SPOTLIGHT: THE COLLECTION OF CHRIS COOLEY

Welcome to the DCCollectors collection spotlight, where we showcase one of your DC-themed collections! Whether it is a fan just starting out with a small collection, to some of the largest collections in the world, there is always something you can learn from looking at other’s collections. You might find a new way to display something, or maybe even see something you did not know existed!

Today’s focus is on the collection of Chris Cooley. Chris AKA Wonderboy, has one of the best Wonder Woman collection’s around. His Wonder Woman themed home theater is the stuff of dreams! You can tell by looking at his collection that his love for the character knows no bounds!

Check out more about Chris’s collection below!

DCCollectors: How did you get into collecting Wonder Woman merchandise and what was your first Wonder Woman toy/collectible?

Chris Cooley: Why Wonder Woman is a question I get a lot. She was such a huge part of my childhood, on Christmas morning 1978, I was four years old and inadvertently opened a gift that was meant for my sister. It was a Lynda Carter Mego doll from the TV Show. Once I opened it though, she was MINE.

I loved that doll and played with her everyday, any photo of me as a small kid, I have that doll in my hands. I still have her today and it’s pretty beat up, but it was my first and still my favorite toy.

Chris playing with his Wonder Woman MEGO doll as a child.
Chris playing with his Wonder Woman MEGO doll as a child.

When I was little my parents would throw big birthday parties for me and my brother and sisters. We’d often have a magician, or a clown, or a superhero. We had Spider-Man, Batman etc, but every single year on my birthday I spent the majority of my day running to the door EVERY TIME the doorbell rang hoping and praying for Wonder Woman to be standing there.

We lived just outside of Washington DC, where the TV show was set, so I didn’t really see how it would be that hard for her to stop by, since the IADC building was just a few miles away (I was a kid, LOL). Despite the big birthday parties, I grew up in a dysfunctional family & Wonder Woman was always the one I could go to to escape whatever bad situation or family drama was going on. She was always there for me to get me through anything. As cheesy as it may seem, I learned so much from Lynda Carter’s portrayal of her about honesty, truth, fairness, love, respecting others and myself. For me, Wonder Woman is ,was, and will always be the ultimate role model. 

DCCollectors: How many pieces are in your collection? 

Chris CooleyI’ve never actually counted individual pieces. A lot of my collection can’t be displayed, as big as my theater is, it’s still not big enough to show everything at once. I packed all my seasonal items I have to rotate them out during the year. I have cases and cases of holiday themed items, from Valentine’s items, Halloween costumes & collectibles, and especially Christmas decor. It would be impossible to display everything and get an accurate count. It does make it fun though, I get to rotate items out, redecorate and see and appreciate new items throughout the year.

DCCollectors: If you could only choose one item to keep, which one would it be and why?

Chris CooleyHonestly, it’s my tattoos of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and her autograph that she signed on my arm. Other fans may have Lynda tattoos, but I’m the only one with the autograph! She told me that I’m the ‘one & only’ fan she would do that for, and she’s refused to sign anyone else’s skin since! 

Chris Cooley and Lynda Carter
Chris Cooley and Lynda Carter

DCCollectors: If price did not matter, what is the one Wonder Woman item that you want to add to your collection?

Chris CooleyAnything from the TV show would be the most meaningful to me, maybe a set of bracelets that were used or any costume or props would hands down be the most valuable to me. There’s also a 19 inch telephone that came out by ‘Microcummunications’ back in 1979 that keeps eluding me. It’s one of my ‘holy grail’ items, even Lynda has one on her desk. 

DCCollectors: Tell me a bit about the life size Lynda Carter Wonder Woman statue, and how you got it.

Chris CooleyShe came to me all the way from the Philippines! Sadly she didn’t make the long journey in one piece, her left shoulder and back was pretty badly damaged in shipping, luckily though when she’s wearing her cape you can’t see it.

There are many online groups for comic fans and websites for Wonder Woman collecting, and about a decade ago I started following one religiously that cataloged and detailed Wonder Woman items over the years. It was run by a great guy (and now friend) in Australia! His website has since evolved into a small private facebook group with only 400 members, and we’re a pretty tight knit group of fellow collectors who share a passion for Wonder Woman and many of us have become friends in real life over the past seven years.

We always share new and old finds, occasionally we trade items, and because we’re spread out, not just all over America, but literally all over the globe, we help each other track down hard to find items and ship things to each other from all over the place. That’s how I found Dennis Villarosa and Matsunaga Tekiko at Finet Statues! He is an incredible sculptor and artist who made this Lynda Carter statue for me (along with a few other smaller ones!) I’m very grateful to be a part of our little family of collectors. My collection would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for them. 

DCCollectors: I have never seen the Wonder Woman board game. Where did you find that, and what year is it from?

Chris CooleyThere are actually quite a few Wonder Woman board games out there. The 1973 game called “Wonder Woman Saves The Amazonians” is one of two that I featured in the video of my collection because I love the artwork on the game board. There is also another one from 1978 that I love because it has great artwork on the box, but nothing too exciting going on inside unfortunately. 

DCCollectors: What piece of advice do you have for those just starting their collections?

Chris CooleyENJOY IT! Don’t get so caught up in what things are valued at to other people, your collection is your own and whatever personal value it has to you far outweighs any monetary value you think it may be worth someday. If it makes you happy, open the box! Play with your toys and get the most out of them for yourself. The vast majority of collectibles aren’t going to substantially increase in value anyway, so get the most out of it. My advice, wear the tiara! Put on your bracelets! 

Chris Sporting His Wonder Woman Bracelets
Chris Sporting His Wonder Woman Bracelets

DCCollectors: Do you have an interesting story regarding the collection, such as meeting someone famous while shopping for your toys, or a super deal you got on something?

Chris Cooley: May 3, 2007, it was my birthday and the 1st (of many) times of meeting Lynda Carter. It was her cabaret debut in San Francisco. She had just begun to revive her music career after a very long hiatus. I knew the show was at a small venue and this was before paid ‘meet and greets’ were a thing. I spoke with someone at the door and showed them the portrait tattoo I have of Lynda, she then introduced me to Lynda’s manager who told me to come find him after the show. I did and he brought me into the green room where there were about 15 other people waiting to catch a glimpse of her.

She came out of her dressing room and greeted me right away. She hugged me multiple times as we chatted, she was so warm and sweet, it almost seemed like she was more excited to meet me then I was to meet her.

She autographed my arm (which I immediately had tattooed on) and unfortunately told everyone else in the room that was all of her time, before she snuck back into her dressing room. Our meeting was recorded by another fan, but everyone including the girl with the video camera was pretty upset with me for monopolizing all of her time. I have never seen the video, but It was an experience I will always cherish and which actually led to many more meetings with her!

I’ve seen every concert tour she has done since then, one of which was even filmed for Oprah Winfrey network’s TV show ‘Where Are They Now”. I was interviewed for the program and they showed clips of Lynda and myself, one in particular had her autographing a poster for me and I told her while she was signing things I also had some adoption papers for her. She had a good laugh at that! 

This was the first time that she remembered me by name and I freaked out a little. I was the first to have her tattooed on me and tattooed the autograph. She gets a kick out of it every time she sees me. She’s even mentioned me in interviews with the Washington Post, The New York Times, and on Access Hollywood.

Chris Cooley and Lynda Carter
Chris Cooley and Lynda Carter

When I told people she was talking about me no one believed me so when I saw her again in May of 2014 in Palm Springs for her ‘Walk of Stars’ dedication, she in fact confirmed on video that it was me she was talking about. She then challenged myself and a few other fans to a spin off. Not exactly something I was planning on doing, but when Wonder Woman herself asks you to spin for her, YOU SPIN! It ended up turning into a huge game and she made all of us spin for her, we had a blast and I took a great selfie that hangs up right behind my bar! 

Check out a gallery of Chris’s collection below.

Check out this nice video Chris made of his Wonder Woman collection.

If you would like to share your collection with DCCollectors’ readers, please visit the Contact Us page, and drop me a line! I would love to feature your DC toy collection here at DCCollectors.com!

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