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Anton Arcane
Dr Arcane

Anton Arcane (known as "Dr Arcane," or "Dr. Arcane") is the arch-enemy of the DC Comics horror/quasi-heroic character The Swamp Thing.

Dr. Arcane was for a long time a villain and not overtly religious. The character has undergone a number of transformations, and eventually became a devout Catholic.

Dr. Arcane has consistently been an important character in the Swamp Things comic books, which are part of the mainstream DC Universe, but are usually printed by DC's Vertigo imprint. Dr. Arcane has also been an important adversary for the Swamp Thing in the character's various television and film adaptations.

Actor Louis Jourdan had the lead role as "Dr. Anton Arcane" in the 1982 movie Swamp Thing, directed by Wes Craven. Jourdan reprised the role in The Return of Swamp Thing (1989, directed by Jim Wynorski), with actress Heather Locklear playing his niece, Abby Arcane. Mark Lindsay Chapman had the 2nd-billed recurring role as "Dr. Anton Arcane" in the live action "Swamp Thing" TV series (1990-1993), which was produced by BBK Productions Inc. and Universal TV, and distributed by USA Network. Don Francks provided the voice of "Dr. Arcane" for the short-lived (5 episodes) animated "Swamp Thing" TV series (1991, FOX Television/USA Network).

From: "Swamp Thing" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saga_of_the_Swamp_Thing; viewed 8 December 2005):

The first volume of Swamp Thing lasted from 1972 to 1976 for 24 issues. Swamp Thing fought against the evils surrounding him, and sought a means to return himself to his human form, occasionally encountering the mad Dr. Anton Arcane, his nightmarish Un-Men, the Patchwork Man (a Frankenstein-type assemblage of body parts, revealed to be Arcane's own brother Gregori Arcane), even leaving his swamp long enough to battle Batman in issue #7 in what would be one of the few encounters with a traditional DC superhero for the supernatural star of the comic. Of note is Dr Arcane, who acted as his nemesis and has been killed several times, appearing in different forms throughout the series (including an old man, a muscular zombie-like creature, a robot-spider-human hybrid, his nephew-in-law, and a devout Catholic). Supporting characters include Matthew Cable, who pursued Swamp Thing in the early issues believing him to be the murderer of Linda Holland (Alec's wife, who was in fact killed by Mr. E's henchmen), and Abigail "Abby" Arcane, Dr Arcane's niece who possesses long white hair with a black streak...

On May 1982, DC Comics revived the Swamp Thing series after the mild success of the Wes Craven film of the same name (which is now obscure compared to the comics). The series -- renamed Saga of the Swamp Thing, though it later reverted... During this period, Swamp Thing returned to the swamp, meeting Matthew Cable and Abby [Arcane], who was now Mrs Cable. Cable was revealed to be an alcoholic who achieved the ability to control otherwordly demonic beings, and Anton Arcane returned as a spider-robot-human monster to fight Swamp Thing...

On Issue 20, the British comic book writer Alan Moore was brought in to replace Pasko, whose television work was leaving little room in his schedule for comics. Moore, then relatively unknown, had at that time only written several stories for 2000AD, Warrior and Marvel UK. As Swamp Thing was slated for cancellation, the editors were willing to take whatever risks Moore proposed. Moore recognised that an inherent obstacle to writing the character was that the completion of his quest to become human would result in the end of the series...

Matthew Cable, gravely hurt in the previous storyline, was revealed to have been possessed by Anton Arcane, and Abby had been unwittingly having an incestuous relationship with him. After a fight Cable was thrown into a coma, and Abby's soul delivered to hell. In an issue modelled on Dante's Inferno, Swamp Thing followed Abigail, encountering classic DC characters such as The Spectre, Etrigan, and The Phantom Stranger en route, and eventually rescued her...

Horror writer Nancy A. Collins began scripting the issues in 1991 with issue #110. She brought a familiarity with the setting of the series in South Louisiana, writing her stories with more focus on fantasy and myths. She introduced the fan favourite character Lady Jane and tied up several loose ends during the Moore era (mostly involving Anton Arcane)...

Marc Millar... wrote Swamp Thing [beginning with issue #140, March 1994] until the series ended, with issue #171 (October 1996). His run was more like those of Moore and Veitch than those of his immediate predecessors, especially in its use of guest stars from the wider DC Universe. One of his achievements include the reintroduction of Anton Arcane, resurrected but converted to devout Catholicism, raising the question of whether evil could indeed be changed after all.

Discussion

From: "Question for other atheists" forum discussion, started 6 March 2006 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?rpl=060307010148; viewed 23 July 2007):

Posted by Mike L on Tuesday, March 07 2006 at 01:01:48 GMT

Arcane and Abigal been to Hell, Abigal rescued by Swamp Thing.

Arcane escaped I think after being a demon for a while.

I'm surprised DCU [DC Universe] Oprah [Winfrey] or Dr. Phil havent booked these peaple to interview: "Today, peaple back from the dead."


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Webpage created 8 December 2005. Last modified 23 July 2007.
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