In my previous study on Marvel comics, I discussed the character the Red Skull, the WWII-era Nazi villain resurrected in the modern age, to battle his old foe, the racial liberal Captain America. The same writer, Greg Pak, who put together a series on the background of Jewish Holocaust survivor Magneto, now wants to write about the villains of that era, rather than the victims. Hence, the Red Skull Incarnate series, attempting to explain how the Skull’s “evil” came to be.
Pak’s perspective, as detailed in a postscript to the Red Skull Incarnate comics, is that Jewish Holocaust victims are “heroes” and, of course, the Nazis are evil and their regime characterized by “true horrors.” Pak writes:
. . . I’d struggled to understand how a nation often described as the most cultured in Europe could descend into the unfathomable barbarism of the Nazi regime.
Never fear! Pak has done his research. Included in his reading are: The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans, The Nazis: a Warning from History by Laurence Rees, Why They Kill by Richard Rhodes (this book is about serial killers and “other habitually violent people” – Pak equating the Nazis with sociopathic killers), and Explaining Hitler by an obviously unbiased author named Ron Rosenbaum. For some reason, Kevin MacDonald’s Separation and Its Discontents never made it to Pak’s reading list.
Issue one of this series details the life of young Johann Schmidt (the future Red Skull), whose mother died in childbirth, and who finds himself in “the Munich Home for Wayward Boys.” This school is headed by a viciously abusive, sadistic director who is, of course, pro-Nazi (equating unpleasant personality types with “anti-Semitic racist hate”). Issue one takes place in November 1923 and covers the Beer Hall Putsch, during which, when the police fire on the Nazi marchers, young Johann makes his escape from the abusive Nazi.
Issue two, several years later, shows Schmidt living on the street, harassed by young thugs, and taken in by a kindly Jew and his daughter, both refined and intelligent and tormented by stupid, violent Nazi Stormtroopers. The Nazis are shown as cowards who get beaten in street battles by the communist Red Front (obviously heroes here!), while picking on defenseless Jews. Interesting, Pak depicts the Nazis as being protected from the Red Front by the police – the same police who fired on the Nazis in issue one.
In the end of this issue, the kindly Jew is beaten to a pulp by the Nazis, while young Johann, attempting to defend the daughter from street thugs, kills the thugs. The young Jewess is shocked and screams – an upset Johann punches her, steals money from her and her father, and runs away, with the bloody, broken Jewish father lying in the street, feebly asking, “Johann is that you?”
Issue three begins with the Nazis having come to power in early 1933. Young Johann, working for a crime boss, coldly murders a corrupt Nazi on behalf of his employer. Johann then comes across one of the youths, named “Dieter,” from the “home for boys.” Dieter is now a heroic anti-Nazi communist fighter, and Johann defends this young noble Red from more crude Nazi thugs. Indeed, this issue contrasts idealistic and heroic communist youth against the subhuman Nazi criminals, and, also, complains that Nazi electoral success vs. the communists, after Hitler’s accession to power, was unfairly aided by the Nazi tactic of having many communist leaders imprisoned. Now, given that the communists were the greatest mass murderers in history, you’d think that Pak (and Marvel generally) would be a bit more circumspect, and at least treat both the Nazis and the Reds as equally villainous. But, no. As Steve Sailer would tell us, it is all about the questions of “Who?” and “Whom?” The Nazis are infamous for persecuting a very special minority group, while the communists merely murdered countless millions of Slavs (and Chinese, Cambodians, etc.) – and who cares about that?
At the end of issue three, young Johann, wanting to be on the winning side, throws his lot in with the Nazis, well on the road to being the Red Skull, the living embodiment of evil. After all, had Johann remained a communist, if he had migrated to the USSR and joined the Levantine NKVD leadership in killing Russians and mass-starving Ukrainians, he’d instead have been a hero indeed!
Issue four sees Johann as a member of the SA, embittered, as are the other SA men, at the rise of the SS, and the Stormtroopers’ increasing irrelevance in the young Nazi regime. Johann is also angry that his SA officer beats him, and when the future Red Skull is mocked by the SS when he tries to join them, he’s ready to rebel against the evil Nazis. Who to team up with? The noble communists of course! The young communist Dieter, released from Dachau, meets Johann and by the end of issue four they concoct a plan to assassinate Hitler. My, my . . . is there still hope for Johann Schmidt to be a hero in Greg Pak’s eyes?
The final issue, five, sees Johann and Dieter moving forward with the planned assassination, at the time of Hitler’s crushing of the “Röhm Putsch,” which Pak portrays as another sordid episode in the Nazis’ totalitarian and evil – oh so very evil! – march to the horrors of the Holocaust. Impersonating bellhops, Johann and Dieter gain access to Hitler’s room, and Dieter has a gun drawn on the Führer and is about to change history. But for some reason, Johann changes his mind, punches out the “traitor” Dieter, takes the gun and shoots his erstwhile friend in the head. Hitler then adopts young Johann as his protégé, and the comic ends with Pak’s pontifications about how those Germans who followed Hitler “lost their souls.”
From a comic fan’s point of view, this series was of low quality, with mediocre art and juvenile writing. From a political and historical standpoint, reading this series, one would never have guessed that Hitler came to power legally, and that his regime had the broad support of the majority of the German people. The fact that the greatest mass murderers and totalitarian thugs in history were the “heroic” communists is also something one can not derive from Pak’s work. This shows the validity of Steve Sailer’s emphasis on “Who? Whom?” questions. After all, the Nazis persecuted Jews, so the Nazis are the epitome of evil. Jews were overrepresented in the ranks of the communists, in both Germany and the Soviet Union, so the communists are the heroes of this little tale, all thoughts of objective balance disregarded. And who were the major victims of European communism? Just Russians and Ukrainians, and we know that they were “anti-Semites” as well. Those dumb Slavs just got what was coming to them! “Who? Whom?” indeed.
Thus, we have the birth of the Nazi Red Skull, Marvel Comics’ version of the very incarnation of evil, to contrast to the noble victims of such evil. This is typical of Marvel’s racial liberalism, and their Manichean view of history in which “Nazis, racists, and the intolerant” are beyond the pale of acceptance, while multiracialist multiculturalism, as part of constitutional patriotism, is what we should strive for. No doubt, Marvel would consider us to be the real-life representatives of evil.
Meanwhile, mass-murdering totalitarian communists are good and noble, as pure as freshly fallen snow. What are countless millions of dead Slavs to the good and morale folks over at Marvel Comics? Is Marvel full of apologists for communist mass murder? For Ukrainian genocide? For the destruction of millions of Slavs and for the decades-long enslavement of Eastern Europe? Who? Whom?
Therefore, one can conclude that good and evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.