Comics are filled with all manner of obscure characters, with many representing communities that aren’t featured as much as they could be. Sybil Dvorak is one of the few Romanians to receive attention. Having gone by the identities of Gypsy Moth and Skein, Dvorak is a character that has walked the line between crime and heroism. First introduced as an enemy of Spider-Woman, Gypsy Moth has a compelling background and interesting power set.
Gypsy Moth was born in the city of Focsani and felt drawn towards nature from a young age. When she got older, Dvorak found herself on the set of a Dracula remake. She met the actor Jason Reed and fell for him quickly. Reed took her to Los Angeles, though he left her alone in the house frequently. Dvorak became a prisoner in the home, as she was an illegal immigrant that Reed refused to marry.
Fearing that Reed was having affairs, Dvorak created the identity of Gypsy Moth and took her anger out on the Hollywood elite. This caught the attention of Spider-Woman, who offered her friendship. But Gypsy Moth responded by trying to kill her, leading to ongoing animosity. Not long after this encounter, Dvorak gained her American citizenship. She also inherited Reed’s fortune when he died from an alleged blocked blood vessel in his heart.
Gypsy Moth used her money to create a hedonistic cult. She gave her followers drugs in exchange for soft garments and animal bodies. Eventually, Spider-Woman caught up with her and Gypsy Moth was defeated again.
Later, Dvorak became a member of The Night Shift, a group of Los Angeles based supervillains. The team battled against the West Coast Avengers, though Gypsy Moth ended up leaving the group for the Masters of Evil. Hawkeye managed to convince her to turn against the team, with Dvorak going on to join the Thunderbolts. Deciding on a new approach, Dvorak redesigned her costume and called herself Skein.
A major reason why Dvorak chose to stay with the Thunderbolts was the challenge of seducing Songbird. When she was rebuffed, Dvorak moved on and returned to the Gypsy Moth identity. Since then, she’s embraced her criminal tendencies, working with the likes of the Spider Queen and Baron Zemo.
Gypsy Moth’s powers are unique. She has the mutant ability to telekinetically manipulate materials. Every material has a specific ‘texture’ in her mind, so she prefers to manipulate soft substances like fibres. To this end, Gypsy Moth has a hatred for mentally touching hard objects. Dvorak can manipulate synthetic and organic fabrics for a variety of feats, such as constricting her victims in a similar way to an anaconda. Dvorak can also levitate, using her abilities to ‘swim’ through the air.
Gypsy Moth might be an obscure character, but there’s no denying that she’s distinctive.