Red Skull: Wikis


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Red Skull
Cover art for Captain America (vol 5) #38.
Art by Steve Epting.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (Schmidt) Captain America Comics #7 (Oct 1941)
(Maxon) Captain America Comics #1 (Mar 1941)
(Malik) (Golden Age) Captain America Comics #61 (March 1947)
Created by Joe Simon
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Johann Schmidt
George John Maxon
Albert Malik
Team affiliations (Schmidt) Kronas Corporation
Nazi Germany
Skeleton Crew
Notable aliases (Schmidt) Der Rote Schädel (German name), Dell Rusk, Bettman P. Lyles, the Agent of a Thousand Faces (whom he impersonated in Europe during World War II), The Man (head of the People's Militia), Cyrus Fenton, Teacher, Tod March (president and owner of Galactic Pictures), John Smith, Aleksander Lukin
(Malik) Senator Joseph McRooter
Abilities (Schmidt) Cloned body of Captain America (including the Super-Soldier formula); skilled hand-to-hand combatant, strategic genius, political mastermind, expert marksman
(Maxon) Skilled saboteur, hand-to-hand combatant, marksman
(Malik) Strategic master, political master
(Earth Cosmic Red Skull/Johan Schmidt) Genius level Intellect, Expert Combatant, Regenerative Healing

The Red Skull is a name shared by several fictional characters, comic book supervillains from the Marvel Comics universe. All incarnations of the character are enemies of Captain America, other superheroes, and the United States in general. The first two Red Skulls are Nazi agents and the third is a Communist. The Red Skull was first introduced in Captain America Comics #1 in 1941. The first Red Skull was an American industrialist turned Nazi saboteur, while the second is a long-time enemy of Captain America. The third Red Skull is best known for causing the deaths of the parents of Peter Parker, and thus orphaning the boy who would become Spider-Man. According to S.H.I.E.L.D., Johann Schmidt, (the original and current Red Skull) is considered one of the greatest threats to humanity.[1] The Red Skull was ranked number 21 on Wizard Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Villains Ever list and was also ranked as IGN's 14th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[2]


Character biography and publication history

The Red Skull, Johann Schmidt (sometimes spelled Shmidt), was a former Nazi general officer and confidant of Adolf Hitler. He has been closely affiliated with HYDRA and is an enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers, and the interests of the United States and the free world in general. He was physically augmented by having his mind placed into the body of a clone of Captain America, the pinnacle of human perfection. He has been seemingly killed in the past, only to return time and time again to plague the world with schemes of world domination and genocide.

World War II era

John Maxon

Chronologically by publication date, the first Red Skull to appear in the 1940s comics was George John Maxon, an American businessman and Nazi agent who led a ring of spies and saboteurs. He faced Captain America during two of the latter's first missions [3]. A formidable opponent in his own right, Maxon was thought killed during the last encounter, though he would reappear for one last encounter with Captain America in the Silver Age. Maxon was later revealed to be the agent of Johann Schmidt, the true Red Skull.

Johann Schmidt, the true Red Skull

As with many supervillains, Johann Schmidt had a traumatic childhood that warped his mind, paving the way for villainy in his adult life. Johann Schmidt was born in a village in Germany to Hermann and Martha Schmidt. Schmidt's mother died in childbirth and his father blamed Johann for it and tried to murder him, only to be stopped by the attending doctor. The father later committed suicide and Johann was orphaned. He grew up on the streets as a beggar and a thief struggling to survive and his hatred of humanity grew with each day. A key episode was when he fell for a local Jewish girl, but when she spurned his clumsy advances, he murdered her, finding a release for his frustrations. With that, his depravity grew even more.

Schmidt worked as a menial laborer and in his late teens, during the rise of the Third Reich, Schmidt got his most prosperous job; a bellhop in a major hotel, while there he served the rooms of Adolf Hitler himself. By chance, Schmidt was present when the Führer was furiously scolding an officer, during which Hitler pledged that he could create a better National Socialist out of the bellhop. Looking closely at the youth and sensing his dark inner nature, Hitler decided to take up the challenge and recruited Schmidt.

Dissatisfied with the standard drill instruction his subordinates used to train Schmidt, Hitler took over personally, and trained Schmidt as his right-hand man. Upon completion, Hitler gave Schmidt a unique uniform with a grotesque red skull mask, and he emerged as the Red Skull for the first time. His role was the embodiment of Nazi intimidation, while Hitler could remain the popular leader of Germany. To that end, The Red Skull was appointed head of Nazi terrorist activities with an additional large role in external espionage and sabotage. He succeeded, 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 one recipient of the lost Project Rebirth, Steve Rogers, as Captain America.

The two counterparts soon clashed for the first time.[4] The Skull later temporarily brainwashed three of the Invaders into serving him.[5] The Red Skull and Captain America continued to engage in a series of skirmishes throughout the war,[6] ending with a final battle that left the Skull buried under the rubble of a bombed building.[7] Because he was immediately exposed to an experimental gas there, he remained in suspended animation for decades.

Post-World War II era

Albert Malik

With Schmidt's disappearance after 1945, the reputation of the Skull was still formidable enough to prove useful. In 1953, a Communist agent named Albert Malik set up his spy/criminal organization in Algeria and assumed the identity of the Red Skull, pretending that he was the original, when he was actually serving Soviet interests. During the 1950s, he faced the then active version of Captain America who was also using the identity of Steve Rogers, pretending to be the original. The two impersonators continued to battle each other throughout the decade. While the Captain and Bucky (Jack Monroe) were placed into suspended animation when his flawed replicate of the Super Soldier treatment seriously affected his mind, Albert continued his activities, and over time cut his links to the Soviet Union. Among other notorious deeds, he was responsible for the deaths of Richard Parker and Mary Fitzpatrick-Parker, the parents of Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man), tipped off by the super-criminal Gustav "The Gentleman" Fiers.

However, Malik was eventually shot and killed by the mysterious Scourge of the Underworld at the original Red Skull's orders.

In addition, Johann Schmidt's legacy still caused trouble in the years of his absence. This primarily came in the form of powerful destructive robots called Sleepers which were intended to activate at preset times by his agents to devastate the Earth in the event of Nazi Germany's defeat. However, Captain America was able to neutralize all the machines in turn.

Modern era

The Red Skull wielding the Cosmic Cube. Cover to Tales of Suspense #80 (Aug 1966).
Art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck.

Johann was eventually rescued and revived from suspended animation in modern times by the terrorist organization, HYDRA. The Skull quickly subverted a cell to his own ambitions of world conquest and the death of Captain America. He stole the Cosmic Cube, and revealed that he gave Zemo the order to kill the original Bucky. Schmidt fought Captain America again for the first time in years, but was defeated.[8] When Johann reappeared, he and Albert, though his age was starting to catch up with him, started to antagonize each other while both claiming the identity of the Red Skull. Finally Albert was the victim of an assassination organized by Johann, at the hands of a rogue agent of the Scourge of the Underworld.[9]

Thus the two enemies resumed their war, with Captain America, among other opponents, frustrating the Skull's schemes. The Skull captured part of Manhattan Island,[10] unleashed the fourth Sleeper, and captured Captain America on Exile Island.[11] The Skull then regained the reality-altering Cosmic Cube and temporarily switched bodies with Captain America. He also used the Cube to alter the personality of "Snap" Wilson, the future Falcon.[12] Some time later, he first fought Doctor Doom.[13] The Red Skull then fomented racial hatred in New York,[14] and was revealed as the true power behind the Las Vegas HYDRA faction, and first clashed with the Kingpin.[15]

Some time later, the Skull killed the would-be Captain America, Roscoe, while Rogers had temporarily given up the role. He also revived the use of his "dust of death."[16] The Skull later fought Doctor Doom on the moon but was defeated.[17] With Arnim Zola, the Skull sought to transplant Hitler's brain into Captain America's body.[18] He transformed a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into his skull-faced slaves.[19] The Skull teamed with the Hate-Monger, a clone of Hitler, and trapped him in a flawed Cosmic Cube.[20] The Skull led the Nihilist Order for a brief time.[21] Establishing a Nazi colony on a deserted island, the Skull fathered a daughter who would eventually become known as Mother Superior.[22]

The war between Captain America and Red Skull in the modern era reached a breaking point when Red Skull one day discovered that the gas that had placed him in suspended animation was now wearing off and that his body was rapidly aging to what would be Skull's normal age. Now physically in his mid-80s, a weak and feeble Red Skull planned for a final showdown with his arch-rival. Kidnapping Captain America's closest allies, he forced Captain America to surrender himself to Skull and forcibly undergo a medical treatment that aged Captain America's body to its rightful age. The two men, their bodies now ancient, fought one last battle to the death. Yet at the last minute, Captain America refused to kill the Red Skull and Skull himself died cursing Captain America, as his elderly body shut down.[23] Dead at last, it seemed like the threat of the Red Skull had finally ended while The Avengers were able to restore Rogers' youth.


However, the Red Skull would not stay dead for long; Nazi geneticist Arnim Zola, who had obtained DNA samples of Captain America years earlier, arranged for Skull's mind to be transplanted into a clone body of Captain America at the moment of his death. Assuming the identity of "John Smith" (the English equivalent of his natural German name), Skull decided that he would reinvent himself and his quest for absolute power as a means to celebrate his cheating death. The Red Skull abandoned his longstanding beliefs in National Socialism and Hitler, on the belief that the Nazi philosophy made him look like a relic of the past. Skull instead turned towards American ideology for his new motivation. Skull saw much potential in the American dream of capitalism and self-determination and set about establishing his own foothold inside Washington DC, culminating in him gaining control over "The Commission", a government body that monitored and regulated super-hero activities in Washington.

Skull also changed his mode of operations: rather than "living from one grand scheme to the next", he began financing a score of evil organizations that reported directly to him, most notably the militia group The Watchdogs. He also corrupted one of the Scourges, an organization who terrorized super-villains with a killing spree.

Despite all of this, Skull's biggest move would be his plot to remove Rogers from the position of Captain America and replace him with a jingoistic extremist named John Walker. Although Walker initially attempted to live up to his predecessor's ideals, The Skull arranged for the murders of Walker's parents, driving him insane and into a downward spiral of murder as part of his plan to blacken the name of Captain America.[24]

Yet like all things, Skull's plans fell apart when Skull's chief pawn in the Commission was killed by Skull, right in front of Captain America. About to be exposed, Skull tried to manipulate Walker into killing Rogers. When Rogers defeated Walker, the Skull appeared to gloat at what he had done to Rogers and Walker and the reputation of Captain America. The Skull explained that this is part of his new operational method of engaging in multiple concurrent projects instead of investing consecutive grand schemes that his enemies could focus all their energies on stopping. Furthermore, these projects include killing Rogers at a time of his own choosing and that he could not touch Skull due to his newfound status as a wealthy American businessman. Rogers, disturbed and puzzled by this mystery man with a face identical to his own and claiming to be his dead archenemy, noted that the Skull was not inhaling from the cigarette holder he had in his mouth. The cigarette turned out to be holding a lethal dose of the Skull's favorite poison, the Dust of Death, intended for Rogers - but the trap backfired against Schmidt when Walker suddenly hit him from behind with his shield. As a result, Schmidt suffered the facial disfigurement attributed to the Dust, as his face took on the appearance of a living red skull; his head is hairless and its skin has shriveled, clinging tightly to his actual skull, and has taken on a red discoloration. Skull did not die though, presumably due to him having developed a level of immunity to his personal poison.[25]

After this, the Skull masterminded a conflict between the United States and Symkaria, the nation of Silver Sable[26] He joined the "Acts of Vengeance" conspiracy, but was attacked by the mutant terrorist Magneto, a Holocaust survivor who wanted to punish him for his involvement in Hitler's regime. Magneto buried him alive with enough water for a few months. The Skull remained imprisoned, close to death and beginning to see the error of his ways, until he was rescued by his henchman Crossbones.[27]

The Red Skull's relationship with other villains was fraught with problems due to many villains shunning him because of his Nazi background. In the "Streets of Poison" storyline, the Skull proposes an alliance with the Kingpin to bring a new designer drug to New York but the Kingpin refuses to ally with the Nazi and the two engage in a drug war. He then defeats a weakened Skull in hand to hand combat, sparing his life on the condition he never come near the Kingpin's territory again.[28] In the "Acts of Vengeance" crossover, the Skull demands the Wizard apologize for an insult to which the Wizard replies "You'll see yourself welcomed into Heaven before I speak those words!" Not long after that, he was kidnapped by Magneto. One prominent exception is fellow Nazi, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, leader of the terrorist organization HYDRA. After the Skull's agents allow Strucker to be reborn, a grateful Strucker allows the Skull the use of HYDRA resources.[29]

On the run

Skull's tenure in Washington came to an end when Skull was captured by Hauptmann Deutschland, and taken to Germany to stand trial for crimes against humanity, stemming from his days as an agent of the Third Reich. Skull narrowly escaped and was rescued by Armin Zola, and was forced to fake his death in order go back into hiding in a compound in the Rocky Mountains. He recruited the female sociopath "The Viper", a move that alienated his minions and was further rocked when his chief henchman Crossbones kidnapped Captain America's girlfriend Diamondback, resulting in Captain America finding Skull's new lair. Skull fired Crossbones, and went into hiding while the Viper, using funds she plied from Red Skull as part of a scheme to use televisions across America to blind TV viewers, was defeated by Captain America.[30]

Skull resurfaced during "Operation: AIM Island", where Skull discovered that he was facing the same permanent paralysis that Captain America was facing due to their exposure to the Super-Soldier Serum. When the evil scientist Superia offered Captain America a cure, Captain America refused it on account of Superia proclaiming that Captain America would "owe her". Skull took the cure and killed Superia, then arranged for Captain America to be kidnapped by his remaining forces and given a blood transfusion that cured him.

Reluctant allies

Captain America's recovery would segue into a reluctant team-up between him and Skull; a Nazi cult that worshiped Adolf Hitler as a god had discovered a Cosmic Cube that contained Hitler's mind, put there in the cube by Skull himself. The two sought to stop the cult from fully powering the Hitler Cosmic Cube but Skull opted instead to send Captain America (against his will) into the cube to kill Hitler and allow him to imprison Captain America in the cube while he used its power to conquer humanity. However, Captain America escaped and in the process used his shield to sever one of Skull's arms, causing him to drop the cube. The Cube then became unstable, destroying Skull.[31]

Cosmic resurrection

Yet as most evil never dies, the same was true for that of Skull. Trapped in a hellish nightmare dimension and forced to serve as a bellhop to a world of immigrants, Skull's evil ultimately was so great that he was able to escape his prison. As a result, Skull now possessed limited reality warping powers that made him a truly cosmic threat. He was further aided by Korvac, who was posing as Kang the Conqueror. He was sent to Galactus' ship to steal more power from it (in particular the power of omniscience), which would remove all limits to Skull's reality warping powers. Unfortunately, this led to Skull's undoing as Skull was ambushed by Korvac. Korvac stole Skull's cosmic powers for his own and banished Skull back to Earth.[32]

The Red Skull later manipulated his way into the position of Secretary of Defense as Dell Rusk (an anagram for "red skull") to develop a biological weapon he tested at Mount Rushmore. He was exposed and defeated by the Avengers. The Black Panther beat him so badly that he broke the Skull's jaw in half.

Aleksander Lukin and the Winter Soldier

The Red Skull, in Alexander Lukin's mind. Art by Steve Epting.

The Red Skull was assassinated by the mysterious Winter Soldier, under orders from the renegade former Soviet general Aleksander Lukin, who wanted to possess the new Cosmic Cube the Skull had manufactured. When the Skull was shot, he attempted to use the Cube to switch bodies with Lukin to survive, but as the Cube was still weak he only managed to transfer his mind into Lukin's body, so that the two enemies are trapped together, waging a constant war for dominance which the Red Skull seems to be progressively winning. During a plot to lure out Captain America, Red Skull/Lukin recruited several German skinheads and made them the successors to the Master Man. He then had these soldiers, dubbed the "Master Race," launch an attack on London, which was thwarted by Captain America, Spitfire, and Union Jack. Then, Red Skull/Lukin activated a Sleeper, a robot programmed for mass destruction, that was presumably created by Doctor Doom. The robot damaged a significant portion of the new London Kronas HQ, and was ultimately destroyed by Captain America and Bucky. In the aftermath, Red Skull sent a videotape, announcing to the world his return, followed by Lukin holding a press conference condemning the actions of both the Red Skull and Captain America, and supporting the Superhero Registration Act. Then, in his office, Red Skull introduced Lukin to his old/new associates, Crossbones and Sin.

With America's superheroes divided over the act, the Skull manipulates events to his own ends, with the aid of Doctor Faustus, Doctor Doom, and Arnim Zola. His plans involved the reunion of Captain America and his former lover Sharon Carter, who is being manipulated by Faustus.

In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, the Skull puts his plans into action, arranging for Crossbones to shoot Captain America as he enters a courthouse in New York City; in the ensuing chaos, Carter, acting under Faustus' mental directive, assassinates Captain America. This, however, is only the first phase of the Skull's evil plan. Upon the discovery of his identity as Lukin, the Skull fakes his death, and initiates the second part of his plan: using Kronas Corporation's vast holdings to economically cripple the United States, before having S.H.I.E.L.D. agents brainwashed by Doctor Faustus open fire on crowds of protesters in front of the White House. The Red Skull continues his assault by engineering a riot by placing Kronas security troops and drugged water in a protest on the Lincoln Monument.[33]

All of this has apparently been to elevate his puppet politician, Gordon Wright, elevated in the public's eye with being credited as "resolving" the situations, as well as surviving a (staged) attack by the Serpent Squad. Once elected, Wright will lead the country directly into a police state secretly controlled by the Red Skull. The Skull also plans to transfer his consciousness into Sharon's unborn child, apparently sired by Steve Rogers himself and potentially having inherited his Project Rebirth enhancements.[34]

Both schemes fail because of the impatience and incompetence of the Skull's daughter - her near-fatal attack on Sharon Carter causes her to lose the baby, and she intentionally botches her pseudo-assassination of Gordon Wright by attempting to kill him for real. And as Faustus has surreptitiously tampered with Sharon's programming, she is able to rebel, and before escaping shoots Lukin to death. This isn't the end of Red Skull, since Armin Zola had seconds earlier transferred his mind to one of his spare robotic bodies, but after having his current form damaged by the imposter Captain America, he's unable to return back to Red Skull, essentially trapping him in his current robotic form for the time being.[35]

Captain America: Reborn

It has been revealed that Red Skull did not actually kill Steve Rogers, but trapped his body in a fixed position in space and time. He was planning on using Sharon and a machine created by Doctor Doom to return his body back to their time, but since Sharon destroyed the machine, his body is now drifting through time and space.[36] Apparently, it is presumed that the Red Skull intended to transfer his mind into Roger's body. Norman Osborn decides to assist in completing his plan as Captain America leading his team of Avengers would increase his popularity in his stolen Iron-Man suit.[37] Sin and Crossbones find him and take him to Latveria in order to place the Red Skull's mind in a living body.[38] The Red Skull, Sin, and Crossbones land in Latveria and Doom confronts them, saying that he would kill them if he wasn't a man of his word. Doom and Zola complete the machine and, after Ms. Hand brings Sharon to them, they strap her in. They activate the machine and soon Steve Rogers' body returns. When Steve opens his eyes, they are shown to be red, signifying that the Red Skull is now in control.[39] However, Steve Rogers still resides in the body, and during the Red Skull's invasion of Washington D.C., He and Steve battle in the mind of Steve's body.[40] Steve eventually forces Red Skull out, placing him back into his robot body. To prevent him from escaping the immediate area, Sharon Carter hits the Red Skull with a shot of Pym particles, making him a massive robot who cannot elude any pursuer's attention. While Rogers and the Avengers occupy this giant menace's attention, he is destroyed by a missile barrage fired by Sharon Carter on a hijacked AIM battleship. However, in the epilogue, it was shown that Sin was too close to the exploding robot, and her face was heavily scarred, leaving her looking just like her father.[41]

Powers and abilities

Although the Red Skull has no superhuman abilities, he is a highly gifted military and subversive strategist and political mastermind. He also possesses an intellect and inventive genius on the level of supervillains such as Doctor Doom. At one point, the Red Skull's mind inhabited a body cloned from Captain America's, and hence possessed the mutagenic alterations induced by the Super-Soldier Serum. He was thus endowed with a body that was in perfect physical condition, with strength, speed, durability, agility, dexterity, reflexes, coordination, balance, and physical endurance that exceeded that of any Olympic athlete who ever performed. Despite the scar tissue covering his face and head, his senses were still above-average. He has been shown as a hand to hand combatant and martial artist on par with Captain America himself, originally trained by German athletes appointed by Hitler, and is heavily trained as a skilled marksman with various forms of handguns, and well-versed in the use of fire arms and explosives. The Red Skull is commonly portrayed as one of the Marvel Universe's most genuinely frightening major villains.

While sharing Alexander Lukin's body, he lost his superhuman abilities. Currently, he resides in one of the android body engineered by Arnim Zola, with enhanced endurance and resilience.

He typically armed himself with a trick cigarette that could fire fatal poison gas — his trademark "Dust of Death" — toward his victim. The "Dust of Death" is a red powder which kills a victim within seconds of skin contact. The powder causes the skin of the victim's head to shrivel, tighten, and take on a red discoloration, while causing the hair to fall out. Hence the victim's head resembles a "red skull". He also carries a large arsenal of conventional and advanced fire arms and explosives.

Other versions

Amalgam Comics

In Amalgam Comics, where part of the Marvel multiverse is fused with part of the DC Multiverse, Red Skull is fused with Lex Luthor to become Green Skull, archenemy of the Super-Soldier (Captain America + Superman).[42]


Red Skull allied with Doctor Doom, Hulk, Magneto, Namor, and Ultron in order to take over Manhattan.[43]

Earth X

Johann Schmidt was killed by Captain America some time previous to Earth X. After the Red Skull killed Bernie Rosenthal and then hailed Captain America as the realization of the Nazi dream, Captain America decapitated the Red Skull using his trademark shield. As a result of his disillusionment from taking a life, Captain America retired from the Avengers, only to further spiral into depression after the Avengers were killed in Washington, D.C. Schmidt was later seen in the Land of the Dead, and then as one of those in Mar-Vell's Paradise waiting to live in his own personal version of Heaven.

Despite his death, the Red Skull's legacy lived on in the Earth X universe. Ben Beckley took on the identity of the Skull (not the Red Skull, as he had no idea who the Red Skull was) and set out to conquer the world, starting with a coast-to-coast drive across America. Using his power of absolute control over anyone, he gathered an army of thousands, only to come into conflict with Steve Rogers in his identity of Captain America. Insulting Captain America as old and out of date, the Skull spared him but took several of Captain America's allies as part of his army. After reaching New York City, the Skull was opposed by Captain America and other heroes, with Captain America breaking the Skull's neck in order to stop him. Beckley would later be seen in the Land of the Dead with his father, Comet Man, and would help the heroes to convince the dead that they were deceased.


In the 1997 DC/Marvel special "Batman/Captain America", the Skull hires the Joker to steal an atomic bomb during World War 2. Joker evades Batman, Cap, Bucky, and Robin and delivers it to the Skull, but is horrified when he learns that the Skull is a Nazi (saying "I may be a criminal lunatic but I'm an American criminal lunatic!"). When the Skull threatens to drop the bomb on Washington D.C., the Joker actually fights him in the plane's cargo bay. When Captain America and Batman take over the plane and bring it over the ocean, the two villains are dropped out with the bomb just before it explodes. However, both Captain America and Batman are convinced the two are still alive somehow. [44]

Marvel Zombies

In Marvel Zombies, Red Skull is an undead zombie with an unquenchable hunger for the flesh of the living. In issue #5, he finally manages to kill Colonel America, by ripping out the last of the Colonel's exposed brain before being decapitated by Spider-Man, and his head crushed by Giant Man's boot. His last words were "It was worth it, all of it, just for this."[45]

Old Man Logan

In a possible future where a final battle between the heroes and villains ended with the villains winning, the Red Skull is revealed as the mastermind of the villain's conquest and has made himself President of the United States. Living in the Nazi redecorated White House, Red Skull had taken to wearing Captain America's old bloodstained uniform and collecting gruesome trophies from fallen heroes. When his men brought in a wounded Wolverine, Logan and the Red Skull fought in his trophy room. Unwilling to pop his claws during the fight, Wolverine decapitated the Red Skull with Captain America's shield, ending his villainous rule.[46]

Ultimate Red Skull

Ultimate Red Skull shown on the variant cover to Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1. Art by Leinil Yu.

Mark Millar has confirmed that an Ultimate Marvel universe counterpart to the Red Skull will be introduced in the forthcoming Ultimate Avengers title. This Red Skull is the illegitimate son of Captain America and his girlfriend Gail Richards, conceived before the Captain's presumed death during WWII. Taken from Richards, the Red Skull was raised on an army base where he was shown to be a well-adjusted, physically superior, and tatically brilliant young man who greatly resembled his father. However, his easy-going personality was a ruse, and around the age of seventeen he rebelled and killed over 200 men on the base, and then cut off his own face.[47]

Unlike the flamboyant Nazi/military costume of the 616 counterpart, Ultimate Red Skull wears simple khaki pants and a white tee shirt.[47]

In other media


  • Red Skull in the 1981 Spider-Man episode "The Capture of Captain America" voiced by Peter Cullen. He captures Captain America in order to place his mind in Captain America's body.
  • Red Skull appears in a flashback in the X-Men episode "Old Soldiers" voiced by Cedric Smith.
The Red Skull in the 1994 Spider-Man animated series.
  • In the 1994 Spider-Man animated series, Red Skull makes a cameo in the second episode of Season 4 in the episode "The Cat", where a group of people working for him attempt to trick a younger Walter Hardy into reviewing the Super Soldier Serum and giving the information to them. After Walter figured out who the men were, he managed to successfully evade them. Later on during the Six Forgotten Warriors story arc in Season 5, it is revealed that after Red Skull (voiced by Earl Boen) and Captain America fought, they were trapped in a vortex. Fifty years later, his son Rheinholt Kragov and stepson Chameleon free him from the vortex only for one of the captive scientists to also free Captain America. Red Skull's doomsday weapon is that he turned Rheinholt into the series version of Electro. During the struggle, Red Skull and Captain America ended up trapped in the vortex. Finally in Secret Wars, Red Skull is sent by the Beyonder to an alien planet to fight Spider-Man and his team of superheroes. He collaborated with Alistair Smythe and Doctor Octopus (who recently lost his kingdom of Octavia to Doctor Doom) to fight the resistance led by Storm and General Torg. Black Cat attempts to take revenge on Red Skull only for Doctor Octopus to intervene. Red Skull and Doctor Octopus managed to escape. He is sent back to Earth from with no memory of the events when Doctor Doom absorbs the powers of the Beyonder.
  • Red Skull appears in the The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Wrath of the Red Skull" voiced by Mark Hamill in a sterotypical German accent.[48] He was disfigured youth whose face resembled a Pink Skull and was bullied by a young Arnim Zola. To cope with this, he painted his face red, took the name of the Red Skull, and embarked on a career of villany, before being foiled by Captain America and Nick Fury. Red Skull cryogenically froze himself trying to freeze Captain America and Nick Fury. He was found in the Villainville Wiener Hut and was released by Doctor Doom (who saw the Skull as a hero). The Red Skull continued his evil plan to enact Plan USB, and his ego annoyed Doom. After managing to claim an Infinity Fractal, Red Skull had Mole Man excavate Plan USB (which was short for "UberSkullbot). When UberSkullbot was excavated, it ended up in a fight with the UberDoombot until Doctor Doom and Red Skull united to attack the Super Hero Squad and Nick Fury. The UberSkullbot and the UberDoombot were stopped by the Super Hero Squad and the Red Skull accidentally freezes himself when Captain America deflects the blast from his freeze gun. Captain America uses his frozen body at his birthday party to keep the food cold.


The Red Skull in Captain America.
  • In the 1990 low-budget film, Captain America, Scott Paulin portrayed Red Skull. In this adaptation, the character is an Italian Fascist officer called Tadzio de Santis, who had been kidnapped by the Italian army stormtroopers for their experiments when he was a child; his family is murdered immediately afterward. Co-operating with German scientists, they succeed in creating their first (and only) "übermensch", and then only after could the Americans replicate the serum and test it in a polio stricken adult man.
  • The Red Skull will be the primary antagonist in The First Avenger: Captain America.[49]

Video games

  • Red Skull appears in a trivia question in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.


  • Red Skull is part of a San Diego Comic Con 2009 4-pack "Invaders" exclusive made by Hasbro and was featured with Namor the Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch and Captain America.
  • Red Skull is featured in two sets of WizKids' Marvel HeroClix game as a Unique figure. In Clobberin' Time, he has the powers of Poison, Leadership, and Mastermind, which allows him to transfer damage onto his lesser minions. In the Avengers set, he is represented as the Cosmic Cube enhanced Skull, with additional powers of Invulnerability and Psychic Blast along with Outwit. Both figures are given the Hydra team affiliation and are the archenemy of Captain America.


  • Red Skull appears in part three of the book X-Men: The Chaos Engine. He retrieves the Cosmic Cube and uses it to take over, and ultimately recreate, the world.


  1. ^ Millar, Mark (w), Dodson, Terry (p), Dodson, Rachel (i). "Venomous" Marvel Knights Spider-Man (7) (December 2004), Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Red Skull is number 14 , IGN.
  3. ^ Johann Shmidt Red Skull bio by Marvel Universe
  4. ^ Adventures of Captain America #1-4
  5. ^ Invaders #5-6
  6. ^ Tales of Suspense #66-68
  7. ^ Tales of Suspense #72
  8. ^ Tales of Suspense #79-81
  9. ^ Captain America #347
  10. ^ Tales of Suspense #88-91
  11. ^ Captain America #101-104
  12. ^ Captain America #114-119
  13. ^ Astonishing Tales #4-5
  14. ^ Captain America #143
  15. ^ Captain America #148
  16. ^ Captain America #182, 184-186
  17. ^ Super-Villain Team-Up #10-12
  18. ^ Captain America #210-212
  19. ^ Captain America #226-227
  20. ^ Super-Villain Team-Up #16-17
  21. ^ Captain America #261-263
  22. ^ Captain America #290
  23. ^ Captain America #293-300
  24. ^ Captain America #346-348
  25. ^ Captain America #350
  26. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #325
  27. ^ Captain America #364-367, 369-370
  28. ^ Captain America #376-378
  29. ^ Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #26
  30. ^ Captain America #387-391, 393-398
  31. ^ Captain America v1 #445-448
  32. ^ Captain America v3 #13-19
  33. ^ Captain America (v.5) #33-35
  34. ^ Captain America #36
  35. ^ Captain America (v.5) #42
  36. ^ Captain America: Reborn #1
  37. ^ Captain America: Reborn #2
  38. ^ Captain America: Reborn #3
  39. ^ Captain America: Reborn #4
  40. ^ Captain America: Reborn #5
  41. ^ Captain America: Reborn #6
  42. ^ Super-Soldier #1 (April 1996) and Super Soldier: Man of War #1 (June 1997)
  43. ^ Fantastic Four: Big Town #1-4
  44. ^ Batman & Captain America #1 (January 1997)
  45. ^ "Marvel Zombies" #5 (April 2006)
  46. ^ Wolverine (v. 3) #72
  47. ^ a b Ultimate Avengers #2
  48. ^ Comics Continuum
  49. ^ "Red Skull Confirmed as Captain America Villain". SuperHeroHype. 2010-02-06. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 

External links

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