First Appearance: Red Raven Comics #1 (August 1940).
Golden Age Appearances: Red Raven Comics #1.
Modern Appearances: Uncanny X-Men #44, Sub-Mariner #26, Marvel Premiere #29 & #30, Invaders #6 & #35-37, Marvel Two-in-One Annual #1, Invaders v2 #1, Fantastic Four #405, Marvel Super-Heroes v3 #8, Nova v3 #4 & 6, 4 #1, Defenders #6.
Years Active: 1940-present.
The Red Raven was the only survivor, as a child, of a plane crash. The plane crashed into a sky island--that is, an island floating in the sky. The nameless child was adopted by the King of the island's inhabitants, a species of flying birdmen; their King describes them this way: "as man came from apes, we were evolved from birds in this gravity-free island." Despite the objection of some of the birdmen ("He shall never grow up to destroy us. He must die") the King raised the human child "`to be the strongest and wisest human'...guided wisely by the kindly King of the Birdmen, the orphaned youth grew wiser and stronger with the passing of each year. The strange existing conditions which enabled the birds to outgrow the slow pace of usual evolution, has effected the King's human ward and he has learned the secrets of the birds."
On his twentieth birthday the human adoptee, "the red-thatched earthman," is given the name "Red Raven" and is given artificial "membranous" wings which enable him to fly. He is told by the king "you shall go back to your people and devote your life to eradicating the elements that make for unhappiness in the world." The Red Raven (whose real name is never given) almost immediately gets into trouble and comes to the attention of Zeelmo, "the ruthless demon who has been draining the world of its riches through various means." (Zeelmo uses a "gazegrapho machine--a mechanism competent of (sic) depicting all troublesome scenes everywhere.") After various alarums and excursions Red Raven defeats Zeelmo and his men, acquires a love interest (Andreya), and gains a good reputation. And there his Golden Age appearances end.
Then, in X-Men #44, he was brought back, and ended up being killed, in Sub-Mariner #26, after the Bird People (now retconned into being breakaway Inhumans) died. Then, in Marvel Premiere, he was brought back and shown to have been active during WW2 as a member of the Liberty Legion. Then, in a recent issue of Nova, it was revealed that every previous modern (post-WW2) appearance of the Red Raven and the Bird People was part of an overall agenda to convince the modern world that they were dead. The opposite is true, however; the Red Raven's "corpse" having been a clone of sorts, and the race remains hidden but alive and well on their sky-island. The Raven, now the King of the Bird Men, is angry at the surface world for polluting the skies and is planning a "defensive attack" against humanity. The hero Nova, however, persuaded by Red Raven to set aside his plans and retire again to his floating kingdom. In Defenders the hapless titular heroes are brought to the Red Raven's sky-island and clash with the Raven, whose mood has not improved for all his years.
Originally, in the Golden Age, the Red Raven could fly. In the modern era he's been shown to be able to project beams of concussive force with his artificial wings.