Hello and welcome to another great week here in Marvel Snapshot! In this week’s character spotlight, we’ll be assisting the hype machine for the upcoming Captain America movie by checking out the Red Skull! Yes, the long time nemesis of Steve Rogers will be in the spotlight this week, so let’s get to it!
The Red Skull was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby way back in 1941. He has actually been three different people, but none even compare to Johann Schmidt. Schmidt was one of Adolph Hitler’s most trusted confidants, and later a high ranking member of Hydra, as well. Schmidt was originally recruited by Hitler himself and began to rise in the ranks of the Third Reich. Eventually, he was Hitler’s right hand man, and this led him into frequent confrontations with Captain America during WWII. Captain America thought that the Skull was dead after a building collapsed on him. Cap later found out that an experimental gas had kept Hitler and a few of his cronies in suspended animation for decades.
Schmidt was revived by AIM, and restarted his feud with Captain America. The Skull managed to get his hands on a Cosmic Cube, and even temporarily switched bodies with Captain America. Around this time, the Skull fought with the Kingpin and Dr. Doom, as well as maintaining a position with Hydra. He also used the Cube to manipulate the Falcon, then later kill a Captain America stand-in, when Steve had temporarily quit. The Skull then took control of a deserted island, and fathered a daughter (Mother Superior, A.K.A. Sin). The gas that had kept the Skull young for years was wearing off, and the Skull fought Cap one last time before dying simply of old age.
With the scientific genius of Arnim Zola, the Skull’s mind was then transferred into a cloned body of Steve Rogers, and he was once again alive to cause all sorts of havoc. The Skull took part in the “Acts of Vengeance,” but was then given a beat down by Magneto (for obvious reasons). The Skull was taken into custody, but later busted out by his flunky Crossbones. After disappearing for a while, the Skull showed back up in the pages of Captain America and apparently murdered the supervillain Superia. Later, the Skull would once again use a Cosmic Cube to put his mind in the body of Aleksander Lukin (Winter Soldier story line). While he was in control of him, the Skull manipulated people and teamed up with Dr. Faustus, Dr. Doom, and Arnim Zola to orchestrate the murder of Steve Rogers by a mind controlled Sharon Carter. Cap is found to be floating in time and then must battle the Red Skull inside his own mind to stop him in the end.
As usual, check out my recommended reading list below along with some of the Skull’s best cover shots! See you next week!
Essential Captain America vol.’s 1-2 – Tpb
Acts of Vengeance – Tpb
Winter Soldier vol.’s 1-3 – Tpb
Fear Itself: Book of the Skull (2011)