If you read my brother in battle Kazekage's Witless Prattle (and if not, why not?), you know that he has been going through the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe one issue at a time for our perverse amusement. This is doubly amusing for me, since I'm the guy who sent him a full 15 issue run of the thing not long ago. You can read those entries under the "Marvel Handbook" tag right here if you are so inclined. Trust me, it's fun.
Oh, perhaps I should mention that I have guest-written one of these summaries. That would be this one:
ELDERS OF THE UNIVERSE--While these write-ups have done an excellent job of beating these guys with a lead pipe in their individual entries, I just want to point out how impressed I am that SOMEONE decided to gather together a bunch of second-rate characters and make them into a "race" hinged on the high concept that they are eccentric old men...FROM SPACE. What I'm trying to say is that we were this close to seeing Howard Hughes as a cosmic villain dubbed "The Hider".
The more I think about it, the more fascinated I am that the Elders of the Universe exist as a collective at all. I am pretty sure that was not the original intent for the earliest characters grouped under that label. Heck, I haven't really been able to figure out who declared them "the Elders of the Universe" at all! But yes, the high concept is that 1) they are very old and 2) they bring new meaning to the word "obsession" in a way that even the band Animotion couldn't have imagined.
Think I'm kidding? We'll take a look at each individual Elder covered in that Handbook entry. I'm waving off discussing any further members, since eventually it got to the point that they were making up characters just to BE Elders. That sort of diminishes the value of them as a bizarre mishmash of random super codgers.
COLLECTOR - Whereas he started out small, with coins, stamps and the odd superhero team, his mania has reached the point where he now "collects" empty milk jugs and newspaper clippings of celebrity birthday lists.
GRANDMASTER - He's the guy who shows up and always wants to play dominoes, bridge, or (*shudder*) cribbage. Feared throughout the Space VFW.
GARDNER - The one who just wants to tend to his plants, so leave him alone already. Why isn't his weapon a space hose? And you kids, get off his lawn!
POSSESSOR - This clown didn't even rate an individual entry, which is a worse showing than the Gardner. This leads me to the conclusion that even the other Elders try to avoid him. He probably only "possesses" the center of the road as he creeps along at a leisurely 15 miles per hour.
CONTEMPLATOR - He's the one in the group who is always trying to "figure it out", through whatever belief system he discovered in the AARP (Alien Association of Retired Persons) bulletin. Either that, or as Lewis sagely pointed out, the one in adult diapers.
CHAMPION - The workout freak, who insists you're never too old to be in great shape. He'd be even more annoying if everyone wasn't positive he was compensating for something. They just don't want to know what it is, but the empty Viagra bottle the Gardner found in his tulips is probably a clue.
That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about the Elders of the Universe.