Xanthador (also known as Zantador) is the main antagonist in the novel The Return. Xanthador's titles include: Lord of Fear, Prince of Panic, Sovereign of Dread, and Overlord of Apprehension.
Xanthador is a demon from Babylonian mythology. It feeds off the fear of humans and becomes exponentially more powerful.
In 1627, Xanthador attacked an American colony. It was defeated and banished to the Netherworld by a Puritan named Jonathan Goodraven, alone. Many lives were lost for that victory. As mankind turned more and more to technology, they stopped believing in the old ways. This had an indirect effect of leaving Xanthador without its glory and power. After much contemplation, Xanthador concluded the way to sow fear again was to adapt to man's beliefs.
In 1991, from the Netherworld, Xanthador tired of sucking marrow from souls and molded entities into those based on modern urban legends (i.e Alligators in the sewer, exploding from pop rocks and soda, kidney thieves. etc) in order to generate more fear on the physical plane of existence. With each manifestation, Xanthador drew more and more fear and increasing its strength level. While the prophecy drew near and preparations were being made, Xanthador decided to pass the time by crossing over to the physical plane and took the form of Goodraven.
Ray Stantz discovered mention of the demon in a 1500-2000 year old parchment called the Journals of Bar Ulla as "Zantador, lord of fear." The journals also specifies a prophecy that Xanthador will attain his ascendance when Saturn aligns with Venus and Mars. It would feed off the fears of mankind and fire and brimstone would rain from the heavens. The Ghostbusters studied a diagram detailing the exact configuration of this alignment and aimed to confront the demon. However, Janine Melnitz revealed calculations proved the next alignment wasn't for another 150 years or so. After conferring with NASA, the Ghostbusters confirmed the alignment wouldn't happen for another 173 years.
Peter Venkman was shown the configuration and realized it would also happen at the star show put on by the Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium. The show would satisfy the conditions of the prophecy. In theory, if the Ghostbusters could stop the show they could disperse Xanthador's current level of power.
A full month before Election Day, the Ghostbusters managed to ally themselves with Jonathan Goodraven, whom they were led to believe was a modern descendant of the Goodraven that defeated Xanthador in 1627. Through Geezil, Xanthador offered to spare the Ghostbusters' lives and in exchange they would be its first worshipers. Such an act would unhinge the masses. Peter and Goodraven proceeded to the planetarium. However, Peter learned Goodraven was Xanthador all along. Luckily, the intervention of a SWAT team and the general public rallying against him made Peter realize the demon's weakness against courage. He destroyed the planetarium's projector then joined in attacking the demon. The other Ghostbusters joined in and Xanthador was defeated. It collapsed unto itself and disappeared.
Xanthador has dark and scaly skin, slender, has tail with bony spikes on the end, seven yellow eyes, long and sharp claws, and his jaws full of razor sharp teeth. Xanthador is over 40 feet in height. Its skin can withstand fire from semi-automatic weapons.
Xanthador can control and manipulate entities.
After feeding on enough fear, Xanthador had power comparable to Gozer and could manifest solid creatures.
Courage weakens Xanthador. It disperses his power and size.
- On the Regular Cover of and in Ghostbusters International #11, the Devil is visually based on Xanthador.