One of my favorite toy lines from last year was IAmElemental, the female centric (and female positive) super hero action figure series, whose characters embody the aspects of Courage. Each hero features her own super power, as well as unique accessories, face sculpts and hairstyles, and they strike a truly dynamic pose on their own or assembled as a team.
In the male-dominated world of action figures, representation like this– a team of strong female characters with realistic body proportions– is a true breath of fresh air… and even better, the IAmElemental figures not only feature a great core concept but some of the best quality and overall design I have seen from toys in this scale in a long time.
I was glad to catch up with the IAmElemental team at Toy Fair, as they attempt to reach a wider audience for the first series of figures, as well as their debut 6″ scale Core Power Series figure, Courage. The new scale comes with some obvious benefits, as Courage features more sculpted detail and articulation than her smaller allies, while retaining the same design traits that make these characters so unique.
Courage will be available later this year, and features a cool energy sword, her own larger sized shield, and a removable helmet. This all comes together to make her the ultimate representative of what this series is all about, a stylistic nod to both the IAmElemental heroes and their thematic inspiration, Joan of Arc. Based on the prototype on display, Courage will be just as awesome as the 4″ figures, and more than capable of giving other highly articulated super hero action figures a run for their money in the toy aisle.
As for the 4″ line, IAmElemental’s founder Julie Kerwin said they are learning as they begin planning for Series Two, which will focus on Wisdom in the same way Series One was all about Courage. The follow up line will fit within the larger world of IAmElemental… but they will very much be their own thing. The red tones of the Courage series will be replaced with a blue color pallet, and while Kerwin isn’t ready to reveal all the details just yet, she did hint that the new characters may not be the same sort of straightforward super heroes we’ve seen thus far.
Even the packaging is likely to change dramatically. While the blind bags of Series One were an interesting change of pace for an action figure line, the second series will likely change up that dynamic. Based on their market tests, Kerwin said her team discovered that girls preferred to see exactly what they were getting, meaning the blind bag approach wasn’t their preferred type of packaging. We’re already seeing that change with Courage, who is intended to come packed in a tube-shaped box with big, iconic images of the character adorning it.
The biggest surprise for Kerwin thus far was how wide reaching this toy line became so quickly. Not only is IAmElemental connecting with its target market of young girls, but boys are really liking these unique and cool characters, as well. Likewise, collectors have embraced the series in a big way, thanks to the high quality and interesting concepts these figures symbolize. Kerwin admits that the most unexpected fanbase for the series has been grandfathers, who are eager to give some empowering, cool and body positive toys to their granddaughters.
What will the future hold for IAmElemental? They knocked it out of the park with their debut line, and Kerwin and her team are clearly energized to keep pushing forward with Series Two and beyond. I’m happy to see they are already experimenting with additional articulation on their 6″ figure, something I hope they apply to future 4″ figures as well.
We know now that the Wisdom series will have a unique look and feel, and I am hopeful that with this change will come even more diversity, especially in terms of body sizes and shapes. That is one aspect Kerwin is definitely aware of, and something she plans to take into consideration as the toy line continues. The same can be said for introducing male characters into the collection… though she thinks that will likely be further down the road, since men are so represented pretty much elsewhere in the toy aisle.
When and if it does happen, the men will not be portrayed as victims, nor as villains… that’s not what IAmElemental is about. To paraphrase Kerwin’s words, the concept behind this line isn’t about making women better than men. It’s about making everyone equal.
If that’s not a great message for kids, parents and geeks alike, I don’t know what is.
Get a first look at IAmElemental’s Courage action figure below, and Click Here to order your Series One figures today.