The Collector is an Elder of the Universe and has lived for over five billion years. The longevity of the Elders is based on their particular obsessions and the Collector keeps himself occupied collecting artifacts and things of his interest across the universe. His wife Matani died over three billion years ago of apathy. Grandmaster helped Collector to release his wife from Death's domain but she still had no desire to live and died again almost instantly. Grandmaster lost a bet (purposely) to Death making all the Elders including Collector barred from Death's realm, thus making him truly immortal. To keep his mind preoccupied he started to collect rare and precious items.
The Collector is obsessed with collecting and hoarding artifacts and items and essentially anything considered of rarity or significance at his discretion. He has several museums, zoos and facilities specifically equipped to holding his vast collection. With the passing of his wife who was also an Eternal, Collector grew even more obsessed with his life's passion. It is said that his main motivation for collecting stemmed from his prophetic vision of several dangers and risks to the Universe. To collect and preserve items for eventual safekeeping such dangers ever actually realized. The Collector however can be especially ruthless and cruel in his pursuits often bringing him into conflict with others, notably superheroes.
He has two appearances, a gentler humanoid appearance and a more aggressive alien like form he claims is his true form. Little is known about the species the Collector originally was a part of, though it is known that the Collector had a family that he cared for, aforementioned wife Matani and his daughter Carina.
The Elder of the Universe, the Collector is a Marvel comics character and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. The character first appearing in Avengers Vol 1, #28 released in 1966. He was the first of the Elders of the Universe to appear in publication.
Major Story Arcs
The Collector would have a vision about a future of a major threat against all life, and even the Elders themselves. So he started collecting rare life forms. This threat would be Thanos. After a billion years of collecting different life forms, he finally reached Earth from his travels. This led to his obsession of collecting Earths mightiest heroes, the Avengers. He attempted on several occasions to collect this team, but always fell short of his goal. When Thanos was defeated by Captain Mar-Vell and the Avengers, he foresaw another major threat from a being known as Korvac. He would even send his daughter Carina to keep Korvac distracted so he can collect and enlist the aid of the Avengers. This would lead to his death by Korvac's hands. This would be known as the Korvac Saga.
His brother the Grandmaster would make a deal with Death herself to get the Collector out her realm. This would pit the heroes of earth against one another. This would be known as the Contest of Champions. Having gained his freedom at the cost of his brother. After this, the Elders attempted to kill Galactus and restart the universe. This plot was foiled by the Silver Surfer and an angry Galactus consumed the Collector. Death would still not allow his death and he and the others survived inside, attacking Galactus from the inside. This caused Galactus to be near death. The Elders were released from Galactus with the help of Lord Chaos and Master Order. They then temporarily allied themselves with Galactus to defeat the In-Betweener.
The Collector with his extensive contact with Earth and earthlings would establish a large underground zoo located in or more specifically under Canada. Here the Elder would house such gigantic oddities as Fin Fang Foom, Droom, Goom, Taboo, Gargantus, Grogg, Groot, Grottu, Rommbu and Vandoom's Monster in his complex. The Collectors fascination with enormous mutated creatures possibly one of the things drawing him to the Earth. Though he would often leave his "monster" zoo unattended and the subterranean dweller Mole-Man would come across the gigantic creatures stored underground and release them, causing them to simultaneously rampage above the ground through cities. Those large lumbering creatures would be defeated and captured by various Earth superheroes, such as the Hulk, Giant Man, and the Fantastic Four. The Collector is yet to attempt recollecting the creatures.
Collector was approached by Thanos during the Thanos Quest. He wished to trade something extremely rare for his soul gem. Thanos offered him the Runner, the last of his race and a fellow Elder, who had been transformed to an infant by Thanos with the use of the Time Gem. Collector accepted, claiming that the gem was useless. Little did he know that the gem he possessed was the most powerful - the Reality Gem. Alfter the trade, Thanos revealed after that the effects he placed on the Runner were only temporary. When the Runner returned to his normal state he attacked Collector, furious at being a part of his collection.
His next plot involved the Silver Surfer again when one of his ships crash and lost some of his collection. One of those items he lost was a rare virus which could kill billions. He played on Silver Surfer's compassion for life to gain his help. Secretly, he also hired the Collection Agency to get the virus and the Surfer. To capture this virus, the Surfer needed to catch the virus, being the only being in the universe that may survive it. After defeating the agency he began to either hallucinate or was transported to another realm. He fought his dark side and triumphed and once he purged himself of this dark side the virus was destroyed. Needless to say, the Collector was not pleased with losing one of his possessions.
The Collector at one time had hoped to use one of the alien species in his collection to cause enough destruction on Earth that he could better harvest its resources. The Collector would utilize the Brethren, aliens who were the result of genetic manipulation and engineering by the powerful space gods the Celestials. Originally bacteria like life forms, the Celestials would hyper evolve the Brethren into a vicious warlike race that would act as Celestials agents in species extermination. Now only Thane Ector, Sybyl Dorn, Fool, and Olar would remain. The Collector would allow the Brethren to escape making them think they were the agents of their liberation, Collector manipulating the Brethren's ship coordinates heading them towards the Blue Area of the Moon bringing them into direct conflict with the Inhumans of the Moon. Eventually they would also run into foul contact with Earths mightiest heroes the Avengers. Brethren attacks were on a world wide scale, and clashes between the alien invaders and Avengers were held in both Paris and New York. The Brethren would eventually become of how they were being manipulated by the Collector and turn on him.
When the Asgardian Thunder god Thor learns that the Living Planet Ego is heading towards The Collector, Ego's trajectory leading past Earth (causing it massive weather disturbances) he heads towards the Elder himself in order to better assess the situation. The Collector and Thor have a brief physical confrontation but Tivan eventually concedes given the collateral damage to his prized artifacts in the vicinity. After giving Thor a tour of his museum, even revealing to Thor the existence of Alter Ego. Thor not pleased with the development that Collector is holding such a being as a pet, vows to release the sentient planet, Collector however with the aid of the Elemental Zephyr, he is able to trap Thor in one of his pocket dimensions (usually kept to hold many of his prized items too large for conventional storage) Collector then converses with Zephyr who he appears to confide in, unaware that she has history with Thor. Thor eventually escapes his prison and so too does Alter Ego, Collector losing a prized possession. The living planet not his only loss that day, Zephyr's betrayal made apparent he makes a token attempt at revenge sending her into a black hole, however she escapes from that in time as well.
Powers and Abilities
The Collector often disguises his supposed true form, masking it in the gentler humanoid form, thus he has limited physical morphing abilities. He is immortal and long lived, and also the last of his kind, he can also manipulate vast amounts of cosmic energies. The Collector possesses superhuman levels of strength, speed, stamina and durability, although comparatively to his fellow Elders, his lack of effort to physical enhancement means that the Collector's stamina is relatively lacking. In his alien form, he is larger and more physically robust. Collector also possesses size manipulation powers and is telepathically linked to fellow Elders of the Universe but this is limited. Due to his nature of collecting objects, Collector has abundance of resources, including technology of an offensive nature. Including various teleporting devices, weapons, potions, battle suits, lasers, bombs, cannons, and various more types of items, equipment and artifacts. Collector possesses a wealth of knowledge of an excess amount of topics due to his millennia of experience and education.
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 450 lbs
Marvel Cinematic Universe
In the cinematic universe, the Collector appears in Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy. He is played by Benicio Del Toro. He came across Sif and Volstagg who gave him the Aether because the Tesseract is already at Asgard. It would be very unwise to keep both Infinity Stones at the same place. After Taneleer got the Aether he said, "One down, five to go."