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With summer officially here, that means a lot of wet fun for a good percentage of the population. Personally, my family thinks I'm a party pooper since I don't particularly care for swimming, and like Anakin Skywalker I'm not a big fan of sand either so that makes me a ton of fun at the beach. But my kids love the water - in fact, they've been in swimming lessons since shortly after birth and they make me pretty proud. Where I draw the line is with putting a pool here at Rock Father HQ (I love our big, solid yard). Fortunately, Grandma has one, and that's been the perfect spot to enjoy some of the new inflatables from the folks at Swimways (a subsidiary of Spin Master). After seeing a few at Toy Fair, we received a few for review, and the ones that they sent are pretty appropriately themed for my areas of expertise - they're Star Wars and Marvel.

When it comes to convention season, leaks on exclusive toys and collectibles are hard to contain, and in this case, how can you keep a good team of mighty lions down? This one snuck out early, but today comes the official launch of the Voltron: Legendary Defender Hyperphase Voltron 5-Piece Action Figure Gift Set! From Playmates Toys, this SDCC 2018 Previews Exclusive is roaring into San Diego Comic-Con 2018 to make its debut first at the Entertainment Earth booth #2343. Limited to just 3,000 pieces worldwide, The Rock Father™ and Entertainment Earth (an affiliate) are now formally dropping the curtain on pre-orders for this incredible piece. Check it out!

It was almost a month ago exactly when I reported news that Toys "R" Us Australia was entering voluntary administration. Now comes news that the toy store down under will be facing the same fate as its U.S. counterpart, announcing this morning that they will close all 44 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in Australia, resulting in around 700 jobs lost. The first Australian Toys "R" Us opened back in 1993, with the chain gradually expanding nationwide and adding 11 Babies "R" Us locations to the mix. The most recent news in North America finds Canada moving forward at a brisk pace, while more than 115 parties have shown interest in picking up select IP assets from the U.S. operation.

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom has been delighting kids on Nick Jr. for quite some time now, becoming a favorite here at our house to the point where little Finley asked for a set of figures for her birthday this month. Now comes a chance for you to score some fun new toys as well, and it all happens this Friday, June 22, 2018 from 11am-12pm ET! You're invited to join The Toy Insider, eOne and The Rock Father™ for a fun-filled Twitter Party in which we'll be showing off all of the fun new Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom toys from Jazwares while giving YOU a chance to win! You must RSVP to play along! Check out the video below to learn more...

Tuesday, June 19 2018 10:05

Uh Oh, GameStop Playing with Private Equity?

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In the interest of full disclosure, GameStop has been a great promotional partner and ally of The Rock Father™ Magazine over the past few years, as has their sister company, ThinkGeek. I feature their content often (I was even wearing ThinkGeek-supplied Marvel High-Tops to the World Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War) and do so not just because of our relationship, but because I'm a fan first and I like their stores. I hope I can continue working with them for a long time to come, but then there's some occasional rumblings... word that things on the business end aren't as sunny as they could be. They're facing some challenges, but I don't think it's beyond fixing - in fact, quite the opposite. They could be on the cusp of an evolution that could set them up for years of success, or they can bow to investor pressure and wind up in a leveraged buyout situation with private equity involved. If GameStop is playing with private equity (which they confirmed this morning), they might add a few extra credits to gain a few more lives temporarily, but the debt they may incur could have them facing a "boss" they can't beat, ultimately leading to a premature "game over."

This isn't a mistake - it's a happy little accident! My friends at Entertainment Earth (an affiliate partner) are rolling into San Diego Comic-Con International with a bunch of exclusives this year, and the latest they've teamed with The Rock Father™ Magazine to reveal is a shared exclusive from Royal Bobbles. You know him as the man who taught the world The Joy of Painting, and now Bob Ross is coming to life as a huge, 10¼" Bobblehead in a variant color scheme available first* at SDCC! 

As the saga of Toys "R" Us here in the United States just continues to drone along, it appears that the much-anticipated June 18th intellectual property auction has failed to happen. As filed on June 11, an extension was being sought that would place the auction on August 6, dragging things out for nearly two more months. Up north, however, things are looking bright for the folks at Toys "R" Us Canada, and they've wasted no time in getting things back to fun - welcoming customers with a message that they're "here to play, here to stay!"  With that comes a search for a "fun, energetic tween who loves to play with toys" as TRU Canada kicks off the search for its next Chief Play Officer (CPO). As the spokesperson for Canada's leading dedicated toy product retailer, the CPO is the toy expert for Toys "R" Us Canada and gets to share expert recommendations on the hottest toys and trends with parents and gift-givers from coast-to-coast.

I stand behind the fact that the late Palisades Toys' Muppets line was ahead of its time - one of the finest action figure lines of this century. I wish I'd picked up more than just a few, but what I did manage to get is played with regularly here at Rock Father™ HQ by our daughters - a fact that might appall a certain segment of collector. While there was a lull in Muppets goodness, the folks at Diamond Select Toys have picked up the torch with their own Muppets line, and now they're gearing up for the first-ever action figure gift set in the DST collection. Available for pre-order now via my affiliate, Entertainment Earth (and local Comic Shops), The Swedish Chef will hit the streets in early 2019, bringing with him a massive number of accessories!

If you happened to have seen the recent documentary, Making Fun: The Story of Funko (now on Netflix), you probably caught the fact that Betty Boop was a very important license for Funko early on. In the 90s, nearly a decade or so before the Pop! Vinyl craze would begin, Funko was known for their Wacky Wobblers, and Betty Boop was a big fixture in that line. Now Funko is launching a full line of Betty Boop Pop! Vinyl Figures, and my friends at Entertainment Earth (an affiliate partner) have an Exclusive version, Black & White Betty Boop. But that's not all, because there's also a rare Chase version of the figure with red highlights. Which one will you get?

They say that history repeats itself, and likewise so do trends. One trend in play that's back with some serious bite this year is everything jurassic.  Yes, the dinosaurs are back, and at the forefront of popular culture that's being driven by the release of Universal Pictures' Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  While they might own the rights to certain stories, names and places, Universal can't lay claim to dinosaurs, and that keeps the gates wide-open for other toymakers to ride the wave of renewed excitement for the long-extinct (or are they?) giants that have been captivating imaginations for millions of years. For Playmobil, The Explorers are their new line of archaeological adventurers who are making their way into stores and playrooms with tales of a mysterious island called Roca, where dinosaurs continue to live peacefully thanks to a magical fruit. At the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York, I had a chance to see the new collection first-hand, and the folks at Playmobil recently sent us the new Hidden Temple with T-Rex Playset for a hands-on review.

When it comes to summer toys for outdoor fun, it always seems that the simplest ones tend to be the best. One recent entry that captured the spirit is the Zoom Ball, something the folks at Goliath Games included in a  shipment of review materials that we received right around the time of the North American International Toy Fair this year. At the time, outdoor play wasn't the first thing on my mind (it was cold), but now it's prime time for warm weather fun, and Zoom Ball is a hit. As they say, you just "Zip it to Rip it!" Check out the video below to see it in action...

From the people who bring you the excellent Free Comic Book Day each May, Halloween ComicFest brings the fun into Fall during its annual event the Saturday before Halloween. For 2018, Halloween ComicFest is presenting a trio of PREVIEWS Exclusive (PX) collectible figures, available only at Local Comic Shops during the event on Saturday, October 27th. This year's event brings forth a special Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord Funko Pop! Vinyl, plus a couple a sweet Deadpool mini Egg Attack figures by Beast Kingdom. Check out the details below!

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