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Terra-Man, a desperado mixing the old West with super-science, first rode—flew, actually, on his Pegasus-like winged steed Nova—into Metropolis in Superman vol. 1 #249 (1972), courtesy of writer Cary Bates and the “Swanderson” team of penciler Curt Swan and inker Murphy Anderson. Looking (and sounding) like he stepped out of a Hollywood shoot-'em-up, this “Cosmic Cowboy” sends the Man of Steel a'duckin' for cover with his energy-blasting six-shooters, remote-controlled lariat, and illusion-casting chewing tobacco! Superman #249's backup story, “The Origin of Terra-Man,” also scripted by Bates but drawn by Dick Dillin and Neal Adams, divulges that the Man of Steel's newest foe was actually a young outlaw named Toby Manning, born some hundred years ago. Manning's father was accidentally killed by an alien called the Collector, who raised Toby and outfitted him with high-tech weaponry that looked like the guns of his era. Terra- Man and Superman had reg'lar showdowns until the mid-1980s, then the villain galloped off into the sunset of limbo when Superman was reinvented in 1986's Man of Steel miniseries. An all-new Terra-Man, an eco-terrorist co-created by Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens, bowed in Superman vol. 2 #46 (1990). Like the original, this Terra-Man was named Tobias Manning and had some Wild West overtones (a long Western coat and cowboy-garbed robot aides called Terra-Men), but the comparisons ended there. His extreme environmental convictions allowed him to kill humans who harmed Mother Earth or its fauna, and his armored exoskeleton boosted his strength and enabled him to generate cyclones. Terra-Man II has appeared infrequently since his debut.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.