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James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.

For a character that first hit screens more than 40 years ago, it's interesting to note just how hard it is to get the look of Chewbacca just right. Licensees have now had four decades to work on their Chewie products, yet in certain categories, nailing the proper look of the STAR WARS galaxy's most famous Wookiee is still a real problem. In fairness, any character or creature with full-body hair is challenging to pull-off, but I'd argue that the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon deserves a lot more care than he gets. That said, here's a look at an assortment of different "Chewbacca" costumes that are available for purchase right now. From 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE to 2017's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, Chewie's had a variety of looks (and we may see a different one in Ron Howard's Untitled Han Solo Movie next year), but most of these look nothing like the Porg's beloved friend. 

I despise Snapchat on many levels, particularly in that it managed to convince millions of people that vertical video is acceptable. This is 100% false, and if video is presented in any format other than landscape (widescreen) or square (like an old tv), that is incorrect. Most folks wouldn't hang their television vertically because tall-and-skinny video is painful to watch. But, in an effort to capture the tainted eyes of those millions, Facebook and Instagram also went vertical via "stories," solidifying their Snapchat clones with filters as well. Why am I ranting about this again, you ask? Because THE DARKNESS has released a new music video for "Southbound Trains," and unfortunately it's done in a snapchat style... which means they've either got black bars on the sides, or have to place multiple vertical images next to each other to fill-out the properly-configured widescreen player. I love THE DARKNESS, but this is just annoying.

Tribute tours have become big business in recent years, with artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Ronnie James Dio being celebrated in new productions. Celebrating David Bowie is one of the newer ones, and after a series of shows this year, they've announced a Celebrating David Bowie Tour for 2018, with dates announced for Europe and North America. "What might a David Bowie 2018 tour setlist consist of?" That's one of the questions about to be answered as Celebrating David Bowie keeps David's music alive with musicians who worked closely with him throughout his career and other top musicians greatly influenced by him. 

As a guy whose earliest years were well-documents on his parents' Super 8mm camera (which I'd later use for "filmmaking" purposes), I will forever hold a place in my heart for Kodak, and as the film company continues to reinvent itself in both film and digital worlds, today comes news of a partnership that will see some vibrant Kodak imagery come back into the toy department this fall.  Cra-Z-Art has entered into a strategic brand licensing agreement with Eastman Kodak Company to produce and distribute puzzles in the U.S. The puzzles will feature beautiful photo imagery and be available in various size piece counts from 100 to 2000. Those puzzles will be Made in the USA.

Modern film marketing has really ruined the element of surprise for the audience. It's important to remember that back in the 80s, you could just show a paw sticking out of gift box and that was the poster for GREMLINS - they didn't have to reveal the awesomeness of the creatures before audiences were in theater seats. Now, audiences are pretty much handed everything, and in the case of BETTER WATCH OUT, the film has a twist that is straight-up presented right there in all of the marketing. In fact, it's built around it, and as a moviegoer, it would've been much cooler to see the change unfold for the first time on-screen. Alas, a new trailer recently arrived for the new holiday film BETTER WATCH OUT (a holiday-comedy horror-hybrid) that's not only probably NSFW (unless you work somewhere cool), and definitely not for kids. It does look fun, though - almost a "Home Alone" for the days we live in. Check this out!

When I first heard that Funko would be tackling the 1966 Batman license with a new set of 3.75" action figures, I'd imagined an approach on-par with the Reaction line that they'd worked on with Super7 for awhile. Having only glanced at the pictures in passing, the packaging artwork registered, and again I was thinking that these were going to be in the vintage Kenner style - "5POA" as some call it, with toys designed as they would've been in decades past. I would've dug that on its own, but shame on me for not noticing how detailed the line really is, with super-articulated figures that you have to see for yourself (like me) to truly appreciate. We have a few of these, and I can tell you that this is one cool line.

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