The Painter

 In: Characters
 Posted: 2002
 Staff: Snood (E-Mail)
File Photo



Wears a hat & scarf, large bushy moustache, usually has a number of cockroaches crawling all over him




6' (estimated)


270 lbs. (estimated)


The paints enabled him to work at a vastly superhuman speed. He could animate and control his creations. He could even use the paints to mutate or transform others. The majority of his creations and changes faded away when he willed them to, or when he lost interest in them. His abilities appeared to be only limited by his imagination and access to the brush and paints


Paintbrush, set of paints


It is possible that the Painter was not actually human. His actual weaknesses and limitations are uncertain


The Painter used a paintbrush and a set of paints with which he could create solid forms of things he painted. It is unclear whether the paints and brush worked through advanced science, magic, or a combination of the two

Strength Level:

Normal human level given his age and body type


Artistic ability, his imagination


Unknown, presumed American

Created By:

Stan Lee, R. Berns, Jack Kirby, Tony Isabella, Alex Saviuk, Keith Williams

Current Aliases:

The Painter

Current Occupation:


Dual Identity:

Not generally known


Unknown, presumed at least high-school graduate, possibly some additional education in art

Former Aliases:

The Painter of 1000 Perils, The Perilous Painter

Former Bases:

Manhattan, New York City

Former Groups:

Avant Garde (Bora, Shock); a number of insects; A gang of criminals led by "Scar" Tobin; Cockroach Conspiracy

Former Occupation:

Artist, former thief, former counterfeiter

Known Allies:

Bora, Shock, Cockroaches

Known Confidants:


Legal Status:


Major Enemies:

Human Torch (Johnny Storm) and Spider-Man

Marital Status:

Unknown, presumed single

Place of Birth:


Real Name:

Wilhelm von Vile

Usual Bases:

Manhattan, New York City


Although certain events have been called into question, the Painter himself described his origins as follows: He started out wanting to be a great artist, but lacked the talent. He began copying famous paintings and selling them, but his lack of attention to detail gave him away and he was sent to prison for three years.

Upon his release, he attempted a career in counterfeiting, but his lack of attention to detail gave him away again, and he was discovered by the second Human Torch and sent to prison again. He tunneled through a loose section of flooring and came upon an underground cavern. On the wall was a painting showing space travelers who painted their own paths and adventures. When he was trapped by a cave-in, he painted a picture of himself passing through solid rock, and he then did so to escape.

He allied himself with a gang of criminals to gain vengeance on the Human Torch. Why he did this was uncertain, unless he just wanted witnesses to his successes. He toyed with the Human Torch, easily defeating him with giant fire hydrants, tidal waves of sand, etc. However, his lack of attention to detail in his creations gave him away as von Vile, and the Torch managed to locate his headquarters and overhear his plans. He then painted a duplicate of himself to fall victim to the Painter's plans and then ambushed the Painter and destroyed his palate and brush, leaving him powerless. He was again sent to prison.

The Painter reappeared years later, covered with bugs with whom he communicated, and possessed of an artisitc motivation. He met with and merged his soul with the mutant known as Bora and the performance artist known as Spark. He empowered Spark and sent him to battle Spider-Man, who defeated him. Next he had Bora use her powers, which he amplified, to create a magical blizzard over Manhattan. He had Bora and Spark attack the Human Torch and Spider-Man, and used his brush to rejuvenate them immediately after they were defeated. However, apparently growing bored with the senseless battle, he transformed Bora and Spark into two-dimensional lifeless images on his canvas. He then said, "To Quote the Macabre King: 'When all else fails, go for the gross out.' ", and exploded into a shower of bugs, as outlined in the Art Attack storyline. The remnants of his skin were found to be made of canvas. His true origins and fate remain uncertain.

Was he powered by science or magic? Was he even human? How much of his origin is true? Couldn't tell you. The painter is part of the as yet untold saga of the "Cockroach Conspiracy."

Painter was very briefly released from prison by the Hypno-Hustler to fight Spider-Man, making him appear to be the Green Goblin. He was quickly defeated.

Image Gallery


Cover Date Appearance Information
May 1963 App: Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #108
  Origin revealed. Solo appearance without Avant Guard.
Mar 1991 App: Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #74
Apr 1991 App: Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #75
May 1991 App: Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #76

Thanks To

 This profile was completed with information used with permission from the Appendix of Marvel Universe website, mantained by Jeff Christiansen (Snood). If you want to find out about that odd-ball character you've only seen once, or even about that character you haven't ever seen, that's the site you're looking for. An impressive amount of obscure characters await you there!

 The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.

 Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.

 In: Characters
 Posted: 2002
 Staff: Snood (E-Mail)