Vartox was created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan in 1974
Publisher: DC Comics (1974+)
Includes: Superman #281, Action Comics #475 , #476, #498, #499, Superman #356, #357, #373, #374, #375, #389, #390, #391, #392 , Action Comics #583, and Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #25
Vartox needs his own trade paperback. For one he is a homage to Sean Connery's great sci-fi film Zardoz. Two, because he seriously is the most funky looking 1970's super-hero EVER! I mean the guy has a mustache, a receding hairline, is old, wears a vest with bikini briefs and thigh high boots and is hairy as a mofo.
Vartox was actually one of the most powerful beings in the DC pre-crisis Universe. His power was called Hyper-Power; which gave him Hyper-vision, Hyper-senses, Hyper-teleportation, Hyper-remote-control-blows, Hyper-obliteration-charge, Hyper-body (astro-projection), super-strong, invulnerable, can fly, transfer his powers to others, can communicate in space via ultra-waves and can temporarily dematerialize solid matter, including himself.
I remember reading Superman stories with Vartox in them and thinking, "What the hell is he wearing and WHY!?" But I also remember enjoying the stories, because they were a strange take on the typical super-hero. Vartox was a more complex hero then Superman, whom he eventually became friends with, but started off as more of a villain. Also there was some kind of weird love affair (triangle) between Lana Lang, Superman's childhood sweetheart, and Vartox.
Why does Vartox deserve his own TPB because in his own words,
"What a fine pair of champions we make, my Kryptonian friend. Both of us hail from supremely advanced races --both of us wield the might to rend solar systems asunder..." So there!Update 2010: Vartox has appeared again Post-Crisis in his kind-of Pre-Crisis identity in Power Girl #7 and 8. It is totally worth picking up!