|“||I, who am the prince of villainy, serve none! And now once the Cosmic Cube is mine, all that live shall pay me homage!||„|
|~ Red Skull|
|“||What is this mad obsession with freedom?||„|
|~ Red Skull|
The Red Skull (real name: Johann Schmidt) is a prominently featured supervillain and one of the main antagonists of the Marvel comics universe. He is Captain America's archenemy.
The Red Skull was originally a German man named Johann Schmidt, who eventually came to hate the human race. He was born to Hermann and Martha Schmidt. After his mother died having him, Hermann, (who was an abusive and blameworthy alcoholic) blamed Johann for her death and tried to drown him right after he was born-only to be stopped the attending doctor. Hermann committed suicide afterwards, so the doctor took Johann to an orphanage.
Johann left the orphanage when he was about 7 years old and began living his life as a beggar and a thief-a reputation which would put him in jail from time to time even as he tried to find jobs for himself. He eventually worked for a Jewish shopkeeper, whose daughter, Esther, was the only person who showed any kindness to Johann. He later tried to rape her, and killed her once she rejected his advances. He initially left in terror but later felt great joy in having committed his first murder.
Later in his life working as a bellhop in a hotel when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power. He was bringing food to the dictator's room when Hitler yelled at a gestapo agent, saying that he could make the bellboy a better spy than he was. Hitler then saw the hatred in his face and decided to make Schmidt the perfect Nazi and his right-hand man. Hitler gave him a red, skull-like mask and named him Red Skull. The Skull was answerable only to Hitler himself.
Red Skull planned and took part in many espionage and terrorist activities during World War Two, and the United States created Captain America in response. In the final days of the war, Captain America and Red Skull confronted each other in the latter's hidden bunker under Berlin. The bunker collapsed, trapping Red Skull.
Gases were released in the collapse, which put Red Skull into a state of suspended animation. His American nemesis was also trapped in a similar state later on, albeit frozen in arctic ice. Both individuals were revived in the 1960's, and they continue to fight each other today. During this period, Red Skull was exposed to one of his own gases, which twisted and deformed his face so it took on the appearance of his mask.
Red Skull once came into possession of the Cosmic Cube, a device that could alter reality to the user's wishes. The Skull used it to make himself ruler of the world, but was eventually thwarted by the New Avengers and reality was reset. He was resurrected by Arnim Zola who has since then transferred his mind after physical death and recently transferred it into a body identical to Zola giving him a form of immortality due to mind transfer.
Recently a revived Red Skull formed the S-Men and became the antithesis of the now deceased Charles Xavier, stealing his body and taking the mutant's brain as his own - likely developing the same psychic abilities as Xavier in the process but dedicating himself to eradicating mutants.
World War Hate
Red Skull, as part of his plan to wipe out all of mutant-kind, took over the island Genosha and turned it into a concentration camp, abducting numerous mutants and Inhumans. Among those captured were members of the Avengers Unity Division. The Avengers, joined by Magneto, managed to escape and confronted Red Skull. Defeating Red Skull's S-Men, Magneto then proceeded to kill Red Skull without the use of his mutant powers, offering him a "pure" death.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Main article: Red Skull (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
In other media
- Red Skull appears in various episodes of the Captain America segment of The Marvel Superheroes.
- The Skull also appears in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon in the episode, The Capture of Captain America, voiced by Peter Cullen.
- Cullen reprises the role in the banned Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends episode, Dawn of the Red Skull.
- In the 1990 Captain America movie, the Red Skull is played by Scott Paulin. In this version, The Skull is an Italian Fascist named Tadzio de Santis and also a recipient of the Super Solider Serum.
- The Skull appears various times in the 90's Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Earl Boen. Here, he was trapped in a time vortex with his hated nemesis, Captain America, and is the father of Electro. He also was the main antagonist of Season 5.
- In the un-produced Captain America animated series, the Red Skull would have been the main villain.
- The Red Skull appears in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Steven Jay Blum
- Red Skull appears in the 2013 Disney/Marvel crossover special, Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, as the primary antagonist. He leads a group of Marvel villains (Whiplash, Venom, and M.O.D.O.K. in fighting four of the greatest heroes (Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk and Thor), who all lost their superpowers thanks to the Power Drain-inator created by Heinz Doofenshmirtz (the recurring antagonist of the series). Upon learning that Doofenshmirtz is responsible for stripping the powers, Red Skull and his allies seek him out, and after Doofenshmirtz builds a second one, they later betray him, planning to use the Power Drain-inator to drain every mega-hero of his/her power to take over the world. Fortunately, Phineas and Ferb, along with their friends, manage to retrieve the lost powers and restore them back to the heroes, who then defeat Red Skull and his allies and send them into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
- Red Skull is an antagonist and leader of the Cabal in 2013 animated series Avengers Assemble voiced by Liam O'Brian. He made an alliance called Cabals with Attuma, Dracula, MODOK, and Hyperion, he tried to invite Dr Doom, but he refused. In this sense, Red Skull is the main antagonist of Avengers Assemble and the series' Big Bad. He was dying due to the imperfection of the super-soldier serum that transformed him, so he attacks Captain America and teleports him to a HYDRA base with a laser gun (Tony thought Skull had killed him). At the hideout, he prepares to have his own mind passed into the Captain's body with MODOK, but the newly-formed Avengers attack and save Cap. In the process however, Red Skull had managed to steal Tony's Iron Man armor, destroying the helmet (likely so that his face can always be shown to intimidate his foes) and calls himself Iron Skull.
- Red Skull is one of Marvel's most evil comic book villains, alongside Apocalypse, Bullseye, Carnage, Norman Osborn, and many more.
- Red Skull is considered one of the most evil and cruel villains in superhero fiction. To the point where some people consider him just as cruel the Joker.
- In a DC/Marvel crossover comic, even the Joker, who was working with Red Skull and unaware that Red Skull was a REAL Nazi, was shocked and angry right after knowing Red Skull's real identity.
- Because he is a Nazi, even other villains don't like him. An example of this is when he was confronted by Magneto, himself a Holocaust survivor, and was trapped in rubble for days by the Master of Magnetism. Even the Joker, the insane arch-nemesis of Batman, is horrified that he was working with the Red Skull (during a Marvel/DC crossover), saying, "I may be a criminal lunatic, but I am an American criminal lunatic!".