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By Tim Stevens
The world's first 'live-streaming super-villain,' for Screwball, the perks of being a baddie lie less in hitting banks and more in getting hits on her web site. When she surfs into the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #559 on May 14 courtesy of writer Dan Slott and artist Marcos Martin, you can be sure this more-than-virtual villain will be raising her traffic to the max.
For Martin, Screwball's use of modern media provides an excellent selling point: "I think it's a brilliant idea to have a character that reflects on today's use of the Internet and the YouTube phenomenon as a means of self promotion."
Screwball's sense of the now also informs Martin's design of the character.
"My artistic approach is always the same: to find the concept behind the character and then make it both clean and clear and as visually exciting as possible," explains the
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expert draftsmen responsible for masterworks like last year's DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH. "I thought we needed to showcase her name in the uniform as a brand image. I drew influence from different brands of women's sportswear and also from the Momo Design brand of motorcycle helmets."
Of course, being "too current" can often backfire on a character.
"It's tricky," acknowledge Slott. "One wrong step and you wind up with Hypno Hustler! Next thing you know, you've got guys based off of Pet Rocks, Rubik's cubes, and the Macarena. With Screwball, the key thing about her is that she's a compulsive exhibitionist. And that's something that's been around for every decade of Spider-Man—performance artists in the '60s, streakers in the '70s, B.A.S.E. jumpers in the '80s and '90s, and the Mob Pranks of today."
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Rooting the character in a classic Spider-Man concept, with a decidedly modern twist, presents only part of the attraction of developing Screwball though.
"It's always great to see new villains," the writer continues. "They keep Spidey on his toes, and we have a great time coming up with them! Also, by using new guys, we can build up a little suspense for when the classic Spidey villains come back. And that day is fast approaching..."
To those fans curious where Screwball might fit in with the other villains in Spider-Man's oeuvre, Slott suggests you do not have far to look: "She's funny, kinetic, and a bit of a
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trickster. So, out of everyone in Spider-Man's world, the person she's most like...is Spidey himself!"
Looking at the final result, both creators find themselves pleased with the results. Even the ever humble Martin admits, "I'm never thrilled by my work but I'm reasonably happy with the way Spidey and Screwball's chase scene turned out."
To see Screwball streaming her first crime—and how that chase works out—check out AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #559, in stores May 14. Also, revisit some of Spidey's classic foes with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.