Monday, August 1, 2011

Red Skull

Real Name
Johann Shmidt

Former beggar, thief, menial laborer, bellboy, terrorist leader for the Third Reich, would-be world conqueror


Citizen of
Germany sought by authorities throughout the world for war crimes and major offenses

Place of Birth

An unidentified village in Germany

Known Relatives
Hermann Shmidt (father, deceased), Martha Shmidt (mother, deceased), Sinthea Shmidt (Mother Superior/Sin, daughter)

Group Affiliation

Special operative in the government of Germany's
Third Reich, former leader of most currently active Nazi subversives throughout the world, former ally of THEM and A.I.M., former leader of the Nevada-based fragment of HYDRA, leader of the People's Militia, former partner of Hate-Monger, creator of Scourge of the Underworld






195 lbs




Reddish blond, later none




The Red Skull is a fine unarmed combatant, marksman and master of disguise. He possesses a keen mind at military, political, corporate and subversive strategies.

Other Info

Johann Shmidt was born the son of an abusive, drunken German villager named Hermann Shmidt and his saintly, long suffering wife Martha, who for years endured abuse and beatings from her husband. Martha died giving birth to Johann, their only child. Driven to madness by the death of his wife, Hermann Shmidt tried to drown the newborn infant, accusing him of murdering Martha. However, the doctor who had just delivered the baby saved Johann from his father, and the next morning Hermann Shmidt committed suicide. The doctor ended up taking Johann to an orphanage, where the child led a lonely existence. Eventually, Johann ran away from the orphanage when he was seven years old and lived in the streets as a beggar and a thief. As Johann grew older he worked at various menial jobs, but spent most of his time in prison for crimes ranging from vagrancy to theft.

By his late teens, during the rise of the Third Reich, Johann Shmidt got his most prosperous job, a bellhop in a major hotel. There he served the room of Adolf Hitler himself. One day, by chance, Johann was present when Hitler was furiously berating an officer and swore he could train Johann himself, a simple bellhop, to be a better National Socialist. Looking closely at him and sensing his dark inner nature, Hitler decided to take up the challenge and recruited Johann. (To learn about the Third Reich and/or Hitler, click on their highlighted names above.)

Dissatisfied with the standard drill instruction his subordinates used to train Shmidt, Hitler took over personally. Upon completion, Hitler gave Shmidt a unique uniform with a grotesque red skull mask, and gave him the name, "Red Skull." Shmidt's role was the embodiment of Nazi intimidation, while Hitler could remain the popular leader of Germany. The Red Skull was appointed head of Nazi terrorist activities with an additional large role in external espionage and sabotage. The Skull was spectacularly successful, wreaking havoc throughout Europe in the early stages of World War II. The propaganda effect was so great that the United States government decided to counter it by creating their own equivalent using the recipient of the lost Operation: Rebirth, Steve Rogers, to become "Captain America." Thus, beginning a long-lasting feud between the two. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the operation and/or Captain America.)

Hitler took great pride in his protégé's successes and let the Skull have anything he wanted. Therefore, Hitler financed the construction of secret bases for the Red Skull in various locations throughout the world, many of which were equipped with highly advanced experimental weapons and devices developed by Nazi scientists. The Red Skull was particularly interested in procuring technological weapons that could be used for the purposes of subversion and warfare. During World War II, the Red Skull and Captain America clashed many times. But, during their final battle towards the end of WWII, the Skull had been supposedly killed when he was buried under the rubble of a bombed building. However, due to experimental gas that was released during the cave-in, the Red Skull remained in suspended animation for decades.

Johann Shmidt was eventually rescued in modern times by THEM (the ruling council of HYDRA headed by Baron Strucker). The Red Skull agreed to cooperate with THEM and did so just long enough to steal the Cosmic Cube from A.I.M. (which was then one of THEM's subsidiary organizations). This theft led to the Red Skull's first post-WWII clash with Captain America, which led to another Red Skull defeat. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different teams and/or object.)

Seeking an heir, the Red Skull fathered a daughter by a washerwoman; however, this woman died in childbirth. The Red Skull had the mansion called "Skull House" built and raised his daughter there. Through advanced biological means, the Skull caused his daughter to reach adulthood within an unnaturally short period of time and endowed her with superhuman powers--he named her "Mother Superior." (To learn about the Red Skull's daughter, click on her highlighted name above.)

Later, the Red Skull learned that the effects of the experimental gas that had kept him from aging while he was in suspended animation were wearing off. As a result, the Skull aged at an unnatural rate until he became an elder man that would soon die of old age. Therefore, the Red Skull had Nazi scientist Arnim Zola transfer the Skull's mind into a clone of Steve Rogers. Alive again, the Red Skull became determined to destroy America from within, using its own capitalism. Remaining behind the scenes as the Red Skull, he created and/or funded the creation of several different subversive groups, including ULTIMATUM, the Watchdogs, Scourge of the Underworld, and others. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the character and/or teams.)

Through his agent on the Senate-sanctioned Commission on Superhuman Activities (CSA), the Red Skull manipulated the CSA's into eventually replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America with the violent and mentally unstable John Walker. As the new Captain America, Walker was manipulated by the Red Skull to act in a manner which publicly disgraced the image of the hero. In addition, the Skull tried to use Walker to kill Rogers (now known as "the Captain"). But, the Skull's attempt was unsuccessful when Rogers defeated Walker. As a final blow, the Red Skull tried to blow the Dust of Death on Rogers; however, Walker hit the Skull from behind with his shield, exposing Shmidt to the dust instead. The Skull suffered the signature facial disfigurement attributed to the Dust of Death (which gave him a permanent "red skull" appearance). But, Shmidt did not die due to years of exposure to low doses of the dust. (To learn about the group, character, and/or object above, just click on their highlighted names.)

Later, the Red Skull was attacked by Magneto. Being a Jewish Holocaust survivor, Magneto wanted to punish the Skull for his involvement in Hitler's regime. Eventually, Magneto was able to bury the Skull alive with only enough water to last for a few months. However, the Skull was eventually rescued by his henchman Crossbones. (To learn about the characters above, just click on their highlighted names.)

After some time, the Red Skull proposed an alliance with the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) to bring a new designer drug to New York; however, the Kingpin refused to form an alliance with a Nazi. Fisk then defeated the Skull in hand-to-hand combat, sparing his life on the condition that he never come near the Kingpin's territory again. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the characters.)

Desiring the Red Skull's Cosmic Cube for himself, former Soviet general Aleksander Lukin hired Steve Rogers' former WWII sidekick, Bucky (now known as the Winter Soldier) to assassinate the Red Skull. When the Red Skull was shot, Shimdt attempted to use the Cube to switch bodies with Lukin to survive, but the Cube was weak. Therefore, the transfer was only partially successful as the Skull only managed to transfer his mind into Lukin's body. Now, the minds of the two enemies were trapped together in the same body. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the characters.)

After this, during the superhero Civil War, the Skull/Lukin used hypnotist Doctor Faustus to help arrange Captain America's assassination. Under Faustus' influence, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and Cap's occasional girlfriend) Sharon Carter was brainwashed into killing Captain America herself. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about the different characters, teams, and event above.)

More recently, Arnim Zola transferred the Red Skull's mind out of Lukin's body and into one of his own spare android forms as a temporary measure. Shortly afterward though, Lukin was killed by Sharon Carter and Zola was seemingly destroyed. Therefore, the Red Skull remained trapped in Zola's spare robotic body.

To learn more about Red Skull, click on the following link,

1 comment:

  1. Hmm... so it was a mask in the comics?

    His story is very involved and confusing. I much prefer the way it worked out in the movie =)