Mothman was the fourth masked adventurer to spawn, and was one of the eight members of the Minutemen. His real name was Byron Lewis.[1] Byron was a bored playboy who fought crime to add spice to his life.


Mothman originally came from Connecticut, according to Hollis Mason's autobiography.[2]. During his studies he had left-wing friends.[3]

A young prodigy, he soon made a fortune making patented inventions in the aviation industry. He was brave and thirsty for adventure and travelled around the world. Pictural evidence on his office suggests he ventured as a hunter/explorer in the jungles and as a mountaineer.[4]

Early mothman

The first appearance of the mysterious "flying man".

He invented a glider suit, actually a set of wings of which he perfected after several near-fatal injuries. Before flying, he had to check the wind speed and air density, and his weight could vary by no more than three pounds, according to Hollis Mason. Because of the tremendous pressure put on him to stay in perfect condition, Byron developed addiction to aspirin, liniment, morphine, and eventually drinking problem.[4] In 1939, a little after news of the Silhouette, there were reports of a man dressed like a moth who could glide through the air.

During their first botched mission, Mothman had the role of aerial cover. Supposed to throw a smoke bomb inside the "saboteurs"'s warehouse, his bomb fell directly in a box of Chinese fireworks causing havoc.[5]

During World War II he went with Mason to enlist, but they both were classed as 4F[6]. He was a conscientious objector during the war and served as a medical aide.

Lewis would often appear flying as a "surprise guest" during Dollar Bill's publicity "pep talks" to the children. By 1942 it became hard to get hold of, Mason took his place.[6]


Around 1946, after the end of the War, Lewis had bought an abandoned machine shop and used its enormous basement as a secret workplace; the building itself was boarded up so they used a manhole as its "entrance". Mason worked helped him with maintaining or improving his flying suit. There they learned the death of Ursula Zandt and Gretchen. Lewis arranged for unmarked graves so that they wouldn't be defiled by haters.[7]

Hollis and Byron had agreed to break into Gretchen's home and collect any evidence they would find surrounding the case Ursula was working on, but Byron was lost in alcohol and Hollis proceeded alone. That time he was taking hashish to remedy his back and knee ailments.[7] The following days the two continued to work Ursula's case, patrolled and investigated for missing kids. He also attended Sally Jupiter's wedding to Larry Schexnayder.[8]

When Japanese saboteurs planned to destroy the Statue of Liberty, Mothman was tasked to fly above and deliver a satchel with tracers, tear gas and chinese fireworks. This diverted the guards allowing the others to dock to Liberty Island and assault. Mothman landed on the Statue of Liberty's flame and saw the saboteurs completing the procedure. He hanged himself from the statue's crown and managed to shoot down the remaining henchman, but he was shot by the Japanese leader, and he fell to the ground. He entered a private clinic until healed.[8]

During the '50s, the House Un-American Activities Committee forced all active costumed vigilantes to reveal themselves to one of their representatives. Due to left-wing friends that Mothman had cultivated while a student, his clearance was considerably more difficult than his companions. He was eventually cleared, but the investigations were both lengthy and ruthless.[3]

Mothman sectioned

Masked adventurer Mothman being sectioned for admittance to a mental institution in Maine - 1963.

Mason speculates that the pressure of this meeting may have prompted his future drinking problem,[3] but Laurence Schexnayder points out that the stem of his harder drinking was after the death of Dollar Bill.

Lewis was present at the ceremony in honor of Nite Owl where he was given the Key to the City. Having being told that Hooded Justice was behind the children disappearances and murders, they paid a visit to Nelson Gardner's mansion and then entered the Tower looking for H.J. Mothman saved Nite Owl's life pushing him when a crate fell on them, but he was hit, and then taken by H.J. who threatened them and asked them to leave. Nite Owl threw himself on him, killing him.[9]


Byron in the 60s

In 1960 Mothman and other former Minutemen attended a Red Cross charity event for the India famine.[10][11] Hollis noted that he was always with a drinking glass, mumbling incoherently.[3]

After a long bout of drinking, Mothman had a complete mental breakdown,[2] and knowing what he would become, in 1962 he bought his friend Hollis a auto repair shop.[9] That was his parting gift, as his condition worsened, and was admitted into a mental institution in Maine.[12][13]

That year, Mason had sent Lewis a draft of his book, Under the Hood. He paid him a visit there as Lewis was sitting there staring at the setting sun, but didn't receive an answer whether he did read it.[7]

Later that year, his doctors gave him a leave and his nurses brought him to Sally Jupiter's mansion for a brief reunion with former minutemen, Nelson Gardner and Hollis Mason. He seemed lost and was given a soda, but the glass fell from his hands. 13 year-old Laurie, Sally's daughter, asked her mother if that's what the future holds for the crimefighters.[14]

In 1983 Dan Dreiberg paid him a visit in his hospital on behalf of Hollis.[15]


Mothman wears an expressively gaudy costume themed like a moth. Although most is gray, he has a large letter "M" across his chest in bold red, as well as a red belt with a gold star and two antennas attached to his forehead. The most pronounced of his accessories are the two considerably large, bright yellow wings that supposedly flap when he is scared or possibly when he is nervous as well.


The character is portrayed quite differently between the original Watchmen and the prequel Before Watchmen series. In the few references and flashback scenes about him, he gives the impression of a bored or weak playboy who entered the superhero fad for his own reasons, before breaking. In the prequel he is presented far more positively, and while his story is expanded upon, it is revealed he was a genious millionaire, and brave man, before eventually breaking.

There is also at least one apparently irreconcible contradiction between the two media: In the original, Mothman's only speaking line in a flashback is about him being scared about the War, and hoping the Minutemen keep out of it.[16] This is contradicted by Mason's line in the prequel that the two enlisted for the War, before eventually classed as 4F.

In the introduction montage of the Watchmen (movie) he is taken forcibly by nurses to an ambulance while still wearing his suit; in the Before Watchmen series he seems conscious of his health problems and it he voluntarily enters the hospital, after his retirement.


  1. His name in Watchmen is mentioned only once, by Sally Jupiter, who said "That makes just three of us Minutemen left now. Me, Hollis Mason, and poor Byron Lewis, in the bughouse in Maine."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Under the Hood: Chapter III#Others
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Under the Hood: Chapter V#The '50s
  4. 4.0 4.1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 01
  5. Before Watchmen: Minutemen 02
  6. 6.0 6.1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 03
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 04
  8. 8.0 8.1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 05
  9. 9.0 9.1 Before Watchmen: Minutemen 06
  10. Chapter XI
  11. Chapter IV
  12. Chapter I: At Midnight, All the Agents...
  13. Chapter II: Absent Friends
  14. Chapter IX
  15. Blood from the shoulder of Pallas
  16. "Me, I hope we keep out of it. Just thinking about war, it scares me..."
Watchmen Heroes
Captain MetropolisHooded JusticeNite Owl IThe ComedianSilk Spectre IDollar BillMothmanSilhouette
Captain MetropolisDoctor ManhattanRorschachThe ComedianOzymandiasNite Owl IISilk Spectre II

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