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Gray Seal. The Gray Seal was created by Frank Lucius Packard (Henri Raoul Charlebois, Rhoda Gray) and appeared in thirty-eight stories and serials in a variety of magazines from 1914 to 1935, beginning with “The Gray Seal” (People’s Magazine, May, 1914).

The Gray Seal is Jimmie Dale, a Lupin. He is wealthy and is a member of the exclusive St. James Club, but his life of leisure bores him, so he carries out a prank, to tease the police and to amuse himself, for “the sheer deviltry of it.” He creates the identity of the “Gray Seal” and begins to enter homes, stores, and public buildings by night. The Gray Seal always opens safes, no matter where they were or how guarded they were, and leaves behind a gray diamond paper seal. The Gray Seal never takes anything else; his goal was amusement, not larceny. Unfortunately for Dale, while entering the safe of Marx’s jewelry store he is surprised by an unidentified person. Dale flees, but discovers later that he accidentally held on to a pearl necklace, thus making him a thief in fact as well as in theory. The very next morning a letter arrives for him, hand-written by a woman. The woman knows all about him, about the Seal and what the Seal does for a joke. And, worse still, about what happened in Marx’s. The woman threatens Dale with a jail term unless he works for her. Dale, no fool, gives in, and begins a long series of break-ins and burglaries, following the woman’s orders but still never committing a crime. She aims him as a living weapon at a ring of criminal masterminds who oversee all organized crime in New York City.

Eventually Dale’s father dies, and Dale becomes wealthy. He develops a second secret identity, that of “Larry the Bat,” a dope fiend, and creates the Sanctuary, a third floor room in a tenement in the Badlands, in which he keeps his disguise kit, his changes of clothes, and anything else he needs to be either Larry the Bat or the Gray Seal. Dale finds out that the woman is “the Tocsin,” a.k.a. Marie LaSalle, and at her direction he wars on the Crime Club, the crime lords who control New York City. Eventually the Crime Club is defeated and Dale and LaSalle walk off into the sunset together.

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