William Brady: 1917 - 1946
The son of a farmer, William blossomed in high school, excelling at all sports and becoming a local legend. He was popular among the girls for his "movie-star looks". He was highly sought after by several college football programs but ultimately went with Midwestern University so he could remain close to his family in the off-season.
During the final game of the 1938 season, while playing as the quarterback with the Midwestern Horned Frogs, professional recruiting scouts came to see William play. He gave it his all and took unnecessary risks to better sell his abilities. Due to those risks taken, an opponent fell on William's knee. This injury ended William's sports career before it began. As William was never a good student, he barely fulfilled the academic grades necessary to maintain his scholarship until the end of the year. Rather than endure another year of being "the fallen star", William decided to buy a bus ticket for New York City with the hope that he could just disappear in such a large city.
William moved to the Bellview building in Manhattan, armed only with a loan from an uncle and his good looks. William found work as a busboy while he was trying his hand at acting auditions. He was mostly told he should have gone to Hollywood rather than Broadway if he had the good looks but lacked actual acting chops.
When National Bank noticed the rise of the 'masked man fad', their 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 aesthetic 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, especially liked by the test audiences.
William decided to answer an ad for the National Bank. He was the fourteenth applicant who interviewed and the only one who agreed to don the gaudy costume (although he had reservations about the cape restricting his movement). Once he tried on the costume, the bank representatives all agreed that they had found their hero. William became "Dollar Bill" and immediately began appearing in theater advertisements.
To further promote Dollar Bill's image, the bank answered an ad from Captain Metropolis and Silk Spectre. Before William knew what had happened, he had joined a band of actual crimefighters. William had some tremendous reservations, but he was constantly told by his bank-sponsored handlers that the other Minutemen were nothing more than actors as well. However, William learned the truth the hard way in his first outing with the Minutemen. But after a few good smacks, William remembered his dad didn't raise a wimp and he fought back. After winning the fight and posing for a few publicity shots, William decided he enjoyed being a costumed hero - but if he was going to continue doing this, he needed more than a good smile and his natural athleticism to see him through.
Making a deal with the bank, William began a crash course in defensive tactics, hand-to-hand combat, and investigative principles - all of which was paid for by the bank. Before long, William found himself molded into the hero he pretended to be.
During World War II, National Bank arranged for William to receive a fancy deferment and was not enlisted. William was not pleased by this as he wanted to do his duty, but nevertheless continued to work as a mascot of the National Bank and appeared whenever a new branch was opened, usually with Mothman as a surprise guest.
Dollar Bill: 1946 - 1947
Having made quite a large sum of money, William was living in a high-rise apartment when he read in the papers that one of his teammates, Silhouette, was involved in a lesbian relationship. William went to the Minutemen headquarters right away to confront Silhouette, hoping to hear that the media was engaging in a deceptive smear campaign or there was an odd misunderstanding. When William heard that was not the case, he joined Captain Metropolis, Hooded Justice, and Silk Spectre in voting Silhouette off the team.
When Silhouette and her lover were found murdered at the scene of a hate crime later that same year, William became disgusted by his involvement. He blamed himself for what happened and recklessly kicked in the doors of several seedy establishments looking for answers. When the murderer was found, already dead, William burst into the active crime scene to spit on the corpse and curse him relentlessly in front of the detectives working the case.
The next few months were rough for William. He had become more violent in his crimefighting and the National Bank was concerned that they may have to soon retire the sponsorship. When William caught wind of this rumor, he became desperate to prove himself to his employers. He cleaned up his act and worked around the clock, making public appearances left and right, and even hired a photographer to follow him on patrol to capture his good deeds for the newspapers.
While attempting to stop a raid upon a National Bank, William's cape became entangled in the bank's revolving door and he was shot at point-blank range by the fleeing robbers before he could free it.
Dollar Bill: Legacy
His death sparked a manhunt for the bank robbers, all of which were brought to justice by the NYPD. William's funeral was attended by his fellow remaining Minutemen, a police contingent, and bank representatives. He was eulogized by Captain Metropolis. Dollar Bill's legacy remained popular, with a highly fictionalized version of his story becoming a successful television series in the late 1950s and early 1960s before his story went to the big screen in 1978 in a motion picture directed by acclaimed Hollywood director Don Richards and starring Reece Christophers. The movie franchise would go on to have four sequels.
- Charisma: Dollar Bill was known for his incredible smile. He was a darling in the press, the police admired him, and he was always the star of any gathering he was included in.
- Athleticism: Dollar Bill was an incredible athlete, even though he had a debilitating knee injury. He was the fastest and most agile of the Minutemen and was only outclassed in strength among the Minutemen by Hooded Justice.
- Brawling: After being roughed up, Dollar Bill underwent intense physical conditioning and hand-to-hand combat training. By 1942, he was considered on par with most professional boxers.
Trivia and Notes
- Nite-Owl replaced Mothman as Dollar Bill's "surprise guest" at his publicity events when the bank which sponsored Dollar Bill became concerned by Mothman's drunkenness.
- William Brady is a character from the Watchmen comic.
- His portrait is based on his appearance in the Watchmen movie. He's making the same pose from the Minutemen photo.
- His backstory has nods to Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill.
- Dollar Bill's film series is a reference to the Superman film series. Don Richards being a pastiche of director Richard Donner and Reece Christophers being the same for Superman actor Christopher Reeves.
- William's family has nods to many characters from the comics and media:
- Wing Brady is a pilot and agent of the French Foreign Legion appeared in New Fun Comics #1.
- Finnbar "Finn" Brady is the nephew of John Constantine and half-brother of Gemma Masters from Hellblazer.
- Randall Brady is a character from the Smallville tv series.
- Gabriel and Teddy Brady are characters from Wildstorm with the former being a villain known as Pit Bull.
- Grace Brady is the niece of Sargon the Sorcerer of Swamp Thing.
- Emmaline Brady is Mary West, the mother of Wally West.