I presented the concepts with the nagging feeling that I didn't really like any of them. None of them were bad, necessarily, but I wasn't excited to turn them into finals. I happened to mention I had a list of other ideas that I hadn't actually turned into concepts. One of them was the scientists as action figures.
I had discarded this idea because I was worried it wasn't related enough to the subject. But it's actually spot on in a number of ways. Also, when an illustration accompanies a large body of text that describes the subject matter in detail, the illustration need not be so literal. In fact, it might even be better if it strays from the subject slightly to create tension, draw attention, and avoid redundancy. This is just a theory, of course, but it seems to hold water.
Plus, the little boy in me (or maybe it's more accurate to say "the little boy that I am") had a field day with this idea. SO MUCH FUN. I was obsessed with G.I. Joes when I was little. This, in some ways, is my homage to my favorite toy of all time. Accessories, over the top packaging art, those fused together fingers that always formed a "c" shape to grip items, semi-articulateable limbs. Every bit of it was fun. Plus, the background elements were also fun. I was born in the 80s, but I still have a fascination with 1950s aesthetics. Simplicity and elegance are two possible culprits.