The PopCult Toybox
Last week, World of EPI (Entertainment, Publishing and Inspiration), the leading multicultural toy manufacturer, announced a collaboration with Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing to create fashion dolls, collectible figurines and accessories for the new Disney+ series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder and the upcoming Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series on Disney Channel. These will be the first toys based on either cartoon property.
This is also, I believe, the first time that World of EPI has entered into a licensing arrangement, and it’s a real coup for this toy company that specializes in ethnically diverse dolls, plush and collectibles. These are the folks who make Fresh Dolls and The Fresh Squad, and I’ve been a fan for a long time. I wrote about World of EPI and it’s founder, Dr. Lisa Williams, late last year, and this is a pretty huge deal for them. I’m sure that, had the International Toy Fair in New York happened this year, this would have been one of the high-profile announcments.
World of EPI will create a series of 10” fashion dolls with rooted hair, collectible figurines, poseable plush, role play accessories and more based on the ethnically diverse characters of The Proud Family and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Each doll and figurine will exemplify the distinct characteristics of each character, and celebrate diversity, self-love and empowerment.
“It speaks volumes that Disney has collaborated with us on these high-profile projects,” said Dr. Lisa Williams, founder of World of EPI. “Our mission is to create dolls so children of all ethnicities and colors can grow up seeing a true representation of their beauty. What a dream to create licensed dolls and toys for these powerhouses Disney and Marvel properties. Together we’re changing how Black and brown children everywhere embrace their own beauty and build their confidence.”
The World of EPI is committed to authentic representation to help children see their true beauty and brilliance. The company creates unique sculpts that are true pieces of art, created to empower all kids. The characters have beautiful full lips, custom-blended skin tones and more representative articulated bodies. The collections feature hair textures and styles ranging from afro, afro puffs, wavy, braids and straight. Everything is mindfully and intentionally done to represent the beauty in multicultural children.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, the highly-anticipated revival of the groundbreaking Disney Channel series, The Proud Family, is set to debut February 23 on Disney+. The upcoming series will pick up the story of its central character, Penny Proud, and include her madcap family: parents Oscar and Trudy, twin siblings BeBe and CeCe, and grandmother Suga Mama (and Puff!). Cast members reprising their roles are: Kyla Pratt as Penny Proud, Tommy Davidson as Oscar Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, JoMarie Payton as Suga Mama and Cedric the Entertainer as Uncle Bobby. From Disney Television Animation, the series is executive-produced by Bruce W. Smith and Ralph Farquhar, both of whom led the original series.
Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, based on Marvel’s hit comic books, follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette (voiced by Diamond White) and her 10-ton T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur (voiced by Fred Tatasciore). After Lunella accidentally brings Devil Dinosaur into present-day New York City via a time vortex, the duo works together to protect the city’s Lower East Side from danger. From Disney Television Animation, the series is executive produced by Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland’s Cinema Gypsy Productions and Emmy Award-winner Steve Loter. Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur premieres Summer 2022 on Disney Channel. This is a real treat for comic fans because Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is an updated revival of concepts created by Jack Kirby over forty years ago.
In addition to Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, more Marvel products are in development from World of EPI. We will keep you posted on what those are as soon as possible.