Membership: Architect, Astronomer (Seginn Gallio), Caregiver (Rubanna Lagenris Quormo), Challenger (former Grandmaster), Champion of the Universe (Tryco Slatterus), Collector (Taneleer Tivan), "Carina Walters" (Collector's daughter, real name unrevealed), Contemplator (Tath Ki), Explorer (Zamanathan Rambunazeth), Father Time, Gara (last of the Viscardi), Gardener (Ord Zyonz), Grandmaster (En Dwi Gast), Judicator, Matani (deceased), Obliterator (Maht Pacle), Possessor (Kamo Tharnn), Runner (Gilpetperdon), Trader (Cort Zo Tinnus), Voyager (Va Nee Gast)

Possible Members: Grand Astrogater (mentioned once), Ego the Living Planet (Egros; see comments), Geometer

Total Membership: 1,000 (approximately)

Occupations/Purposes: Varied, different for each Elder

Affiliations: Varied (see individual profiles)

Enemies: Varied (see individual profiles)

Bases of Operations: Varied (see individual profiles). Some Elders have no (known) base of operations and are mobile throughout the known universe and beyond.

First Appearance: (Collector) Avengers I#28 (May, 1966);
   (of the term "Elders") Avengers I#174 (August, 1978);
   (of the term "Elders of the Universe") Avengers I#177 (November, 1978)

History: Described in brief in the fourth issues of the original and deluxe editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. See profiles on individual members for further details

Comments: The Collector created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Frankie Ray.
   Concept of a group of "Elders of the Universe" introduced by Jim Shooter and/or Bill Mantlo
   Concept further refined by the staff who wrote the first two editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (including Head Writer Mark Gruenwald)

Everything above this is a VERY-edited version of the Watchers profile. Everything below this was taken from the Comments section of the Possessor profile.

Some comments on the history of how the concept of the Elders of the Universe evolved over time, with some notes by Snood in bold. Updates are in red

    First appearance: Avengers I#28 (May, 1966)
    First identified as an Elder: Avengers I#174 (August, 1978)

    First appearance: Thor I#132 (October, 1966)
    First identified as an Elder: Silver Surfer III#4 (October, 1987)
    Ego is indeed called an Elder in that Silver Surfer story, but he just doesn't fit either of the two most definitive qualifications for the current understanding of the Elders.
    1) Ego is not the sole survivor of a long-dead race (one of the earliest to come into existence in the universe). He's a unique being (or perhaps part of a small set, perhaps including the likes of Counter-Ego and/or Id the Selfish Moon, or perhaps a part of Super-Ego).
    He's not a member of a race at all
    2) He did not gain immunity to aging via
    single-minded obsession. His very nature makes him long-lived.
    I'm pretty confident that the Elders invited Ego to join them b/c they wanted/needed his power against the Silver Surfer and potentially Galactus.

        I don't see any way to consider him an Elder
    of the Universe by any stretch of the imagination, other than "since he's the only one of his kind, he's therefore the last of his race" which really doesn't make sense. It is the same kind of rationalization/plot device as having Haywire immune to knockout gas in reality-616 because he's from an alternate Earth. But, any discussion on the Elders would have to discuss Ego because of the Surfer storyline.
       Since his first appearance, Ego has had five different origins and the most recent version (in Ultimates 2 (Vol. 2) #8) combines elements from two of his earlier origin stories (from Thor I#228 and Astonishing Thor LS). According to this latest origin, as in his first origin, Ego was a male humanoid named Egros until his homeworld's star went nova and the radiation fused his consciousness with the life-energies of the two billion other members of his race and the physical matter of their homeworld to create a new being, Ego the Living Planet. The twist that this newest origin adds is taking the idea that the Stranger created Ego (and Alter-Ego) and incorporating it into Ego's first origin by revealing that the nova had been caused by the Stranger in order to create something like Ego. If this origin remains canon, then "Ego" really is the last member of his race.

    First appearance: Avengers I#69 (October, 1969)
    First identified as an Elder: Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions#1 (June, 1982)
    [implied to be the Collector's brother in Avengers I#174 (August, 1978)]

    First appearance (as Kamo Tharnn): Thor I#235 (May, 1975)
    First identified as an Elder: Captain America Annual #6 (1982)
    First identified as the Possessor: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4 (April, 1983) - Elders of the Universe entry
    First named as the Possessor in a story: Silver Surfer III#3-4 (September-October, 1987)

    First appearance (as Mister Buda): Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles (1976)
    First identified as the Elder named the Contemplator: Captain America Annual #6 (1982)

    First appearance: Marvel Team-Up I#55 (March, 1977)
    First identified as an Elder: Incredible Hulk II#248 (June, 1980)

  7. "Carina Walters Korvac" [real name has never been revealed]
    First appearance: Avengers I#167 (January, 1978)
    First identified as an Elder: Avengers I#174 (August, 1978)
    Avengers I#174 revealed that the Collector and his wife had a "child" together. In Avengers I#175, Korvac shared minds with "Carina" and learned that she was (or believed herself to be) the Collector's "only daughter." The Collector's entry in OHotMU I#3 states that his wife Matani died "after their daughter had grown to maturity and left them." And Silver Surfer III#3 featured a briefly-resurrected Matani who had died "more than three billion years ago" because she had been "so weary after two billion years." Assuming all these facts are correct, this would mean that "Carina" must be more than three billion years old.
       Unless, of course, "Carina" was wrong in her belief that she was the Collector's ONLY daughter but, so far, there's no evidence of that.

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Avengers I#174 (August, 1978)
    Named: Silver Surfer III#3 (September, 1987)
    --I don't like Carina and/or Matani being Elders of the Universe strictly because they are associated with the Collector, and the Elders are all supposed to be the sole survivors of their race. Maybe "sole survivor" is an extreme, but "among the last survivors" is good enough; Matani is dead, so she doesn't interfere too much one way or the other.
    Additionally, there isn't really evidence that they had some single-minded obsession that keeps them going.
    They were originally referred to as Elders before the concept had fully evolved, when they were supposed to members of the same race.
    We don't really even know how old Carina is.
    If the Collector's daughter is an Elder, than what about any offspring of an Elder? The Champion is stated to have tons of offspring and descendants in his OHotMU entry.
        I would think that the Champion is indeed the last of his own race, whereas all of his children are from mating with beings of other races. However, as far as I know, Matani was intended to be from the same race as the Collector.
    Nevertheless, they have been referred to as Elders in multiple sources, so they are included in a list/discussion, at least. They are certainly more worthy of consideration than Ego.

    According to Silver Surfer III#3, Matani died "more than three billion years ago" because she had been "so weary after two billion years." Assuming these facts are correct, this would mean that she was born more than five billion years ago

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Marvel Two-In-One Annual#7 (1982)

  10. RUNNER
    First appearance (identified as an Elder): New Defenders#143 (May, 1985)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer III#4 (October, 1987)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer III#4 (October, 1987)

  13. TRADER
    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer III#4 (October, 1987)

    First mention (identified as an Elder): Quasar I#17 (December, 1990)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Captain America I#383 (March, 1991)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar I#37 (August, 1992)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar I#47 (June, 1993)

    First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar I#47 (June, 1993)

    First appearance (voice only): Avengers VI#676 (March, 2018)
    First appearance (fully seen): Avengers VI#677 (March, 2018)
    First identified as Elder: Avengers VI#679 (April, 2018)

    First appearance (statue only): Marvel Legacy#1 (November, 2017)
    First appearance (fully seen): Avengers VI#675 (March, 2018)
    First SELF-identified as an Elder of the Universe: Aveners VI#690 (June, 2018)

  21. MAYBE - Explorer references the Grand Astrogator in a conversation with Judicator to support his right to explore the embryonic Origin. Presumably this is a being that has dominion over both of them, and perhaps the leader of the Elders...or someone else altogether.  It COULD even be some object (relic) which is sacred to the Explorer.

  22. Should the Geometer be counted as one of the Elders of the Universe? According to Epoch, the Geometer was "born about three billion years ago" and is "a member of a long-extinct race." He also demonstrated that he was obsessed with making every universe he encounters "more mathematically perfect" and claimed that he had been doing so for billions of years. He certainly sounds like an Elder to me.
    --Donald Campbell

        --Most sources list the Elders as being more like 5.5 billion years old, but I have to admit that he fits the bill pretty solidly. I don't think there's anything that indicates when the ancient races had to have perished. Just that they were one of the first races to come around after the Big Bang. Maybe the race was much older, and the Geometer was ONLY born 3 billion years ago. If you accept that, he pretty much fits the mold perfectly.

  23. GARA (last of the Viscardi)
    First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (April, 2015)
    First SELF-identified as an Elder of the Universe: Guardians Team-Up#3 (May, 2015)

  24. And then there's Elders according to Bendis, who include the likes of the Stranger and the In-Betweener...which comes from not knowing the difference b/t ancient cosmic beings (at least one of whom is actually an abstract being) and true Elders of the Universe.

   In my opinion, the primary characteristic of any Elder is simply that they are one of the oldest sentient beings in the universe. How they may have achieved their extreme longevity is not important. While some Elders believe that they have lived so long because they have the will to do so and that having an all-consuming interest is necessary in order to avoid succumbing to apathy and dying, there is no proof that this applies to every one of the Elders. Similary, while it has been suggested that having such an obsessive interest does enable some Elders to somehow tap into the Power Primordial in order to give themselves cosmic life forces that maintains their lives indefinitely, there is nothing to say that an Elder's virtual immortality cannot come from other sources.
    I think the key point is the difference between being an elder being of the universe and being one of the Elders of the Universe. The former is a descriptive term, the latter is a specific, somewhat elite group. Kind of like the difference between the "Elder Gods" of Earth (Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur, Set, etc.) and the various elder races, the Lovecraftian Great Old Ones, etc. Otherwise, you lump in all kinds of unrelated characters. Maybe the Elders themselves chose these requirements, as mentioned below.

   A second characteristic that does seem to be important is that any given Elder must be the last (or almost the last) surviving member of their race. Exactly WHY this is a requirement has not been revealed but it does serve to keep the Watchers from being considered Elders even though some Watchers are almost as old as the Elders. It's possible that being a "last survivor" is just something that the Elders themselves CHOSE to be a defining trait of anyone who wished to be part of their very exclusive group but this is just speculation.

The Elders of the Universe have no known connections to:

See Elder Gods clarifications

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Contest of Champions (Vol. 1) #6, page 2, panel 4 (group)

First posted: 1/14/2018
Last updated: 05/26/2018

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