"It is finished, my pets! The body I have so long coveted will soon be mine! We need only return with it to my hidden laboratory -- transplant my brain into its mossy confines -- then begin a well-calculated wave of terror that will eventually sweep mankind's undeserved freedom from the face of the Earth -- and leave Arcane the undisputed master of the world!"
"The Man Who Would Not Die" is the story title to the tenth issue of the first Swamp Thing ongoing comic book series by DC Comics. The story was written by Len Wein with artwork by Bernie Wrightson, who also provided embellishment work for this issue. The cover art was penciled and inked by Wrightson as well. The colorist and letterer for this story are uncredited. It was edited by Joe Orlando. This issue shipped with a June, 1974 cover date and carried a cover price of 20 cents per copy (US).
Swamp Thing wanders through the swamp until he finds an old black woman outside of a shack named Auntie Bellum. Auntie tells Swamp Thing a tale of the slavery days when there was a thriving plantation owned by a man named Samson Parminter. Parminter was a ruthless overseer and frequently abused his slaves including a woman named Elsbeth. But Elsbeth's lover, Black Jubal, fought against Parminter to save Elsbeth. As punishment, Parminter had Black Jubal killed.
Shortly after hearing Auntie Bellum's tale, Swamp Thing heads towards an old, lost cemetery where he finds the Un-Men. Anton Arcane is leading the Un-Men and has come from the Balkans to capture the Swamp Thing. Arcane's body had been destroyed in their last fight, but he used his telepathy to command his Un-Men to fashion a new synthetic body for him. But Arcane's current form is a grotesque mockery of humanity. He wants to transfer his mind into the Swamp Thing's body in order to master its strength and power.
The two enemies begin fighting and it looks as if Swamp Thing is going to lose, until the tombstones from the graveyard topple over and the ghosts of Black Jubal and other slaves rise up. Black Jubal waves his hand towards Swamp Thing and he passes out. Then, Jubal and the others descend upon Anton Arcane and the Un-Men.
When Swamp Thing wakes up, he finds there is a new tombstone with Arcane's name written on it in blood. There is no sign of Auntie Bellum or the shack she had lived in. He finds another gravestone with the name Elsbeth Bellum etched onto it. Apparently Auntie Bellum was the ghostly lover of Black Jubal.
This issue spotlights the return of Anton Arcane, now as one of the Un-Men. This marks the third appearance of the character and his second full appearance. Arcane made a one-panel cameo appearance in Swamp Thing #1 and a full appearance in Swamp Thing #2, where it appeared he had died after toppling from the window of his castle. Arcane appears next in Swamp Thing #17.