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, has contributed to The Toy Book and 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.

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This Thor: Ragnarok special feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Life of Dad.

As Bob Dylan famously sung, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” - and those words, recorded in 1963, are just as relevant now as they were back then. The early 60’s were tumultuous times, and in many ways the uncertainty of that era is reflected in today’s society as the waves of right and wrong continue to clash, reshaping our world in the process. It was from that same era that a powerful warrior came forth - The Mighty Thor first wielding his mythical hammer, Mjolnir in the pages of Marvel Comics’ Journey Into Mystery in the fall of 1962. It might not be immediately recognizable on the surface, but the tales of Thor have much to do with an underlying theme of family, and a parent’s desire to raise their children to be warriors. Some warriors are born, while others are forged and a true “warrior” comes in many faces. Just as Odin wanted only the best for his children, I will do my best to ensure the same for mine...

A week ago, despite all the rumors of doom and gloom surrounding the fate of Toys "R" Us, my wife and I took our girls to our local store on a Friday night. Our visit was multi-fold - the main interest being that we needed a very specific birthday gift for our nephew (my wife = "the cool aunt"), and our girls wanted to pick out a little something with their own money. They receive a modest amount that caps at $5 per week based on performance at school as tracked by the Class Dojo app, and at five and eight they've reached the point of really enjoying the opportunity to pick something out and pay for it themselves. For our youngest, it was one of MGA Entertainment's L.O.L. Surprise Lil' Sisters, and for our oldest a small case of eye shadow from the Claire's Boutique store-within-a-store. What I was impressed with was that the attitude at the store was not gloomy at all - the employees were friendly, the store bright and clean, and it was still well-stocked with new items. Along the way, we received a demo of a Mattel classic - the Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash (the girls love their Hot Wheels, just like daddy), and checked out the full assortment of Hasbro's new toys from Avengers: Infinity War. There were quite a few customers, and if you didn't know the backstory, you'd think all was well at Geoffrey's house. We got what we came for - an Imaginarium Ride-On Train that was priced at $149.99 in-store, but $104.99 on the TRU website. A quick mention at the check-out and it was price-matched and we were out the door. Less than a week later, rumors began swirling again that the folks pulling the strings on Toys "R" Us were considering a full-scale liquidation, and one that could come as soon as today - Monday. I drove by the Toys "R" Us in Gurnee, Illinois again on Saturday, and the parking lot was so packed, it could've been Christmas Eve. As of this writing, no news came through from TRU, but now all signs are pointing to something happening on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War recently got a bump, moving into an April 27 release date for the much-anticipated film... the biggest comic book movie ever. With  that, the toys started hitting retail a little earlier as well, and Hasbro has been leading the charge as the master licensee, bringing forth new ways to play as the Marvel #UniverseUnites. In celebration of the new toy launch, Hasbro sent over a special delivery to Rock Father HQ - a box packed with a sampling of new items from across their product lines - a little of everything that will excite families from kids to collectors. While I'll be sharing formal reviews in the days and weeks ahead, here's a quick edition of UNBOXED in which I crack open the case to find new Titan Hero Power FX figures, Nerf Assembler Gear, Marvel Legends 6' action figures, characters from the basic figure assortment and the new Iron Man Hero Vision - an AR experience that was really being touted at the recent 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York City. Check this out...

When you think of Pharrell Williams' infectiously-upbeat "Happy," can you think of a person who not only wouldn't like it, but would absolutely 100% despise it? Of course that individual would be THE GRINCH, and on November 9, 2018, he's back in theaters as Illumination and Universal Pictures bring forth a new animated feature based on the holiday classic by Dr. Seuss. This isn't just a shot-for-shot re-telling, either - and we've got the first official trailer to show you!

He's come a long way from playing Gutter in the cult-classic, PCU, and now Jon Favreau is firing-up the hyperdrive and heading toward a galaxy far, far away. This morning, Lucasfilm announced that the Emmy-nominated producer and actor has signed on to executive produce and write a live-action Star Wars series for Disney’s new direct-to-consumer platform. Favreau has played roles in both the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and has a role in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story

It was nearly two years ago that I first mentioned  SUPER MONSTERS here in the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine, and last Halloween it came roaring onto Netflix, where it became a surprise hit of the spooky season. It's become a common thing that I've heard both here at Rock Father HQ and echoed among other parents when a show becomes a hit seemingly out of nowhere... "are there toys?" With Super Monsters, the answer is now a big YES, and thanks to Hasbro, a new collection of Super Monsters toys will be hitting retail just in-time for Halloween 2018. While these toys are bound to delight preschoolers and small children everywhere, I'm predicting that these will see some big crossover success with certain grownup collectors as well. Fans of the Universal Monsters, classic horror films, Halloween enthusiasts and even those who were big into Monster High are gonna dig these - and I've seen similar enthusiasm around another recent property, Disney Junior's Vampirina. At the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York City, I got a first-hand look at the prototypes for the new Super Monsters toys, including their School Bus (which was sculpted in clay)!

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