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The Painter is a Marvel comics supervillain mostly associated with Spider-Man and the Human Torch, he is a fairly standard villain who works by a specific theme and like most supervillains willingly devotes himself to a recurring lifestyle of superhuman crime and a rejection of society's norms.
The Painter was not always a supervillain, in fact he was originally a rather pathetic man who failed at art and copied famous paintings before selling them off as originals.. a practice that soon had him arrested for fraud.
Spending three years in jail The Painter learned very little and turned to counterfeiting, yet was not able to do so very well and was once again captured and put in prison.
Persistant as ever The Painter soon began an escape plan and dug his way out of his jail cell (during this time period it was not impossible to do this, unlike modern cells) - upon digging his way out he stumbled onto an underground cavern and found alien hieroglyphs : managing to steal some of the alien paint from these mysterious marks he gained superhuman powers and renamed himself The Painter.
- Matter Animation and Control : via the use of alien "paint" he can create solid constructs of anything he painted, he could also paint at superhuman speed and was even able to mutate others via the paint - his powers are focused via a canvas and paintbrush, it may also be psychic in nature as his creations fade when he will its or when he loses interest.
- despite the paint originally being "magical" it is much more likely it is advanced alien technology, since it has extra-planetary origin (however this doesn't completely rule out magic as several alien races have practiced magic).