Toy Fair 2016: IAmElemental Bestows Wisdom On Its Second Series
Last year, IAmElemental burst onto the scene with its empowering line of action figures designed specifically to address the lack of female figures on shelves. Successfully kickstarted in 2014, the first line was themed around Courage, and featured heroes like Bravery, Honesty and Persistence, all of which were elements based around the "muse," Joan of Arc. The carefully-curated set was aesthetically appealing, undeniably imaginative, and showed that there are still plenty of great ideas for unique action figures if you've got the right inspiration.
We've known Wisdom would be the 2016 follow-up series to Courage, but at this year's Toy Fair, we got our first official look at the latest elemental warriors. The second line's muse is Hypatia, a Greek mathematician who was also a philosopher, astronomer and was head of the Neoplatonic school in great city of Alexandria. Or as IAmElemental's creator, Julie Kerwin, lovingly refers to her, "a STEM superstar before STEM existed."
Like the Courage wave, Wisdom has some stellar design work. All of the core figures have new elements to interpret, such as Creativity, whose crossbow is used to hunt down ideas, or Logic, who has sharp, geometric armor to go with her symmetrical hair cut. Great care has been put into the creation of these new, powerful ladies. Though IAmElemental is careful not to give these characters too much backstory (you are supposed to be the driving force of the world these characters live in), all seven have just enough details built into their character to provide great jumping-off points.
My personal favorite for the upcoming wave is Ingenuity, who takes some of her inspiration from the cephalopod. She's the figure that comes with a tentacle accessory. To me, she looked a tad out of place among peers like Oblivion, whose visor blinds her to the world around her. Kerwin then asked if I'd ever seen a video of an octopus escaping a sealed jar, adding that its problem-solving abilities made it the perfect thematic partner for Ingenuity. That concept carries through to Ingenuity's hairstyle as well, which features thick braids pulled tight against her head. It's small touches like that you see across the entire series that show just how much care and attention is being put into every aspect of the figures.
The Wisdom wave is due to start arriving this summer, and IAmElemental has learned a lot from the first go 'round. Instead of mystery packs for individual figures, each will now come on a small blister card, with the characters fully visible. There will also be simple stands included, which feature pegs to help pose the figures out of the package. Right now, you can actually even get some stands if you use the online 3D printing service Shapeways. Special branded goods, including bases and wing accessories, have been posted to the marketplace as another way to evolve the line for new and existing fans.
IAmElemental is a series that thrives on its creative concepts, and it shows no signs of slowing any time soon. Maintaining a new IP in a marketplace filled with licensed properties and entrenched concepts with massive marketing budgets is certainly a challenge, but it's easy to see why so many fans have flocked to IAmElemental's clever and inspiring figures.