History Comicbook / RedSkull

12th Dec '16 11:22:43 PM IdumeanPatriot
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* AllForNothing: All his efforts, sacrifices and, yes, not altogether inconsiderable villainous victories in World War II were ultimately for naught, since the Allies won anyway and destroyed Nazi Germany, which he fought for.



* CasualDangerDialogue: Matched with desert-dry, almost British humor in some appearances.



* ConspiracyTheorist: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are pretty much unavoidable for a Nazi true believer. Downplayed in older comics, where he couldn't be as much of a PoliticallyIncorrectVillain.



* DeadpanSnarker: Pours large helpings of dryly sarcastic and contemptuous humor on the heroes, and occasionally on his own followers when they aren't quick enough to grasp his point.



* DontYouDarePityMe: '' '''Not''' '' the way you expect it: It's actually ''the Skull'' pitying ''Captain America'', who reacts like this. Explanation: Because of values dissonance with some of modern culture (remember, he was born in the late 1910s), Cap is sometimes disturbed by what the America he fights to protect has turned into. The Skull (roughly equally old) is one of the few people alive who can actually, empathetically understand this, but also the last person in the world Cap ''wants'' any kind of sympathy from. Especially since their shared dislike of modernity is arguably a kind of NotSoDifferent.
** It's also been played straight on other occasions, like a more typical hero/villain interaction.



* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: It's not too much to say that he loves Hitler, both as "the Fuehrer" and more personally as a sort of father figure. He goes to extreme lengths to honor his memory, and responds [[BerserkButton furiously]] when others insult or belittle him. Depending on the writing, he also genuinely does care about his daughter Synthia, though even when written as caring he is [[CanNotSpitItOut poor at showing it.]]



* EvilReactionary: Played with. He wants the political system and social values (and [[PuttingOnTheReich aesthetics]]) of Nazi Germany back, but has nothing whatever against the advances of science and technology since the 1940s; in fact, he wants to boost those even more, and take humanity [[TheFinalFrontier into space]]. Possibly justified, since the Nazis ''were'' technology enthusiasts in their own time.



* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Has a huge, ''Reichskanzlei''-inspired office in a New York skyscraper in the AlternateUniverse where the Nazis won the war and he is the Governor of America.



* TheFaceless: For most of the Silver Age, he was this; even in his origin story, before he wore the Red Skull mask, his face was always shadowed or obscured. His appearance was finally revealed in the 1980s, showing him as a fairly handsome strawberry blond.



* FalseUtopia: His shining Nazi future, in those alternate settings where he takes over, often appears this way. These tend to be [[RepressiveButEfficient high-tech, clean and orderly police states]] that look attractive on the surface level, but hold some dark secret deeper down. For example, in one such story, he reimplemented race segregation in America; in another, he deported all blacks to Africa. Also averted in some cases, where the result is more immediately and obviously negative.



* HonorBeforeReason: Despite his usual PragmaticVillainy, he can sometimes exhibit this, almost like a sort of villainous ChronicHeroSyndrome. In other words, he does not go out of his way to do pointlessly StupidEvil things, but ''good'' things--''[[DeliberateValuesDissonance by Nazi standards]]'', that is. For example, in one story he he was diverted from his scheme to destabilize the US government to [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain lecture a race-mixing couple on the evils of miscegenation]].



* ImprobableAge: If he was born in 1914, that would make him not even thirty in the early 1940s, by which time he was one of the Third Reich's top generals. Somewhat justified, in that he has [[SuperIntelligence extreme abilities]] that really ''do'' make him competent for the job, as well as the backing of an absolute dictator who can keep promoting him however far he thinks the Skull deserves, over the heads of older men.



* InferioritySuperiorityComplex: Not emphasized, but hinted at. Because he grew up as the lowest of the low in society, and failed at everything he tried for the first twenty or so years of his life, he now drives himself very hard to excel at everything he does.



* JerkassHasAPoint: In semi-cynical stories, he sometimes gets this with Cap. The most common variation has him calling the star-spangled defender out on his ChronicHeroSyndrome tendencies, and in at least one instance Cap even acknowledges the point somewhat.



* LikeADuckTakesToWater: Despite his very humble background and worse education, his rise was meteoric after he joined the Nazis and got to show what he was really capable of. In less than ten years, he went from soldier in the line to one of their top generals.



* NonIdleRich: Usually in his modern appearances. With his corporate and crime connections, he is easily a billionaire, who could retire comfortably into obscurity, should he wish it. However, he gives nearly all of his money away to fund his Nazi underground, instead--And of course, spends most of his time taking a very active part in running it.



* OppressiveStatesOfAmerica: The RepressiveButEfficient dictatorship he planned to set up together with his collaborators/puppets in the Third Wing Party. The transition into full-blown fascism was to be gradual, going from a modern-style national security state through a more explicitly nationalist one.
** Also, the Skull himself [[DeliberateValuesDissonance considers the present-day US to be this]], due to affirmative action and various other government-enforced liberal policies.



* TheParagon: A villainous, fascist example. A mainstay of his rhetoric is that things will only keep getting worse as long as people submit to the corrupt [[DemocracyIsBad System]]. It is the people alone who can change the world for the better, by being willing to stand up and risk their safety; he will lead them, if they will follow him, but every man must do his part. And because he usually practices what he preaches, he does succeed in inspiring his followers.



* ThePerfectionist: Everything he does is to be done right.



* StillFightingTheCivilWar: Or rather World War II, in his case. He believes that the war never ended, and that his side was not completely defeated, until and unless he and his followers are destroyed. To him, it really is the same war he is still fighting, even though the main action took place a literal lifetime ago.
** Most of his neo-Nazi followers, these days, are people born long after the war. They have never seen the Nazi utopia they are fighting for, only heard him describe it.



* StraightEdgeEvil: The Skull lives a very temperate and austere private life, avoiding alcohol, frivolous sex and other similar vices. (Occasional smoking seems to be the one exception.) He also submits to a grueling regimen of studies and physical training to preserve and improve body and mind. Justified by his Social Darwinist philosophy that personal worth depends on ability: He ''must'' "be all he can be" or become unworthy of his station.

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* TheStraightAndArrowPath: As deadly with a bow as with modern firearms, as part of his polymathic combat training. Believe it or not, but when he bothers with it, he can do much the same style of trick archery as ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}}.
* StraightEdgeEvil: The Skull lives leads a very temperate and austere private life, avoiding alcohol, frivolous sex and other similar vices. (Occasional smoking seems to be the one exception.) He also submits to a grueling regimen of studies and physical training to preserve and improve body and mind. Justified by his Social Darwinist philosophy that personal worth depends on ability: He ''must'' "be all he can be" or become unworthy of his station.



* TragicVillain: Usually averted, as he's written as too unsympathetic. ''Possibly'' qualifies in some comics, for example ''Captain America'' #14. There's never any question of him being anything but a Nazi, but his background is truly tragic. After a lifetime of [[FriendlessBackground loneliness and failure]] he met his one friend (Hitler), who helped him pull together and make something of his life. Then he came to believe in a cause, helped rebuild his country and became successful and respected. And then he lost everything again, and all he cared about was destroyed. Now his motivations are a mixture of trying to regain what he lost and taking revenge on the enemies who destroyed it.

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* TragicVillain: Usually averted, as he's written as too unsympathetic. ''Possibly'' qualifies Some stories play up aspects of his character that point in some comics, this direction, however; for example example, ''Captain America'' #14. There's never any question of him being anything but a Nazi, but his background is truly tragic. After a lifetime of [[FriendlessBackground loneliness and failure]] he met his one friend (Hitler), who helped him pull together and make something of his life. Then he came to believe in a cause, helped rebuild his country and became successful and respected. And then he lost everything again, and all he cared about was destroyed. Now his motivations are a mixture of trying to regain what he lost and taking revenge on the enemies who destroyed it.



* TrainingFromHell: One Skull-centric story (originally in one of the last issues of ''Super-Villain Team-Up'') depicts some of his ordinary, everyday routine in between the world-conquests. He rises early in the morning, begins the day with a tough run of [[TrainingMontage calisthenics, gymnastics, target shooting and other training]]. When he's done, he turns to planning and studying. His thoughts: He must be tougher than all his myriad enemies, or else [[TheSocialDarwinist be found wanting by Nature]].
** Note that the training isn't sadistic or over-the-top, so much as simply [[BoringButPractical mind-numbingly boring and exhausting]] and the equivalent of a full-time job in terms of time spent. Keeping up with the superheroes requires ''effort'' when you don't have the benefit of [[ComicBook/CaptainAmerica super-serums]]...

to:

* TrainingFromHell: One Skull-centric story (originally in one of the last issues of ''Super-Villain Team-Up'') depicts some of his ordinary, everyday routine in between the world-conquests. He rises early in the morning, and begins the day with a tough run of [[TrainingMontage calisthenics, gymnastics, target shooting and other training]]. When he's training]]; once done, he turns to planning and studying. His thoughts: He must be tougher than all his myriad enemies, or else [[TheSocialDarwinist be found wanting by Nature]].
** Note that the training isn't sadistic or over-the-top, so much as simply [[BoringButPractical mind-numbingly boring and exhausting]] exhausting]], and about the equivalent of a full-time job in terms of the time spent.he spends on it. Keeping up with the superheroes requires ''effort'' when you don't have the benefit of [[ComicBook/CaptainAmerica super-serums]]...
3rd Dec '16 3:33:19 AM LadyJaneGrey
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Added DiffLines:

* HeelFaceDoorSlam: Most would agree that the Skull is far too past the MoralEventHorizon to ever be accepted as reformed, but once, just ''once'' he had a chance to die repentant. A the climax of the ''Acts of Vengeance'', he was locked in an abandoned bomb shelter by Magneto in the middle of nowhere. After days of without food, alone in the dark, he finally resigned himself to his fate and for the first and only time in his life, felt remorse for his evil deeds and privately conceded that he deserved this fate. But even this would be denied him, as was rescued shortly after, and after regaining his will to live after seeing Captain America and remembering how much he hated him... well, he forgot everything he had considered down there, and after telling Cap as much, began ranting about how he would get revenge on Magneto
28th Nov '16 11:31:09 PM AgentSkyblueM7
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* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where '''Hitler''' [[EvilMentor was a better father figure]].

to:

* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where '''Hitler''' there... Enough to make ''Hitler'' [[EvilMentor was a better father figure]].
28th Nov '16 11:29:15 PM AgentSkyblueM7
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* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where ''Hitler'' ''[[EvilMentor is a better father figure]]''.

to:

* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where ''Hitler'' ''[[EvilMentor is '''Hitler''' [[EvilMentor was a better father figure]]''.figure]].
28th Nov '16 11:24:48 PM AgentSkyblueM7
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* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where '''Hitler''' [[EvilMentor is a better father figure]].

to:

* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there..... To the point where '''Hitler''' [[EvilMentor ''Hitler'' ''[[EvilMentor is a better father figure]].figure]]''.
28th Nov '16 11:24:05 PM AgentSkyblueM7
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* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there....
** It really says something when ''Hitler'' [[EvilMentor is a better father figure]].

to:

* AbusiveParents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to ''drown'' him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there....
** It really says something when ''Hitler''
there..... To the point where '''Hitler''' [[EvilMentor is a better father figure]].
6th Nov '16 1:34:25 AM Morgenthaler
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* EstablishingCharacterMoment: For the modern Skull, a scene in his original origin story, where the young Johann Schmidt has just been given his new identity. As a test, he is ordered to gun down an innocent man, a Nazi officer who has failed at some offscreen task. The Skull can't very well refuse outright, so he [[TakeAThirdOption takes a third option]] and [[ImprobableAimingSkills shoots the buttons off the man's jacket]] without harming him, arguing that this will teach him enough of a lesson, and killing him would be wasteful. The combination of [[BadAss badassery]] and [[PragmaticVillainy pragmatism]] convinces his handler to pass him, and also essentially establishes the Skull's character for the rest of the series.

to:

* EstablishingCharacterMoment: For the modern Skull, a scene in his original origin story, where the young Johann Schmidt has just been given his new identity. As a test, he is ordered to gun down an innocent man, a Nazi officer who has failed at some offscreen task. The Skull can't very well refuse outright, so he [[TakeAThirdOption takes a third option]] and [[ImprobableAimingSkills shoots the buttons off the man's jacket]] without harming him, arguing that this will teach him enough of a lesson, and killing him would be wasteful. The combination of [[BadAss badassery]] badassery and [[PragmaticVillainy pragmatism]] convinces his handler to pass him, and also essentially establishes the Skull's character for the rest of the series.
30th Oct '16 5:34:06 AM Morgenthaler
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* BadassNormal: Though he may be a thoroughly despicable human being, there is no doubt that the Red Skull is BadAss. He is a highly skilled fighter capable of regularly holding his own against ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, one of the best martial artists in the world. He is an expert marksman and a brilliant and imaginative strategist, and like a true MagnificentBastard is unafraid to put himself in harm's way or use himself as his own best chess piece to see his plans come to fruition. He is considered one of the deadliest threats to mankind in a world that has to put up with regular {{Alien Invasion}}s, {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, power-mad superhumans and all manner of catastrophes, and he consistently demonstrates why he has that reputation.

to:

* BadassNormal: Though he may be a thoroughly despicable human being, there is no doubt that the Red Skull is BadAss.badass. He is a highly skilled fighter capable of regularly holding his own against ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, one of the best martial artists in the world. He is an expert marksman and a brilliant and imaginative strategist, and like a true MagnificentBastard is unafraid to put himself in harm's way or use himself as his own best chess piece to see his plans come to fruition. He is considered one of the deadliest threats to mankind in a world that has to put up with regular {{Alien Invasion}}s, {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, power-mad superhumans and all manner of catastrophes, and he consistently demonstrates why he has that reputation.
28th Oct '16 1:52:51 PM nombretomado
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* BreakoutVillain: The original [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Red Skull was intended as a single-issue villain, a native-born American Nazi spy who died in the first story he appeared in. However, the character was popular enough to return, and in the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] revamp of the ''Captain America'' title, he got his more familiar backstory (as recounted above) and his status as Cap's ArchNemesis. The first Skull was then [[ActuallyADoombot retconned as an agent]] of the real one.

to:

* BreakoutVillain: The original [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Red Skull was intended as a single-issue villain, a native-born American Nazi spy who died in the first story he appeared in. However, the character was popular enough to return, and in the [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] revamp of the ''Captain America'' title, he got his more familiar backstory (as recounted above) and his status as Cap's ArchNemesis. The first Skull was then [[ActuallyADoombot retconned as an agent]] of the real one.



* LatexPerfection: To the point that he can convincingly wear another mask ''over'' his Skull mask, in some stories. ([[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Mainly older ones.]])

to:

* LatexPerfection: To the point that he can convincingly wear another mask ''over'' his Skull mask, in some stories. ([[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks ([[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Mainly older ones.]])



* ProfessionalKiller: The original (i.e., [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]]) Red Skull is introduced as one, a German spy and assassin. The more familiar Skull also has shades of it, as a former intelligence operative with experience in wetwork and black operations.

to:

* ProfessionalKiller: The original (i.e., [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]]) Red Skull is introduced as one, a German spy and assassin. The more familiar Skull also has shades of it, as a former intelligence operative with experience in wetwork and black operations.
26th Oct '16 9:05:05 PM PaulA
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* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In some issues of [[PeterDavid Peter David's.]] 90's Comicbook/IncredibleHulk run, the Red Skull had formed an alliance of criminals called the [[NebulousCriminalConspiracy New World Order]] in order to prevent infighting, perform negotiations, and foster cooperation. This group appeared in several Hulk issues and even tangled with X-Men villain Apocalypse! Of course, they haven't appeared or been mentioned since. Later Hulk stories made some vague mentions of the New World Order "collapsing," but we never saw how or why....

to:

* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In some issues of [[PeterDavid Peter David's.]] 90's Comicbook/IncredibleHulk Creator/PeterDavid's '90s ''Comicbook/IncredibleHulk'' run, the Red Skull had formed an alliance of criminals called the [[NebulousCriminalConspiracy New World Order]] in order to prevent infighting, perform negotiations, and foster cooperation. This group appeared in several Hulk issues and even tangled with X-Men villain Apocalypse! Of course, they haven't appeared or been mentioned since. Later Hulk stories made some vague mentions of the New World Order "collapsing," but we never saw how or why....
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