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Well, well, well. Devil's Night is upon us again. Thought we'd throw a little party, start a bunch of fires, make a little profit. (...) Problem is, it's all been done before, you see what I'm saying? (...) Wrong, that's the best reason to quit. The only reason to quit. Man has an idea. The idea attracts others, like minded. The idea expands, the idea becomes an institution. What was the idea? You see, that's what's been bothering me boys. When I tell you when I used to think about the idea itself, it put a big ol' smile on my face. You see gentlemen, greed is for amateurs. Disorder, chaos, anarchy. Now that's fun! (...) What about it? I started the first fires in this goddamn city. Before I knew it every charlatan and shit heel was imitating me. You know what they got now? Devil's Night greeting cards. Isn't that precious. The idea has become the institution, boys. Time to move along. (...) No, I want you to set a fire so goddamn big the gods will notice of us again, that's what I'm saying. I want all of you boys to be able look me straight in the eye one more time and say 'Are we having fun or what?!
~ Top Dollar

Top Dollar is a major antagonist in James O'Barr's graphic novel The Crow, and the main antagonist of the 1994 film adaptation of the same name.

In the film, he was portrayed by Michael Wincott, who also played Michael Korda in MetroPhilo Gant in Strange Days, Guy of Gisbourne in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Gary Soneji in Along Came a Spider, and Scroop in Treasure Planet. In the Stairway to Heaven series, he was portrayed by John Pyper Ferguson.

Biography

Graphic novel

In O'Barr's graphic novel, Top Dollar is a small-time drug dealer and an affiliate of a gang of thugs, who murdered Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelley Webster for fun.

One year later, Eric is brought back from the dead by a mysterious crow and seeks vengeance against his and Shelley's murderers. He finds Top Dollar at a meeting with his men, and shoots him in the head, killing him.

Film

In the film adaptation, Top Dollar is a mobster who controls Detroit's street gangs, along with his half-sister and lover Myca. Every year on Devil's Night, his men loot and rob the city, setting several buildings on fire to intimidate law enforcement.

He is responsible for the deaths of both Eric Draven and his girlfriend, Shelly Webster. When Shelly started a petition to fight unjust tenant eviction in a building Top Dollar owned, he sent a gang of his men to rape her and drive her out of her house on Devil's Night. Unfortunately, Eric came home that night as they were raping her, which resulted in both of them getting killed.

One year later, a mysterious crow brings Eric back to life, and he sets about to avenge his and Shelley's death by killing the men responsible. He eliminates Top Dollar's lieutenants until there was only one left — a low-level minion named Skank. When Eric leaves one of his henchmen, Gideon, alive as a message, he informs Top Dollar that his store was destroyed by a man with a big bird who referred to himself as Eric Draven. Top Dollar is skeptical but ultimately kills Gideon due to his sarcastic and disrespectful behavior towards him and Myca by driving a sword through his throat.  

As Top Dollar holds a meeting with the city’s other gang leaders, Eric breaks in and demands that they hand Skank over. A gunfight ensues, and Eric kills Skank, along with several of the gang leaders. Top Dollar escapes with Myca and his right-hand man, Grange.

Grange kidnaps Eric and Shelly's friend and surrogate daughter Sarah when she leaves the cemetery and takes her to the abandoned church (where Top Dollar and Myca are hiding out), forcing Eric back into action to rescue her. After Grange and Myca's deaths, Eric ends up fighting Top Dollar on the roof of the church.

The mob boss claims responsibility for what happened to Eric and Shelly, saying that nothing happens in Detroit without his "say-so". However, before he can kill him again, Eric gives Top Dollar the "30 hours of pain" that Shelly suffered (which he absorbed from police sergeant Albrecht). Top Dollar then falls from the roof and is impaled on the horns of a gargoyle.

Stairway to Heaven

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Personality

Gideon: You know you're directly out of your f***ing mind, you know that?

Top Dollar: Yeah, I see.

~ Gideon and Top Dollar

Top Dollar is a twisted, sociopathic, chaotic and perverted crime lord. He commits crime only for fun, willing to turn Detroit into a nightmarish city and he is not really interested by the money or material gain, becoming tired of the money gained from his activities (not that this would've improved him if he did). He absolutely does not care for the pain and damage he causes. He also kills people without remorse, nonchalantly doing this to a sex worker and when he discovered she was dead, he simply said, "I think we broke her." The death of Eric's fiancée was not specifically commanded by him, but when he learned his goons killed her, he took joy of that.

However, he usually has a very polite disposition and he is quite charismatic and calm through almost all of the movie, rarely losing his temper, even when he is downright insulted and despised by Gideon, he keeps his cool and even agrees that he may not be "as big as he thinks." His villainous behavior seems to stem from his apparently abusive father, who was killed by Top Dollar (probably because he grew tired from the abuse, though knowing Top Dollar, this was made up). He also seems to love his half-sister Myca, but in a twisted way, because he has no qualms of committing incest with her, and he did not mourn her when she was killed.

Top Dollar is nevertheless courageous, shown when he braved the wrath of Eric by refusing to hand over his goon Skank.

Powers and Abilities

  • Master Tactician: Top Dollar runs his criminal empire from behind scenes, particularly running the entire city itself. He orchestrated a trap for Eric in order to take away his powers and kill him.
    • Leadership: Top Dollar leads his criminal group from behind the scenes, though is equally capable of leading his group in person.
  • Expert Swordsman: Top Dollar is a very skilled swordsman, able to use his katana to fight Eric Draven, eventually disarming him.
  • Expert Marksman: Top Dollar is able to effectively wield firearms such as when he shot at officer Albrecht with his twin handguns.
  • Intimidation: Top Dollar is an intimidating force to other people and low-level criminals either by his powerful influence or acts of brutality.

Equipment

  • Katana: Top Dollar carried this sword in a scabbard strapped onto his back. He used it during his final fight with Eric Draven on the church rooftop, managing to stab the latter through the back when he was distracted.
  • Twin Taurus PT92: Top Dollar carried two of these handguns in underarm holsters, using them in the church shootout. Though gave one to Myca before going to the roof.
  • Curved Dagger: Top Dollar carried this curved dagger on his person, drawing it when he is about to kill Eric Draven during their final confrontation on the church rooftop.
  • Rapier: Top Dollar used this sword from his collection to stab Gideon.
  • Calico M950: Top Dollar briefly used Grange's pistol to execute Gideon.
  • Various Swords and Knives: Top Dollar kept a cabinet full of different types of swords and knives.

Gallery

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