Collector of the Strange

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Don't worry, she pretends they're fake.

Janine: Do you have any hobby?

Egon: I collect spores, molds and fungus.

People collect things they like: movies, stamps, hummel figurines of baby animals, bottle caps, books and action figures. It's only natural for those individuals who have a specific hobby to develop a fascination with acquiring memorabilia that is directly related to their outlet of interest. Such a pattern of human behavior is quite normal and is relatively accepted in society.

However, there are those people who, because of their unique occupation or lifestyle, collect items that are too dangerous, rare or gross for the average human being to even want to own. For those people who gather anything of the bizarre and strange, this trope page is for you.

May have a Friend in the Black Market. A group of these might form an Artifact Collection Agency. For the super hero version, see Superhero Trophy Shelf. A more mundane version would be the Trophy Room. Room Full of Crazy is this taken to its logical conclusion. See also Secret Government Warehouse. A specific variant only wants things (and at times people) who are unique and one of a kind. Compare Creepy Souvenir, for when morbid items (often body parts) are acquired as trophies.

See also The Collector, which is a plot driven by the need of one of these individuals to collect someone in particular, or the Living Doll Collector, who transforms the living into a collection of custom toys.

Examples of Collector of the Strange include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Abiru from Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei shows her love for animals by collecting their tails.
  • The xxxHolic movie, not only does the movie take place at a gathering of strange collectors, but it turns out the man throwing the party collects collectors themselves.
  • Ayaka in Mahou Sensei Negima's Alternate Continuity Gag Series Negima!? was known for collecting Negi-themed merchandise including pillows, swimsuits and bread. It was every bit as creepy as it sounds. A less extreme example would be Negi himself collecting antiques which more often than not turn out to be powerful magic items.
  • Carlos from Battle Clash and Metal Combat collects trophies of the mechas he's defeated in combat. He's especially interested in the ST Falcon since he considers it an anomaly that there exists an ST where the pilot and gunner are separate.
  • In a darker take, Noah in the Soul Eater manga uses the Book of Eibon to "collect" various artifacts he found interesting. He's not too picky, people, swords, Eldritch Abominations... It's all the same. He even gets Death the Kid at one point. Oh, and an It turns out he's actually just a personification of the Book's will. He's nothing but the madness of obsessive collecting given form.
  • Shizuoka of Umisho is too embarrassed to let her clubmates know that she collect strange little statues in a secret closet. Of course, that's not what she should be worrying about.
  • Ruby, the penguin in Rave Master. What all he collects is unknown, but things he's at least attempted to add are Plue, a bell that becomes a sword, a man-like crab, and a Bluun doll.
  • Anju of Karin collects Creepy Dolls, one of which houses a serial killer.
  • Old Cho of Domu: A Child's Dream: A Child's Story collects little trinkets as trophies from each person he kills.
  • Madara of Naruto apparently has a warehouse-sized room dedicated to storing pairs of Sharingan. It becomes apparent after events concerning Pain's corpse and Konan that he does this so he can swap them around at leisure.
  • In the manga story "The Collection" by Shintaro Kago, a high-school girl is intent on collecting everything the boy of her dreams touches...EVERYTHING!!!
  • Rukhsana, an elven researcher in Zero no Tsukaima, likes to collect human artifacts from Halkeginia. However, she tends to mistake the functions of those artifacts, leading her use them in strange ways, such as hanging a bucket on a hat-stand, or using an upturned umbrella as a container.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Through his years of crime fighting Batman has amounted quite a large stash of villain weaponry and gadgets that he keeps on display in his Batcave. His older incarnation is not opposed to using some of this technology if the situation calls for it.
    • Of which three of the most iconic objects are a giant Joker playing card, a giant penny, and a giant dinosaur. Originally, the penny came from a 1947 comic strip story about "The Penny Plunderer", and the dinosaur from a 1946 adventure in a "Dinosaur Island" theme park. More recent continuities (such as The Batman) have changed up these origins.
    • JLA Classified #1 establishes that Batman has a Dalek in storage. We don't know where he got it, we don't know what he plans to use it for, but he does have one.
  • The Elders of the Marvel Universe are each defined by their obsession. One of them is called The Collector for obvious reasons.
  • Both the Four and members of Planetary maintain large collections of the world's secrets, including mementos from dead superheroes and alien artifacts. As Mr. Snow observes when visiting a parallel earth "They killed an entire world so that they had somewhere to store their weapons."
  • Doctor Strange does this, generally he has a pretty good idea of what everything is supposed to do.
  • Agent Orange, the Orange Lantern, is driven by the light of avarice to acquire other beings. He does so by killing and consuming them. His ring then replicates their personality and creates an orange energy construct in their image which serves Agent Orange. This is the Orange Lantern Corps; they aren't welcomed. They are owned.
  • Brainiac in Superman comics collects cities.
  • Minor Avengers villian the Collector collects superheroes.
  • One issue of Agent X, featured two rather strange people who collected famous people's underwear.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Maguire from Road to Perdition has collection of photographs of corpses.
  • Predators, which collect the skulls of their victims in both movies.
  • Egon from Ghostbusters. "I collect moulds, spores and fungus."
  • Owen, Danny DeVito's Adult Child character in Throw Momma from the Train, collects coins. Not rare, valuable or mint-condition coins, just coins. The coins are meaningful to him because he acquired them during times he spent with his father as a kid.
  • In Micmacs, one of the arms makers has a collection of the body parts of famous people, such as Marilyn Monroe's molar and the heart of Louis XIV (I think), and he's trying to get Mousellini's eye.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the book Dragon Slippers, each of the dragons collects something - windows, shoes, even dogs.
  • Harry Dresden has a collection of vampire fangs. And not the hinged plastic kind.
    • Other odd spell ingredients he used to keep on hand include sunshine wrapped up in a handkerchief, mainly for use on vampires. And in the latest book, he has to remove stuff from his apartment in a hurry that the FBI might be interested in. The list of stuff he's bundling up includes two swords (one of which the police would call a murder weapon in a local case), depleted uranium and a human skull.
  • According to Making Money Lord Vetinari has, somewhere in the palace, the death masks of most of his predecessors as Patrician of Ankh-Morpork (those whose bodies were in any state to have a death mask made, of course). When asked if he finds it creepy to have them all looking down on him, he replies that generally he looks down on them because they were fat, greedy, corrupt and incompetent, and he's awesome.
  • The Collector is a series regular in the Nightside novels, a compulsive hoarder who seeks out just about anything exotic, unique, or historically significant, then stashes it in various super-secret locations (on the Moon, inside a live tyrannosaur's cage, etc). As one of the things he maintains a collection of is time machines, many of the historical artifacts he's picked up were taken directly from their periods of origin.
  • A lot of H.P. Lovecraft protagonists collect curiosities, stories of the unusual, or similarly grisly things. Of course, none of them are ready for what they might encounter in-story.
  • Orfeo Culzean, The Chessmaster for hire from Ravenor collects deodands - random, innocuous items that have caused people's deaths.
  • To judge by his complaints after being bathed by children in Men At Arms, Gaspode the Wonder Dog collects fleas. Not just any old fleas, mind: he'd been trying for the complete set.
  • In Good Omens, the angel Aziraphale collects books of prophecy and "infamous Bibles", antique Bibles with amusing misprints such as the Unrighteous Bible, the Wicked Bible, and the Bugger Alle Thys Bible.
    • It should be noted that apart from the Bugger Alle Thys Bible, all the misprinted Bible editions in Aziraphale's collection really do exist in Real Life
  • Horace Slughorn of Harry Potter fame collects people. He doesn't want to be in the spotlight himself; instead, he purposely acts to collect the trust and affection of hopeful and talented students.
  • Richard Knaak's Dragon Tome in his Dragon Realm series has a magic-user who collects unusual people.
  • Jennifer Roberson also has a character who collects the unusual, including people, in her Tiger And Del series.


Live Action Television[edit | hide]

  • Gil Grissom's office from CSI mirrors the owner's fascination with insects where he keeps full preserved bodies of giant spiders and other bugs that catch his fancy.
    • Not all that strange, really. Any biology professor or entomology hobbyist in the world is likely to have a similar collection.
  • Night Gallery episode "A Death in the Family": a mortician collects preserved dead bodies.
    • The Night Gallery itself might qualify, if one assumes that the narrator actually collects the paintings.
  • MST3K Tom Servo collects underpants.
  • Rimmer in Red Dwarf collects photos of 20th century telegraph poles. Meanwhile the Cat collects clothes of course, while Lister contents himself with growing the mould in his used coffee cup.
  • Mike on The Young Ones claimed that he'd donated his used-tissue collection to the household kindling supply. He's also referred to his passport collection.
    • Knowing Mike, he probably never actually collected used tissues, but simply tossed a fresh one on the fire and claimed that he'd been collecting them. That way, he didn't have to forfeit anything he actually valued.
  • Marshall Teller from Eerie, Indiana collects leftovers from all the strange adventures he's been in, and stores them in an evidence locker in his attic in the hopes of using them to prove that he lives in the centre of weirdness for the entire world.
  • Just about everything from Warehouse 13. See Secret Government Warehouse and Artifact Collection Agency.
  • Van Statten of Doctor Who collected and studied alien artifacts. Collecting a live Dalek may not have been the best move...
    • For that matter, considering the Second Doctor had all sorts of weird stuff in his pockets for every occasion and the TARDIS has all sorts of cool stuff in it the Doctor whips out for use in various episodes and serials, he's this too, though it overlaps with Crazy Prepared when you consider his lifestyle.
  • Berry Weiss on Storage Wars bids on storage lockers looking mostly for weird and cool collectables. He's found things like a really creepy wooden head sculpture, and metal work-helmets etched with oil-industry images.
  • Gonzo on The Muppet Show kept a mildew collection.
  • This is the premise of Oddities produced by Discovery.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Carnival in Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9 (First Impression), parts I and II." Given that the song takes place after a nightmarish war between man and machine, the Carnival's wares (the remnants of the world before the war) would seem very unusual to the crowds.


Radio[edit | hide]

Linda in Linda Smith's Brief History of Timewasting collects ceramic birds. But she has to smash them when they become endangered.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in Warhammer 40,000, where the collection of skulls and/or heads, especially human ones, is commonplace and seldom looked at strangely among the Imperium of Man, Orks, Dark Eldar, and forces of Chaos. A chaos god collects blood and skulls, which form a lake and a mountain, respectively.
    • That said, there are still some individuals who exceed this. The Necron Overlord Trazyn the Infinite, for example.
  • The Sindarans in Talislanta have collecting as one of their hats. Most of them collect the things you'd expect - art, books, antiques, etc - but not all of them. A fandom suggestion list for "things for your Sindaran to collect" included "lint" and "other collectors' collections".
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, one of the Malkavian character templates is named "The Collector" who collects obsessively out of a desire to understand the world. To that end, he'll collect, examine and catalogue every single variation of a certain item for months at a time; eventually, he'll exhaust all the insights the item has to give, put the collection in storage and move onto another series of object- no matter how bizzare or macabre: insects, oak leaves, human hands, anything.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Dante from Devil May Cry adorns his office with trophy heads. While this is not unusual in itself, keep in mind that the skulls on his walls are of all the demons he's killed during his career as a bounty hunter.
  • Gutten Kisling from the video game Okage: the Shadow King collects toenail clippings.
  • Admiral ZEX from Star Control II collects beings from various races.
  • Geo Strigau in Tales of Hearts collects Spirunes, which are roughly peoples' souls in crystal form. He truly pisses off both Innes and the player when he takes the Spirune of one Lapis Silver.
  • Carlos, from the Battle Clash duology, collects the heads of the mecha he's defeated in battle. He's made it his life's mission to defeat ST Falcon, the world's only known two-manned mecha, which he considers an abomination (all other ST models do not have a separate pilot and gunner).
  • In the second Simon the Sorcerer game, the two gargoyles guarding the entrance to the Fortress of Doom dicuss how far Simon would be able to make it without dying, followed by expressing hope that they are allowed to keep his kneecaps.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV Add-On The Ballad of Gay Tony has Yusuf Amir. The son of a rich Arabian businessman says himself that he wants things that he couldn´t buy, so he pays you for illegally getting him a chopper with miniguns and rockets (later he plated with gold), a subway car and a S.W.A.T. Tank. He never uses anything for himself, he is lucky enough for having the stuff.
  • Over the course of the Baldur's Gate series, you can collect quite a few interesting items. A vampire's hand, golden, silver and bronze pantaloons, a couple of heads, hearts from demons, sharks and humans, a brain, a soul and of course weapons of all kinds. Fortunately you also get a Hammerspace bag.
  • Marisa Kirisame, of Touhou fame, has a reputation for stealing and acquiring random objects, many of which are magical in nature. She can't be bothered to sort or identify them. Legendary artifacts have been discovered in her house.
  • In the Let's Play of Sonic Unleashed done by pokecapn and company, medibot names all the collectibles in the game. Sonic ends up collecting everything from a lost sock to an umbrella that only works if you don't look at it.
  • Xenon in the Black Emporium DLC of Dragon Age II, who owns a store of items he's collected in his quest to find immortality (which he succeeded in, but not the way he wanted) that Hawke and his group can browse around for.
  • Edmund Hoover, later known as "Azetlor, the Collector," collected ancient and extremely rare books and tomes, some of which were very powerful. He seduced (and later murdered) Eleanor Twitty, a librarian at the NYCPL, so that he could get his hands on The Gozerian Codex.
    • The Ghostbusters themselves fit this trope, what with all the Cursed Artifacts found throughout the game.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, the Collector Manikin was known for his collection of human-made stuff.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • The Fox in Tallyho collects golfballs.
  • Vrill in Shadows of Enchantment. He's an artifact trader, but if he finds particularly interesting stuff he tends to just keep it (or buy it, or in some cases have it stolen). What he's really after is enchanted items, but anything rare and strange might catch his eye.
  • In Demon Eater, considering demons don't have much time to worry about anything, the fact that the human club exists, and the fact that it has actual human things definitely brands them for this trope.
  • Scandinavia and The World: Iceland collects penises.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • David Wong in John Dies at the End has a garden shed full of things that simply should not exist. For instance, an issue of TIME magazine about the assassination of Bill Clinton.
  • Olimar aka End of Days on There Will Be Brawl have a stash of various things from video games including the magic flute.
  • Daniel Ti'Fiona in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures collects muscle-powered weapons, swords are his favorite, but his collection includes axes, cross-bows, pole arms, etc. They're displayed on the walls of his room.
  • In Homestuck, all the kids' parental figures collect weird things: Dad collects harlequin paintings and figurines, Mom fancies wizards, and Bro fills the house with uncanny amounts of puppets. Grandpa Harley takes the cake though, collecting trophy heads, armored knights, mummies, globes and his Beauties, which are framed photos of women who specifically have to have been hung for at least twenty years in store windows of beauty salons. (The photos, not the actual women.)
    • Dave Strider himself is said to like to collect things preserved in jars.
  • Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum collects planets (and is currently trying to add the Earth to his collection).
  • The Nostalgia Chick's sidekick Elisa has a large collection of skulls (...well, fake skulls, presumably), and another collection of Phantom of the Opera merchandise. And note, these are real!Elisa's actual collections.
  • Tara, co-host of TGWTG's weird news show, What The Fuck Is Wrong With You? collects toy hippos. In fact, she's said on the show that she has a hippo for every occasion, and there seems to be no reason to doubt this. She has become so identified with hippos that a fan created fanart of her as a superheroine with a cuddly hippo sidekick. This, in turn, spawned the Hippo Lantern Corps.
  • Ask That Guy With The Glasses collects boils because they apparently taste nice and souls because that's part of his job of working for the devil.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Ren from Ren and Stimpy collected used celebrity underwear, opera records, fossilized dinosaur droppings, and jars of rare incurable diseases; his cousin Sven collected used bandages and spit in a jar; and Stimpy collected boogers, which he calls magic nose goblins.
  • Finn and Jake of Adventure Time due this to some degree. They have a whole room in their house FILLED with treasure from their exploits. They are never seen spending it or selling it, so presumably they just keep it around to look at it. Jake, however, is a collector of the strange in a different sort of way... He's a kleptomaniac, so it's inevitable that he'd pick up a few odd bits and bobbles from time to time.
    • The Ice King collects PRINCESSES. He has been shown kidnapping various princesses and sticking them all in a big cage.
  • Helga from Hey Arnold! made a statue devoted to her love made out of wads of used chewing gum that the object of affection cast aside.
  • WALL-E keeps a wide assortment of random trinkets that catch his fancy. The items he collects don't seem to have any particular theme.
  • Jefferson Twilight from The Venture Brothers series collects the fangs from the blaculas he hunts and makes them into a necklace.
  • The Autobot Pipes from Transformers, who collects interesting human knick-knacks.
  • Kim Possible collected Cuddle Buddies, local equivalent to Beanie Babies that look like combinations of two animals; not that weird. DNAmy collects the same toys, but then she turns around and uses her knowledge of bio-engineering to make the living equivalent; very weird.
  • The Collector from Sushi Pack originally appeared as a connoisseur of fine art who somehow figured out how to animate the figures in paintings, but in his later appearances became a collector of just about anything, from spoons to hotel soap, and even information. In one episode, in fact, he attempts to collect the Sushi Pack.
  • Skulker wanted to add Danny Phantom to his collection of unusual ghosts.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children From Down The Lane collect toenails.

It's not "gross"... it's a hobby.

  • Ariel from The Little Mermaid salvages items crafted in the surface world, most of which are quite strange by merfolk standards (e.g. shoes).
  • Mayor Jeff from PB and J Otter collects toilet seat covers. A little too enthusiastically for comfort.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes gives us Beezy's collection of chewed gum.
  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy was once credited as a napkin collector.
    • In the episode "Fear and Loathing in Endsville" a truck driver is shown collecting toenails...but don't tell anyone he uses fingernails as a substitute at times.
  • On Invader Zim, Dib collects haunted Gummi bears, aside from his general assortment of paranormal stuff.
  • In a Simpsons Superhero Episode, Comic Book Guy was a villain called The Collector, who kidnapped celebrities and stored them in plastic wrap . He also had other various nerd collectibles, like a working dual lightsaber a la Star Wars the Phantom Menace.
  • In ThunderCats (2011)
  • In Arthur Buster collects interesting food which he keeps in a glass case in his room. His mother periodically throws it out before it starts to moulder too badly.


Other[edit | hide]

  • George Carlin, in a comic routine about losing things, made references to collections of things no one would really want: used bandages, or nude pictures of Ernest Borgnine.
  • British cartoonist/musician Gerard Hoffnung in a radio interview: "I like to collect various types of sauerkraut". Interviewer: "And what do you do with them?" Hoffnung: "That shouldn't be any concern of yours."
  • Pretty much the plot of the 'Alone' house at Howl-O-Scream.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • There used to be a museum in Alabama, USA called the Museum of Miscellanea. It had a collection like this, featuring a wide variety of oddities.
  • Dave Barry has one of these collections in real life. In his work as a humorist, he has collected the following bizarre objects.
  • Adam Savage is a real life example, he has even produced a realistic replica of the Maltese Falcon from the movie, as well as a dodo skeleton, and many many other things he's collected over the years, this was showcased in one of the get to know the cast better episodes of MythBusters.
    • And gorram it, these papers...
    • The Mythbusters themselves could be considered for this, given how many of their strange machines built in previous episodes are seen in future ones hanging from the ceiling or walls.
  • This Neatorama post catalogues many Real Life eccentric collectors and their collections. Highlights (lowlights?) include the collectors of belly button lint, toilet seats, airplane barf bags, and posters of fish.
  • Jeffrey Rowland, the creator of Overcompensating is an avid collector of vintage Admiral Ackbar figurines.
  • The Ripley's Believe It or Not! family of museums and associated books and shows are such collections. The museum's oddities include diseased skeletons, weird art, torture implements, sideshow hoaxes and plenty of other randomness.
  • Charles Addams, creator of The Addams Family collected macabre objects, like torture devices and execution implements, mostly sent by fans.
  • The new TLC show called My Crazy Obsession features weird collections. The first episode featured a couple with the largest collection of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, with over 5000 dolls. Each doll has its own name and personality, and they even built 6000 sq. ft of space to put them in. Other collections featured include wigs and Mickey Mouse memorabilia.
  • Alex Jordan, architect and builder of The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The House features everything from pipe organs (yes, pipe organs) to old, cast-iron mechanical banks to miniature circuses.