Supervillain Origins: The Collector

The Collector, also known as Taneleer Tivan, burst onto the Marvel scene in Avengers #28, the same issue that brought Giant-Man back into the Avengers fold. Over the course of this first story, the Avengers encounter the evil Collector, a villain who soon demonstrates that he is aptly named as his obsession is scouring the universe for interesting creatures, gadgets and weapons, which he then adds to his massive collection. It soon becomes clear that a full team of super-heroes, like the Avengers, is next on his list of must-haves. Special thanks to our user Adel Alrashedy for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
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*Written by Craig Butler

Supervillain Origins: The Collector


Some comic book collectors can be a bit obsessive; but they’ve got nothing on this guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of The Collector.

As with most comic book characters, there are often reimganings and different versions to the character’s past. We have chosen to focus primarily on the storyline that unfolded in 1966's Avengers #28, which was expanded upon in Avengers #174 and #339.

The Collector, also known as Taneleer Tivan, burst onto the Marvel scene in Avengers #28, the same issue that brought Giant-Man back into the Avengers fold – although he opted to adopt a new costume and name, Goliath, for the occasion.

The reason for Goliath's return was the disappearance of his wife, the super-heroine known as the Wasp. Once reunited with the Avengers, Goliath learned that a mysterious figure calling himself The Collector appeared to have captured the Wasp. Naturally, the Avengers take off to find and rescue their tiny teammate.

Over the course of this first story, the Avengers find the Wasp and the evil Collector. The villain soon demonstrates that he is aptly named as his obsession is scouring the universe for interesting creatures, gadgets and weapons, which he then adds to his massive collection. It soon becomes clear that a full team of super-heroes, like the Avengers, is next on his list of “must-haves.”

The do-badder has access to a wide array of weapons, thanks to his habit of accumulating items. When defeat seemed imminent, he used a special time travel device to escape – leaving the heroes none the wiser about where he came from or how he came to be.

That mystery wouldn't be cleared up until 1978's Avengers #174, 12 years later. The Collector had once again returned with the goal of expanding his collection by capturing the Avengers. Once he is defeated, Iron man demands an explanation of why he does the things he does. The Collector complies with a compact one-page summary of his origins.

It turns out the Collector is one of the Elders of the Universe, a group of ancient beings blessed with special gifts, and his was the gift of prophecy.

Using that gift, the Collector saw that one day the evil being known as Thanos would rise up and threaten the existence of the universe. That didn’t sit well with the Collector, who didn’t want all of the incredible creatures and civilizations of the universe to be totally destroyed; so he set about collecting specimens to save from Thanos’ evil.

After Thanos was defeated, the Collector continued his hobby, for his gift had revealed that an even greater menace was coming: Korvac, another being intent on universal domination. Korvac eventually killed the Collector before his secret identity could be revealed to the Avengers.

Of course, it takes a lot to really kill an Elder of the Universe – or just about anyone in a comic book. The Collector came back several times, and in 1991, a bit more of his origin was revealed. After tricking the Avengers to help him recapture some dangerous beings he had allowed to escape from his collection, the villain revealed his true alien form to his enemies.

Further, the Collector revealed that his real motivation for his actions is not simply to save samples of races and worlds in the event of cosmic annihilation; it’s that collecting really is in his genes. As he explains to the Watcher, “We fill a need in the grand scheme…beings such as we, with our specialized talents, maintain the cosmic balance.” In other words, he has a mania for collecting that he simply cannot control.

The Collector has continued to pop up in the Marvel Universe, always intent on collecting but sometimes with his more benevolent goal of collecting to save remnants of civilizations. He most recently popped up in the form of Benicio del Toro at the end of “Thor: The Dark World” and in “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

Are you a fan of this obsessive super-villain? For more super top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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