While walking his dog in the 1940s, the young man who would become The Red Mask witnessed a meteorite fall to Earth and, out of curiosity, went over and investigated. He made a mistake he would regret for as long as he lived. He touched it. As a result, he was "cursed" with the ability to kill with a single touch. His dog was the first to discover this. Over time, his wife left him and he became distanced from society. Partly from a childhood dream to be somebody who made a difference, and partly from a very adult hatred of people, he decided to become a supervillian. "A bad guy" in his words.
Over the years, he wasn't very successful as a supervillain. He often attempted to specialise in thievery of banks and such, but he only had a handful of good raids. One of his biggest wins was against another, considerably better villain named Doctor Fang, whom he beat at cards, winning a team of very dangerous robots. He retired soon afterward, and let the robots rust.
One day, when he was in his 60s, he started to cough up blood. He continued coughing blood for days, and soon realised he was dying. He took stock of his life, and decided to put his underpants over his tights one last time. He would set his robots loose, let them wreak havoc over Miami, then when he was satisfied, he would take a leap of faith from a building. He watched the city burn for a while, and then prepared to go sidewalk diving.
Animal Man showed up, and Red Mask told him his life story. Animal Man tried to talk him out killing himself. He actually managed to turn Red Mask's head when he told him a movie company might be interested in his lifestory, should he be willing to give it to them. Animal Man flew of to find someone who could help. But while he was waiting, Red Mask coughed blood again, and said to hell with it. Then, for a few seconds at least, he fulfilled his childhood dream. He flew.
The costume of the Red Mask is strangely almost identical to the most recent Red Hood from Batman and Robin, the only main difference is that at the yellow on Red Mask's is replaced by black