At some point, he was believed to be dead and adopted the identity of Dr. Ethan Campbell, a well-known plastic surgeon and philanthropist in Gotham City, as well as a respected professor at Gotham University.
Kidnapping of Beth Kane
In January 2003, while he and his son were out fishing, they found Beth Kane, washed up on shore after the car accident that killed her mother. They took her back to their home and when she woke up, Beth was immediately terrified, only wanting to see her father again. August tried to calm her down and explained that he wanted Beth to become friends with his son. She constantly screamed at him to allow her to go home, but he only left to get her a sandwich.
Later, while Beth and Johnny were watching television, a news report of her disappearance came on and she asked August why he hadn't called the police, however, he never answered but instead grabbed her and threw her into a room in his basement, and locked the door. She noticed a sink and when she looked into it, she saw a severed face floating in the water and fell backwards, disgusted. When August came down to take the face out, she asked what he was doing with it and he only said that it was an experiment. He then told her that the only reason she was here was to become friends with his son and that this was her new home. After he left, Beth desperately called out to her own father, wanting him to come and save her.
Beth later managed to open the door, making her way to the kitchen and calling her father. When he picked up, she asked him for help but was cut off by August grabbing the phone and ripping it off the cord. He warned her that if anyone came for her, he would kill them and proceeded to throw her back into her cell. Jacob and Kate Kane later showed up at the house, demanding to know where Beth was.
Kate even entered the basement and knocked on Beth's cell, however, Beth remembered that August would kill anyone who came for her and was forced to silently cry as her sister walked away. August also managed to make Jacob believe that it was Johnny pulling a prank and the two eventually left.
About an year later, in occasion of Beth's birthday, August visited the child in her cell right after Johnny did it to secretly bring her a kitten and some waffles. The man said that his son told him about the occasion and light a candle on the waffles telling her to make a wish. After Beth did it, Johnny asked her what she wished for and the latter replied that she wanted to see her family again, to which August noted that saying the wish out loud mean that it will never come true, then he exited the girl's cell together with Johnny.
Later, he tried to make Johnny a mask of skin grafts, ending up enraged and unpleased at the results as it looks too unreal.Few days later, August discovered Beth's secret kitten and ruthlessy killed him in front of both Johnny and the girl; then, noticing how well done was the sweater she made for the kitten, he asked the girl about it but, not receiving any answer he destroyed her copy of Alice in Wonderland in a fit of rage. After the girl screamed to him that her father would have killed him, August spitefully told her that he had already forgotten about her showing an artigle about Jacob's marriage with Catherine Hamilton. He asked again the girl about the sweater and, after she admitted she has done it, the man started to teach her how to create masks of skin grafts, exploiting the ability of her fingers.
Becoming Ethan Campbell
August Cartwright had actually gone off-radar for unknown reasons and started to work as plastic surgeon in Gotham City under the identity of Ethan Campbell, becoming extremely well-known and respected even for his philanthropic work. He was also one of the most renowned teachers at Gotham University.
Hosting Gotham's Humanitarian Ball
In 2019, due to Campbell's reputation, he was offered to host Gotham's annual Humanitarian Ball in Orpheum Theatre. After accepting the offer, Campbell make a speech honoring Catherine Hamilton-Kane with the Humanitarian Award, prior to leaving the stage to her in order listen to her speech, however, as she was poisoned by Alice, the woman confessed to a litany of crimes before collapsing, prompting the ceremony to end despite Campbell's attempts to calm the crowd.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, August as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
Jacob Kane's trial
After Jacob Kane was arrested for his wife's murder, Dr. Campbell was approached by Mary Hamilton, a former student of him, who asked to testify in his trial that the murderer was actually Jonathan Cartwright posing as her adoptive father with a mask made of skin grafts. Campbell however dismissed the idea of a man completely resembling another as sci-fi, suggesting that the girl was still traumatized because of the event right before walking away.
- High-level intellect/Manipulation: August is a very sharp-witted and methodical man, as well as an expert at deception, he was able to manipulate Jacob Kane in order to make him believe his daughter was never kidnapped by him. He was also capable of making everyone believe he was dead and pose for over five years as the benevolent and respected surgeon Ethan Campbell.
- Master marksman: August has proven himself to be an excellent shot as he killed Earth-TUD14 Beth with one precision shot.
- Intimidation: August has proven to be a very intimidating individual.
- "" (flashback)
- "" (drawing)
- "" (mentioned)
- "" (as Ethan Campbell)
- "" (as Ethan Campbell)
- "" (flashback)
- August is an avid pipe smoker, which is why Beth nicknamed him "The Caterpillar".
- This is a reference to the Alice in Wonderland character named The Caterpillar, who is also known as The Hookah Smoking Caterpillar. Similar to Beth's kidnapper, the Caterpillar is mean to Alice in the story and is often very cryptic just like August's reasons for why he is holding her for most of the times seen in the flashbacks.
Behind the scenes
- Mr. Cartwright was mentioned in the Gotham episode "Nothing's Shocking". He was the abusive husband to Victoria Cartwright and father of Jane Cartwright (whom Jonathan Cartwright is based on). Victoria eventually shot her husband in self-defence.