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By day, Jarrod Atkinson works as a nursing director in a local hospital; however, he is also a Wonder Woman collector.

Many health-care providers are seen as superheroes nowadays. However, Jarrod Atkinson, who is a master’s-level trained nurse and director of critical care services and patient support at Unity Hospital in Rochester, New York, collects superhero paraphernalia, specifically, only of the character Wonder Woman, which started in a comic book series in 1941.

In fact, he has filled an entire room of his home in Greece, New York, with Wonder Woman figurines, posters, dolls, trinkets, mugs, and other items as a testament to a collecting hobby spanning 20 years.

“I was able to watch the Lynda Carter version of Wonder Woman,” Atkinson said about the live action television series that ran from 1976 to 1979 and starred the superhero character. “I’ve liked what she stood for: strength, justice and peace.”

To keep abreast of Wonder Women collecting trends, he belongs to a Facebook group of collectors. Most of the members are women.

“People ask why I like her,” he said. “I like what she stands for and her symbolism and empowerment.”

He likes that the Wonder Woman character brandishes a “lasso of truth,” for peace, and can deflect bullets with her bulletproof bracelets.

Atkinson began his collecting hobby as a teen, purchasing low-cost trinkets bearing Wonder Woman’s likeness. Some collectors prefer only the original Wonder Woman items; however, not Atkinson. In addition to the early merchandise, he also collects items from the more recent Wonder Woman movies — “Wonder Woman” (2017) and “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020), both starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, who goes by the name Diana Prince, her secret identity, in the series.

Atkinson estimates that he owns more than 1,000 Wonder Woman collectibles between his home collection and the overflow in his office at work, which includes a few duplicates bestowed on him by family and friends.

“The hard thing about giving me Wonder Woman items is that I pretty much already have it,” Atkinson said.

Most of his items are not very expensive. However, some Wonder Woman items can be $1,500 to $2,000. Atkinson shops on eBay to purchase merchandise and also uses the eBay website to estimate the prices of older items. He also shops on Amazon.com and in gift shops.

He likes collecting a superhero who is “off the beaten path,” he said. “You can find Batman, Superman, but not Wonder Woman as much.”

An Enduring Hobby

He does not understand the lack of popularity for Wonder Woman, but speculates that perhaps it is because she is a female superhero and most genres of superheroes focus on male characters.

Atkinson expects that since 2021 is the raven-haired hero’s 80th anniversary, the value of Wonder Woman items may increase. The release of the recent film, “Wonder Woman 1984,” could also influence the value of Wonder Woman items, he said.

Some of his favorite items include a Barbie doll based on the most recent Wonder Woman movie. The doll is packaged with a male doll based upon Steve Trevor, a character who is Diana Prince’s romantic interest.

Like most collectors of action figures, toys and dolls, Atkinson keeps his purchases in their original packages, unopened.

“It’s to preserve their value,” he said. “And you don’t play with the statues.”

As he has no children, there’s little danger of curious youngsters spoiling his collectibles with play. While he admitted he could pay off his student loans or mortgage by selling all of his Wonder Woman items, he said, “I like collecting too much.”

He would really like to find a ceramic telephone of Wonder Woman, made in the 1970s, but said that it is “so hard to find.”

He has heard of them selling for as much as $1,700 because of their rarity.

Atkinson advises collectors to “start small,” he said. “When I was younger and started, I didn’t have the financial resources to have a big collection, so I bought things like a stamp and notebook. As I got older, my collecting changed as I was able to get more financially into it. It doesn’t have to be over the top.”

“Treasure the pieces,” he said. “It’s part of who you are and makes up the fabric of you. Over the past year, it’s been so good to go into the room holding my collection and de-stress. I can look at the character and center myself.”

The History of Wonder Woman

So, who dreamed up Wonder Woman 80 years ago? Here’s the story, according to www.dccomics.com:

Created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who was a pioneer in the area of lie detection, Wonder Woman was conceived as a new type of superhero who used wisdom and compassion, not just her fists, to triumph over evil.

According to the story, the character of Diana Prince is born and raised on an island called Themyscira, where she is the immortal daughter of the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta. After training to be the ultimate warrior, she chooses to leave her paradise island home and join the world of mortals, where she becomes a champion for justice and equality as superhero Wonder Woman. She was imbued by the gods with powers, including super-strength, and gifted with a lasso that compels anyone bound by it to tell the truth. Wonder Woman is the only female comic book character to have her own stories continuously published for the past three-plus-quarters of a century.

Deborah Jeanne Sergeant is a freelance writer in central New York.

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