Talisman was created by Mark Gruenwald, Bill Mantlo, Steven Grant and John Romita Jr. in 1982 and first appeared in 1982's Contest of Champions #1.
Major Story Arcs
Talisman was first seen meditating in a trance in Australia when he was teleported away by Grandmaster, an Elder of the Universe. The Grandmaster had challenged Death in a game, the prize being the revival of the Collector. The Collector was a fellow Elder who had been killed a while ago and Grandmaster had become determined to revive his "brother." He and Death summoned numerous heroes from Earth to be their pawns. Some would compete for the Grandmaster and some against him. Talisman was chosen to represent Grandmaster. He did not like the idea but found himself unable to teleport away, courtesy of the Elder.
Talisman found himself teamed-up with Daredevil and Darkstar. They were teleported to an Arctic landscape, where they would have to locate and retrieve 1/4 of the Golden Globe of Life. Invisible Girl, Iron Fist and Sunfire would compete with them for the part, unknowingly representing Death. While Daredevil and Darkstar introduced themselves, Talisman refused to do so. He considered that to give your name leads to risking your soul (a reference to a historical magical belief that knowing the true name of a being allows a magic user to control it). He only offered the name "Talisman" implying it was not a real name of his. Darkstar fought Sunfire and Daredevil fought Iron Fist. Talisman could not locate his own opponent until falling into meditation. His mystical senses allowed him to locate Susan Storm-Richards who was using her invisibility to evade her opponent. He used the energies of his bull-roarer to disorient her. She remained calm enough to create a force field, cracking the ice below Talisman. He had to stop his attack in order to reach a safe spot. Talisman decided to leave the battle and run for the Globe, pleasantly surprised to find Daredevil had already obtained it. Their team won this part of the contest.
Grandmaster won the contest in the end and was about to revive the Collector. Talisman figured that the cosmic balance would require to be balanced with someone dying, meaning Death would have to slay someone to fulfill her end of the deal. He voiced his concerns to the Invisible Girl and the two unmasked Death who had not even hinted at the true method of the revival. For the Collector to live again the Grandmaster would die in his place. Everyone expected Grandmaster to refuse the deal but he willingly sacrificed his life for that of his "brother." Death returned Talisman and the other heroes to Earth afterwards.
When Maelstrom halted the rotation of planet Earth as part of his plans of annihilating all life, Talisman was among those select few who realized what was going on. Talisman joined with Doctor Strange, Aquarian, Dr. Druid, Gaea, Moonglow, Roma and Shaman in trying to protect the Earth through mystical means. They preserved the planet until Quasar defeated Maelstrom and its rotation was restored to normal.
Strange No More
Talisman was among the many magical individuals the Eye of Agamotto considered for the role of Sorcerer Supreme when Doctor Strange lost the position.
Powers & Abilities
Talisman's powers are derived from the Dream-Time, another dimension. His astral form can access this dimension when Talisman whirls his bull-roarer or enters a trance. In this dimension, time passes at a different rate and Talisman can communicate with the spirits of his dead ancestors. When he returns to Earth, he can emerge at any location within 10 miles of his last known location, effectively teleporting. When on Earth, Talisman can still communicate with the spirits of his ancestors. His mystical senses allow him to detect people who are otherwise invisible. His bull-roarer unleashes energies which disorient his opponents.