Not only have I met a lot of cool people with a similar passion for Wonder Woman, I've met a bunch of kind, intersecting people with hearts as big and golden as Wonder Woman herself, which is no surprise as most Wonder Woman fans tend to embody the goodness and truth that Diana represents. I thought it would be fun to "turn the camera around" and give some limelight to some of those fine people: a little Wonder Woman Wednesday Superfan Spotlight. This week we give you Phillip Urso, Jr. I met him in a Wonder Woman Collectors group, and what a collection he has. It certainly puts mine to shame. But he'll tell you more about that in our little chat.
Michael Fitzgerald Troy: Tell us about yourself and your relationship with Wonder Woman.
Philip J. Urso, Jr.: I’m an Air Force brat and former thespian (although nobody stops being one completely).
I don’t remember a time in my life where I DIDN’T know who Wonder Woman was…sadly, this is not the case for many who grew up in the '90s / early 2000s. From the time Superfriends was cancelled in 1986 to when Justice League Unlimited debuted in 2001, the only way to get any Wonder Woman exposure was to read the comics.
I always remember there being a live action WW as a little kid. I moved from South Carolina to Wiesbaden, Germany, in summer of 1976 and while I didn’t remember specifics about the show, I must have been present when my parents watched the few episodes that had aired by then. Lynda Carter was also all over every teen magazine you could name at the time. Superfriends didn’t air in Germany while I lived there until Summer of 1980, but repeats of Wonder Woman finally did air last year there, so I was much more familiar with Lynda Carter's iconic portrayal by the time I was 9. I also used to read the Superfriends comics (which were very underrated IMO), so when we moved back to the States and I realized there was a TV show I could watch, I was like a kid in a candy store. .
MFT: Where are you from and what do you do?
PJU: I live in Alexandria, VA, outside Washington, D.C. (suitable for a fan of WW...lol). I work for in sales (administrative side) for a security systems company.
MFT: When did your fandom begin, and how did it come about?
PJU: My primary exposure to WW once we returned to the US (outside Superfriends) was reading JLA comics during the Satellite years and random issues here and there of her main book. I started to read her comic monthly during her most significant editorial change after Crisis on Infinite Earths. I have since collected pretty much every issue of all of her ongoing series from 1986 on and have back issues of her original series starting around 175 and going all the way to 329, the final issue. Favorite storylines are, of course, the 12 labors from the Bronze Age, the debut of Debbie Domaine as the second Cheetah, the Adjudicator 3-parter, her first 24 issues of the Perez series (beautifully drawn and written), and then the Byrne and Jimenez runs. I haven’t read much of Rebirth yet, but I hear good things about it and it looks very promising.
MFT: Apparently, you have quite the WW collection. How many pieces would you estimate you own?
PJU: I didn’t really start my collection of statues, figures, artwork, etc.…until I was in my early 30s and it was just a MILD hobby then. It didn’t get quite as active until several years later and was finally living alone for the first time in my entire life. Then once I went from being a renter to homeowner it got even MORE INTENSE. I have roughly 100 statues, collectibles, figurines, and such. Including artwork, linen, and décor for my guest room and living room, you can add at least 100 more items on top of that.
MFT: What are some of the more valuable or sentimental pieces in your collection.
PJU: Any of the Lynda Carter items. The CENTERPIECE of my collection and my pride and joy is the running statue many have seen made by Golden Bliss Art Gallery. Possibly the best likeness to Lynda I have ever seen but unfortunately only sold in limited numbers (only 30 were made). I have purchased a couple custom-made granite statues of Lynda in her Season 1 costume and diving suit. The mass distributed ones thus far sadly don’t do her any sort of justice, but here’s to hoping the new Tweeterhead release will! I also recently purchased a New 52 thirteen-inch-tall statue made by Ikon Collectibles from a seller in Australia off eBay. It’s very lovely and already a favorite of mine. I tend to like the limited release or hard-to-get ones for some reason! Makes me feel special or privileged!
MFT: What are your thoughts on the forthcoming Wonder Woman live action film?
PJU: I’m very excited and have nothing but good feelings about it. The previews look incredible, and I have no doubt Gal Gadot will do the character justice. (There goes that word again…coincidence?) When there were mutterings online about Gina Carano being a front runner, I wasn’t too excited and then watching her in Fast and Furious 6 with Gal I said to a friend of mine how Gina was attractive but didn’t seem like WW to me. Then, Gal appeared in a scene and I said…SHE’D BE BETTER! Two months later, she was cast. I was very happy despite all the initial naysaying. I think she will bring a nicely needed update to the character in live action and has already made a great start with her “Wondrous” debut in Batman V Superman. I know nobody will be Lynda Carter but nobody will be Christopher Reeve or Adam West…..respect the past but embrace the future - something we all should think about. Gal will make her mark and make it well and after meeting her in person (Thank, Hera!), I’m more excited than ever to see the flick! (And I will be seeing it at least once a day for the entire opening weekend). Nobody stops being one completely.
Thanks, Philip! Well, that's it for our Superfan Spotlight! Make sure you check out the "I Am Wonder Fan" Facebook Page and "like" and share your superfan story. And make sure to return next week for another exciting Wonder Woman Wednesday!