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Contributed by Ronald Byrd

Born in Romania and raised by Romany, teenage mutant Sybil Dvorak is seduced by American actor Jason Reed, who brings her back to Hollywood with him as his mistress. Kept isolated in Reed’s home while her citizenship papers are stalled, she rebels and takes to robbing society parties under the identity of Gypsy Moth, leading her to clash with the heroine Spider-Woman. Eventually she gains her citizenship and inclusion in Reed’s will; he dies soon after of a burst blood vessel (implicitly caused by Gypsy Moth), leaving her a wealthy socialite who uses his money to start a drug cult of worshippers. Later, she is among the many superhumans kidnapped and imprisoned by the insane Locksmith, and after she escapes with the help of Spider-Woman and others, she joins the Night Shift, an apparent criminal organization which the vigilante called the Shroud is secretly using to fight crime. The Night Shift eventually separate from the Shroud and gain augmented from the demon Satannish, only to be defeated by the West Coast Avengers. Next seen among the Femizons of the would-be conqueror Superia, Gypsy Moth eventually drops out of crime and becomes the manager of a string of sex clubs.

However, the lure of criminal activity proves too much for Gypsy Moth, who joins the Crimson Cowl’s Masters of Evil “just for kicks” and clashes with the reformed villains called the Thunderbolts. Later, when most of the Thunderbolts are temporarily away from Earth, the remaining members, Hawkeye and Songbird, recruit her and several other former Masters to defeat the Cowl; as a member of this informal second group of Thunderbolts, she uses the new name of Skein. After the Cowl is defeated, the Thunderbolts return to Earth and the former Masters are offered a place on the team, but they decline. Skein suggests that Songbird accompany her to Casablanca; she flirtatiously strokes Songbird’s hair as she does so, suggesting that, although she has demonstrated overt sexual interest in men, she is also attracted to women. Songbird refuses the offer, and Skein leaves for parts unknown.

Skein can telekinetically manipulate fabrics and organic tissues, enabling her to entrap people in their own clothing or hair and to induce muscle cramps, burst blood vessels, and other injuries. She can mentally control and reweave any form of cloth, with a power range of threading a needle to moving about 120 pounds worth of fabric. She is also able to fly via telekinesis and to levitate another person under 120 pounds; as Gypsy Moth she used her power to interweave non-functional silken wings from her own skin tissue, but the wings were purely ornamental.

Skein first appeared in Spider-Woman #10 and is revealed as lesbian in Thunderbolts #75. Skein has been included in promo art for issues of Avengers: Initiative.

Art by Juan Bobillo, Marcelo Sosa, and Chris Chuckry from the cover of Thunderbolts #71 (volume 1).

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September 23, 2021
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