A Call to Action (Figures): I Am Elemental
This week, I’ve reviewed I Am Elemental’s Persistence action figure, and in the opening of the review I talked a little bit about how great I think the project is, and I’m going to elaborate on that here.
First off, the genesis of I Am Elemental is a great story. Julie Kerwin, co-owner of Club Rock Records, and writer, decided to do something about gender inequality in toys. I have trouble getting off the couch to pan fry a hot dog when I decide I want one. Julie Kerwin decided that she wanted her own toy line and a year later she had one. She got contributions from all fifty states and from six different continents (it would have been seven but everyone knows how stingy Antarcticns are) on Kickstarter, proving that people around the world, collectors and non-collectors, are fired up about these toys.
She didn’t stop there. She developed an amazing line of figures that taught important values, not just to girls, but to all of us. She didn’t succumb to the easy temptation to make a male figure the bad guy, because these toys are about equality. Simply put: these figures are an amazing advancement in the culture of action figures. The big toy companies need to look at these figures as a sign of what’s going to be selling in the next five years, and what they need to invest in developing.
Of course, I don’t agree with every part of the line. I feel like the seven elements that go into Courage, don’t really make sense. Industry and Enthusiasm, while good traits to teach, aren’t a part of Courage, as I conceptualize it. Although, I think Fear being a part of Courage was a brilliant move. Without Fear, there’s no catalyst to bring courage about.
I also don’t like the decision to not have a story or mythology behind the figures. What I’ve observed is that lines without stories behind them don’t do as well, and I want I Am Elemental to be a smash success. G.I. Joe didn’t start with a storyline too, but it eventually it came around and had the animated show, comics, and the God-awful live-action movies. It turns out, I found in their FAQ, that a story is on it’s way so we should all be excited about that.
My criticisms are minor. This is an amazing set of toys. Girls need role models with healthy bodies, that embody admirable qualities, and I Am Elemental is the only action figure on the market that does that. It’s important for us, as collectors and people, to support this line of toys. No other figures are making the world a better place in this way. And that deserves all the support it can get.
A Call to Action (Figures) is a weekly column published on Wednesdays, chronicling my rants and raves about all things action figure. Next week I’ll be talking about manufacturers writing misleading things on packaging.