Hey everybody, welcome back to another great character spotlight, in Marvel Snapshot! You know, Marvel has such a vast catalog of great characters, especially ones that are seldom used but also that have stood the test of time. One of those being the Red Skull! This character’s longevity is quite a mystery, and honestly, I don’t know how it can be explained other than through the imagination and skillfulness of writers like Joe Simon, Roger Stern, Ed Brubaker, and Rick Remender. Let’s now take a look at one of Marvel’s most nefarious villains! The Skull was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941 (Captain America Comics #1).
Back in 1941, WWII was tearing nations apart, and that conflict brought about the opportunity for comics to introduce insidious villains, and none was worse than the Red Skull. This crazed Nazi was the perfect enemy for the star spangled Avenger, Captain America. Cap and Bucky fought many battles against this foe, but somehow even after the war was long over, the Skull still remained a formidable enemy, mostly by aligning himself with Hydra or A.I.M. These two organizations would always be there to provide him with the money and resources he needed. The Cosmic Cube has always been something he used to further his insane ideas.
After being awakened by A.I.M. from his suspended animation, he took out the man who had taken up the guise of the Red Skull in his absence, Albert Malik. He then set his sights back on to Captain America. He killed the would-be Cap during a story when Cap temporarily gave up the mantle. Schmidt has always been fixated on Cap, but he broadened his hatred when he started some trouble during the Acts of Vengeance. It was a plot by the Skull to use a group of villains to work together to defeat their enemies that have ruined their plans in the past. The Skull was operating on his own, but also trying to usurp the power of the mysterious benefactor that brought the group together. In the end, Magneto gave the Skull a beating for being a Nazi.
The next big appearance for Johann Schmidt was during the return of Bucky Barnes, in the Winter Soldier story line. He was the partner of Russian General Aleksander Lukin, and the two conspirators did some business together, but then out of nowhere he was assassinated by Bucky. More recently, he’s shown up in the Marvel Now title Uncanny Avengers. In it, he’s stolen the body of Professor Xavier, and removed his brain. He is using it as a means to wipe out the mutant population, by controlling the Scarlet Witch. Will he succeed, who knows, but the Uncanny Avengers (written by Rick Remender) book is off to a fantastic start, and mostly because of the WWII villain that just won’t die!
As usual, check out my recommended reading list below along with some of the Red Skull’s best covers! Enjoy!
Captain America vs. The Red Skull – Tpb
Acts of Vengeance Omnibus
Captain America Omnibus vol. 1
Captain America: Death of the Red Skull – Tpb
Captain America: Winter Soldier vol. 1 – Tpb
Uncanny Avengers #1-current