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Friday, August 18 2017 10:35

Wizard Magazine is Attempting a Comeback...

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They say that “Nothing stays dead in comics,” and that's exactly how the folks at Wizard World led off the announcement that they're getting back into the editorial fold with a "digital re-imagination, re-conception and re-launch of Wizard, as part of a new digital initiative which includes WizPop, a daily pop-culture news service reporting on the biggest stories of the day in pop-culture, entertainment, and fandom." Set to officially relaunch at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago (August 24-27, 2017), they say that "plans are in the works to return to publishing Wizard as a premium quarterly magazine." Magazines are a hard thing to relaunch in either print or digital, and that's something I have a little experience with myself.

This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Marvel Studios

We moved through the dark and cavernous space behind Hall D23 quickly - catching glimpses of technicians whose faces were illuminated only by the cool glow of their computer screens. I likened it to the inner workings of the Imperial Death Star, a skilled crew making sure that the technical aspects of the presentations on the main stage at this summer's D23 Expo went off without a hitch. Like The Emperor's Royal Guards, they would also serve as silent protectors - Guardians preventing untimely leaks of footage from upcoming films that in some cases are more than two years out from their official release. As our group made its way through the backstage labyrinth of makeshift green rooms crafted of black pipe-and-drape, we arrived at our destination for a meeting with a mysterious figure known called "Josh Snow."

Thursday, August 17 2017 09:43

Country: Shania Twain Announces 2018 NOW Tour Dates...

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As first revealed last night on THE TONIGHT SHOW Starring Jimmy Fallon, five-time GRAMMY winner Shania Twain has announced that she will hit the road next year in support of her new album, NOW.  These dates mark Shania's first tour since "Rock This Country" back in 2015. Produced by Live Nation, the tour kicks off May 3rd in Tacoma, WA and will run through the rest of the summer, culminating in Las Vegas on August 4th at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Update - 8/17/17, 8:30am: Looks like someone at Hasbro goofed and perhaps jumped the gun. After being live on their official YouTube Channel for more than 12 hours, three of the four new commercials have been removed. I'll replace them in this article if/when they're restored.  

As we approach the next "Force Friday" event on September 1, the folks at Hasbro have updated their official YouTube Channel tonight with a look at some of the new STAR WARS toys set for release ahead of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI this December. The big one (literally) has already elicited a verbal "I want that!" from the youngest of The Rock Daughters™, along with a mental of "I want that..." from yours truly. Indeed, Hasbro is releasing a playset, and I honestly can't remember the last time that they did a proper 3.75" playset that wasn't just a fold-out vehicle. In this case, they're releasing a large BB-8 that opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer, complete with four levels of play and figures of Supreme Leader Snoke and an Elite Praetorian Guard. Take a look at the new commercial below!

Way back on February 2, I was the first to give you an early look at the Step2 McLaren 570S - the first toy created under a new partnership between McLaren Automotive and The Step2 Company. Now that ride has a street date, and the revolutionary 570S Step2 Push Sports Car will be rolling out to in September as an Amazon Exclusive before arriving at global retailers and Step2.com later this fall. 

This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

I don't recall what I was doing on Friday, June 24, 1994, but chances are I was probably working my job as Assistant Dairy Manager of the local Hy-Vee grocery store in my then-home of Davenport, Iowa. I was a month or so past my high school graduation, and one of the summer's big movies was Walt Disney Animation Studios' THE LION KING. Aside from the buzz, I don't even remember what initially drew my attention to the film at the time, but I do remember taking a girl to see a matinee screening - not really a "date," but an afternoon adventure. It became one of my favorite films of that year, along with PULP FICTION, AIRHEADS, SPEED, NATURAL BORN KILLERS - and from the absolute opposite end of the cinematic spectrum, a tiny film called PCU, directed by the guy who played Ellis in DIE HARD. Now, with "The Circle of Life Edition" of THE LION KING being issued on Digital HD (out now for the first time) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (out 8/29) as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection, my appreciation and love of the film burns brighter than ever after attending this summer's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, where I was in the room for a special panel in celebration of this classic slice of Disney perfection.

The following dispatch was received to Rock Father HQ this morning from the mighty GWAR:

On October 20th, GWAR will release a new studio album entitled "The Blood of Gods" via Metal Blade Records.  In support of the new album, your Lords and Masters will leave their arctic slumber and return to the road to cause aural devastation across North America.  Joining in the chaos will be Ghoul, Doyle (10/20-11/5), He Is Legend (11/7-12/10) and U.S. Bastards.  The tour kicks off in Richmond, VA on October 20th and runs through December 10th in Detroit, MI.  The tour includes a stop in New York City on Halloween as well!  A complete list of dates can be found below.

The world of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has evolved numerous times throughout the past few decades, and through countless adventures that have sometimes jumped dimensions, the Turtles have occasionally crossed paths with a Ronin rabbit called Miyamoto Usagi, perhaps better-known as Usagi Yojimbo. Created in the 1980s by Stan Sakai, the character has appeared alongside the TMNT crew in several different versions, particularly becoming a cult favorite based on the original 1987 animated series. Now, in Nickelodeon's TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Usagi is back, and a recent three-part story arc found the Ninja Turtles transported to an alternate dimension in which they fight as samurai alongside the mysterious Ronin rabbit. Of course, being back on the radar for a new generation means the right time to be reintroduced to the toy line, and Playmates has stepped-up with a fantastic Samurai-themed collection of new TMNT action figures, a sampling of which arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ for review.

This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

There's a moment in the premiere episode of Disney XD's DuckTales in which Donald rolls up to the estate of Scrooge McDuck, his nephews along for the ride. From the back seat, Huey, Dewey and Louie can't believe where they're at - and have seemingly never met their great-uncle. In fact, to them, Scrooge seems to be a legend - a mythical figure whose status is not unlike that of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Just as Rey learned from Han Solo that the stories were true - "all of them," the boys soon realize that when it comes to Scrooge, the stories were also true - most of them. After taking a real-life leap into Scrooge's famed "money bin" at this summer's D23 Expo, I took an early look at the new series alongside Executive Producer Matt Youngberg and Co-Producer/Story Editor Francisco Angones. The sneak-preview prompted a few questions...

Tom Freund has been covering Pete Townshend's 1980 single "Let My Love Open the Door" as a part of his live shows since 2008. Now, with the help of friend and frequent collaborator, Ben Harper, the world has a studio version of this ukulele-driven cover to enjoy. "We’ve played it ‘live” in various corners of the world, from the Alps of Italy to the lower Manhattan subterranean," said Freund of the track, adding that "this year felt like the right time to lay it down in the studio." While a video is said to be in the works, you can check out a stream of the song below...

Hasbro's HASCON is fast-approaching, and today the toymaker has issued details on additional entertainment programming for their first ever "FANmily" event. Happening September 8 – 10, 2017 at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, HASCON will bring Hasbro’s most iconic brands to life, with experiences based around Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, MarvelPlay-Doh and more.

Adolescence is always such an awkward time, and for years, American Girl has been helping girls and their parents to navigate those choppy waters. Now, American Girl is reaching out to boys and their parents, offering  advice in a new book, Guy Stuff: The Body Book for BoysWritten by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician and author of American Girl's famous The Care and Keeping of YouThe Body Book for Girls series, this new book is geared toward boys ages 8+, and aims to help them prepare for body changes in the years ahead. This new book covers everything from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to shaving, acne to voice cracking, pubic changes to moodiness, peer pressure to bullying, and more.

Tuesday, August 08 2017 23:59

Disney's Big Streaming Future... without Netflix

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The media landscape is ever-changing, and when it comes to the big news of the day, the complicated relationships between some entertainment powerhouses just became even more tricky. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I've cashed checks from both Netflix and Disney as an independent contractor over the years, and will continue to do so as often as I can. They're two of my favorite companies overall, and it's been rumored off-and-on for years that Disney would eventually make a play for Netflix (and maybe they still will down the line), but for now they're letting their new release streaming distribution contract with Netflix run out, opting to create their own "Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service" in 2019, preceded by an ESPN-branded "multi-sport streaming service" in 2018.  The move comes as they take majority ownership in BAMTech, a streaming technology leader in which Disney had already purchased a 33% stake in last summer. For the consumer, there's gonna be a huge new player in the streaming mix.

I've mentioned Jim Henson’s EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS many times in the past, if only because it's one of my all-time favorite holiday specials - one that I watched on HBO more times than I could count as a child. Now comes news that it's coming back to DVD on October 10 (pre-order via Amazon) from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as a 40th Anniversary Edition, fully-remastered for a new generation.

Netflix #StreamTeamHe was the longest-serving host in the history of U.S. late night television, and in 2018, DAVID LETTERMAN is back. The original host of Late Night (NBC) and The Late Show (CBS) – is returning to television in a yet-to-be-named new series for Netflix. Picked up for six episodes, the new series touts Letterman as he combines "two interests for which he is renowned: in-depth conversations with extraordinary people, and in-the-field segments expressing his curiosity and humor." In each hour-long episode, Letterman will conduct a long-form conversation with a singular guest - and will also explore topics on his own, away from the studio. 

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