[[quoteright:314:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/red_skull_cover_9486.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:314:"When it comes to bad, the Red Skull is in a class all by himself."]]

->''His eyes, unfathomably empty, devoid of all compassion... all humanity... No one has eyes like that... no one! All these months I've lived in a fool's paradise, refusing to believe his claim to be the real Red Skull, refusing to believe that my greatest enemy had found a way to cheat death... but he has. The Red Skull lives... God help us all.''
-->-- '''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'''

The ArchEnemy of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica and one of the oldest villains in comics, and widely regarded as one of the most despicable. Right-hand man of UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, ComicBook/{{HYDRA}} brought him BackFromTheDead to plague the world once again. There have been at least three major versions of the Skull. George Maxon, the first Red Skull first appeared in ''"Captain America Comics''" #1 (March, 1941). The most (in)famous Red Skull, Johann Schmidt, first appeared in ''"Captain America Comics''" #7 (October, 1941). The third Red Skull, Albert Malik first appeared in ''"Captain America Comics''" #61 (March, 1947). Malik was established as the Communist Red Skull in ''"Young Men''" #24 (December, 1953). Schmidt was revived in ''"Tales of Suspense''" #79 (July, 1966).

The established origin of the better known Skull is relatively complex. He was born as Johann Schmidt in a small German village, probably sometime in the [[TheEdwardianEra 1910s]]. The Skull's mother Martha died giving birth to him, causing his drunken lout of a father to [[OffingTheOffspring try and drown him]], saying that the infant had murdered his wife. A doctor managed to prevent him from killing his newborn son, but the angry father went on to commit suicide. Growing up alone, the rise of the Nazis backdropping his life, young Schmidt eventually found himself living a hard life on the streets. All while nursing a growing anger and frustration towards the rest of the world. As an older teen, Schmidt managed to get a job as a bellhop for a major hotel frequented by UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. Schmidt was present for one occasion when Hitler was angrily berating the head of UsefulNotes/TheGestapo (or just some random German officer) for letting a spy escape, and screamed at the man that he could make even the bellhop into a better Nazi than him. [[GoneHorriblyRight He did]].

Hitler, who seemed to recognize much of himself in the frustrated, resentful, unsuccessful yet obviously talented young man, became a sort of EvilMentor and father figure to him, encouraging him to educate himself and grooming him for a powerful position in the Nazi state. (According to one version, to be his own successor.) Subordinate only to Hitler himself, the young, brilliant and ruthless Schmidt was placed in charge of foreign espionage and terrorist activities, playing a key role in Nazi victories in Europe and spreading fear (his red skull mask was intended to be a symbol of terror while Hitler could remain the popular leader in a national version of GoodCopBadCop). He eventually moved onto the United States as WorldWarII continued and sabotaged the top secret Project Rebirth by assassinating Prof. Erskine. Preparing for the inevitable war against Germany, the Americans decided to create their own GoodCounterpart to the Red Skull's evil, the sole successful Super Soldier serum test subject, Steve Rogers, and trained him to become ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, the man who was to become Schmidt's ArchEnemy.

However, as the war dragged on the Skull started to see that Germany was not going to win, and [[KnowWhenToFoldEm instead made plans to escape]] and build a new power base elsewhere to [[TheRemnant continue the struggle]]. In the meantime he assigned rival Nazi Baron Heinrich Zemo to a secret mission to assassinate Captain America, hoping the two would kill each other off. In the event, Zemo was defeated and Roger's sidekick ComicBook/BuckyBarnes was (seemingly) killed, but not before Captain America tracked the Skull to his secret bunker and engaged him in battle. Cap won and apparently killed the Skull, but in reality he was merely placed in SuspendedAnimation, a fate that Cap would shortly suffer too after his battle with Zemo.

Captain America was revived by ComicBook/TheAvengers, but not long after their enemies [=HYDRA=] discovered the Skull and revived him too. The Skull allied with them for as long as they were useful but secretly he was biding his time until he could steal the Cosmic Cube from [=AIM=], the science division of [=HYDRA=], the Cube being an ArtifactOfDoom that bestowed upon the user RealityWarping and [[PhysicalGod godhood]]. He once again battled Captain America and was once again defeated, but subsequently managed to establish himself as a major and continuous threat to the world, with access to considerable resources.

The Red Skull subsequently engaged in numerous more terrorist and mass murder schemes to wreak havoc across the world and kill Captain America, even managing to make himself Secretary of Defence disguised as one [[SignificantAnagram Dell Rusk]], plus more attempts to possess a Cosmic Cube, before finally being assassinated by the Winter Soldier, a [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashed, insane]] and very-much alive Bucky Barnes, but used a weakened Cube to transfer his mind into a Russian general named Lukin, the man who had him killed. Sharing his body, the Skull forced Lukin to go along with his schemes to manipulate the superhero Comicbook/CivilWar so as to get one of his puppet politicians elected as President, and later tried to [[GrandTheftMe transfer his mind]] into Captain America's unborn child, before it was murdered by an increasingly rebellious Sin ([[DaddysLittleVillain his daughter]]). He later allied with ComicBook/NormanOsborn following his [[Comicbook/DarkReign rise to power]] and finally managed to take over the body of Captain America himself, but after wreaking further damage was expelled and killed, this time for good.

[[ComicbookDeath This being a comic book]], the Red Skull seemingly returned in the pages of ''Comicbook/UncannyAvengers'' during the Comicbook/MarvelNOW relaunch. [[spoiler: This was then revealed to be a clone of the original that was frozen back during World War 2]].

The Red Skull appeared in the MarvelCinematicUniverse as a villainous {{Chessmaster}}, [[StupidJetpackHitler Nazi super-scientist]], and the founder of HYDRA in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''. The MCU version is a CompositeCharacter of the comic book Red Skull, Baron Strucker (the founder of HYDRA in the comics) and Baron Zemo (the StupidJetpackHitler elements), although both Strucker and Zemo later appeared in the MCU in their own right. It amused many fans that HugoWeaving was cast to play yet another [[Film/TheMatrix powerful enemy named "Schmidt"]] with an appropriately and enjoyably [[LargeHam OTT performance]].

!!Media
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica''
* ''ComicBook/TheInvaders''
* ''ComicBook/CaptainAmericaCorps''
* ''ComicBook/CaptainAmericaWinterSoldier''
* ''ComicBook/UncannyAvengers''
** ''{{ComicBook/Axis}}''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime ]]

* ''Anime/MarvelDiskWarsTheAvengers'' (portrayed by Motomu Kiyokawa)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' (portrayed by Scott Paulin)
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse (portrayed by Creator/HugoWeaving)
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' (Posthumous Photographs/Video only)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelSuperHeroes'' (portrayed by Paul Kligman)
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManAndHisAmazingFriends'' (portrayed by Creator/PeterCullen)
* ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' (portrayed by Cedric Smith)
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' (portrayed by Creator/DavidWarner)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperheroSquadShow'' (portrayed by Creator/MarkHamill)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' (portrayed by Creator/SteveBlum)
* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' (portrayed by Creator/LiamOBrien)
* ''WesternAnimation/HulkAndTheAgentsOfSMASH'' (portrayed by Creator/LiamOBrien)
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerbMissionMarvel'' (portrayed by Creator/LiamOBrien)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/CaptainAmericaAndTheAvengers''
* ''VideoGame/CaptainAmericaSuperSoldier'' (portrayed by Keith Ferguson)
* ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance''
* ''VideoGame/MarvelHeroes'' (portrayed by Creator/LiamOBrien)
* ''VideoGame/LEGOMarvelSuperHeroes'' (portrayed by Creator/SteveBlum)
* ''VideoGame/MarvelFutureFight''

----
!!Exhibits examples of:

* 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]].
** He's an absolutely horrible parent to his own daughter, as well (perhaps even to a point where [[EvenEvilHasStandards his own father would be sickened]]). When she was born he originally planned on killing her, ''because she wasn't a boy.'' His first words upon seeing her were literally, "A daughter? Kill It!". And he would have if it wasn't for Mother Night convincing him to let her live. [[FateWorseThanDeath She's probably wishing that Mother Night didn't save her, considering what Red Skull does to her]]...
* AdaptationPersonalityChange: In the more recent ''Captain America'' movie, the Red Skull character is not a Nazi true believer, but a purely power-hungry villain who even betrays Germany as part of his dastardly plot. There's no indication that he's personally close to Hitler, either.
* AlikeAndAntitheticalAdversaries: To CaptainAmerica, obviously. Cap is the symbol of America and leads a team of Allied/NATO heroes, while the Skull is the symbol of Nazi Germany and leads a multinational team of fascist villains.
* AlternateUniverseReedRichardsIsAwesome: A major motivation for Red Skull's villainy is to bring this about, and [[VillainWorld when his plans succeed]], he usually does. One such AlternateUniverse had giant flatscreens and modern computers ... in the 1960s.
* AnarchyIsChaos: He once turned his back on Fascism and made ''this'' his creed of choice, believing that a world without government would inevitably devolve into the kind of SocialDarwinist hellhole that a sadistic power-mad psychopath could call home.
* ArchEnemy: One of the oldest in comics.
* ArtDeco: His custom-built bases tend to go with the "Nazi chic" style, i.e., this mixed with some Classicism.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Cosmic Cubes, in his hands anyway.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary: When he is not depicted in some [[HellBentForLeather bizarre leather faux-uniform]], the Skull wears a [[http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/5/50532/1376360-reich33.jpg pre-1938]] [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gUjB03VW8jc/Ti8KTzwD3ZI/AAAAAAAABQA/lUQFweiUsqI/s1600/339978-87437-red-skull_super.jpg black Allgemeine-SS uniform]] (single shoulder board) with SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) collar insignia and an Iron Cross. Leaving aside the fact Iron Cross was not reinstated before 1939, regardless of what he may have accomplished, but there is no reason the second most dangerous man in the Reich's administration should have such a junior rank. He also often has an Honor Chevron for the Old Guard ''and'' a Golden Party Badge, even though his backstory usually has him joining the party ''after'' Hitler assumed power, which would make him ineligible for these "honors".
** While much of the above is spot on, Hitler sometimes did hand out the chevrons and Golden Badge to late-enlisting but exceptionally worthy followers. In that particular case, RealityIsUnrealistic.
** ShadowArchetype: He's the Nazi counterpart of Captain America, and has the rank to fit.
** A corollary explanation might be that the Skull simply liked the uniform and decorations, and [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem was so powerful in Hitler's inner circle]] that he could browbeat or kill anyone trying to lecture him on decorum.
** Similarly, his uniform in the film contains a mixture of insignia reserved for commissioned officers and insignia reserved for non-commissioned officers. There's a good chance that he simply didn't care that his uniform was incorrect.
* AsLongAsThereIsOneMan: A villainous example. Paraphrasing his dialogue, as long as he and others like him keep fighting, the flame of Nazism will shine in the darkness of democracy, and not be extinguished, no matter how many of them the US forces kill.
* AvengingTheVillain: One of the Skull's major motivations is to succeed where Hitler failed and avenge his fallen mentor. He wants to take revenge on the Allies who killed Hitler and Nazi Germany, but even more to rebuild it, to show that his Fuehrer was right and that his ideals triumphed in the end.
* AxCrazy: [[DependingOnTheWriter Some versions]], definitely. Others are less hysteric, but no less [[NoSympathy ruthless]] for it.
* BackFromTheDead: Played horrifyingly straight, see the quote above.
* BadBoss: He frequently kills all but his most loyal or competent underlings--and sometimes even them--either [[YouHaveFailedMe for failure]] or for [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outliving their usefulness]], but just as often ForTheEvulz. He once killed his ''accountant'', for pete's sake, because "she was a bad accountant". And he usually uses his "Dust of Death" poison, one of the most agonising and horrible weapons in his arsenal, when he feels like doing the deed. [[MyMasterRightOrWrong Bizarrely]], he can still count on the fervent loyalty of most of his followers.
* BadPresent: Similarly to Captain America, Red Skull is a FishOutOfTemporalWater who grew up roughly a hundred years ago. The present seems like a pure nightmare to him, and absolute proof that the Nazis were right: This is what they fought to save the world from.
** Subverted in ''Uncanny Avengers'', where he thinks the present is ''a lot like'' his own formative period in Weimar Germany. Given [[CrapsackWorld what this period was like]], however, this is hardly a compliment.
* BadassArmy: His handpicked multinational force of elite troops from the Axis countries during the war.
* BadassBookworm: Like the real Hitler, obsessively studies everything from military history to engineering, in order to make up for his lack of formal education.
* BadassInANiceSuit: When the Skull isn't wearing his Nazi swag, he typically dresses in stylish, well-tailored suits.
* BadassLongcoat: Occasionally when shown in real (or [[CustomUniform semi-real]]) German uniforms. Also, in civvies, the clone Skull in ''Uncanny Avengers'' seems to like these.
* 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.
* BastardUnderstudy: To Hitler.
* BeingEvilSucks: Being a ''Nazi'' in the 21st century sucks, when you care enough about the ideology to be [[DeliberateValuesDissonance horrified]] by all the third-world immigration, affirmative action, homosexuality, etc. If he wanted to, he could just be a rich crime lord and live happily off the money his syndicates make; as it is, ironically it's his very devotion to Nazism that keeps him unhappy.
** Doubly emphasized when he's dumped in an AlternateUniverse where things are a lot like in the main comic, but he's a poor German nobody without connections and Captain America is the US President. He tries to convert his fellow Germans to Nazism, spending all his spare time holding [[SoapboxSquare impassioned speeches]] at a street corner. [[AloneInACrowd No one cares.]]
* BerserkButton: Insulting Hitler. In one comic, Captain America called Hitler a coward and boasted of how the Allies had destroyed Germany and the Nazi ideals forever, which produced a near meltdown on the Skull's part:
-->'''Red Skull''': No! ''No!'' Those are ''lies,'' do you hear?? '' '''[[VillainousBreakdown ALL LIES!!]]''' ''
* BewareTheSuperman: As befits a Nazi, Red Skull wants to control all possible threats against humanity. He doesn't like superheroes, and ''hates'' [[FantasticRacism super-powered mutants]], who usurp humanity's destiny. He also wants to destroy ComicBook/SubMariner and his empire of nonhumans, who often threaten and invade human countries.
* BigBad: One of '''the''' major supervillain threats on a planet drowning in them, and one of the most despicably evil.
* BiggerBad: The man behind Baron von Strucker, Baron Zemo, HYDRA and most of Marvel's assorted Nazi-themed and ex-Nazi villains.
* 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.
* BreakingLecture: Delivers a number of them to his enemies (especially Captain America) over the years, of varying quality. Usually about how rotten and corrupt the American democratic system is. One that seems somewhat influenced by the "Occupy" movement was offered in the early ''Uncanny Avengers'' run:
-->'''Skull''':You imagine that if you fight hard enough, one day you will wrest control from the ''bankers'' who ''own'' you and return this nation to its ''former glory.''
-->But in reality ''this'' is, and will remain, your America. An uneducated population fixated on competition, material wealth and voyeurism. Violent ''monsters'' doused in antibiotics to offset their diet of sugary sweet drink and mounds of carcinogenic cow flesh! '''This is what you fight for!'''
* BrokenAce: An evil genius who [[FromNobodyToNightmare rose from the literal gutter]] to become first a Nazi hierarch and then a full-blown supervillain. Red Skull is both [[CulturedBadass literate]] and [[BadassNormal hard as nails]], and an [[DarkMessiah inspiring leader]] for millions of neo-fascists ... But his [[DarkAndTroubledPast childhood in the streets]] and [[ShellShockedVeteran traumatic war experiences]] have left him deeply scarred in more than one sense.
* BroughtDownToNormal: After the Cube Cult caper, he was mysteriously stripped of most of his memories and forced to live as an anonymous nobody in a nightmarish cyberpunk world. He reverted to his old pattern of life as a downtrodden menial laborer, until memories of Hitler began to reemerge in his dreams and guided him back to his real life.
* TheBully: Terrorizes and often kills his own subordinates ForTheEvulz, routinely; savagely beat and sadistically abused his girlfriend, one of his most devoted followers; big fan of RevengeByProxy; tends to laugh like a lunatic when causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people.
* CapitalismIsBad: Because it engenders [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney corruption,]] [[{{Greed}} greed]], [[BreadAndCircuses materialism,]] [[HumansAreMorons stupidity]] and "evil" generally. Also, it's wasteful; imagine how much good the government could do with the money people waste on [[ConspicuousConsumption the latest iPhone]]. As Red Skull would remind you, Nazism is short for National ''Socialism'', which prefers the common good over private greed. ([[ShownTheirWork A real Nazi slogan!]])
** This is those versions of Skull which ''are'' real Nazis; the writers who make him a [[ForTheEvulz pure nihilist]] sometimes shunt him straight into the CorruptCorporateExecutive role.
* CaptainPatriotic: For the Nazis, as befits the evil counterpart of Captain America.
* CardCarryingVillain: In the most [[AnVilicious Anvilicious]] version of his backstory, he joined the Nazis for the thrill of killing and refers to himself as the "Prince of Villainy".
* ChestOfMedals: When he wears a real dress uniform. Usually, however, he doesn't bother with the decorations, except maybe a lone Iron Cross.
* ClassicVillain: He mostly represents Ambition, Wrath and pure Hatred.
* CloningBlues: He spent quite a while between the late 1980s and the early 2000s inhabiting a cloned body of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, albeit with a "red skull" disfigurement for most of that time.
** The Red Skull has returned in '' ComicBook/UncannyAvengers '' thanks to Arnim Zola having cloned him.
* ColonelBadass: His official rank is never stated, but when he wears a semi-real German uniform, it's often that of a Standartenfuehrer (SS colonel).
* ColorCharacter
* CommieNazis: The 1950s depiction of the Skull joined the Soviets after World War II to continue the fight against American capitalism. This was later [[RetCon rewritten]] as a psywar ploy by the KGB, using an impostor.
* ComplexityAddiction: Like most Silver Age supervillains, the Skull suffered heavily from this.
* CompositeCharacter: The movieverse Skull is a hybrid of the comicverse Skull, Baron Von Strucker (founder of HYDRA), and Baron Zemo.
* ContemplativeBoss: Whether watching dawn's early light or the lesser lights of the city at night.
* CulturedBadass: At least some versions, familiar with art, literature, music and philosophy. Made more impressive by the fact that he grew up poor and uncultured and did not even finish school. It's implied he learned a lot of this from Hitler, who was also an autodidact and famously thought of himself as a philosopher and artist.
* CunningLikeAFox: Especially young Johann Schmidt, who also looks vaguely fox-like with his red hair and pale, thin face.
* CunningLinguist: Despite never having any formal education beyond elementary school (at most), the Skull speaks at least three languages in addition to his native German: Russian, Hebrew and English. In English at least he can also fake dialects convincingly, from Harlem Ebonics to Old Stock Yankee.
* DaddysLittleVillain: His daughter, Synthia. [[OffingTheOffspring He tried to kill her]] [[DisproportionateRetribution for not being a boy]], but she grew up into the kind of hateful homicidal maniac a father could be proud of. [[WellDoneSonGuy He still ignored her,]] but it's the effort that counts.
* DarkActionGirl: His daughter, who (at least when written by Creator/EdBrubaker) is ''more'' violent and evil than Red Skull himself.
** [[FauxActionGirl Faux Dark Action Girl]]: But if she ever stops posturing and actually ''fights'' anyone (except maybe some nameless {{Mooks}}), she loses every single time. Usually quickly, too.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: The young Johann Schmidt grew up as a homeless orphan in [[CrapSackWorld Weimar Germany]], and survived off odd jobs, begging and petty crime. Apart from insecurity, he also suffered horrible abuse from criminals and Communists; even the original [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] origin story showed him being savagely beaten by a street gang as a small boy, and later versions have only gotten progressively [[DarkerAndEdgier more]] violent and disturbing.
* DarkMessiah: There's an Aryan brotherhood gang called "The Skulls" and they worship the Skull as the second coming. Oddly enough the gang and their leader are mainly Wolverine villains. You could also say Crossbones sees the Skull this way.
** Despite his propensity for [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness sudden lay-offs]], many of the Skull's ex-Nazi or neo-Nazi henchmen seem to adopt an almost fanatical loyalty and trust toward him.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** J M De Matteis's Red Skull was largely true to his origins in relatively family-friendly [[Creator/StanLee Stan Lee-esque]] supervillainy through most of his run, but in the last story arc he wasn't just evil but [[AxeCrazy totally insane]]. Probably justified, however, as by then Skull was in his 80s and seemed to be suffering from acute senile dementia.
** Somewhere in the darkening of comics in the 1980s, Mark Gruenwald apparently figured Red Skull wasn't evil enough if he was "just" a Nazi villain. So then he started writing him as a sadist and wife-beater as well.
* DarkestHour: For him, the downfall of Germany in 1945.
* DefiantToTheEnd: The first time he died, in the ruins of Berlin in 1945, his last words expressed his conviction that Nazis of future times would finish what he and Hitler started.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: If the rest of the page doesn't tell, well... One recent example had him platonically admiring the captured [[CuteWitch Scarlet Witch's]] bravery and beauty before coolly dismissing her as [[FantasticRacism Not Even Human]].
* DemocracyIsBad: He believes that since the ApatheticCitizens only vote for whoever TV tells them to, anyway, it will inevitably be ruled by [[SleazyPolitician corrupt demagogues]] and the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive greedy plutocrats]] who bribe them.
* DependingOnTheWriter:
** Sometimes the Skull is a devout and fanatical Nazi true believer, almost a kind of TautologicalTemplar who at least ''believes'' himself to be a WellIntentionedExtremist. In this mode he has a genuine and fervent admiration for Hitler, will rant and rave about his Führer's great vision, rage at the [[DemocracyIsBad decadent, democratic West]] for "murdering" such a great visionary, and express his disgust for the [[ApatheticCitizens faithless and conceited masses]] of today who have no ideals like the Nazis once did.
** At other times, he is a [[TheBully cruel]], [[ItsAllAboutMe selfish]], power-hungry bastard who is [[ForTheEvulz evil for the Hell of it]] and who joined the Nazis to be able [[{{Sadist}} to torment and oppress people]]. Instead of admiring Hitler, he is shown as [[TheStarscream actively planning to move against him]] and [[DragonAscendant take his place as leader of the Third Reich.]]
* DespairEventHorizon: His entire childhood was one. More recently, when he was caught in the [[IronicHell metaphysical nightmare]] of living as a poor German man in modern, multicultural Berlin and seeing everything he and Hitler tried to prevent come true.
* {{Determinator}}: Heroic willpower alone has saved his life on many occasions. And despite a near century of failure and the combined hostility of most of the rest of the world, he keeps fighting for the Nazi dream.
* DeterminedDefeatist: Although his optimism in face of tall odds is legendary, sometimes the sheer weight of the world's enmity and the magnitude of his defeats causes him to doubt his chances. Even then, however, he will usually carry on every step of the way.
* DiabolicalMastermind: To ComicBook/LexLuthor standards.
* DemonicPossession: As a result of his meddling with Xavier's brain [[spoiler:he is possessed by ComicBook/{{Onslaught}}]].
* DisproportionateRetribution: When he noticed a black man seducing a (white) female SHIELD agent, the Skull took time off from his general villainy to kidnap them both and lecture them on the evils of miscegenation.
* DomesticAbuser: The villainess Mother Night is a truly terrible human being... but read the stories where she and the Skull were an item, and cringe. It was one of the most hideously abusive relationships in comics; the Skull beat her savagely, yelled and screamed at her for no reason, humiliated her in front of his subordinates, and refused to let her kill herself (which she requested because she thought, if he was beating her so much, [[LoveMartyr clearly she is failing him somehow]]) because "you'd like that, wouldn't you?", whereupon he promised to ''beat her some more''.
* TheDreaded: Just mentioning his name is a good way to end villain deals, and you'll have to look pretty damn hard if you want to find someone who would willingly work with him. He's not just feared- though he is greatly, greatly feared-; he is almost universally ''despised'' amongst both heroes ''and'' villains. Any character who actually ''likes'' him or what he stands for is likely either seriously delusional or an vile, hideous bastard themselves.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Supposedly, the young, poor Johann Schmidt dreamed of a man with a calm, deep voice who would show him his true purpose in the world. Years later, he came to remember the dream after he met Hitler.
* DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans: His ideal world varies between a violent PoliceState and a lawless, chaotic hellhole; in either case he believes that the strong should brutalize the weak, commits mass murder on a regular basis, and demands absolute power which he wants to use primarily to oppress and torture people, not simply power for its own sake. And he enjoys it, every minute of it.
** The occasions he has had the Cosmic Cube have given him nigh-omnipotent power; he once used it to hold an apple in front of a starving crowd, [[EvilIsPetty just so he could deny them it]]! Oh, and shortly after, he ate it in front of a starving ''baby''.
** On the other hand, [[DependingOnTheWriter some versions]] are relatively nicer. In one early incarnation, he wanted to unite the world under an ultra-totalitarian Nazi government in order to [[ReedRichardsIsUseless stop Reed Richards from being useless]] and propel the Marvel Earth into the SpaceOpera setting which thanks to its SuperScience it has every potential to be. Of course, he then intended to ''use'' the world-changing supertech to [[GalacticConqueror take over the galaxy]] and remake the Marvelverse into a sort of [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Imperium of Man]], so he was still power-mad, but not as pointlessly sadistic, and certainly more of a [[VisionaryVillain visionary]].
* EatTheRich: He ''hates'' the wealthy elites who run the world, both for ideological reasons (the Nazis despised plutocracy and "decadent" upper classes) and because he used to be poor and starving himself.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: For a Nazi fanatic, Waffen-SS, of course.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: Played with (and subject to considerable [[DependingOnTheWriter authorial flip-flopping]]). Though the Skull, being a Nazi, holds very politically incorrect views on the matter of race, he is also [[PragmaticVillainy pragmatic]] about working with people from other backgrounds. For example, in the Civil Rights riots of the 1970s he cooperated with Black militants to bring down the US government, though this was a somewhat extreme case. More commonly, his top officers and agents are shown to include women, Chinese and other non-whites among their ranks, and he seems to hold no bias against them, so long as they agree with his fascist politics.
** Which is either a case of ShownTheirWork or (more probably) AccidentallyAccurate on part of the writers, since while the real-life Nazis are (rightly) known for extreme racism today, they had no trouble working with [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amin_al-Husseini Arabs]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Legion Indians]], Japanese and other non-whites, because they disliked liberalism ''more'' than other races and viewed right-wing non-Europeans as allies against their [[DirtyCommies common]] [[EagleLand enemies]]. [[RealityIsUnrealistic In fact, there were even whole divisions of non-white SS troops during the war.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: No, not him. But most major villains of the Marvel Universe are too disgusted by the Skull to willingly work with him. It doesn't help his case that two of Marvel's heavy hitters, Doctor Doom and ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, are a half-Romani and a Jewish holocaust survivor, respectively. In a crossover, he mutually refuses to work with SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, not so much for ethical standards as "[[MadArtist artistic]]" ones. The Joker glories in psychological torture and poetic death - he finds ''far'' more value in compelling [[Film/TheDarkKnight a good man to kill a child]], or [[Film/{{Batman}} an entire major American city to abandon basic hygiene]], than he does mass (even ''millions-strong'') graves full of indiscriminate victims. So to the Joker, Skull is a talentless hack, and to the Skull, Joker is a useless lunatic. [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/batcap8.jpg Also, while the Joker might be a criminal lunatic, he's also an American criminal lunatic]].
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: He doesn't understand why would a "superior being" like Captain America associate himself with "trash" like [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racial minorities and gay people]].
* EvilCounterpart: To Cap, obviously. Actually, if you want to get technical, Cap is the GoodCounterpart to ''him'', because he was created to be the Skull's opposite number.
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' takes this even further by having him be the original test subject for the Super Soldier Serum. He rivals Captain America not only ideologically, but ''physically'' as well.
* EvilGenius: In so many words in the ''Marvel Handbook.'' The same goes on to call his brilliance comparable only to that of Napoleon. And that's merely his political and military acumen, before going into more [[SuperScience comic-bookly]] territory...
* EvilGloating: Red Skull has had many opportunities [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim to kill Captain America]], especially every time that he has had the power of the Cosmic Cube. Each time he has allowed Captain America to live so that Skull could torment him with being helpless or attempt to bring Captain America to the dark side (all the while gloating), thus giving Captain America the opportunity to turn the tables on Red Skull (like knock the Cube out of his hand).
* EvilIsPetty: However, this is initially averted in UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|of Comic Books}} WorldWarII period stories with the Skull being professional enough to hear about at least one scheme failing by shrugging and moving on to new business.
* EvilMentor: His was [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Hitler]].
* EvilRedHead: Back when he had his original body.
** Technically ''now'', too.
* EvilVersusEvil: The Skull has an ongoing on-and-off feud with DoctorDoom, and has bashed heads with {{Magneto}} more than once. (Most memorably in ''Captain America'' #367.)
* EvilVirtues: Varies with the writing, but generally speaking, the Skull is portrayed as an {{Expy}} of Hitler, albeit usually an [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade exaggerated]] one. He accordingly shares most of his "good" traits, such as [[XanatosSpeedChess resourcefulness]], [[KnightTemplar utter conviction]], [[VillainousValor physical bravery]] and [[{{Determinator}} iron willpower]].
* ExpansionPackPast: Like with Captain America (and often in the same stories), writers often want to make up new World War II adventures for him.
* FamilyValuesVillain: Stretching the definition, perhaps, but his views on sexual deviants might qualify him. As a conservative German who grew up in the early 20th century, it's probably unsurprising that he should be hostile to homosexuality and miscegenation. More radically, he also contemptuously dismisses [[PluckyGirl Rogue]] as a "whore" because of her unmarried relationship with Magneto.
* FantasticRacism: His clone in ComicBook/UncannyAvengers starts a campaign to wipe out mutants.
* TheFatalist: Like Hitler, he believes in hard predestination, i.e., everything has already been decided before time. Also like Hitler, however, he [[{{Determinator}} keeps fighting]] to the bitter end, regardless of what fate appears to have decreed.
* FightingForAHomeland: He and his remaining Nazi expatriates, who no longer have one. A few times they have even tried to liberate [[{{Ruritania}} Latveria]] from the rule of Doctor Doom to make it a homeland for dispossessed fascists.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: Nazi born in the early 1900s, now in the 21st century. Depending on which version, after "dying" in World War II, he was in suspended animations into the 1960s, the 1980s or just recently, giving him varying degrees of drastic change to cope with. In general, he likes the scientific progress, but hates the social changes; effectively, from his point of view the future suffers badly from the LowCultureHighTech syndrome.
* FlingALightIntoTheFuture: A villainous example. At the end of World War II, when it was becoming apparent that Germany would lose, the Skull sequestered equipment and funds and helped a number of devoted young Nazi officers escape the downfall, so they could keep the Nazi cause alive and fight another day.
* ForWantOfANail:
** Aside from his father trying to drown him, the night he met Hitler he claims he was contemplating suicide, and may have gone through with it had he not been granted the opportunity.
** While it isn't mentioned very often, the Communist Red Skull killed ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} agents John and Mary Parker, otherwise known as the father and mother of Franchise/SpiderMan. If he hadn't, Peter would not have had to live with his Aunt and Uncle Ben and possibly would have never become a superhero.
* FreudianExcuse: Like much else with the Skull, whether he has one varies, as DependingOnTheWriter.
** The original origin story was essentially a somewhat exaggerated version of Adolf Hitler's real-life biography before World War I. It showed the young Johann Schmidt as a struggling orphan who worked menial jobs and sometimes committed crimes against property to survive; other authors (for example, Creator/MarkWaid) elaborated on this. In this version, Schmidt suffered abuse from the police and other criminals, but was not himself violent or insane; however, his experiences gave him a [[TheCynic very bleak]] view of the world, and engendered [[RageAgainstTheLegalSystem massive resentment]] on his part against [[DemocracyIsBad the system]]. He joined the Nazis because he genuinely thought they'd make Germany and the world a better place, and not least because [[EvilMentor Hitler]] was the first person ever to believe in him and treat him as a man of worth.
** Meanwhile, some later writers apparently thought this made him too sympathetic, and wrote different versions where he was ''born'' AxeCrazy and a lunatic SerialKiller long before he met Hitler.
* FriendlessBackground: He never had a friend before he met Hitler.
* FromBadToWorse: As of Uncanny Avengers, the Red Skull now has Psychic powers at the same level as [[ComicBook/XMen Xavier]].
* FromNobodyToNightmare: From poor orphan and school-leaver to second in command of Nazi Europe.
* GalacticConqueror: One of his motives for his villainy is to bring about mankind's expansion to the stars, and so ensure the survival of his species for the millennia to come. (Both by securing new resources for man and by pre-emptively destroying the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens expansionist aliens]] who often attack the Marvelverse Earth.) In an AlternateUniverse where he succeeded in unifying the planet under his rule, he made the Marvel humans [[AlternateUniverseReedRichardsIsAwesome start using their comic-book supertech intelligently]], and now governs an emergent interstellar empire.
* GeniusBruiser: Genius who has worked [[TrainingFromHell very hard]] at ''becoming'' a bruiser.
* GermanicEfficiency: Though like some versions of the stereotype, sometimes hampered by ComplexityAddiction.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The Nazis ain't exactly kids' stuff, [[http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lopbpi4uCg1qmavteo1_1280.png and yet the Skull got to appear in]] ''ComicBook/MiniMarvels''.
* {{Ghostapo}}: In ''Comicbook/FearItself'' he had a group of Nazi occultists perform the dark ritual that ultimately led to the events of that story in an effort to turn the tide of the war. Unfortunately for him, it worked- 65 years later. He had a couple of other experiences with the dark arts later on, but you can see why he prefers [[MadScientist Mad Science]] to get results.
* AGodAmI: Has had tendencies of this, especially with his incarnation in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.
** In the comics, Red Skull will make a AGodAmI speech pretty much every time he gains possession of the Cosmic Cube, which is like half of all his appearances in the comics.
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Very, very evil, especially given that half the time he isn't actually smoking, because the cigarette actually contains his Dust of Death poison that he'll use on unsuspecting victims.
* GoneHorriblyRight: He was Hitler's attempt to show that he could create the ultimate Nazi Ubermensch. He was such a success that even Hitler started becoming scared of him.
* GrandTheftMe: He's taken over Captain America's body twice: once in the 1960's, and once more recently. He also spent some time sharing a body with his rival Aleksander Lukin, and in a spare robot body belonging to his underling, Arnim Zola.
* GuiltFreeExterminationWar: Against the [[FantasticRacism Marvelverse mutants]].
* TheGunslinger: Red Skull is a marksman with many weapons, though it's his ability with pistols that stands out. Established all the way back in his original origin story in the 1960s.
* HandCannon: His heavy, customized Luger-like pistols, which depending on the story can be either traditional semi-automatics or more fantastic weapons like futuristic lasers.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: According to the Skull, in a story from the 1980's, his brutal training regime organized by Hitler lasted... weeks. Not years. Not months. ''Weeks.'' He went from a bellhop nobody to the most dangerous and competent man in the Reich in ''weeks'', despite having next to no formal education, being a human punching bag on the streets, and having worked nothing but the most menial jobs in between scraping by as a beggar and a thief (a bad one- again, his own words). He says he was thirty too, which would mean he literally just never learned anything until then, but subsequent materials say he was in his late teens, which is a bit of an improvement.
** Of course, the same story has him remembering both of his parents, including their faces and behaviour, [[InfallibleNarrator despite both of them being dead before he was a day old]], as well as what it was like to be pulled out of the womb- he says he has an amazing memory. These days, that's largely ignored. His superhuman powers of remembrance either completely justifies his amazing out-of-the-blue ability to learn anything, or suggests he was being less than honest about it.
** The ''Marvel Handbook'' writes that his initial training period lasted "months" rather than weeks, and even when it was done he wasn't immediately given huge power. He met Hitler in 1933 (or 1934, depending on the story), so by the time he faces Captain America in 1941, he's had some years of on-the-job training and promotions. It's still an unusually rapid rise through the ranks, but not quite as meteoric as the 1980s story suggested.
* HateSink: Designed to be this from the start. In Universe, the Red Skull is without question one of the most reviled, despised, detested, and flat out hated villains in the entire Marvel Universe, loathed by both heroes and villains alike. Put simply, when monsters like ''the Joker'' and even '''Carnage''' want nothing to do with you, you know you're a vile, irredeemable piece of trash.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: This is how the Skull views himself, and all of Nazism: They may have done some [[DirtyBusiness Bad Things]], but only because they tried to stop the much more villainous [[CorruptCorporateExecutive international bankers]] and [[DirtyCommies global Communists]] who are destroying the world, and got desperate enough to copy some of their methods. Incidentally, this is also pretty much what the real-life Nazis said to justify themselves.
* HeartbrokenBadass: A platonic example, since his great love was Nazi Germany.
* HeroicAmbidexterity: What to do when a raging mutant cuts off your gun hand and leaves it to his FlyingBrick friend to pulp you? Whip out a [[HandCannon fantastic Luger]] in your ''other'' hand and take them down at point blanc!
* HeroicResolve: Or, well, villainous, but he certainly has willpower. Has experienced situations (buried under tons of rubble, trapped underwater, captured and tortured for long periods...) which would leave any normal person a ruined wreck, and not only survived, but kept going. He simply refuses to die until his work is finished.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: After coming BackFromTheDead with the "perfect Aryan" face of his rival, Captain America, his first major scheme ended with him being disfigured with an actual "red skull" for a face after he inhaled his own "dust of death" while trying to kill Cap.
* HopeBringer: The darkest example imaginable. He brings hope to the persecuted and marginalized fascists and Nazis of the Marvelverse, and inspires them to continue the struggle against the overwhelming might of liberalism and democracy.
* HopelessWar: The Skull's struggle against liberalism. He believes he's still fighting for the Nazi ideals and keeping Hitler's dream alive, but the world only gets more liberal with each passing year. It seems nothing he does ultimately matters. Sometimes it causes him to [[VillainousBreakdown despair]].
* HorrifyingTheHorror: Has terrified much more superhuman enemies like Kang the Conqueror and Korvac, and even ComicBook/DoctorDoom on occasion.
* HotBlooded: He ''wants'' to be cold and calculating, and can sometimes pull off a convincing impression of it, but the mask soon slips. In everything he does, he is actually ''extremely'' passionate.
* HumansAreBastards: After living out his childhood in the streets of chaotic interwar Germany, the Skull was already convinced of this. WorldWarII with its massive war crimes and atrocities on all sides really hammered home the point.
* IControlMyMinionsThrough: Most of his people, at least the ones working directly for him, are hardcore fascists who follow him out of genuine loyalty, often quite fanatical such. While often portrayed as a BadBoss, he can also display admirable loyalty and even kindness toward loyal subordinates.
** "Kindness" is a bit much, but there's certainly some mutual affection and respect between the Skull and at least some of his henchmen.
* IKnowKarate: Red Skull is a master of martial arts (and has specifically been mentioned to know several styles of karate). He still loses many of his unarmed battles, but that's because his opponent is frequently [[SuperWeight Captain America]].
* IShouldHaveBeenBetter: If he had been, maybe he would have been able to defeat Captain America and save fascist Europe. So now he pushes himself [[TrainingFromHell twice as hard]] to be the best of all.
* IgnoredEpiphany: After being locked in that shelter for days (see KickTheSonOfABitch below), starving and alone in the dark, he finally resigned himself to his fate and for the first -and only- time in his life, he felt remorse for his life of villainy and privately conceded that he deserved this fate. He was rescued shortly after, regained his will to live after seeing Captain America and remembering how much he hated him... and after telling Cap as much, began ranting about how he would get revenge on Magneto for putting him in there (though, [[AlwaysABiggerFish tellingly]], he didn't put much effort into that particular scheme).
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Back when he was fresh out of training in the early 1930s, he shot the buttons off a man's jacket easily and single-handedly. His aim hasn't gotten any worse since.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Skull really couldn't care less about anyone that isn't him.
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: And not just if you're the chosen one of ''good'' ... Arguably, Red Skull has suffered ''even more'' tragic and traumatic events than his GoodCounterpart Cap, which is no mean feat; see other entries on this page. It's rather harder to feel sorry for him, though, since he also [[PayEvilUntoEvil inflicts them]] on others.
* JerkJock: An [[AxCrazy extreme]] example when he went insane after his mind was moved into a clone of Captain America. See below.
* {{Jerkass}}: The Skull is a terrorist, mass murderer and would-be world conqueror; but quite apart from that, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking he is a jerk in the little things too]]. He bullies his subordinates, was violently and sadistically abusive to his girlfriend, and once sank into a depression that he got out of when Crossbones cheered him up by reminding him of all the ''evil'' things he had done in his life.
* JokerImmunity: Unlike the Joker, it's infuriating, considering what he is.
* KickTheSonOfABitch: Magneto once kidnapped the Skull and locked him in an abandoned fallout shelter, telling him that death would be too good for him and that he wanted the Skull to wish that Magneto ''had'' killed him after the coming ordeal. The shelter was completely empty except for some jugs of water, which Magneto advised the Skull to conserve, and had no light source. So for weeks, the Skull was locked in a dark room with concrete walls, slowly starving to death. He raged, pounded on the walls, tried in vain to reach the exit high above him, sobbed, and eventually began hallucinating. By the time he was found by Crossbones, Mother Night, and Machinesmith, he was utterly broken and wished to die.
* LackOfEmpathy: '''THE''' biggest example in the MarvelUniverse.
* LargeHam: Hugo Weaving clearly had fun playing him in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.
** After stealing Xavier's psychic powers, Skull could simply make people do things without a word. But where is the fun in that?
* LastOfHisKind: One of the very few original Nazi leaders who still survive, and possibly the only one who still keeps the flame of the ideology burning. In one comic, he reminisces about the old days when he and the Fuehrer dreamed together of remaking the future. Then, back to the present:
-->'''Red Skull''': But now, he is dead! Only the Red Skull still remains to fulfill the Nazi dream!
* TheLeader: Mainly the first and fourth type, though he has shades of all. At least some writers seem to deliberately base his style of leadership on that of the real-life Hitler, which was also a lot like this.
* LegacyCharacter: There have been four Red Skulls. Technically, Johan Schmidt is actually the second; the original Red Skull was a Nazi spy who was retconned into being one of Schmidt's agents. The third was a DirtyCommunist, and the fourth is the Skull's own daughter.
** It's actually rather complicated in publishing terms, since the first three versions were originally intended to be the same character, and only a series of {{Retcon}} stories have created the distinctions between them.
* LethallyStupid: Sin, throughout the [[Creator/EdBrubaker Brubaker]] ''Captain America'' run. Almost ''everything'' that goes wrong with the Skull's plans in this period is due to her gleefully juggling the VillainBall and the IdiotBall, and she causes a lot of unrelated havoc besides. Arguably, this arc ''justifies'' everything bad he's been saying about her.
* LivingLegend: Already during World War II, when he was a famous and highly decorated Nazi general, but more so in later decades. In-story, he has become the archetypical image of Nazism in much the same way as Captain America has become that of liberalism.
* LowerClassLout: Was this once, has since worked ''very hard'' not to stay this way.
* MadScientist: More like mad engineer, and even this is pushing it for most interpretations. But even if he doesn't ''do'' much mad science himself, Red Skull is an enthusiast for science and technology who often ''sponsors'' bona fide mad scientists like [[EvilutionaryBiologist Arnim Zola]]. In an AlternateUniverse where the Nazis survived World War II and he succeeded Hitler as Fuehrer, ComicBook/DoctorDoom was one of his science advisors.
* MadeOfIron: Due to supreme willpower. He suffers damage like an ordinary BadassNormal, but can cope exceedingly well with even highly debilitating pain. Once, when he had his hand cut off, he was able to continue directing a battle within seconds, even as he had the wound bandaged.
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: In some appearances, though usually when he seeks to influence others who might be impressed by such displays. Privately, he's still [[WickedCultured intellectual]], but rather more frugal and unaffected.
* MasterOfDisguise: The list of people he's successfully impersonated to run his schemes must be a yard long at this point. And that's not counting the times he's just [[GrandTheftMe used other folks' bodies]].
* MenAreBetterThanWomen: For a European man born in the years before World War I, this is hardly avoidable. His general views on women are [[StayInTheKitchen old-fashioned]] at best, and some depictions make him a rampant misogynist. But he's also been shown to respect and admire capable and competent women like [[ComicBook/Agent13 Sharon Carter]].
* MightMakesRight: An interesting treatment, arguably a subversion for a villain. The Skull believes this is how the world works, but he doesn't think it's ''right'' in the moral sense that it has to.
* MilitarySuperhero: A villainous example, as befits Captain America's evil counterpart.
* MisanthropeSupreme: On a bad day.
* MookHorrorShow: After inhabiting the Captain America clone, he liked to indulge in "training sessions" that were basically this. He would hire five mooks from {{Taskmaster}}, have them dress like Captain America, and fight them. They thought it was just a sparring match. He was out to kill them. When they started to realize this, you really felt sorry for them.
-->'''Mook Number Four''': N-no-- '''wait''' a minute, Mister! The boss said all you wanted was '''sparring partners!''' He didn't say nothin' about--
-->'''Red Skull''': About '''killing''' you? Strictly an '''oversight''' on his part, I assure you! ''(decapitates him with his replica shield)''
* MugglePower: Like many X-Men villains, the Skull considers the superhuman mutants of the Marvel world an existential threat to humanity's survival. Naturally, his solution is to [[GuiltFreeExterminationWar strike back first...]]
* MultinationalTeam: The Skull used to lead one of elite agents from different (mostly Axis) countries who had banded together to fight for fascism against capitalism and Communism. (After World War II, they remained fascist bitter-enders and became known as the Exiles.) Known members include:
** [[NaziNobleman Marshal Gruning]], German.
** [[YellowPeril General Ching]], Chinese.
** [[OliveGarden Signore Baldini]], Italian.
** [[EvilCripple Prince Cadavus]], unknown nationality.
** [[HighClassGlass "Ironhand" Hauptmann]], Bavarian.
** [[RenegadeRussian Colonel Krushki]], ex-Czarist Russian.
* MultipleChoicePast: Caused mainly by multiple [[RetCon retcons]] over the years:
** The original background story by Creator/StanLee, somewhat based on the historical Hitler's real background, had him as a poor orphan, menial worker and sometime thief without family of friends, a miserable loner who failed at everything he tried and grew ever more angry with both himself and the system. This version was totally despondent and plodded along in life from day to day, until one day (and quite by chance) he met Hitler, who recognized his potential and invited him into the Nazi hierarchy.
** Later writers then largely adhered to this story, but put in various embellishments. For example, when J. M. De Matteis retold the Skull's origin story, he added a lot of DarkerAndEdgier material to the effect that he was really a psychotic SerialKiller long before he met Hitler.
** Then there is the recent miniseries by Greg Pak, which changes the story around a lot by making the young Johann Schmidt a member of the Communist underground and a hired killer.
* MyDeathIsOnlyTheBeginning: So the [[spoiler:Red Onslaught]] may rise, the Red Skull must die!
* NecessarilyEvil: Those versions where he recognizes his deeds are evil (and doesn't [[ForTheEvulz glory]] in the fact).
* NervesOfSteel: When your hand is cut off by a rampaging mutant, do you a) scream with pain for minutes and bleed to death, or b) scream with pain briefly, then apply a torniquet and continue barking orders to your followers?
* NoSocialSkills: Had none in his youth, when he was both uncultured and painfully shy. Has since worked ''hard'' to avert this, and by sheer effort seems to have obtained a [[TheSocialExpert significant]] degree of success.
* NoSwastikas: Usually averted in the comics, but the movie played it straight; instead of a Nazi, their Skull was made an operative of [[NebulousEvilOrganization HYDRA]].
* NotSoDifferent: A subtle example when he sometimes rails at Captain America for being an unrealistic dreamer with his mind trapped in the past. This from the guy who keeps ranting about Hitler's great vision and trying to rebuild Nazi Germany in the 2010s...
* NotSoWellIntentionedExtremist: Of the second type. ''Believes'' himself to be a real WellIntentionedExtremist ... But the [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans great purpose]] he's fighting for is National Socialism, also known as ''Nazism.''
* NumberTwo: To Hitler, before he became Number One after the war.
* OffscreenVillainDarkMatter: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the Skull is not only having access to hidden Nazi caches, but also frequently running organizations like HYDRA and various factions of AIM from whom he takes resources.
* OneManArmy: Doesn't show it off very often, since as a high-ranking officer he rarely does the super-agent stuff himself anymore. But when he does, it's time for the {{Mook}} SHIELD agents (and etc) to be ''very'' afraid.
* OneWingedAngel: When Magneto kills the second Red Skull, ComicBook/{{Onslaught}} is reborn due to the Skull possessing Charles Xavier's brain.
* OnlySaneMan: ''Thinks'' he is this (or nearly, at any rate) as a survivor of better times in an age of [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad universal madness]].
* OrderVersusChaos: Ultimately, order. The Skull ''creates'' chaos in order to bring down what he sees as [[EagleLand corrupt, plutocratic America]], but this chaos is only a means towards the end of a [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans new, better and more orderly society]]. Subordinates who cannot grasp this (such as [[ForTheEvulz Viper]]) are shown to the door in short order.
* PatrioticFervor: Willing to die for Fascist Europe, and leads a MultinationalTeam of fascists and Nazis fighting for their countries against the Allies.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: And make sure it's paid with interest, too.
* ThePhilosopher: Often alludes to various philosophers the real-life Nazis liked, like Spengler and Nietzsche. Surprisingly, and amusingly, the [[PokeThePoodle Disney-villainous]] Silver Age version often does it ''better'' than many [[WordSaladPhilosophy more pretentious]] modern writers manage.
* PhotographicMemory: Whether it is truly eidetic or not, his memory is extraordinary; for example, he has been shown to recall conversations verbatim decades after they took place. This is yet another way he mirrors the real-life Hitler, who often embarrassed his minions by quoting their own words from months or years previously back at them when they failed to adhere to them.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Aside from the fact that he's a friggin' ''Nazi'', he's also pretty sexist, though he has expressed a certain level of respect for certain supervillainesses like Madame Hydra, and Syn when she grew up. Doesn't make up for his treatment of Mother Night, though, which was outright and frequent physical abuse, and he loved every minute of it too.
** This is surprisingly averted in the MarvelCinematicUniverse. The prequel comic to the first ''Captain America'' movie establishes that the Skull finds Hitler's racism to be stupid, as he believes {{Ubermensch}}es can only be created by the SuperSerum, and would likely be a new race unto themselves. Thus, he dismisses the idea that blonde, blue-eyed Europeans are genetically superior to everyone else as quackery.
** The comics Skull also denied the Holocaust, and seemed to actually believe it when he said it was all just lies and frame-up.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Arguably, darkly subverted. When the Cosmic Cube caught the Skull in a nightmarish [[LotusEaterMachine mind prison]], it was his devotion to Hitler that finally brought him back to real life.
* PragmaticVillainy: He has one standard: pragmatism -- if you are killing people and breaking things on his dime, you'd ''better'' have something to show for it besides craters (even if it's just that he now ''owns'' those craters and they're full of gold or something). He notably kicked Viper out for wasting his money and resources on acts of terrorism with no strategic benefit, violence for its own sake.
* PsychoPrototype: In both ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', he is the first test subject for the SuperSerum that eventually creates Captain America.
* PsychicPowers: He now has this ability after using Xavier's brain in Uncanny Avengers.
* PsychopathicManchild: Type C with some Type B traits. Very few of his goals are [[PragmaticVillainy pragmatic]] like those of an evil politician or a CorruptCorporateExecutive should be, profit for him is [[ForTheEvulz a means to doing more evil]], not an end. From a certain point of view, since the moment he met [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler the Führer]], ''the Skull never grew up''.
** Which is even more chilling when one sees how well it matches his below-quoted RealLife counterparts from the [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany Reich]].
* PutTheLaughterInSlaughter: While he is usually a serious and often pretty angry villain, when he is doing what he loves- [[UnwittingPawn outplaying his enemies]], [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder screwing over his minions and allies]], ColdBloodedTorture, mass murder- he'll at least be sporting a good SlasherSmile, and on occasion laugh like a maniac when he is doing something ''really'' evil.
* RacialRemnant: The Exiles, a Skull-led enterprise of unrepentant survivors of the Waffen-SS who secretly moved to an uncharted island to raise families and uphold a Nazi society in miniature.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: His men used to be immaculate Waffen-SS commandos, but since most of them are now long dead (and [[BreakingTheFourthWall comics editors want more toy-friendly supervillains]]) those who remain are more like this.
* RaisedByOrcs: Well, raised by Nazis (but only in ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'').
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Although none of his creators, Joe Simon and France Herron, could have known in early 1941, and they imagined him as a purely fictional and cartoonish incarnation of evil, the Skull's espionage exploits match those of both [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Heydrich SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich]] and his close colleague [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Schellenberg SS-Brigadeführer Walther Schellenberg]], while his cruelty, sadism, ruthlessness [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and physical appearance]] match the lesser known [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirlewanger SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger]]. [[FreakierThanFiction It can be said the reality of the Reich surpassed the imagination of Marvel Comics writers]].
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Many, of varying sophistication, usually addressed to Captain America. The generally recurring theme is that Cap's liberal ideals are either empirically wrong, flat-out ''[[WhatIsEvil evil]],'' or both.
* RecurringDreams: Of his traumatic failures, which continue to haunt him.
** When he was exiled to an IronicHell where he was stripped of his conscious memories, recurring dreams of Hitler and his struggle for the Nazi vision remained with him, and eventually brought back his full personality.
* RecruitedFromTheGutter: Almost; he wasn't ''quite'' in the literal gutter when Hitler recruited him (though he came from there), but his station was still very lowly.
* RedBaron: His real name is Johann Schmidt, but it's very rarely that anyone calls him anything other than the Red Skull.
* TheRemnant: Leads the hard core of fascist diehards who, in the Marvel universe, refused to surrender when Germany was destroyed. To them, the war never ended.
* RenaissanceMan: Historian, musician, martial artist, strategist, occultist, engineer, art-lover, master rhetorician...
* RepressiveButEfficient: His idea of utopia, [[DependingOnTheWriter at least on a good day]]. A high-tech, ultra-totalitarian civilization patterned on Nazi Germany, free of [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain deviants and inferior races]]. Interestingly, one early comic suggested that he wanted to unify the world in order to end wars and use humanity's pooled resources to colonize space, thereby securing infinite ''Lebensraum'' for the race.
* RetroUniverse: The AlternateUniverse where the Skull took over, a [[RepressiveButEfficient high-tech dictatorship]] where it's reasonably nice to live if you fit in, [[TallPoppySyndrome but not if you don't.]] For example, there are maglev trains and flat screen TV, but people [[NiceHat still wear hats]].
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: The Skull isn't one himself, but sometimes sponsors them because they share many of the same goals and ideals. For example, he bankrolled the Watchdogs, a Christian conservative militia who [[FamilyValuesVillain attacked pornography and immorality]].
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: When he got ahold (again!) of the Cosmic Cube back in the 1990s. This time, his first priority was revenge against America. In the nightmarish BadFuture which showed how it worked out, he made the US suffer everything the Allies did to Germany in World War II and starved the people, destroyed the cities, dynamited the monuments, put the military-age men in prison camps and had the superheroes executed like the Nazi leaders in the Nuremberg Trials.
* RobotMaster: While it isn't really his hat, the Skull has been shown occasionally to tinker with robots. For example, he once built an [[EvilKnockoff android replica]] of Bucky, and is said to have had a hand in the design of the original [[DoomsdayDevice Sleepers]].
* RomanticismVersusEnlightenment: Like the real-life Nazis, an odd mixture. Like the Nazis, he values order, appreciates modern technology and tends toward utilitarianism, but his ideals are largely nostalgic and "heroic" (in the Carlyle/Nietzsche sense, not as in "heroic" as opposed to "villainous").
* {{Sadist}}: Surprisingly, usually averted, as Red Skull leans more toward [[VisionaryVillain ideologically motivated]] villainy and its [[PragmaticVillainy coldly rational]] execution. However, some writers portray him like this, particularly when DarkerAndEdgier is in style.
** Also seems to be [[PsychoSupporter Sin's]] default characterization.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens: In ''Spider-Man: The Animated Series'', the Skull was sent by [[AGodAmI Beyonder]] to a planet of [[RubberForeheadAlien humanoid aliens]]. In a couple of years, he somehow [[GloriousLeader made himself dictator]] of one of its powerful nations and turned it into a [[PuttingOnTheReich carbon copy]] of Nazi Germany, making its citizens this.
* ShadesOfConflict: The Skull has obviously never been portrayed as a good guy, but just how repulsively evil he is varies a lot between [[DependingOnTheWriter different depictions]]. At his "nicest" he's basically just a Nazi general who believes in his cause and is prepared to do whatever it takes to win the war. This version is [[KnightTemplar fanatical and totally ruthless]], but not personally sadistic or murderous. On the other hand, some versions are ''nothing but'' sadistic and murderous and believe in no principles or ideals, Nazi or otherwise.
** Similarly, his enemies can be portrayed as [[KnightInShiningArmor all-American, "apple pie" crusaders]] or more cynical government agents. Or the writer can have him fight [[EvilVersusEvil the Commies or the evil mutants]] for a change.
* ShellShockedVeteran: It doesn't come across in the most exaggeratedly crazy versions, but many of the Skull's depictions display a lot of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder: vivid memories and nightmares of traumatic episodes, avoidance symptoms, sudden outbursts of irrational anger... Probably caused ''both'' by his [[DarkAndTroubledPast horrible childhood]] and what he's been through since as a soldier.
* SinkTheLifeboats: Surprisingly, averted; when his wolfpack sink an Allied convoy, he orders the commodore to rescue the survivors. Possibly justified, since they might provide valuable intelligence.
* SkullForAHead: Used to be a mask, now is a deformity.
* SlidingScaleOfFreeWillVsFate: The Skull believes in fate, and, like Machiavelli, that one should try to work with it rather than against it. But if fate is ''wrong'' (as he sees it), he'll fight it [[ScrewDestiny every step of the way]] -- Even if he ''knows'' it's hopeless.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: Despite of (or maybe ''because'' of) his own poor background, Red Skull ''hates'' lower-class slobs almost as much as he does the [[UpperClassTwit wealthy elite]]. May be psychologically justified, in that he has worked ''[[HadToBeSharp very]] [[TrainingFromHell hard]]'' to better himself in spite of his humble origins, and is disgusted with people who won't even try.
* SmugSnake: Generally averted with the Skull himself, as his villainy is on too grand a scale. [[DarkChick Sin]] plays it very straight, however.
-->'''Sin''': Sorry, Sharon. Looks like you lose -- ''[[AlphaBitch Again ...]] ''
* TheSocialDarwinist: Either in boorish, brute-force terms or with relatively sophisticated philosophical justifications, depending on the story. Also averted or subverted in some versions, where he champions a more collectivist racialist ideology. Notably, in one comic he even called Social Darwinism "hogwash" in so many words.
* TheSociopath: Definitely one.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Varies between sophisticated eloquence and quite vulgar language, sometimes in the same comic. Probably accidental, but fits the character's background as a former LowerClassLout who has acquired his cultured sophistication as an adult: When he's [[VillainousBreakdown thrown off balance,]] his old dockworker manners slip through.
* TheSpymaster: This was basically his job under the Third Reich.
* StartOfDarkness: The Red Skull miniseries by Greg Pak has shown most of how the Skull spent his childhood in Germany and how he began his path to ruthlessness.
* 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.
* StrategyVersusTactics: Presents an aversion of the regular stereotype that Germans are good at operations but bad at grand strategy. Red Skull is good at both grand-scale, long-term strategic planning and tactical improvisation, but weak on the intermediate level of operations; this is where most of his schemes tend to fail. Interestingly, this is also how military professionals tend to judge Hitler's conduct of World War II, though this is probably pure coincidence.
* StrawNihilist: Some depictions, big time.
* StreetUrchin: His childhood and youth.
* SuperIntelligence: Not outright stated, but pretty much a [[RequiredSecondaryPowers requirement]] for explaining how an ex-street urchin could pick up [[CunningLinguist several foreign languages]] and learn how to [[SmartPeopleBuildRobots design and program autonomous military drones]] in a few years' time.
* SuperSoldier: Basically, the Nazi version of Captain America. The original Red Skull has no ''overt'' superhuman powers (just CharlesAtlasSuperPower and TrainingFromHell), but some versions (including the movie adaptation) use something similar to Cap's SuperSerum.
* SuperheroTrophyShelf: Rather, super-''villain'' trophy shelf, but otherwise it fits. When depicted, usually doubles as ContinuityPorn by showcasing mementos from obscure adventures.
* StupidJetpackHitler: Turns out the Skull financed the research into a lot of sci-fi technology in the 1940s.
* SurvivorGuilt: The original Skull [[DeathIsCheap "died"]] in Berlin in 1945, shortly before Hitler's death. Thanks to [[AppliedPhlebotinum technobabble]], it turned out he was merely left in suspended animation for two decades. In at least one comic, he curses fate which left him alive and let the Fuehrer die.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Averted; despite his tragic origin story, Captain America [[QuitYourWhining cuts him no slack]]. Presumably justified, given his villainy.
* TakeOverTheWorld: His goal, and in one alternate universe, he succeeds.
* TakingUpTheMantle: He considers himself the executor of Hitler's legacy, who will fulfil the dead Fuehrer's dream.
* TakingYouWithMe: ''' ''Always.'' '''
* TautologicalTemplar: The Skull is at least [[DependingOnTheWriter usually]] a Nazi true believer, who thinks democracy is evil and [[ConspiracyTheorist a front for Jewish Power]], and Nazism the [[WindmillCrusader last best hope of humanity]]. In his own moral universe, he is fighting to save the world, and his hatred of Captain America and his other enemies comes in large part from his belief that ''[[ObliviouslyEvil he's trying to save them, too]]'' from the Capitalist-Bolshevik-Multicultural conspiracy. They ought to join him, but instead everyone hates him, even though he's only trying to do what's right. [[MartyrWithoutACause In some comics, he even views himself as a kind of martyr because of this.]]
* TheTeetotaler: Well, not quite, but almost. In his youth, depressed over the fate of Germany and his own failures, he would often get drunk to dull the pain. Since he sobered up, he never has anything stronger than an occasional glass of wine.
* ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself: Sometimes averted, sometimes played straight. As he's typically the leader of his operations, he often stays out of the fights, but when ItsPersonal (for example, often when facing Captain America) he'll make an exception.
* ThoseWackyNazis: One of the most horrific examples in comic book history.
* TomTheDarkLord: The Red Skull's real name is Johann Schmidt, the German cognate of [[MrSmith John Smith]].
** In German it makes him sound like a bit of a country bumpkin -- Which is [[BilingualBonus precisely what his family were!]]
* TortureTechnician: His hobby, apparently. At least on one occasion he even had his own TortureCellar, which he said was for "recreation".
* TotalitarianUtilitarian: The "nicest" interpretation of the Skull. One of his stated motivations for his villainy is a wish to [[OneWorldOrder unify the world]], [[RepressiveButEfficient end wars, waste and inefficiency]] and instead use the freed-up resources to [[TheFinalFrontier colonize space]].
* 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.
* 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]]...
* TheUbermensch: Nazi-style, too.
* UnderdogsNeverLose: Averted, and/or subverted. Like the real-life Nazis in World War II, Red Skull has only a fraction of the resources his enemies can bring to bear, which means he has to be a lot smarter and more audacious to keep up. Even so, with rare exceptions he still [[TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin usually loses]] in the end.
* UndyingLoyalty: To Hitler and Nazism, at least most versions. He has devoted his entire life to avenging Hitler's death and making his dream of a reborn Nazism come true.
* UngratefulBastard: He once claimed to have searched for years for the physician who pulled him out of the womb... so he could kill him for dragging him out of the darkness and into the light, and for saving him from his father's attempts to murder him.
* TheUnfettered: There are absolutely no limits in his evilness.
* UnholyMatrimony: When he was with Mother Night. Though Skull was always abusive to her, even if she was completely loyal to him.
** He also tried it briefly with Madame HYDRA/the Viper, but she turned out to be too crazy for ''him''.
* UnreliableNarrator: The Skull's own version of his life story includes the claim that he remembers every detail of his birth, knows in-depth what his parents were like despite never really meeting them (he claimed to "feel the hatred" of his father for him - yes, when he was just born) and some other stuff like being thirty years old when he committed his first murder and met Hitler, despite subsequent versions portraying him as a teenager, not to mention his claim of having completed his Red Skull training in weeks, whilst simultaneously being an uneducated failure at everything in life up to that point. Obviously a lot of these changes are {{Retcon}}, but it actually makes sense that they are different because if you read between the lines, the Skull could be taken as just a [[BlatantLies blatant liar,]] trying to make his transformation sound more remarkable than it was.
** There's also the point that the Skull who told this version of the story was ancient and [[SanitySlippage rather obviously senile]]. When he first related his origins to ComicBook/CaptainAmerica some forty years earlier, the tale was very similar in outline, but notably free of all the extravagant and shocking details.
** The recent miniseries ''Red Skull: Incarnate'' shows the [[RetCon actual truth]] to be different, but no less spectacular (Johann orchestrated his "chance" meeting with Hitler).
* VillainExitStageLeft: The Red Skull is really slippery when he is making his getaway, with escape routes carefully designed to discourage pursuit.
* VillainProtagonist: In the old (and obscure) ''Super-Villain Team-Up'' comic, there were a few Skull-centric stories. Also in occasional one-shots and stray issues of ''Captain America.''
* VillainRespect: Most versions can respect and even admire the competence and determination of the more worthy among the heroes he fights, though disagreeing with their ideals. Especially [[WorthyOpponent Captain America.]]
* VillainWorld: Some alternate universes show worlds where his schemes succeeded and he took over, one way or another. Usually they look [[PuttingOnTheReich a lot like Nazi Germany.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: When he was locked up in a shelter by ComicBook/{{Magneto}}.
* VillainousCrush: Only hinted at, but for a while he seemed to develop an attraction to Sharon Carter, Captain America's on-and-off girlfriend. It was a rather subtle thing, and more intellectual than physical, in that he admired her abilities and determination, as well as her belief in her ideals (however contrary to his own).
* VillainousFriendship: With Hitler.
* VisionaryVillain: Wishes to remake the world, and when given leeway by sufficiently fantastic technology, the universe. On the more down-to-earth level, he seeks to establish a Nazi world state, [[RepressiveButEfficient high-tech and orderly]], with a place for everyone and everyone in his place (which, however, for some people means [[FinalSolution six feet under]]). When dreaming bigger, he aims for massive space colonization and outright [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas techno-utopia]].
* WeCanRebuildHim: Usually by courtesy of Arnim Zola, and before him, AIM. One version even had his mind transplanted into a clone of Captain America.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Not often, but on occasion. In one fairly recent story, Red Skull tried to persuade Captain America that they are really fighting for the same goals: to rid their countries of present-day corruption and decadence and restore their former glory. Specifically, he played on the fact that they both grew up before World War II, and so share a common viewpoint in seeing [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad a lot things]] in America having [[ValuesDissonance changed for the worse]] since the 1940s. While Cap might think Nazism is bad, isn't it still better than the [[CapitalismIsBad bankster capitalism]] and [[SoapBoxSadie lunatic identity politics]] of the 2010s? ''[[FaceHeelTurn It almost works]]'' -- Though a lot of that is due to Skull cheating and using MoreThanMindControl.
* WeakButSkilled: Not weak by human standards, but when compared to superheroes like Captain America. Thanks to TrainingFromHell and martial arts mastery, he can still credibly fight low-tier super types hand to hand (though he usually still loses to Cap when the odds are even).
* WellDoneSonGuy: The one person whose approval he cares about (and indeed, eagerly seeks) is Hitler. Even decades after World War II, the highest praise he can give for anything goes along the lines, "The Fuehrer himself would have been proud!"
* WesternTerrorists: Of course, the Skull and his men [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters don't view themselves]] as this.
* 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....
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: As a Nazi inhabiting a comics/scifi universe, he puts his own species first. Aliens, mutants and other such creatures are NotEvenHuman to him.
* WickedCultured: His theme tune is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFyAqLtHq8 Chopin's Funeral March.]] He used to play it whenever he dosed someone with his Dust of Death poisoned gas.
* WillNotTellALie: Played with. Generally speaking, he will lie as part of a disguise, or sometimes to misdirect enemies while executing a plan, but not [[VillainsNeverLie face-to-face concerning important personal matters]].
* WorkingClassHero: An extreme ''villainous'' example.
* WouldHurtAChild: Most works often portray him mass murdering children, especially his ''ComicBook/UltimateMarvel'' version.
* WouldHitAGirl: DependingOnTheWriter, he either admires "strong women" or despises them. Either way, he's not inhibited in fighting them on equal terms.
* WrittenByTheWinners: Naturally thinks this is true of all "Western" history. Also, a [[DramaticIrony hilarious meta-example]], since ''Red Skull himself'' is written by writers who despise everything he stands for, and [[HateSink write him accordingly]].
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Either played straight or very darkly subverted, depending on your point of view. The young Johann Schmidt was a miserable loner who had failed at everything he tried and felt completely worthless, to the point of considering suicide. But then he met Hitler, who saw in him a "man of worth" and persuaded him that the new Germany he was building needed men like him. It was the great turning point of his life.
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