Real Name: George Maxon in Captain America 1. Albert Malik, killed by Scourge in Captain America 347, was another pretender to the glorious name of the Red Skull. Johann Shmidt is the Skull we all know and loathe as the bane of freedom everywhere.
AKA: "Shmidt" has at various times been spelled "Schmidt;" the latter seems to be the current preferred spelling. He's also gone by "Mr. Smith" when in civilian guise.
First Appearance: Maxon, Captain America 1; Shmidt, Captain America 7; Malik, Captain America's Weird Tales 47.
Died In: Shmidt died in Captain America 300. However, his consciousness survived and was eventually transferred to a clone of Captain America's body.
What's His Problem? Shmidt was hand-picked by Hitler to undermine the morale of the Allies during World War II, not because of any special terrorist talent that the then-hotel-clerk possessed but because Hitler held that ANYONE could become the perfect Nazi agent with the appropriate conditioning. Adolf was either right or very lucky in his choice; the Red Skull performed his morale-destroying duties by developing various terrorists cells (one of which went on to become HYDRA), carrying out mass exterminations of peoples hostile to the Third Reich, and fighting the Allies' symbol, Captain America, to a near-standstill at every turn. Buried during a bombing raid at the end of the war, the Skull entered into a state of suspended animation, emerging in the 1960s. Although the Skull has let go of some of the Nazi philosophy which spawned him, he still believes he is inherently superior to other beings and that it is his destiny to someday control a purified world.
Favorite Quote: "How admirable! I often regret that the Nazi philosophy excludes the strength of women!" (Captain America 212. Faced with the determination of one Sharon Carter, the Red Skull begins to re-evaluate some of his long-held beliefs.)
Abilities: The Red Skull is a skilled organizer, a ruthless terrorist, a brilliant biochemist, and an all-around scary guy. He has no super-powers, but then, he doesn't need super-powers. Since residing in the clone body of Captain America, however, he has developed enhanced strength.
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: The Super Soldier program that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America was developed in response to the Red Skull. The rivalry between the two, and the Skull's quest for world conquest, has involved the Avengers (and most of the other heroes of the Marvel Universe) many times. And, although it's doesn't count as a "hero", the Red Skull continually mettles with the all-powerful Cosmic Cube, a device not meant to be meddled with -- just ask Thanos!
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: The Red Skull's daughter, the artificially aged and enhanced human known as Mother Superior, usually gets along fine with daddy. He is respected by terrorists (including the likes of Viper, HYDRA and U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.) the world over, although no one's accepting any letters of recommendation from that lot. Hordes of other bad guys, however, from Magneto to Dr. Doom, have it in for the Red Skull.
Most Despicable Act: The Red Skull participated in acts of genocide during World War II (something Magneto tried to punish Shmidt for by imprisoning him without food or light), and would have no hesitation in doing so again if it at any time complemented his plans of world domination.
Captain America 3
Captain America 7
Tales of Suspense 80
Captain America 115
Super Villain Team Up 10
Amazing Spider-Man 366
"I am the Red Skull."
"Captain America! Bah!"
"Nothing can stop the Red Skull!"
"This is the last time you shall interfere with the plans of the Red Skull!"
"You again?! And that fancy-dressed brat!"
"Men have died for speaking so flippantly to me!"
"Whenever there was injustice, tyranny, ruthlessness ... the Red Skull was there!"
Back to the Terrorism, Inc. page
Back to the Bad Guys page