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[[quoteright:337:[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_collector_the_simpsons.jpg]]]]

->''"The collector comes, the collector buys,\\
and the kids who wait get a rude surprise.\\
It isn't for the joy of the toys.\\
Expect the collector to be there,\\
just to collect."''
-->'''Al [=McWhiggin=]''', "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjCglkc12GA The Collector]]" from the ''Toy Story 2: Sing-Along'' cassette

''This page is about the trope. For the 2009 movie, [[Film/TheCollector go here]]. For the Canadian TV series, [[Series/TheCollector go here]]. For the 1963 novel by John Fowles or the film based on it, [[Literature/TheCollector go here]].''

One of the characters runs afoul of the CollectorOfTheStrange, who decides to add them to his collection. Usually this is seen in SpeculativeFiction: the collector is an alien, often of the {{sufficiently advanced|Alien}} variety, and the collection is only revealed at the end in a TwistEnding. But he could just as easily be a slaver or an obsessed lunatic in a present or past setting. He's prone to saying "ItMustBeMine" and "IfICantHaveYou, no one can!"

Where the horror of being added to a collection is not the point of a TwistEnding, then the remaining cast members mobilize to rescue the kidnapped individual -- and usually free all the other "specimens" in the collection in the process.

A variation sometimes seen in children's shows has the collector stealing the character's unusual/unique pet. Vulnerable to InterrogationByVandalism. If they have somewhat altruistic motives, their "collection" will be a comfortable FantasticNatureReserve. Of course, it may just be a GildedCage... Compare LivingDollCollector.

If you are looking for the movie of the same name (which includes such a villain), [[Film/TheCollector see here.]]



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Maburaho}}'' has a collector as a full-time character after her introduction. Her stated goal is to make a certain ghost a part of her collection.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' has a minor character named Giese Hunt, a self-stylized Duel Spirit hunter after Johan's prized (and - until Episode 130, nonexistent) ''Rainbow Dragon'' Duel Spirit to add to his collection of trophies, even capturing his ''Sapphire Pegasus'' Duel Spirit as bait. Not surprisingly, this fixation stemmed from a childhood trauma where ''he'' was the victim of Duel Spirit theft.
* In the second ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' movie, the villain targets the three legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres in order to force the legendary Lugia out of hiding, so he could have them all in his collection. Of course, the real problem for the heroes wasn't just that he was merely collecting, it was that his attempt disturbed the balance between the three birds which lead to global weather chaos.
** The movies soundtrack even gave us the official collector VillainSong "Ware wa collector" (I am a collector).
** [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Collector They exist in the games too]].
* Noah in the ''Manga/SoulEater'' manga collects things he find interesting by sucking them into a TomeOfEldritchLore.
* More than one Shinma from ''Manga/VampirePrincessMiyu'' capture and collect people.
* Mikogami Hayato from ''Manga/{{Sekirei}}'', who aggressively pursues any Sekirei that [[StalkerWithACrush catches his fancy]] in an effort to grow his collection. His behavior is very much like a Pokemon master, even declaring that he wants one because it's a [[ShoutOut rare fire-type]]!
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Giolla/Jora]] is a MadArtist who turns people, usually combatants she defeats, into works of art she keeps at her residence once they're dead as part of her "permanent collection."
* In ''Anime/SpaceDandy'', Ukuleleman says that he collects "smiles." What he means by this is playing MagicMusic from his ukulele to his victims, causing them to uncontrollably smile and laugh which eventually petrifies them, then puts their bodies in his backyard. When Space Dandy takes a visit to Ukuleleman's mansion, he discovers at least fifty victims, including both of Dandy's friends. Due to Ukuleleman's BlueAndOrangeMorality though, he doesn't see anything wrong with what he does, and he only really gets upset if anyone removes anything from his collection.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Franchise/MarvelUniverse has an [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Elder of the Universe]] known as The Collector, whose mania for collecting is so strong it makes him immortal. (Or maybe he took up collecting to keep himself from going mad because he ''was'' immortal. After doing it for billions of years, it's often hard for even him to remember.) He's tried to ''collect'' ComicBook/TheAvengers and other heroes more than once, but he's got more than one ArtifactOfDoom in his collection that you wouldn't want anywhere else: he's got better means of protecting them than some entire worlds have, and he's going to keep them just to ''have'' them rather than actually try ''using'' them. There's a reason why in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld,'' he's the only one Thor trusts with The Aether.
* At the height of his madness, Kraven the Hunter's son Alyosha kidnapped animal-themed superhumans (including Bushmaster, Gargoyle, Tiger Shark, Kangaroo, Aragorn, Vulture, Mongoose, Man-Bull, Dragon Man, Swarm, Mandrill, Grizzly, Frog-Man, and Rhino) and kept them in a "zoo", until it was sabotaged by ComicBooh/ThePunisher.)
* Kate ran into one of these in ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' while trying to find an alchemical guide that would let them rebuild Roger the Homunculus. He would only give it to them if Abe became his prisoner. Kate ended up freeing the demon The Collector had enslaved and it killed him.
* One issue of ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' comic had the main cast kidnapped by Car-Heem, an alien collector from the planet Weet ([[StealthPun "Car-Heem of Weet"...get it?]]).
* Larfleeze, the ONLY Orange Lantern in Franchise/GreenLantern comics has this as his defining character trait. He's powered by greed itself and will not be sated until every single treasure in existence is his.
* [[https://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/who/who-intro.php?topic=auctioneer The Auctioneer]]
* ComicBook/TomStrong was once captured and imprisoned in a comic book with other "science-heroes" by Horatio Hogg, Collector of Champions.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Sillage}}'' #2, Enshu Atsukau wants to add Nävis to his "collection".
* While ComicBook/{{Brainiac}}'s origins vary, his goal is always to collect a piece of every civilization on all worlds, then destroy the rest of that civilization.
* In one ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip, Jon finds a box that Garfield is saving:
-->'''Jon:''' It's full of mailman hats!
-->'''Garfield''' ''(grinning)'' I'm collecting them.
-->'''Jon:''' What happened to the mailmen?
-->'''Garfield''' ''(surprised)'' They've escaped!!

* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' is about Woody getting "kidnapped" by a collector who wants to sell him to a museum in Japan. Woody is actually a toy, though.
** ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'', "A Zoo Out There" features the Chlorms, who regard every other species as "lesser beings", kidnapping members of the Galactic Senate (and eventually Team Lightyear) to put in their zoo.
* Done in the ''Manga/{{xxxHOLiC}}'' film, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" when Yuuko gets an invitation stating that her 'collection' is not complete. She brings Watanuki and Doumeki along with her into a mansion where there are several other collectors that collect rare things. It later turns out that the person that invited them there [[spoiler: is a collector that collects collectors who collect unusual things. He keeps both their souls and their collections in individual rooms. He started because someone who was close to him collected something, and asked him to start a collection too]].
* In ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'', Blackbeard shrinks the ships of defeated crews, seals them in bottles, and stores his collection of them in a cupboard. He has several dozen.
* In ''Film/TheCollector'', a 2009 saw-esque movie by the writers of Saw 4, 5, 6, and 7.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' has the aptly named [[ADogNamedDog Collector]], who keeps slaves of different species and alien items, his collection ranging from various artifacts to [[spoiler: even [[ComicBook/HowardTheDuck Howard]] [[Film/HowardTheDuck The Duck]] himself.]]

* John Fowles' 1963 novel ''Literature/TheCollector'' features a psychologically unstable butterfly collector "collecting" a young woman he has seen around town, and keeping her in his cellar. It was also adapted into a film.
* The Trafalmadorians in ''Literature/SlaughterhouseFive'' kidnap the main character, take him to their planet, and display him in a zoo. Lessons about free will and predestination are learned.
* The title character in Creator/RoaldDahl's short story "Literature/TheLandlady" is implied to be a homicidal one of these.
* In the first ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' book, the heroes visit Medusa's garden-statue store. [[CaptainObvious Guess]] [[WaxMuseumMorgue how she makes the statues]].
* In the ''{{Literature/Nightside}}'' novels by Creator/SimonRGreen there is a character who is called "The Collector." He has unique items from the past, the future, and alternate time-lines. He is also fairly paranoid about other collectors stealing from his collection. He once went so far as to store his collection ''on the Moon.'' Didn't stop [[FirstPersonSmartass John]] [[HalfHumanHybrid Taylor]] from accessing it, though.
* In the Literature/StrangeMatter series, the villain of the first ''Strange Forces'' novel was named The Collector. He possessed a collection of supernatural horrors from all parts of the world that he used to attack Fairfield from Fairchild Manor.
* In ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'', King Haggard is obsessed with owning every unicorn in existence and used the Red Bull to drive them into the sea.
* ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'': Prince Ozymardien is the cousin of King Sellik XXI. He gets the wealth and prestige of royalty with none of the responsibilities of it, so he just lives in the city of Tai-tastigon being incredibly wealthy and collecting stuff.
-->'''Cleppetty''': He collects things. Jewels, furs, ivory, people. Last year, for example, he took to wife the most beautiful virgin in the Eastern Lands--and rumor has it he's kept her just as received, in a collection like his, you understand, there's no place for a damaged article.\\
'''Jame''': How frustrating for her.\\
'''Cleppetty''': As you say, but the point is this: if you dance particularly well before him, he's liable to collect ''you''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** A variation on this in "The Space Museum".
** It also turns up in the ExpandedUniverse novel "The Last Dodo" [[spoiler: featuring a museum dedicated to endangered species throughout the universe with a curator ''quite'' interested in a certain LastOfHisKind Time Lord]].
** An example from the new series turns turns up in the [[TheNthDoctor Ninth Doctor]] episode ''Dalek'', where the eponymous Dalek is the prize specimen in Henry van Statten's museum of alien artefacts. Upon realizing what the Doctor is, van Statten tries to collect him too.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'':
** A newlywed couple wake up in a small, deserted town, only to find out at the end that they are toys in a giant alien's playset.
** "People Are Alike All Over" ends with [[spoiler:apprehensive astronaut Conrad finding that the house the seemingly-kind aliens have built for him is actually a cage in a zoo exhibit]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', "The Most Toys": Data is kidnapped by Kivas Fajo to add to his collection of unique objects. At the time, everyone (including Data) thought that Lore, the only other sentient android in the known world, was dead.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': Zhaan is captured by a plant collector.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'':
** The Fisher King two-episode story uses the trope-naming book as an important story key. The [=UnSub=] is almost like the psychotic protagonist of the book.
** The show makes use of the "collector" subtype of serial killer later on in "The Uncanny Valley," with a damaged woman who puts other women in a state of [[AndIMustScream chemically-induced paralysis]] and makes them up as dolls.
* In the ''Series/MastersOfHorror'' episode "Cigarette Burns", the millionaire collector Bellinger collects various films depicting extreme acts. He's also keeping a mutilated angelic creature locked up in his gallery as part of his collection of ''[[ArtifactOfDoom La Fin Absolue du Monde]]''.
* In an episode of ''Series/NightGallery'', a gangster seeking safety from his many enemies ends up under the "care" of a retired doctor who collects rarities, and promises the gangster a safe, long and comfortable life -- as part of the doctor's collection.
* ''Series/FrontierCircus'': A mild example is Duke Felix Otway in "The Race". He specialises in finding people whose talents he admires, and the manipulating them into joining his entourage, and making it effectively impossible for them to ever leave his service.
* The US government is this according to ''Series/EerieIndiana'': an especial agency named the Bureau of the Lost steals things (and keeps them) in order to force people to buy new stuffs.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The vampire Luthor Harkon in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Fantasy Battles'' collects dead sailors (as zombie pirates in his fleet) and {{Mayincatec}} artefacts in a hope to get his magical powers back. He is also utterly insane.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** In the mythos, some Beholders collect [[TakenForGranite statues of interesting-looking characters]] to decorate their lairs.
** A lot of medusas have done this too, but many in later editions are much smarter, avoiding keeping the petrified remains of their victims as trophies; if potential victims come into their lairs and see such things, what's the first assumption they're going to make about who the lair belongs to?
* Trazyn the Infinite, a Necron Overlord in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', has this as his particular quirk, and has a whole planet dedicated to his obsession. Artefacts of note include the preserved head of Sebastian Thor (Which then begs the question what happened to the body), the husk of an Enslaver, and a giant man clad in barqoue power armour whose face is locked forever in a tormented scream. It's partially for his own amusement, and mostly because he wants to save important pieces of history.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Admiral ZEX, in ''VideoGame/StarControl II'', who owns a "menagerie" of creatures that he personally finds fascinating. Unfortunately, among the creatures he finds fascinating are humans and other sentient life forms.
* The main antagonist from the first ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet'', appropriately named The Collector, goes around the various levels kidnapping major characters in the background.
* The entire plot of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' revolves around fighting an enemy known as the "Collectors," who are named for their tendency to "collect" samples of unusual and unique biological specimens for genetic experiments. They are abducting human colonies, are actually working with the true villains of the series, [[EldritchAbomination the Reapers]], and are [[spoiler: repurposed Protheans from the last time the Reapers invaded]]. In the end [[spoiler: Shepard's own crew is abducted, and the final part of his/her mission is a rescue op to bring them back. Unlike many of the other examples on this page, their goal is not to display their victims, but to ''dissolve them into their genetic components'' and build a new Reaper from human goo]].
** Joker ribs [[PlayerCharacter Shepard]] about their apparent tendency to "[[MagneticHero collect]]" random aliens [[BadassCrew who all happen to be hardened killers]].
-->'''Joker:''' ''(on Thane)'' Oh, another dangerous alien aboard, Commander. Thanks. Why can't you collect coins or commemorative plates or something?
* Conroy Bumpus in ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad'' does a VillainSong about being one of these.
* Cyrille Le Paradox, the BigBad in ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime''. He is introduced as a wealthy museum owner who collects historical artifacts via time travel [[spoiler: and plans to steal the Cooper clan's canes throughout history to form his own collection to achieve revenge on them]].
* Sirius in ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' ''3'' who collects planets and stars with a black hole.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* The Otome game ''VisualNovel/{{Nameless}}'' has Eri, who unknowingly collects sentient dolls. Due to plot circumstances, they become much more animated!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MuchaLucha'', "The Collector" features an alien trying to collect masked wrestlers.
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'':
** The two-parter "The Main Man" featured both Superman, the [[LastOfHisKind last surviving]] Kryptonian, and Lobo, the last surviving Czarnian, being captured by an alien called The Preserver, who kept a menagerie of such creatures (he even had a dodo among them).
** Brainiac, who ensures that his collected data is one of a kind by destroying the planet he got it from.
** In 2007, an alien villain named The Auctioneer captured Supes and several dozen other heroes. Guess what he planned to do with them?
* Parodied in a Halloween episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', wherein the Comic Book Guy kidnaps his favorite celebrities, including Tom Baker, Matt Groening, and Lucy Lawless, and encases them in mylar bags. The villainous alias he chooses really ''is'' The Collector.
* Spoofed in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," where a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien is the galaxy's biggest ''Franchise/StarTrek'' fan (actually second biggest, after Fry), and kidnaps the cast of the show.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'': the episode "Collect Her" finds our titular heroines being captured by Lenny Baxter, a comic book geek who has collected every piece of Powerpuff Girls merchandise in existence and, desperate for more, has decided to add the Girls themselves to his collection. He is defeated when the townsfolk track him down and torture their whereabouts out of him by removing his valuable toys from the boxes.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' episode "Three Men And A Booby" -- stop that snickering, unless it's because of the ''Film/ThreeMenAndABaby'' reference -- an obsessed egg collector collects a booby egg. The mother booby enlists the Rangers' help in reuniting the egg with her. [[spoiler:They end up hatching his entire collection.]]
* D.N. Amy from ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' eventually makes [[NonHumanSidekick Rufus]] and Steve Barkin into one giant living cuddlebuddie for her collection.
* One villain from ''WesternAnimation/{{Bonkers}}'', a toon that collected other toons, was actually called "The Collector". [[spoiler: Only it turns out he wasn't actually a toon. He was a crazy human who ''thought'' he was a toon. He remained in denial even after his mask was torn off, screaming "I'm a toon! I'm a toon!"]] [[NightmareFuel It was incredibly creepy]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SushiPack'' episode "Collect 'Em All," The Collector captures the Sushi Pack to add to his collection, but gives them one chance to win their freedom in a remote controlled car race.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' had a VillainOfTheWeek, Skulker, who collected various kinds of ghosts, and wanted a [[UniquenessValue half-ghost]] for his collection.
* Big Mitch, the EvilPoacher from ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb.''
* In what may be the strangest example ever, Music/RingoStarr from the cartoon ''WesternAnimation/TheBeatles''. In the episode "Ticket to Ride", the others are revealing their hobbies (painting, science, etc.), and it turns out that Ringo likes to kidnap women and ''put them in bird cages'' ("bird" being Liverpool slang for "girl"). Fortunately, he's really bad at it; he's only managed to trap one girl, and she escapes during the course of the episode.
* Safari Joe in ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats1985'' was a guy who was the equivalent of an EgomaniacHunter for such a setting, and as racist as any example of that Trope. Deciding to try to hunt the Thundercats simply for the thrill, he didn't even see them as sentient, even when they spoke to them. (Or if he did, he just didn't care.) What made him dangerous was that he was savvy, and had a robotic assistant named Mule who could analyze his prey beforehand and figure out the best way to prepare. Unfortunately for him, Lion-O was too hard to analyze, and the villain found himself seriously OutGambitted against him.
* An Anti-Villain called The Collector appears in the episode "The Brooklyn Triangle" of ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters''. He has been "collecting" random things for 10,000 years trying to find the key to escape, as he was an ancient Ghostbuster imprisoned by a demon. When he finally finds it, he escapes and returns everything back to Earth.
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPandaLegendsOfAwesomeness'': General Tsin in "The Most Dangerous Po", who capturing the most dangerous villains in China and imprisoning them as his personal collection. Also an example of HuntingTheMostDangerousGame and TheJailer.