Vanth Dreadstar first appeared in Marvel Comics publication, Epic Magazine in the serial "Metamorphosis Odyssey", where he unwittingly aided the Orsirosian named Akhnaton in destroying the Milky Way to spare the galaxy a lingering death from the ever-expanding Zygotean empire. Creator Jim Starlin, then launched a bimonthly Dreadstar #1 (Nov.1982) series for the Epic line which ran for 26 issues, before being picked up by First Comics for 38 more issues.
This series centered on the exploits of Vanth Dreadstar and his crewmates--powerful mystic Syzygy Darklock, cybernetic telepath Willow, cat-like humanoid Oedi, and freebooter Skeevo, in the Empirical Galaxy following the events of Metamorphosis Odyssey. Vanth tried to live a pastoral existence on Oedi's planet of peaceful cat-people, but this peace was disturbed by the arrival of Darklock, who wanted Dreadstar to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth initially refused until the war wiped out most of the planets population and his own family. Only Oedi survived to join Dreadstar and Darklock; Willow and Skeevo came along later, although the full team was in place for the first issue.
Vanth Dreadstar possessed an enchanted sword that provided him with a number of superpowers. He could absorb the sword into his body, and retrieve it when needed. The sword can repel energy blasts, and even redirect them towards an enemy. The sword also gives Dreadstar the strength of twenty men, enhanced reactions, and allows him to rapidly heal from virtually any bodily wound. The sword also grants him immortality, and the ability to speak and understand any language that he hears.