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, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly 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.
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 PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, 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 the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
There's been a revival of late when it comes to play, with retro being all the rage. Mego is back in Target, the Transformers are taking on their G1 look in Bumblebee and between Super 7 and Funko, the chunky, 5.5" action figures from the era of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe have been making a comeback. For the latter, Funko's Savage World has been a big deal - most recently presenting both Horror Icons and Thundercats in the beefy style. Today things get weird, with the confirmation of some rumors from a few months back as Funko, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have announced the launch of DC Primal Age - a full collection of toys featuring retro-style barbarian fantasy-themed Super Heroes and Super-Villains from the DC universe. The inaugural line will be available for purchase starting October 5, 2018 on Amazon.com through a dedicated DC Primal Age storefront.
This past weekend, Marvel Rising hit the scene in a big way with the feature-length Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors airing on Disney Channel and Disney XD, following the successful Marvel Rising: Initiation shorts and being joined by a companion line of new merchandise and toys from Hasbro. With fans already clamoring for more, Marvel Entertainment announced two new animated specials Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts and Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron. But that's not all... news is coming in from New York Comic-Con (NYCC) that Marvel Rising will be coming to comic books in 2019. Having seen how quickly The Rock Daughters™ have connected with it, I think all new Disney projects need to launch alongside a pop song from Dove Cameron (my girls just keep singing "Born Ready")...
If you happened to catch the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, you may have seen Kylo Ren Adam Driver as a middle-aged dad getting his first taste of the massively-popular FORTNITE. Playing alongside a pair of 15-year-olds (Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney), Driver proudly alerts the others that his 11-year-old son loves the game, but it's his first time jumping into the Battle Royale. My own confession: despite covering FORTNITE for ages, I just downloaded it to my Xbox One a few weeks ago, somehow getting the "Victory Royale" twice within my first few matches. Somewhat creepily, one of the kids in my squad said he was 9-years-old (same as my oldest daughter) as he asked me if I "know about building stuff." The kids may have their FORTNITE, but they're always amazed when I tear them up while playing Street Fighter II. Check out the sketch below!
Much like the constant debate on whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie (it is), there's a frequent clash over whether Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or a Christmas movie (it's both). For two-and-a-half decades, the debate has raged on, but in the end audiences are still just happy to enjoy the cross-holiday adventures of Jack Skellington whenever they'd like. I've always found myself to be quite attached to Jack as The Pumpkin King (I'm an October child from the largest pumpkin-producing state in the nation), and his songs have always struck an important chord. That said, The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of those films that I've owned over and over again, from VHS to DVD to 20th Anniversary Blu-ray and now the 25th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition. Indeed, despite the music of the film being of such massive importance, a sing-along version for in-home viewing has just now become available.
The idea of a movie about former Vice President Dick Cheney might not sit well with some. He's a polarizing figure - but perhaps one whose full story has yet to be told. If such a film didn't seem appealing, the trailer for VICE just might change your mind. The unexpectedly badass trailer shows off some impressive makeup and performances that we're likely to be hearing about for some time to come. From Director Adam McKay (Talladega Nights), VICE stars Christian Bale (Dick Cheney), Amy Adams (Lynne Cheney), Steve Carrell (Donal Rumsfeld), Sam Rockwell (George W. Bush), Jesse Plemons, Alison Pill (Mary Cheney), Lily Rabe (Liz Cheney), Tyler Perry (Colin Powell), Justin Kirk (Scooter Libby), LisaGay Hamilton (Condoleezza Rice), Shea Whigham (Wayne Vincent) and Eddie Marsan (Paul Wolfovitz).
Updated 10:51pm with more details at the end of the article...
Less than 24 hours before the official start of The Toy Association's annual Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, court filings revealed that the long-awaited Intellectual Property Auction for Toys "R" Us had been cancelled. Reported on here (now updated with a statement from the company), the new chapter in the long saga of the TRU closure would see a new company rise from Geoffrey, LLC under control of the lenders. Having been rumored for months, one question raised is how long ago in the bankruptcy process were the lenders planning to relaunch the company themselves rather than sell the assets? Backing-up to the June 29th final closure of the remaining Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us locations in the United States, there were some cryptic messages posted on the TRU social accounts using the hashtag "#TRUBeContinued..." inviting followers to "stay tuned for news and information on the next chapter for Geoffrey and the iconic TRU brands." While the Facebook page has been deactivated and the Instagram account has gone dormant, someone recently did a clean-up on the TRU Twitter account, deleting all the liquidation posts and tacky video ads going back to March 9th - a message thanking customers for their support. So why is the June 29th date so important? Because on June 20th, just nine days prior to the doors being closed, Geoffrey, LLC filed for a trademark on a new name: Geoffrey's Toy Box. And just who is exhibiting in Booth #13-3229 at the Fall Toy Preview? Geoffrey's Toy Box.