|Publisher||America's Best Comics/Wildstorm|
|First appearance||Tomorrow Stories #1, 1999|
|Created by||Alan Moore and Rick Veitch|
|Alter ego||Franky Lafayette|
|Team affiliations||Indigo Police
|Abilities||None, but he is a smart, skilled and tenacious fighter.
Who sports a complete bodysuit made of chain mail.
Walking cane fitted with power grappling line.
Greyshirt is a comic book character in Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories, published by Wildstorm (a subsidiary of DC Comics), under the America's Best Comics imprint. The character was co-created by Moore and Rick Veitch. The character is a pastiche of Will Eisner's The Spirit. The name draws obvious inspiration from the British pulp hero, Blackshirt.
Greyshirt originally appeared in Tomorrow Stories (1999), each issue consisting of a collection of short stories featuring a recurring cast of characters. These characters, like Greyshirt, were often inspired by pulp magazine and comic book archetypes, such as the boy genius and the masked detective. As such, Greyshirt's stories often showcased Alan Moore's take on the detective stories of such characters as The Spirit. Unlike most of the other ABC characters, Greyshirt is not so much a parody of comic book characters as a pastiche of classic masked detectives.
Greyshirt later appeared in Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset, a comic-book limited series and spin-off from Tomorrow Stories that was written and drawn by Veitch. The series explored the origins of the character, as well as showcasing contributions from Russ Heath, Al Williamson, David Lloyd, John Severin, Dave Gibbons, Frank Cho and Hilary Barta. The limited series ran for six issues and has since been collected into a trade paperback.
Each issue was broken into four parts. On the inverse side of the cover, there would be a black-and-white "One-Pager." The comic then continued with "Young Greyshirt," which explored the character's life before Tomorrow Stories, and "Greyshirt," which featured short stories similar to those seen in Tomorrow Stories. The issue would conclude with "Indigo City Sunset," consisting of Indigo City's newspaper, featuring articles, comic strips, and letters to the editor.
Born in 1963, Franky Lafayette, the son of "Lips" Lafayette, was a young criminal in the "bottoms up" section of Indigo City. In 1969 Franky and Johnny Apollo, both six years old, stole a gun, which Franky used to save Johnny Apollo from the "The Lure".
In 1978, Franky and Johnny were young high school delinquents, selling tijuana bibles and stolen fireworks. They worked for a gangster named Carmine Carbone (who, unbeknownst to Franky, is his father). At one time Franky and Plato Plutarch, a high school honor student, worked to save Candice "Candi" (Jail Bait) Lovelace and went head to head with "Spats Katz" (a rival of Carmine). At this time, Plato called in a couple of favors and gave Franky a chain mail Greyshirt. As full-fledged gangsters, the team-up inspired a long running comic book series named "Hoodlum Hit".
But in 1989, things started going downhill. Franky Lafayette's mother was pregnant again with Catherine and later gave her up for adoption. Carmine Carbone was sent to prison for 20 years. Singer and whore with a heart of gold Ella Bly who knew Franky before he became Greyshirt, wrote a song called "The Ballad of Franky & Johnny".
Their partnership ended when Johnny turned on Franky and later engineered an explosion that apparently killed them both.
However, Johnny was 'saved' by 'The Lure' and Franky was saved by Rockefeller Patel, "The Buddha of Indigo City" a deeply spiritual Nepalese monk with a keen sense of service and sacrifice, who lived under the old Indigo City Central Gas Station and the tunnels under the city.
After recovering for two weeks, Franky decides to adopt the identity of Greyshirt, a masked private investigator. He dons a formal suit with a red handkerchief, to hide his broken nose, and a chain mail shirt that protects him from blows, knife attacks, and even partially from bullets and bombs.
Greyshirt solves kidnappings, saves the city from "Baby Einstein", and fights old enemies gangsters like "Chucky Frisco" and "Vinnie Assapunto". He also encounters "Spats Katz", now a wheelchair-bound old man who was killed by an old caretaker, the mysterious monster named "The Lure" who lives in the jewel mines under Indigo City and stole Johnny Apollo's soul, and Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party all reincarnated as cockroaches.
Greyshirt also has an extensive love life, having been involved with at least four women, including:
- Roseanna Crescendo, a shopgirl whose father, Dr. Victor Crescendo, was a physicist and musician who attempted to unfurl existence.
- Explorer Pandora Siam.
- Lapis Lazuli: a psychotic murderer and science villain. After Greyshirt arranged her arrest, she was sentenced to death by gas chamber. However, she has the ability to hold her breath for as long as days at a time. Greyshirt waited for her with red roses on the night she crawled out of her grave.
- However, it was Cobweb, a woman he fell in love as a teenager while reading an old Tijuana bible, who became his most significant romantic partner.
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #1 (December 2001)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #2 (December 2001)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #3 (February 2002)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #4 (April 2002)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #5 (June 2002)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #3 (October 20, 1999)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #7 (April 12, 2000)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #2 (September 9, 1999)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #6 (August 2002)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #11 (August 29, 2001)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #5 (December 29, 1999)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #3 (See in one page) (October 20, 1999)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #10 (April 18, 2001)
- Tomorrow Stories Issue #12 (February 27, 2002)
- Tomorrow Stories #1 (August 1999)- 12 (February 2002)
- Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset #1 (December 2001) – 6 (August 2002)
- Tomorrow Stories Special #1 (October 2005) – 2 (March 2006)
- Tom Strong #36 (March 2006)
- America's Best Comics: A to Z #2