First appearance: Captain America Comics #7 (1941)
Created by: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, and France Herron
Most villainous act: He’s a Nazi. ‘Nuff said.
While we love to cheer on many of the villains on this list, we just can’t do that for Red Skull, which is one of the reasons why he’s still so memorable after 70+ years. Born Johan Schmidt, the Red Skull was witness to the Nazi takeover of Germany and realized that the only way to survive was to adapt with the times. Adopting the Nazi ideology, Schmidt took on the guise of the Red Skull and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming one of Hitler’s closest confidants.
There is no redemption story or misunderstood genius for the Skull. He's a monster, plain and simple. He also happens to be a master strategist and manipulator, who is obsessed with crushing the symbol of liberty: Captain America. Despite slipping in the Marvel pantheon in recent years, the Red Skull will always remain so frightening because he was born from real world evil and is a constant reminder of one of history’s greatest villains.