Terra-Man first appeared in Superman (volume 1) #249 and was created by Cary Bates, Curt Swan, and Dick Dillin.
The Pre-1985 Terra-Man was noted for using futuristic weapons modeled after those used in the Old West as well as riding an Arguvian Space Steed (a type of winged horse) named Nova.
As revealed in Superman #249, Tobias "Toby" Manning was born during the Old West era. An alien known as the Currency-Criminal accidentally killed Toby's father Jess and took young Toby as his ward, raising him from childhood and teaching him the use of alien weapons, which were created to resemble the 19th century weapons with which Toby was familiar. After Manning had grown to adulthood and learned what he could, he killed the alien and began a career as an interstellar outlaw called "Terra-Man," a name chosen to refer to Manning's Earthly origins. For transportation, he tamed the Arguvian Space Steed named Nova. Eventually his travels took him to Earth, where he became an enemy of Superman. Throughout his pre-Crisis career, Terra-Man periodically returned to Earth in attempts to outfight or outwit Superman; otherwise, he remained at large in outer space, committing crimes to carry the legend of the Wild West outlaw across the stars. Terra-Man spoke in an exaggerated "cowboy" drawl with liberal use of Old West slang and colloquialisms, lending a humorous air to his deadly activities.
Following a fight with Superman, Terra-Man enlisted his counterpart from Earth-377, a world where the inhabitants can perform magic, to help him fight Superman.
This version of Terra-Man is revealed to be dead by the time of Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow. Lois Lane mentioned that Terra-Man and the The Parasite (a frequent partner in crime) had ended up killing each other at some point before the start of the story.
The Post-Crisis version of Terra-Man was a businessman whose conscience began to bother him about the damage he was causing to the Earth's environment. He decided to save Earth and began attacking enterprises which were dangerous to the environment. Although this version has a different origin, his name (Tobias Manning) remained the same, and he still retained a western theme, including a thick accent and the cowboy-esque way that he handled his guns. His weapons, however, were now focused primarily on turning the environment against his opponents (i.e., plants and the earth element). Terra-Man also had a robotic army dressed in western garb, called the Terra-Men.
Like his modus operandi, his new background was ecologically-based. The weapons and equipment he developed enabled him to use a pair of jet packs mounted on his armor for flight, create a teleportation vortex resembling a small tornado, and wield guns that can cause shockwaves and earthquakes or spout specially-tailored flora at a target. He engineered numerous forms of plant life to meet his needs, including one that can actively drain other lifeforms of energy derived from sunlight, allowing it to drain power from Superman when in contact with him. Another form of plant life he created could liquify organic material. He also developed a process to quickly and cleanly remove all dangerous poisons from toxic sites and renew nutrients in soil.
At times, Manning respected Superman's common desire to preserve nature. At other times Terra-Man feared that Superman was contaminating the Earth with extraterrestrial germs and viruses, and tried to end the Man of Steel's life before any more "harm" could be done to the environment.
In addition to battling Superman, Terra-Man assisted the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, as seen in that miniseries.
In Infinite Crisis, Terra-Man became a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains.
Fifteen days after the end of Infinite Crisis, Terra-Man hijacked Ferris Air Flight 456 over the Mediterranean Sea, and Power Girl gave chase. Terra-Man escaped capture thanks to Black Adam, who forbade Power Girl from entering Khandaq airspace. Later, Terra-Man appeared to ally himself with Black Adam. However, when Black Adam later addressed the media in front of Khandaq's embassy in New York City, he suddenly ripped Terra-Man in half, killing him.
During the Blackest Night storyline, Terra-Man was identified as one of the deceased entombed below the Hall of Justice.
The Pre-Crisis version of Terra-Man has an altered physiology that slows down his aging process, and allows him to survive unprotected in space. He wields a special six-shooter that can fire tracer bullets, energy-leeching tumbleweeds, and laser lassos. Terra-Man uses an Arguvian Space Steed named Nova as his mode of transportation.
The Post-Crisis version of Terra-Man uses weapons that focused mainly on turning the environment against his opponents (i.e.: plants and the earth element).Although not referred to as Terra-Man, Tobias Manning appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing" voiced by Ed O'Ross. An old west outlaw, he steals Chronos' time-traveling gear to use for ruling a western town. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern (who were pursuing Chronos at the time) team up with Bat Lash, Jonah Hex, El Diablo, and Sheriff Ohiyesa Smith to defeat Tobias Manning and take back the town.
Terra-Man appeared in the Legion of Super-Heroes episode "Unnatural Alliances" voiced by Jeff Black. He is a self-repairing android created in the 41st-century by the sentient artificial intelligence known as K3NT (the same one who created Superman X). Terra-Man is sent back in time to kill a boy named Abel, who would one day invent the technology that would result in the creation of the warlord known as Imperiex. This forces both Superman X and Imperiex to protect him with Imperiex's motive being to ensure his own survival and Superman X's motive being to prevent what is morally wrong. In the end, Terra-Man is destroyed by the unlikely team-up of Superman X and Imperiex.