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When Did the Collector First Become a Cosmic Being?

In "When We First Met," we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Today, based on a request from a couple of different people, including Tom A. and Avash I., we take a look at when the Collector first became a cosmic being in the Marvel Universe.

Recently, in From a Different Point of View, the regular chat feature where Eileen Gonzalez and I discuss the Avengers from the first issue onward, we discussed the first appearance of the Collector in Avengers #28 (by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Frank Giacoia)...

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He really seems just like an old man who happens to have an amazing collection of weapons and stuff...

He obviously had magical items, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't just a regular guy who COLLECTED those magical items. Like a Doctor Doom or a Baron Mordo...

For instance, Kang isn't a cosmic being and yet he has technology like this, ya know?

When Roy Thomas, John Buscema and George Tuska brought the Collector back in Avengers #51, however, the Collector was now rocking a fancy spaceship...

Where he captured Thor...

However, again, lots of humans in the Marvel Universe have had their own spaceships...

Collector next popped up in Iron Man #26 (by Archie Goodwin, Don Heck and Johnny Craig), where he was his normal self...

When Steve Englehart, Bob Brown and Don Heck had the Collector capture the Avengers in Avengers #119...

There seemed to be a bit of a hint that he MIGHT be some sort of cosmic being...

The biggest hint was probably in Incredible Hulk #197-198 (by Len Wein, Sal Buscema and Joe Staton), where the Collector captured the Hulk...

and we then see that he has people that he has collected from centuries ago, meaning that he is almost certainly not human...

However, there are obviously certain magical spells that could prolong his life, so maybe he was a human who just "collected" the fountain of youth or something like that.

Finally, though, in Avengers #174, everything was settled. The issue (by Jim Shooter, Bill Mantlo, Dave Wentzel and Pablo Marcos) reveals that Collector has the Power Cosmic in him...

We learn, for the first time, that he is an Elder of the Universe...

Of course, all of this was just in time for Korvac to kill him...

But still, now we know that he is a cosmic being.

So there ya go!

Thanks for the suggestion, Tom and Avash!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that they'd like to see spotlighted, just drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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