Friday, November 7, 2008


3D Man sez: "He didn't smoke the same cigarettes as me, but I don't expect everybody to be as much a man as me. Or three men, as the case may be. Greyshirt loved knocking out teeth, that was his thing. I think he had a collection of incisors. Creepy dude."

Greyshirt is a creation of Rick Veitch, one of those talented writer/artist types linked to Alan Moore over the years, and probably lost in the murky depths of Moore's reputation.

Not that I think Veitch cared much. He's done great work over the years sans Moore. But most of Veitch's major contributions to the bigger comic book companies have come via Moore's influence, one way or another. Moore's the guy who wrote a bunch of stuff you've heard of, from WATCHMEN to V FOR VENDETTA to FROM's boring to list what Moore has done. It's boring to say Moore has had a negative impact on the comic book medium, but he has had an impact, whether you like it or not.

Moore's been blamed for f**king up the comic book industry, twisting it into something it was never meant to be, adultified to the point of alienating the young/new reader, ect. Moore felt bad about that, basically, and created his own comic book line, "America's Best Comics" which was a throwback with a modernization of the formula, in order to layer comics from another, better time with the intellect of post-modern viewpoints...all the while not choking the life from the project.

To this end, Moore brought in Veitch, and Veitch emerged from a place of power with Greyshirt, his Pulp Hero homage to the Shadow, the Saint, and the Spirit, among others.

A detailed, epic origin of Greyshirt was revealed in "Indigo Sunset," Veitch using comic books and sensationalistic men's magazine type headlines to render the story. Greyshirt comes off as a man who embodies a statistical truth about evil, that even the best men have evil in their hearts and only by overcoming it are they elevated from beasts.

It's almost a religion with Greyshirt, implicit in his actions. He's delivering lessons, not justice.

The inventive nature of Veitch, who is obvious a fevered genius, allows Greyshirt to appeal to a vast audience who probably never read the work. Or rather, obviously never read it since there hasn't been a Greyshirt story in probably a decade. The ABC line of comics died and is trapped in its own entropy, and I suspect Veitch has no real rights to this character. Or no interest in telling any more stories with him, which is kind of a shame.

Like the Goon, much more popular and noticeable in comics these days, Greyshirt could be traveling in the same circles of forsaken freaks and lost souls. Albeit, in the shadows.

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