Each of the Elders have spent their eons-long life engaged in highly individual pursuits and pastimes. Long ago, the various Elders discovered that if they did not choose an all-encompassing pastime to pursue, they would lose their will to live thus surrendering their immortality. The Collector's wife Matani lived for billions of years before succumbing to apathy. Some Elders have chosen to develop their full physical and mental potentials, thus becoming extremely powerful beings. Others have not and rely on technology to perform various feats. It is not known precisely how many Elders there are in the universe.
Although they are not related, the Elders all call each other 'brother.'
Plot to Kill Galactus
In a gamble with Death
purposefully lost the bet thus making all of the Elders true immortals, banned from the realm of Death forever. The next phase of Grandmaster's plan was to kill the only being in the universe older than the Elders, Galactus
Their plan to destroy Galactus was concived because they could not handle not being the oldest in the universe. They understood that Galactus was born in a previous reality. They assumed that if Galactus were killed reality itself would come to an end. They believed then a new universe would be formed in which they were Galactus-like in power and importance.
They first sought out to destroy the Silver Surfer believing he would aid his former master. Unwittingly, they involved him not knowing that he and his master had gone their separate ways. They sent Champion to defeat him but he failed. Next they sent the Runner who would have succeeded if Mantis had not revived the Surfer from near death.
Surfer and Mantis then listen in on their meeting on Ego. They learn of the Elders true plot and are discovered. Obliterator pursues them but is defeated. He revealse their true plans to them.
The next meeting on Earth reveals that the Elders have acquired five of the six Infinity Gems and are trying to get the final gem from Supreme Intelligence. This is how they will destroy Galactus. In the process they manage to capture Mantis. They are unable to get the gem from the Kree leader and Silver Surfer manages to capture it for himself.
When Shalla Bal tries to contact Mantis she is kidnapped by Gardener. The Elders use the women as bargaining chips with the Surfer who gives them the final gem.
They confront Galactus and use six planets and the gems' power to take Galactus' energy away from his thus starving him to death. Silver Surfer arrives and with the help of Nova, Galactus' herald, they destroy the sun holding the planets in orbit creating a black hole. The gems fall into the hole but Galactus stops some of them from falling.
The only survivors are Collector, Grandmaster, Runner, Gardener and Champion- whom are all devoured by Galactus. But this action has angered Death. Contemplator was not present but participated in his astral form. Galactus tells his herald to find him and bring him back for his reckoning. They find his head floating through space, killed by Reptyl. This confuses them because the Elders are supposed to be immortal. They assume that Galactus and Eternity changed this.
The ones who fell down the black hole- Astonomer, Possessor and Trader- end up in a mystical universe to later be released by the In-Betweener, but betrays them and calls upon Death to take them, for she must listen to the In-Betweener. The ones that were devoured by Galactus were not allowed to die by an angered Death. This was killing Galactus who was aided by Silver Surfer, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman. They were all eventually freed from Galactus by Master Order and Lord Chaos.
Collector, Grandmaster, Runner, Champion and Gardener remained with their five Infinity Gems. With this power they assisted the Silver Surfer in defeating the In-Betweener. Nothing could stop them from escaping Galactus, who claimed his vengeance can wait.