that there are biographies, and even interviews with these characters, apart from explanations on how the net worth was calculated.
But I have my arguments against this listing. Why have they not taken into account other characters whose riches I think are worthy of their appearance in the list?
Where is Lex Luther, the archenemy of Superman? With Lex's huge investments into gigantic global projects, and superb scientific prowess, mainly aimed at annihilating Superman, shouldn't he be in the list?
Where is Captain Haddock, from Tintin series? With his forefather Red Rackham's treasure he gets as inheritance, and with his subsequent purchase of the sprawling estate with Marlinspike Hall, shouldn't he be in the list?
Where is Willie Wonka, whose Chocolate Factory is the world's best? With his scores of employees called oompa-loompas, and huge chocolate making plants, shouldn't his assets put him in the list?
They are not there. And I smell something fishy. I suspect some of these 15 rich characters have somehow bribed the guys at Forbes. With the riches at their disposal, who knows to what lengths these characters can go? Most are shady, anyway.
Published in Gulf Daily News on April 13, 2011