Collector (comics)

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For the British comic strip, see The Collector (comic strip).
Avengers 119.jpg
The Collector (bottom center) on the cover of The Avengers #119 (January 1974). Art by John Romita, Sr.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Avengers #28 (May 1966)
Created by Stan Lee
Don Heck
In-story information
Alter ego Taneleer Tivan
Team affiliations Elders of the Universe
Abilities Controls the Power Primordial to create virtually unlimited effects
Limited shape-shifting
Effective immortality
Armored suit

The Collector (Taneleer Tivan) is a fictional character, a supervillain that appears in publications from Marvel Comics.

He is portrayed by Benicio del Toro in the mid-credits scene of the Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World and in Guardians of the Galaxy, both part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

Publication history[edit]

Collector first appeared in Avengers #28 (May 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Taneleer Tivan is one of the Elders of the Universe and is close to his fellow Elder En Dwi Gast (the Grandmaster). He apparently came to self-awareness billions of years ago, on the planet Cygnus X-1. He is an enormously powerful being who wielded the Power Primordial and, though at first he took the appearance of an old human, his true form is a powerful alien.

For millions of years, the Collector lived on an unknown world with his wife and child, spending his days in thought and contemplation. Over three billion years ago, when his wife, Matani Tivan, lost the will to live and relinquished her immortality, the Collector realized he would need a hobby to maintain his own sanity, and began collecting interesting artifacts and life forms from around the universe. Eventually, his obsession reached such heights he collected anything he considered rare or valuable often just for the sake of collecting. As such, he has a wide variety of rare or unique items at his disposal.

The Collector also had the power of prophecy, allowing him to foresee the rise of a being powerful enough to pose a threat to the Elders: Thanos. To protect life in the universe, the Collector created a massive museum of countless life forms to keep them safe from Thanos. For a time, he even possessed one of the six Infinity Gems, unaware of its true power, until Thanos took it.

At some point over his billions of years of life he came into contact with other beings who, like him, are the sole survivors of the first species in the universe. He often refers to these fellow elders as brothers though they usually only work together if they have a common goal.

In the modern era, the Collector eventually traveled to Earth. He captured the Wasp and sought to "collect" the other Avengers with help from the Beetle, but was defeated by them.[1] He later enslaved Thor, then captured the Wasp and the other Avengers. He restored Goliath's size-change powers, but was then defeated by the Avengers again.[2] He next compelled Iron Man to serve as his pawn against the warrior Val-Larr.[3] He attempted to "collect" the Avengers once more, in Rutland, Vermont.[4]

In The Incredible Hulk issues #197 ("...And Man-Thing makes three!") and #198 ("The Shangri-La syndrome!"), the Collector uses the previously captured Man-Thing and the Glob to capture the Hulk. After capturing the Hulk, the Collector muses on capturing the rest of the original Avengers. The Hulk escapes freeing several of the Collectors exhibits. The newly free exhibits die from old age because they are no longer artificially preserved by the power of the Collector's ship. Man-Thing also escapes disappearing into the Swamp. The Glob remains aboard the ship and though it is not shown, it is suggested that the Glob kills the Collector. The lines from the comic book are "What the Glob wants here is quite simple: He wants the Collectors life! The Collector's anguished scream fades long before it can filter thru the museum-ships long corridors. For several seconds silence reigns both within the ship and without--"[5]

The Korvac Saga[edit]

After Thanos was defeated by Earth's superheroes, the Collector foresaw a second major threat; Korvac the Machine Man, a cyborg monstrosity from the 31st century of a divergent timeline, taking the form of a man named Michael in 20th century New York. The Avengers were also aware of a new threat but did not know his identity. In an attempt to protect them, the Collector added some of them to his collection and was probably planning to enlist their aid, when a second group of Avengers appeared and defeated him in combat.[6] After the defeat, the Collector remained in seclusion until a human named Peter Tran of Avondale summoned him to Earth.[volume & issue needed]

Sensing that his end was at hand, the Collector revealed that having learned of Korvac, he had made his own daughter, Carina, into a spy and living weapon to use against the Machine Man, imbuing her with the Power Primordial. Just as he was about to tell the heroes who their enemy was, Michael learned of his duplicity and used his cosmic powers to blast the Collector into atoms, proving the prediction of the aged scholar's own end to be correct.[7]

Subsequent activities[edit]

Some time later, the Elder known as the Grandmaster played a game called the Contest of Champions with Death, which resulted in Death resurrecting his fellow Elder the Collector.[8]

The Collector captured Marrina, then battled Alpha Flight and Spider-Man.[9] He aided the Grandmaster by tricking the Avengers into entering Death's realm.[10]

The Collector also assisted his fellow elders in a plot to kill Galactus and recreate the universe, but he was thwarted by the Silver Surfer and consumed by Galactus.[11] Since Death had vowed that the Elders could no longer die, they caused Galactus to have "cosmic indigestion" until they were forced out of him by Master Order and Lord Chaos.[12] The Collector was one of the four Elders who aided the Silver Surfer and Nova in helping Galactus to defeat the In-Betweener.[13] Once the battle was over the five Elders used their Infinity Gems to instantaneously travel very far away from Galactus and his vengeance.[14] He later gave his Infinity Gem to Thanos in exchange for the Runner, who Thanos was holding captive. The Runner beat the Collector up upon his release.[15]

The Collector re-appeared when the Avengers fought Thane Ector and the Brethren, who were noted to have escaped from the Collector's collection. It was then noted later that the Collector had planned all of this, intending the Brethren to lay waste to the Earth so that he could "collect" the surviving humans. It was at this point he showed his true form to the Avengers and was noted to be very powerful; enough to subdue Thane Ector. The Collector was eventually thwarted by the Avengers, and the Brethren's Uni-Mind.[16]

The Collector next used the Collection Agency and the Silver Surfer as pawns to capture a virus that caused insanity.[17]

The Collector has become involved with Galactus once again when the latter entity wished to devour one of the worlds that held many of the entities the Collector had taken. Among them were the Starjammers and Wolverine.[18]

The Collector later makes a bet with the Grandmaster who sets his team of Defenders (Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namor, and the Silver Surfer) against the Collector's team of Offenders (which comprises the Red Hulk, Baron Mordo, Tiger Shark, and Terrax).[19]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Collector possesses the ability to manipulate cosmic energy for a variety of effects, including projecting concussive force beams, and the increasing of his size and mass (and hence physical strength) at will. He also possesses limited shape-changing abilities. His precognitive abilities give him brief visions of alternate future, although he must meditate for long periods to identify the individuals he sees in the vision and its apparent point in time. He has telepathic abilities that enable him to make limited contact with the minds of other Elders. Due to a vow by Death, Collector and all the Elders cannot die and are effectively immortal.

The Collector has a vast knowledge and comprehension of the advanced science and technology of numerous alien worlds, as well as a collection of devices and artifacts from those worlds. His armored battle-suit is made of the alien metal etherion, which amplifies the wearer's strength to superhuman levels, and it has jets that permit flight. He uses various weapons from many time periods and different worlds. Among his arsenal from Earth's past are catapults, Tibetan crystal balls that emit mystical rays, and magic beans that can conjure up warrior giants. He possesses a magic lamp that can summon a four-headed djinn with mystical powers. His "boxes" are rectangular "interdimensional traps" that can weaken a victim's strength or sanity. Other weapons include gigantic robot guards, a stun beam, and stasis beams. The Collector also has zoos of alien beasts which he can release to attack his adversaries. Among this is Snake-Eyes, an enormous alien serpent with hypnotic powers. Other items in his collection include the Obedience Potion, with which the Collector can compel a human victim to do his bidding; the Cosmic Viewer, with which he can monitor events on various worlds; a Kymellian translation/control device resembling a flute, with which he can communicate with other living beings; and a time probe enabling him to find and procure artifacts from other time periods. He uses starships holding museums of his collections, a Temporal Assimilator that allows time travel, Persian "flying carpets" and a "flying cape" that allowed flight. He formerly possessed the Infinity Gem that could control reality, but he did not understand its power.

Other versions[edit]

  • The Collector appears in The Avengers: United They Stand #6-7. He chooses to preserve a good population of Earth as he feels the planet is on the verge of ending. Although the Avengers escape, some citizens on Earth prefer to stay with The Collector.

In other media[edit]


  • The Collector appeared in his self-titled Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode,[21] voiced by Jeff Bennett. He arrives on Earth where he starts collecting Earth's heroes consisting of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Howard the Duck, Wolverine, and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (A-Bomb, Red Hulk, She-Hulk, and Skaar). This continued until Hulk and Spider-Man are left. They trace the probes responsible for the abductions to an orbiting spaceship where they find the superheroes in stasis bubbles. Collector arrives and introduces himself to them where he states that he has been researching Earth's heroes where he deemed Spider-Man and Hulk unworthy to be in his collection due to them being menaces. Collector ejects them into the garbage chute where they managed to escape. As Collector goes into phase two of his plans, Hulk frees his team to help fight Collector. Collector then sends his probes to catch the escaped heroes so that Collector can work on his plan to "make his collection priceless." The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. figures out that Collector plans to "make his collection priceless" by blowing up the Earth. Red Hulk and A-Bomb work to disarm Collector's bomb while Hulk and Spider-Man confront Collector (who still considers Hulk and Spider-Man unworthy). Collector grows in size where he grabs Hulk and Spider-Man in his hands. Hulk talks about Spider-Man's "true hero self" as Collector drops Hulk. Collector is surprised that Spider-Man is a teenager (which Peter Parker's face was pixelated) as Hulk knocks Spider-Man out of Collector's hands. After She-Hulk and Skaar teleport the other heroes off the ship, Collector is still on his ship as his ship explodes from the bomb (which Red Hulk and A-Bomb failed to disarm and unknowingly trapped). Collector manages to get off the ship before it explodes as he gives a holographic message to the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. that he will return one day and collect them first before he collects the rest of Earth's heroes. In the episode "It's a Wonderful Smash," Collector uses a holographic neural inducer to place the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in a simulation of a perfect Christmas where Hulk is a hero, A-Bomb is dating Eliza Dushku, She-Hulk is a famous actress and lawyer, Red Hulk is the President of the United States, and Skaar is a wrestler. Upon being freed from their simulation by Rocket Raccoon, the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. are told by Rocket Raccoon that the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are also in the same simulation cells on a spaceship that is Collector's latest ship. Collector then speaks through a holographic transmission that they have messed with his collections for the last time and that the simulations were his part of his revenge. Rocket Raccoon mentioned that Collector abducted the Guardians of the Galaxy before they can bring an Orb of Truth that would help in the peace meeting between the Kree and the Shi'ar. After freeing the other Guardians of the Galaxy members, both teams work to get to their ship and reclaim the Orb of Truth from Collector. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. then end up in their simulation again where the Guardians of the Galaxy end up as their Christmas guests. This time, Hulk sees through the disguise where Hulk uses Rocket Raccoon to trick him into destroying the fake Orb of Truth which ended the simulation. Collector retaliates by attacking them as he is shown to have the Orb of Truth around his neck. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and the Guardians of the Galaxy fight Collector's robots until A-Bomb and Rocket Raccoon turn the holographic neural inducer combined with the Orb of Truth to cause Collector to see the error of his ways. While Collector returns the aliens to their world, the Guardians of the Galaxy claim the Orb of Truth and bring about the peace between the Kree and the Shi'ar.


Benicio del Toro as the Collector in Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Collector appears in the films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe played by Benicio Del Toro
    • The Collector makes a cameo appearance in a mid-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World.[22] In the scene, Sif and Volstagg give to the Collector the Aether to keep in his collection, claiming they don't want to keep two Infinity Stones close together with the Tesseract already in Asgard. As they leave, the Collector remarks, "One down, five to go."[23]
    • Del Toro reprised the role of the Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy.[24] Residing in Knowhere (a town built inside the head of a long-dead cosmic entity), the Collector is revealed to be a cruel employer who keeps his assistants like slaves, having locked up one in a glass cage as a punishment for displeasing him (which is also meant to deter the other one from doing so). He contacts Gamora offering to pay her a fortune for the Orb. Upon receiving the artifact, he opens it, revealing it to contain another Infinity Stone. As he turns to give Gamora and the group their pay, his tormented assistant seizes the stone, which overwhelms and disintegrates her, causing an explosion that destroys the Collector's home and most of his possessions. In a post-credits scene, he is shown drowning his sorrows by having a drink as he sits in his destroyed home, being mocked by one of the items in his collection, Howard the Duck.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Avengers #28
  2. ^ Avengers #51
  3. ^ Iron Man #26
  4. ^ Avengers #119
  5. ^ The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #197-198
  6. ^ Avengers Vol. 1 #174
  7. ^ Avengers #172-174
  8. ^ Contest of Champions #3
  9. ^ Marvel Team-Up Annual #7
  10. ^ West Coast Avengers Annual #2
  11. ^ Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #3-4, 7, 9, 10
  12. ^ Silver Surfer Vol. 2 #17
  13. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #18
  14. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #19
  15. ^ Thanos Quest #2
  16. ^ Avengers #334-339
  17. ^ Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #58-61, 64
  18. ^ Wolverine #135
  19. ^ Hulk 10-12 (2009)
  20. ^ Marvel Super Hero Squad #4
  21. ^ "Own Marvel's Avengers Assemble: Assembly Required Now on DVD". 8 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  22. ^ "Alan Taylor And Kevin Feige Express Rather Different Opinions About Thor: The Dark World’s End-Credits Tease". Bleeding Cool. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ Blackmon, Joe (November 8, 2013). "Thor: The Dark World After The Credits Detailed Explanation". Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Guardians of the Galaxy". July 20, 2013. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Disney Infinity Marvel Super Heroes Announced". IGN. April 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 

External links[edit]