Little is known about the masked adventurer Dollar Bill besides his death. As noted in Hollis Mason's Under the Hood, he was originally Bill Brady, a star college athlete from Kansas. When he moved to New York he was employed by the National Bank Co. as an in-house superhero. After they noticed the rise of the 'masked man fad', the marketing team thought it would be a very interesting publicity prospect to be able to brag that a self-owned superhero would be protecting the customer's money.
Designers were employed by the bank to make his costume. For advertising purposes and to raise maximum publicity appeal, the costume was extremely gaudy, with a large dollar sign on the front and a cloak that draped to the floor. Many people knew Dollar Bill from the advertisements. A coin bank in Bill's figure was also advertised.
In 1947, while attempting to stop a raid upon one of his employer's banks, his cloak became entangled in the bank's revolving door and he was shot at point-blank range before he could free it. Earlier in that year he can be seen in a photo attending Sally Jupiter's wedding. Hollis Mason speculates, "If he’d designed it himself he might have left out that damned stupid cloak and still be alive today."
Bill was a God-fearing man. Hollis Mason notes "Dollar Bill was one of the nicest and most straightforward men I have ever met." He was seen admonishing the young Comedian about showing more respect to colleagues who were older than him. He also condemned Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice's homosexual relationship, mentioning that thinking of it made him sick.
Dollar Bill's clear commercial motivations (hired by a bank) are never commented on by his peers or the subsequent generation of vigilantes who all seem to regard him as a worthy hero; even Rorschach, who condemns Ozymandias for his commercialization, laments Dollar Bill's untimely death. It's possible that even the cynical Rorschach respected Dollar Bill because, unlike Ozymandias, he died in the line of duty.
In every one of his appearances on-panel in Watchmen, Dollar Bill has a strong posture and is always smiling. However Dollar Bill has no speaking lines in the entire series until Before Watchmen: Minutemen.
|Captain Metropolis • Hooded Justice • Nite Owl I • The Comedian • Silk Spectre I • Dollar Bill • Mothman • Silhouette|
|Captain Metropolis • Doctor Manhattan • Rorschach • The Comedian • Ozymandias • Nite Owl II • Silk Spectre II|