Anton Arcane was a brilliant but deranged scientist who dedicated his life to discovering the secret of immortality. Born in the 19th century, he was a horrible child, who used his age and size to intimidate and physically bully his younger siblings. Anton would attend Hamburg School of Medicine where his obsession with immortality would lead him to unsavory and unethical behavior and attitudes. After several physical altercations with fellow students and attempting to bring back the dead to life he would be expelled. Anton would get an opportunity to refine his methods as a World War 1 medic, having access to many dead bodies on which he would use for his bizarre dark experiments and tests. Anton would eventually also come to know and befriend Adolf Hitler. By the time Arcane achieved his goal of immortality, his body was too old and feeble, and no longer a suitable vessel to carry him through eternity, so Arcane began conducting experiments to make a new body, but the results, dubbed the Un-Men, were grotesque, deformed failures.
Anton Arcane is a DC comics character who was developed by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson and first appeared in Swamp Thing vol.1 #1 released in 1972. This was a cameo appearance, the character appears more fully in the subsequent issue Swamp Thing #2.
Major Story Arcs
Roots of The Swamp Thing
Arcane's hope of finding a suitable host for his spirit were raised when he learned of Swamp Thing's existence, and he offered the Earth Elemental the chance to become Alec Holland again in exchange for Swamp Thing's body. But Swamp Thing discovered Arcane's sinister hidden agenda, and in the ensuing battle Arcane was seemingly killed.
Miraculously, Arcane survived, and his shattered body was rebuilt by the Un-Men. Arcane then began a protracted vendetta against Swamp Thing and his girlfriend, Arcane's own niece Abby, by terrorizing them repeatedly over the years until his eventual death. But even confinement in the deepest recesses of Hell couldn't keep Arcane from his vengeance against Swamp Thing, and he rose through the ranks to achieve demon-hood.
When Tefe Holland was captured and brought to Hell, Arcane attempted to use her powers to create a window to reach Earth, but in his greed he allowed her to escape. Later Arcane did indeed abscond from Hell and possess Tefe, subsequently raising an army of the dead to wage war on Swamp Thing. Despite being foiled by the Agony and the Ecstasy, emissaries from Hell, Arcane continued his relentless pursuit of revenge, possessing the corpse of General Sunderland, kidnapping Abby and using her to blackmail Tefe into growing him another body. Just as it seemed Arcane had finally won, however, the Agony and the Ecstasy caught Arcane and returned him to Hell.
Arcane was summoned from Hell to be the first trial set by the Parliament of Flames for Swamp Thing, but amazingly, the demon had found God, converted by a Catholic priest he met in hell. Ironically, it was because of Arcane's newly discovered faith that Swamp Thing decided not to initiate his plan to destroy humanity, and the profoundly changed Arcane, in a new body built for him by Swamp thing, ultimately reconciled his differences with Abby.
Back in 1897 in Manitoba, Canada Arcane takes the form of a young girl who seeks out help from the Swamp Thing, Old Jack Crow. Anton bursts through her skin, revealing himself and viciously attacking Crow by biting his skull and killing him. It is unseen but Anton has also killed Jacob Mullin as he is seen dragging his body. Many years later in Louisiana, 6 years before the current time in the New 52, Anton continues to kill future avatars of the Red and Green as infants in a hospital. Arcane takes the skin of Alec Holland's colleague, Dr. Ross as they toast the success of his bio-restorative formula. He returns to Alec's home that night and is attacked by his wife whom he kills and takes her skin. Arcane, hiding in his wife sets up Alec's lab to explode and watches as he jumps into the swamp in flames.
For more information: Swamp Thing
Anton Arcane is seen rising from a lake and only his hand and wrist are seen clearly. Abby's young brother who can talk with The Rot has summoned "his master" to face The Swamp Thing. He is the new Avatar of the Rot. He is attempting to control the Green and the Red as well as the Rot. Anton Arcane finds Swamp Thing asleep and beats him to death while he sleeps before starting the hunt for his niece. Arcane unleashes his Un-Men on Abby and attempts to bring her back into the Rot with him. Swamp Thing awakens and tears through the Un-Men to save hr. After defeating all the Un-Men, Alec and Anton go at it in a savage battle wherein Alec hacks off most of Anton's limbs. Anton however, now has the ability to grow mouths from every wound he received. Anton returns to the Rot after Abby shoots him in the face but vows revenge. Shortly after both Animal Man and Swamp Thing enter the Rot in order to restore balance come into contact with Arcane within the Rot. He reveals that because the Green brought Alec back to life the Rot was allowed to use someone they wanted to bring back to life thus allowing Arcane to come into power.
Powers and Abilities
Anton Arcane despite having a dark mind, also possesses a dangerously sharp intellect. In his younger earlier days he was an accomplished surgeon as well as possessing dark knowledge of sorcery, often attempting to combine the two for his goal of tissue reanimation, necromancy and eventually his own immortality. Over time his knowledge of sorcery would grow deeper increasing his capacity for evil and effectiveness with his goals. His experiments have lead to the creation of the Un-Men, synthetic mindless men reanimated and recreated from death by Anton, as well as Patchwork Man, who is Anton's own brother resurrected from the sorcerers burgeoning mystical abilities. After his death Anton would be resurrected numerous times, in different manners. On one occasion as a large feral creature and another via possession. Anton would eventually become a demon, his size, durability and power increasing significantly. In most recent stories Anton has become the Avatar of the Rot.
Height: 5' 1"
Weight: 97 lbs
Swamp Thing (1982)
Anton Arcane appears in the 1982 "Swamp Thing" movie directed by Wes Craven Anton is played by Louis Jourdan.
The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
Louis Jourdan would later reprises his role as Anton Arcane in "The Return of Swamp Thing" the sequel to the first Swamp Thing movie.
Swamp Thing: The Series (1990)
In the Swamp Thing television series that ran from 1990-1993 Anton was played by Mark Lindsey Chapman.