Real Name: Johann Schmidt
First Appearance: Captain America Comics 1 (March, 1941)
Powers: The Red Skull possesses no true powers. He is an elite strategist in all forms (military, political, corporate, etc…)
Affiliation: Hydra, Third Reich, People’s Militia
Love Interests: Like a robot, the Red Skull is incapable of love
Did You Know: During his time under Hitler, Hitler was afraid of him. More importantly, in a B-Movie version of Captain America, the Red Skull sounds strangely Italian.
A Little History…
Born into a broken home, led by a drunk of a father, Johann came into the world hated. His mother died in childbirth and as a consequence, his father attempted to drown Johann, believing his infant son to be the cause. The doctor quickly took Johann away, sent him to an orphanage, and the next day his father committed suicide.
Johann would run away from the orphanage at 7 and live out his early life on the streets, being arrested from time to time for various crimes.
Have you ever heard the expression, “In the right place at the right time?”
Johann seemingly lived out this expression when he took up a job as a bellhop at a hotel. It was at this hotel that he was responsible for serving the room of Adolf Hitler. In the middle of a delivery, Johann watched as Hitler savagely beat one of his officers. From this point, Hitler proclaimed he could train Johann to be a better officer and did just that. Hitler would bestow Johann with a red mask and name him the Red Skull.
Known now as the Red Skull, Johann was put in charge of a group of Nazi Terrorists; a job he became quite prolific at.
Seeing what was happening, the United States began to counter his influence with the man from Operation Rebirth, Captain America.
The two would engage in countless battles over the years and in one such battle, Red Skull would be buried under a building and left for dead.
If you have watched any of the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might be wondering how he came into the 20th century if he died in the war?
Well, first of all, nobody dies in comics.
Underneath the rubble, the Red Skull was exposed to an experimental gas and wound up in suspended animation for the next few decades, where he was found and brought back to life by the organization known as HYDRA. Now alive and well, the Red Skull had only one thing on his mind…revenge.
It would take some time, but the Red Skull would finally one-up Captain America when he had a doctor hypnotize Sharon Carter (Steve’s girlfriend) to shoot him (which she did). This story arc made headlines all over the world. I remember vividly seeing the newspapers, magazines, and the news on television all proclaiming that Captain America was dead. Fans and non-fans of the character swarmed to comic shops in droves to get their hands on what would most certainly be their ticket to the millionaire life.
They were wrong.
Captain America would return, but before that, the Red Skull had begun his quest for world domination.
Most recently, like C-3P0, the Red Skull is living his life inside of a robot.
- Mother dies at birth
- Father attempts to kill him
- Father commits suicide
- Put in orphanage and runs away
- Is taken on as the protégé to Hitler
- Leads Nazi Terrorist group
- Fights Captain America
- Placed in suspended animation
- Fights Captain America
- Kills Captain America
- Lives like C-3P0