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By Tim Stevens
This May and June, Spider-Man learns just how literal—and creepy—the expression "two-dimensional" can be thanks to his newest super villain, Paper Doll.
Despite the title of "super villain," however, Paper Doll plays by a different rule book than Spidey, and fans, might be used to.
"The average super villain usually has one of three goals: rob a bank, get revenge, or world domination," explains Dan Slott, writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, where the new baddie will debut. "The Paper Doll doesn't care about any
of those things. All she cares about is a certain Hollywood superstar-slash-bad boy, Bobby Carr. She's his number one fan. So you could say Paper Doll is less of a super villain and more of a super stalker."
"Oh, and she is über-creepy," Slott adds for emphasis. "Capital 'ooh,' capital 'brrrr,' and heavy on the umlaut."
Charged with conveying this creepiness, skilled artist Marcos Martin initially encountered the task with great difficulty.
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"It's been a tough character to draw, especially because of the mixture of powers she displays," admits Martin. "It's difficult to find a way of explaining and making them clear to the reader in a visual way. It's difficult to make a character look sinister when there are no volumes in your face to cast any shadows."
In the end, however, Martin found the tools to convey the sinister siren on the page: "It's fun the way she moves around and interacts with her surroundings. The character had to have a Goth vibe to it so when it comes to the visual design for the costume I chose to combine elements of different Alexander McQueen dresses. Conceptually, and since the character had to be somewhat scary, I tried to channel the visual creepiness from all those Japanese horror movies like 'The Grudge.' I can't think of any particular graphic technique I used other than storytelling devices to keep her off panel and finding the best moment to make her—usually sudden—appearances creepier."
The eeriness does not stop with the rendering of Paper Doll. Slott expects that many fans will recognize something familiar in her desire to get close to Bobby Carr, as he certainly does.
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"I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fan," says the writer. "I don't think anyone working in this industry fell into by accident. We've all been bitten by the fan bug and, I think, one of the hardest parts about working on this side of the fence is trying to keep that in check and act like a 'professional.' Sometimes it's scary, when the fan part of you pops out."
As such, Paper Doll manifests as "any fan's greatest fear, that if they're not careful, they might come off as a little too two-dimensional," by taking an interest out to its illogical extreme.
Elsewhere in the three-part story, titled "Peter Parker: Paparazzi," that old Parker luck exerts itself once more. On the one hand, as the DB's newest paparazzo, Parker finds himself cashing larger freelance checks than ever. On the other, so far unbeknownst to him, his photos feed Paper Doll's wildly unhealthy obsession. Therefore, according to Slott, "with great paparazzo-powers there most also come some Parker-style responsibility."
Slott encourages fans to "get in on [Spidey's new villains] now! I'm telling you here and now, the new characters you're meeting in AMAZING aren't one offs!"
Make like Paper Doll and stalk her through the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in issues #560 and #561 due on shelves May 21 and June 4 respectively. And for the first 100 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!