The boy who would later become known as Arseface was the only child of Martha and Hugo Root. Martha was an abuser of both prescription medication and alcohol, apparently because of her dissatisfaction with her marriage to Hugo -- he is abusive and not particularly well-endowed. Hugo is characterized as a stereotypical racist redneck, who refers to marauding “Martian Niggers” as the source of America's ills. He also readily believes most conspiracy theories about aliens and government. Hugo is the sheriff of an un-named county in Texas.
The boy attended Gerald R. Ford Municipal High School, where he and his friend Craig (aka “Pube”) were generally regarded as outcasts. His and Pube’s idol worship of Kurt Cobain, the music group Nirvana, and alternative music in general, as well as his being a sheriff’s son, led to them being the target of bullying tactics. In addition, his father routinely beat him for not doing well in school and listening to "nigger rap music." His father also said he disliked him for not becoming anything Hugo could brag about.
At one point the boy’s physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father became too much for him to bear, and he moved in with Pube, where he met his sister Catherine. She revealed to the boy Pube’s real name, and the fact that he was younger than he let on. During this conversation with Catherine, Hugo broke in and took his son back home, over Catherine’s protestations. Hugo had earlier promised to "whup you so hard that you'll piss blood till you're 50" if he ever caught him using pot. He discovered he had been using pot after beginning to beat him when he brought him home, finding the remains of pot on his shirt. As a result, Hugo beat him horribly and extinguished a cigarette on the boy’s arm. A few hours later, a distraught Pube phoned with the revelation that Kurt Cobain had committed suicide, and the two formed a suicide pact, in which they attempted to commit suicide with Hugo’s shotgun. Pube succeeded in his attempt, while the boy did not, and the boy was horribly disfigured. In the hospital, Hugo cruelly remarked that the boy should have put the gun in his mouth, rather than foolishly under his chin. Shortly after, Catherine paid the boy a visit and asked why they did it. The boy wrote on a pad that “Nobody cared”. Having just lost her brother, this was too much for Catherine to take and she screamed at the boy that he didn’t care either. The boy's personality takes a swing towards denial and naivette.
The stress caused by the suicide attempt of her son, as well as that caused by the doctors refusing to speak to her about her son’s condition, was the final straw for Martha. She threw away her drugs and her Bible, and made the decision to leave both her son and husband behind. Martha wrote a scathing Dear John letter to Hugo, in which she made disparaging remarks about how her son was an idiot, and berated Hugo for allegedly having a small penis. It was as Hugo was reading this letter that the boy returned from the hospital with his new personality. Hugo refused to speak to him, even though the boy did not take notice of this fact.
During Hugo’s investigation in the Jesse Custer case, Hugo was suddenly called away from home on a tip to Jesse’s location. The boy decides that it sounded like fun, and stows away in the back seat of his father’s police car. At the scene, as Hugo is confronting Jesse, the Saint of Killers also arrives. The boy bursts from the police car, tearfully begging the Saint not to kill his father. Jesse’s then-friend Cassidy remarks that the boy’s face looked like an “arse.”
During the confrontation with Jesse Custer and the Saint of Killers, Hugo had threatened to kill Jesse's girlfriend, Tulip. In anger, Jesse uses his supernaturally powerful 'Voice' to command Hugo to 'fuck himself'. This causes Hugo to remove his genitals and insert them into his own rectum. This event was traumatic to Hugo to the point that, while secured in an ambulance, he finally spoke to his son for the first and last time in the years since the boy’s suicide attempt. He asked his son to get his gun from the scene of the crime. After the boy retrieved the item, Hugo then commits suicide in front of his son and several paramedics on the scene. This further traumatizes the boy, who ran away screaming. After running for an undetermined length of time, he screamed up to the skies that if he had a face like an arse, then so be it. He names himself Arseface, and began a manhunt for Jesse, who in his eyes had murdered his father.
Arseface finally tracked down Jesse outside of a diner, where Jesse reminded Arseface about what kind of person his father really was. Arseface broke down, and Jesse took him under his wing for a short while, and traveled, along with his girlfriend Tulip and friend Cassidy, to New Orleans, where Mardi Gras was in full swing. Arseface found himself being called up onto a stage, solely because of his looks, where a musical group was performing. Arseface performed, and despite being totally unintelligible, was a hit. Shortly before Arseface parted company with Jesse and friends, he found himself with a manager, Gene Sergeant. Sergeant had no interest in Arseface’s talent, but rather in how much money he could make off of the naïve young man.
Arseface became a national singing superstar, along with controversies both by imitators who inadvertently committed suicide in attempts to look like their idol, and those manufactured by Sergeant, who went so far as to insult the Pope and made sure that Arseface took full credit, all in attempts to keep his charge’s singles as high up on the charts as possible. When the controversies reached an all-time high, with people protesting outside Arseface’s mansion, Sergeant took all of the money and ran, leaving Arseface with nothing.
Arseface, now broke, traveled the country once again. His travels eventually took him to the town of Salvation, Tx, where he encountered people bullying Lorrie Bobbs. He drivers off her tormenters. Due to inbreeding, Bobbs was a cyclops and perceived objects and people as being radically different then they really appeared to be. Instead of being hideous, she perceived Arseface as being the most handsome man she had ever seen. She and Arseface stayed in Salvation, and Arseface landed a job shoveling manure. Arseface also befriends Custer's one-armed mother, who has a maternal interest in Lorrie.
The character was very popular with fans, having been nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Supporting Character in 1995.