Skein (real name Sybil Dvorak, formerly known as Gypsy Moth and Sybarite) is a fictional character, a mutant supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe.

Publication history

The character first appeared in Spider-Woman (1st series) #10, as Gypsy Moth, and was created by Mark Gruenwald and Carmine Infantino.

She subsequently appeared in Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #1 (June 1982), Spider-Woman #48 (February 1983), Spider-Woman #50 (June 1983), The Avengers #240 (February 1984), Captain America #330-331 (June–July 1987), Solo Avengers #3 (February 1988), West Coast Avengers #40 (January 1989), Captain America (1968) #387-392 (July- September 1991), Avengers West Coast #76-79 (November 1991-February 1992), and Thunderbolts (1997) #64-65 (July–August 2002).

The character later became known as Skein, and appeared in Thunderbolts #67 (September 2002), #69 (October 2002), #71 (November 2002), #73-75 (December 2002-February 2003), X-Men: The 198 Files #1 (March 2006), Thunderbolts #103 (August 2006), and #107 (December 2006).

Gypsy Moth received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #5, and in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #10 (2006).

Fictional character biography

Sybil Dvorak was born in Focşani, Romania in the shadow of the Balkans. She was raised by Gypsies and spent much of her time alone nurturing her gardens and focusing on her mutant powers - the ability to telekinetically manipulate and control materials with her mind. She loved how the sensation of fiber, such as soft weaves and flowers, felt to her mental touch; hard objects felt abrasive to her. According to the comics, she was very lonely, so she wove herself gossamer wings as delicate as her personality.

She then met an American actor named Jason Reed. Reed was starring in a remake of the movie Dracula, which was being filmed on location in Romania. He romanced her and seduced her with promises of fame when flying her to his home in California. The two characters, Sybil Dvorak and Jason Reed, married, but Reed was constantly away from the house. Sybil then began imagining that he was having affairs behind her back. She wove herself a costume and began calling herself Gypsy Moth. She wreaked havoc attacking social gatherings in search of Reed.

Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) encountered Gypsy Moth at a party she was attending. Accompanying Jessica Drew to the party was her boyfriend, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jerry Hunt, along with her mentor Magnus. Jessica Drew changed into her Spider-Woman costume and tried to confront Gypsy Moth, but Gypsy Moth unwove Drew's costume and then bound Jessica Drew in thread and tried to drown her in a swimming pool. Drew broke free, and at the same time her boyfriend, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hunt realized that the fight was occurring. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hunt fired his gun at Gypsy Moth, damaging her wing so that she could not fly. Jessica Drew knocked out Hunt to keep him from getting in the way as she confronted Gypsy Moth. However, instead of turning her over to the authorities, Spider-Woman allowed her to walk away since they seemed to have some things in common.

Soon after her first encounter with Spider-Woman, Sybil managed to get her American citizenship and an inclusion into her husband Jason Reed’s will. When he died of a supposed obstructed blood vessel in his heart, she inherited his home and his wealth. She used these new assets to start a hedonistic cult of drugs and decadence that worshipped her as a queen.


Gypsy Moth

Within her cult, Gypsy Moth took on the name of Sybarite and had her followers steal and scavenge for her. As Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) investigated these thefts, she overheard the name of Sybarite from a drug dealer. She recalled it as the name of a hostess who was throwing a party that her best friend Lindsay McCabe was attending. During a scuffle, Spider-Woman became injected with enough drugs to knock her out and when she came too she was before Gypsy Moth as Sybarite. Spider-Woman thought they were friends, but Gypsy Moth said she was mistaken. Gypsy Moth tried to drown Spider-Woman again, but Spider-Woman broke loose and tried to appeal to Gypsy Moth's conscience. Saying she had no conscience, Gypsy Moth attacked once more as Spider-Woman realized Lindsay was present in a drugged-induced haze. Rushing to help her, she turned around to realize Gypsy Moth was missing.

Soon after, Gypsy Moth was kidnapped by Tick-Tock and Locksmith who used technological means to nullify her powers. Spider-Woman was also captured by Tick-Tock and Locksmith. Spider-Woman had fellow prisoner Tigra insult prisoner Poltergeist enough to start a fight, in which they shorted out their specially designed prisons. Spider-Woman then had Gypsy Moth use her powers to swap their costumes. Once placed in Gypsy Moth’s specific prison, Spider-Woman broke free and released everyone else. After everyone was free, Gypsy Moth entangled Locksmith and Tick-Tock in their own clothing, and left them out in the open for the police to find.


Gypsy Moth and Hawkeye from West Coast Avengers #40.
Art by Al Milgrom and Mike Gustovich

Gypsy Moth later became a member of the Night Shift, a band of Los Angeles-based villains brought together by the Shroud. Tick-Tock, her former captor, was also a member of the Night Shift. She joined the Night Shift after rescuing the superhero Captain America from the mutated test subjects of Power Broker Incorporated, the company of the villain Power Broker. The Shroud made it seem like Dansen Macabre had hypnotized Captain America to serve the Night Shift, and thus convinced Gypsy Moth to join the Night Shift. The Night Shift and Gypsy Moth joined their powers in an assault upon the Power Broker, and Gypsy Moth used her powers to incapacitate the Power Broker's guards. Gypsy Moth was a member of the Night Shift for a number of other criminal capers. She fought the second Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) during a fight between the Night Shift and a team of the Avengers. Gypsy Moth asked Carpenter if she was related to the Spider-Woman she had encountered previously; Carpenter stated that she was not.

Gypsy Moth later left the Night Shift, and joined the Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil. Gypsy Moth aided the other Masters of Evil in their search for Justin Hammer's legacy, by helping them battle Plantman, Hawkeye and Songbird. Justin Hammer's Legacy was a bio-toxin which could kill thousands of superhumans. Hawkeye attempted to convince Gypsy Moth and most of her teammates to switch sides, and to aide him in preventing the Crimson Cowl from obtaining the toxin. Gypsy Moth sided with Hawkeye "for kicks", designed a new costume for herself and changed her name to Skein.

Sybil (Skein), as a part of Hawkeye's team of Thunderbolts, helped thwart the Crimson Cowl by effectively unraveling the Crimson Cowl's costume, rendering her powerless. As a member of the Thunderbolts, Sybil fought a S.H.I.E.L.D. team and was present when the original team of Thunderbolts returned to Earth after having their own adventure on Counter-Earth.

Afterwards, the two Thunderbolts teams came together for a celebration. Members of the two teams contemplated whether to stay with or leave the group; Sybil announced that she did not intend to stay. Part of the reason Sybil had stayed with the team was the challenge of seducing Songbird but once rebuffed she saw no reason to stay. Sybil's current whereabouts are unknown. It is also unknown whether she has kept the Skein identity or returned to operating as Gypsy Moth. She retained her powers following M-Day.

Powers and abilities

Sybil has the ability to telekinetically manipulate materials and objects with her mind. She prefers the soft feel of fiber and similar soft substances, and thus confines her manipulation almost solely to fabrics both organic and inorganic. Sybil can levitate herself to the point that she can practically fly, and uses her costume's wings to glide. She can carry loads weighing no more than her own body weight while airborne.

External links

fr:Phalène (comics) pt:Skein