When you’re an elite superhero, you need an equally elite place to hang your cape, catch some shuteye, and train for battle. Superman has the Fortress of Solitude, Batman has his cave, and Doctor Strange has his Sanctum Sanctorum. When you’re a member of an elite team of superheroes though, you need more than just your own lair - you need a full-blown headquarters.
In the case of Marvel’s Avengers, they’ve had a few different places they call home over the years, but their most famous for comic book fans are their East Coast bases: Avengers Mansion and Avengers Tower, both of which are right in the heart of the comic book action in New York.
The first incarnation of the Avengers in the comics converted a Fifth Avenue mansion into their living and training facility. It’s been the location they’ve used the longest, though it’s periodically been destroyed, moved, and repaired in its 50 years in the comics. Modern fans will be more familiar with Avengers Tower, thanks in no small part to its prominent placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If you’ve ever wanted to know all of the ins and outs of the Avengers’ base of operations, we’ve got 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Avengers Mansion And Tower.
Can we really put a price tag on a state of the art facility that houses fictional superheroes and takes up an entire city block that also gets destroyed on a regular basis? Yes, we can.
A writer for popular real estate guide Movoto decided to figure out just how much the Avengers Mansion would be worth on the market in 2014 when Captain America: The Winter Soldier landed in theaters, and to no one’s surprise, it would have had a hefty price tag.
Using the average price per square foot for the neighborhood and the average cost for each of the amenities, the writer was able to do the math on the three story mansion. With a prime spot on the Upper East Side, nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms, its own quinjet hangar, a swimming pool, its own labs, and an underground facility for training superheroes in addition to a life support system in case of emergencies, the mansion, if it were real, would have been able to sell for more than $113 million.
When you know the hefty price tag the mansion could have fetched, finding out that it was sold for just a buck seems like a real steal, doesn’t it? In this case, the price was lowered so significantly for a good cause.
By the time the second volume of the New Avengers comic book series rolled around, the mansion wasn’t being used as an exclusive headquarters anymore. The Avengers roster had gone through so many shake ups and been to so many locations (not to mention seen a lot of carnage), that it wasn’t exactly home.
Steve Rogers had decided to move on from being Captain America (for the time being) and Tony Stark decided to pass the mansion on to the leader of the New Avengers for a low, low, price. Luke Cage was able to get the entire compound and move his team in for just a dollar.
The Avengers might have teamed up in their first issue in 1963, but it wasn’t until their second issue that the mansion made its debut.
Readers didn’t get a full view of the mansion from the outside, but they did get to see a bit of the interior, as billionaire Anthony Stark had offered to let the group hold a meeting there. None of the members knew that Tony was actually Iron Man just yet, and he hadn’t made the location the official HQ, as he was still living in it!
The mansion didn’t get a lot of time on the page just yet, as the heroes were forced to leave and take on the Space Phantom, who kept switching identities and pretending to be Avengers in the issue. Details like the training facility and labs would be added in later comics.
Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist and art fan who donated his home, and everything in it, to the public upon his death in 1919. His mansion became a museum in 1935, and as a massive building that took up a block of Fifth Avenue and 70th Street in New York, it was a landmark Marvel’s Stan Lee was very familiar with.
Lee actually based his ideas for the layout of Avengers Mansion on the house. In fact, the address he has given in interviews (890 Fifth Avenue) for fans who wanted to know just where the house was actually coincides with the Frick House.
Today, the building houses the Frick Art Reference Library and the Frick Collection. Historians and students can make appointments to peruse the archives.
Just like much of the original S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was the Stark family who were the benefactors of the heroes in the comics as well.
Howard Stark had the mansion, including its underground compound, built in the 1930s. It was his son Tony, AKA Iron Man, who made the decision to donate the property decades later. Tony created the Maria Stark Foundation, to be able to funnel money to charity to help with damage caused by villain attacks, and to help bankroll the Avengers. The mansion was donated through his foundation.
In addition to the mansion becoming the headquarters for the Avengers, Tony also made sure it came with a caretaker. Jarvis, his butler, lived and worked in the mansion to assist the Avengers as well.
During the second volume of their limited series in the '90s, the Damage Control crew was tasked with moving Avengers Mansion. It had been thrown into a river by a villain, retrieved by Damage Control, and repaired by their team of construction workers. The trouble was that they had to move it from where they repaired it to where it was actually supposed to be.
When the supports on their helicopters snapped, the mansion went plunging back into the river, and the Avengers were none too pleased.
The mansion has been through more destruction than most comic book readers could ever hope to remember. In some cases, Earth's Mightiest Heroes would do repairs themselves, while in others, they’d call in Damage Control. On occasion, though, a grateful subject of a rescue attempt would try to help them out.
In the case of Ute the Watcher, he had been held prisoner by a villain known as Proctor. When the Avengers defeated Proctor, their headquarters was in ruins, but Ute, so glad to be free, offered to help. He “restored” the mansion and the city around it to its former glory with his powers, but everything was not as it seemed.
What Ute had actually done was transport one mansion from an alternate reality to the Avengers’ current reality, resulting in them finding strange rooms and unfamiliar belongings in their “old” home.
During the events of Avengers Disassembled, Scarlet Witch had a mental breakdown that put the entire world at risk. She not only manipulated her teammates, but their very reality. When it was all over, the group had lost several team members, and the mansion was barely standing.
The events of the story arc also meant that Tony Stark, the businessman and the man responsible for funding much of the team’s activities, had become a public embarrassment who lost millions of dollars. Deciding to redirect his finances, he opted to stop funding the Avengers altogether.
What did that mean for their headquarters? Since he technically still owned it, that was up to him. He decided to petition the city of New York to declare the site a landmark, and the Avengers either went their separate ways or relocated.
In 2016’s Uncanny Avengers series, it was revealed that though the Avengers might not have been using the mansion as a headquarters, they were still very much a part of it. Earth's Mightiest Heroes might be part of theme parks and cruise ships in our real world, but it looks like even the worlds inside of the comic books are getting in on the pop culture fun.
While Red Skull and his daughter Sin plotted to take on the Avengers Unity Squad, which brought mutants, humans, and Inhumans together on the same team, they strolled the grounds of the former Avengers Mansion, which was operating as a hotel.
The hotel, much like our real world theme parks, featured some Captain America and Avengers signage, a demonstration that it was perfect for fans of the costumed heroes. Plenty of fans would kill for a chance to stay there!
With the Avengers no longer able to set foot in the mansion thanks to their memories of Scarlet Witch’s breakdown there, and with many members of the old team not even willing to get the band back together, a new headquarters was needed for the main group.
Tony Stark came through for the team again, unveiling Stark Tower to the brand new team of Avengers he assembled with Captain America. The new squad included Spider-Man and Luke Cage, and it debuted in the comics in 2005 along with Stark Tower.
Fittingly, the team ended up getting together by accident, all coming together to stop supervillains from breaking out of a special prison called The Raft. Tony offered up space in his building after Steve Rogers mentioned needing a meeting place.
When Tony Stark built Stark Tower, his intention was to rent the space out in his prestigious building to businesses. His money-making idea didn’t exactly work out the way he wanted it to, though. Instead, Tony found himself with a big empty building, since no one wanted to rent space from him!
By the time he built the tower, the world at large knew that Tony Stark and Iron Man were one in the same. As a result of villains knowing his identity, Tony frequently found his personal assets and businesses in jeopardy, the target of random attacks. No civilians wanted to put themselves in harm’s way, though a few businesses took the risk.
Tony’s solution was simple, and a win-win for himself: he decided to rent space to the Avengers to use as a secondary headquarters. Much like Stark Tower became Avengers Tower in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the same happened years earlier in the comics.
Tony Stark isn’t just an Avenger and businessman. He’s also been a government employee on more than one occasion, and when that happens, his assets also tend to become property of the organization he’s working with.
During the events of Marvel Comics' original Civil War, for example, Tony was a proponent of the Superhero Registration Act, on the opposite side of many of the Avengers he worked with. The tower became the headquarters for his new team as his old team splintered and he worked for the government - but that’s not all.
There was a time in the comics that Tony happened to be director of S.H.I.E.L.D., a peacekeeping government organization full of spies and superheroes. After a battle during World War Hulk, Stark used S.H.I.E.L.D. resources to rebuild his tower, making it S.H.I.E.L.D. property as long as he was director.
The main Marvel comic book continuity, known as the 616 universe, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, do have some things in common, but Stark Tower isn’t exactly one of them.
In the comics, Stark Tower became known as Avengers Tower fairly quickly, and its design was more of a traditional rectangular skyscraper, though heroes like Sentry and Heimdall have added additional ornamentation to the top. In contrast, the MCU’s tower has a sleeker and more futuristic design.
At least one comic book has seen artists prefer the MCU look to the 616 universe. In the Punisher: War Zone miniseries of 2012, despite the story being set in the 616 continuity, Stark Tower was drawn with the MCU in mind. In fact, movie fans will probably think the panel featuring Iron Man was plucked from a comic version of The Avengers movie.
Much like Tony Stark sold Avengers Mansion on more than one occasion, he’s also taken the opportunity to sell Avengers Tower more than once in order to supplement his finances.
Following the events of the Secret Wars story arc in Marvel Comics, a big time jump revealed that Tony had relocated himself and Earth's Mightiest Heroes to another one of his skyscraper properties, selling the original Avengers Tower to Qeng Enterprises, whose owner turned out to be a villain wanting to launch the New Qeng Dynasty. A time displaced Thor even tried to warn some of the Avengers about it!
Movie audiences saw recent evidence of just how Tony Stark moves on from one headquarters to the next in the latest MCU venture, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Once scene in the movie saw his right hand man Happy Hogan reveal to Peter Parker that Tony had sold the tower and was moving the contents upstate. To whom did he sell? We still don’t know.
While the East Coast mansion and tower are the best known of the headquarters for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, there are numerous more home bases for the team across the United States.
When they’re without a headquarters, Captain America uses his own apartment as one. Likewise, Danny Rand has offered up entire floors of his own buildings to be used at the team’s discretion. The West Coast Avengers (sometimes led by Hawkeye and Mockingbird) also have their own compound. There’s also the aptly named Avengers Island.
An island off the East Coast was necessary to store the team’s quinjets when the government decided jets taking off from the mansion or the tower were disturbing to their neighborhoods. Over time, the Hydrobase became utilized more and more, becoming known as Avengers Island in the comics, though it would also see its share of destruction, as you can see in the picture above.
Did you learn something new about Avengers HQ? Or did we leave off a little known fact you want to share? Hit us up in the comments and let us know!
Be on the lookout for just where the Avengers lay their capes next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War.