Johann Schmidt was born the son of abusive German villager Hermann and his long suffering wife Martha, who died giving birth to Johann. Driven to madness by the death of the woman he both loved and hated, Hermann tried to drown the newborn, accusing him of murdering Martha. The doctor who delivered the baby saved Johann, and the next morning, Hermann committed suicide. The doctor took Johann to an orphanage, where the child led a lonely existence. Johann ran away and lived as a beggar and thief. As a teen, Schmidt was a bellhop who served the rooms of Hitler himself. By chance, he was present when Hitler was berating an officer and swore he could train Schmidt, a simple bellhop, to be a better National Socialist. Looking closely at him and sensing his dark nature, Hitler decided to take up the challenge and recruited him. Dissatisfied with the standard drill instruction his subordinates used to train Schmidt, Hitler took over personally. Upon completion, Hitler gave Schmidt a unique uniform with a grotesque mask and he emerged as Red Skull. His role was the embodiment of Nazi intimidation while Hitler could remain Germany’s leader. Red Skull was appointed head of Nazi terrorist activities with an additional large role in espionage and sabotage. He was successful wreaking havoc throughout Europe in the early stages of World War 2. The propaganda effect was so great that the US government decided to counter it by creating their own equivalent: Captain America. The two soon clashed in what would be a series of engagements throughout the war, ending with a final battle that left Skull buried under rubble. Because he was immediately exposed to an experimental gas, he remained in suspended animation for decades, just like Cap. Schmidt was rescued by the terrorist organization HYDRA. Skull 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 and Skull remained there until he was rescued by his henchman Crossbones.
Red Skull, by Ruiz Burgos.