I’m going to go ahead and guess that a lot of you readers, if not all, have seen some version of Power Rangers at some point in your life.
Even if it was when you were too little to remember or even on accident, we all have seen Power Rangers. When I was growing up in the early 90s, the first ever installment of of the American version of Power Rangers (the Japanese version, Super Sentai, had been around for a while) debuted on Fox Kids. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers quickly became one of the most popular kids shows ever. Seriously. Power Rangers has like a million different series…Turbo…In Space…Lightspeed Rescue…Ninja Storm…the list could go on and on.
The point is, this show blew up and it was and incredibly important piece of many of our lives. I remember my brother and I would play outside and he was always the White Ranger and I was the Yellow Ranger and we fought pretend bad guys in our backyard. What little kid didn’t dream of being some kind of super hero with powers that could save the world? And each of the five (six once Tommy joined) rangers were different, you had one you could identify with and that made them special to you.
At New York Comic Con, I had an amazing opportunity to talk to two of the people who meant so much to me growing up: Walter Jones, Zack Taylor the Black Ranger, and David Yost, Billy Cranston the Blue Ranger.
BOOM! Studios has two on-going comic series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers, and a complete 6-issue mini series titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, all of which are based on the characters that these two and the rest of the cast originally molded and I got to talk to them about it. In person. It was basically the best part of my weekend.
The first thing I really want to ask you, I’m assuming you knew when this comic was going to happen, how did you feel about a comic being based off of your show and your movies and, well, you?
Walter Jones: It’s not actually the first time the show had a comic – 20 years ago – but when we heard that the newer comic book was coming out, it was very exciting. We have fans of different generations and the fact that our friends now have comic books to read and play with and share with their kids is pretty amazing.
David Yost: I mean, obviously in some ways its very humbling that our characters kind of get to live on and live on and live on 25 years. So it’s sort of an honor that they took the original cast and they took the original characters and they really went with it, they’re really fleshing out the characters and the stories. For us it’s exciting because its like, “Oh my gosh, that was so cool that my character got to do that.” Or like I’m learning stuff about Billy that I didn’t know before like his family and stuff, so it’s really exciting.
Oh, that’s really cool. I never thought about that, you get like an insight into your characters.
DY: We did our own character development as actors, so when we played it we had this whole mindset, but now they’re taking it a little bit wider which is pretty cool.
WJ: I mean we get to hang out in the Zords in the comic books.
On that note, do you feel like the character that you developed is represented well? Like, do you feel like you’re reading YOU when you read the comic?
WJ: It’s me. It’s the flavor of me. It’s the character that I developed on the TV show, but given so many more circumstances, given so many relationships and so on, but – I don’t want to give anything away – but the story lines have been taken in so many different directions that there’s things that are happening in the comics that I never imagine my character would go through.
DY: In the Go Go Power Rangers comics it’s sort of like the backstory of being a teenager and so it’s really exciting to read those just because it’s a whole different thing. I was reading one the other day and Trini was like, “Hey Jason, you know, now that we have these super powers, let’s go practice,” and they go off on their own and they’re practicing and kind of exclude the rest of us, it’s just interesting to read that.
In general, I think my character is well represented. When I was an actor playing my character, I never assumed my character had a mother, I always thought my mother died, but in the comics my mother’s alive and well, so it’s always getting to see a different level of character development.
So you have read the Go Go ones then? Because they’re both kind of different in their own way, so which one do you think you relate more to?
DY: I don’t know if I relate to any of them differently. I like them all, it’s just interesting because they are different and we’re getting to see different levels of the characters in each version. They’re both unique in their own ways, there’s so much to read and they’re all so awesome.
WJ: I think the original comic book that they have is more established. Go Go is just coming out so it’s like learning more about those comic books and the way our characters are developing. But what’s really cool is the fact that when you read the comic it takes you on this journey where you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know that Zack and Jason related to Trini or Billy in that way” or even how we relate to the bad guys, you know? Rita has different relationships with each of us that you never saw in the show.
And I’m assuming both of you have read Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink?
DY: I haven’t read it. I have it, but I gotta read that one.
WJ: Oh yeah, I’ve read the one where me and Trini kind of..
Yeah! I was going to ask what you thought of that relationship?
WJ: You know, I don’t see it being that far-fetched. I mean, her and I, we always had a cool energy together, more brother and sister, but often that kind of love from a friendship relationship can blossom into something better.
This is more of a Go Go related one – how do you feel about the way they’re explaining Billy’s connection to Bulk and Skull? I thought that was a cool little tidbit.
DY: I really liked that. To read that Billy and Skull were buddies when they were little kids and Bulk would tease them and that that’s sort of how it came apart and Skull decided to be friends with Bulk.
When I read that, I thought, “Oh wow, I would never have thought that”, but I thought that was really cool. It made sense when I read it, you can see that, and that does happen as kids, we’re friends with somebody and then there’s something that happens and then one of them hates the other and starts picking on them and so it was interesting to see Billy go through that.
One last question – this isn’t totally related to the comic – but you two really established those characters and I know they did the recent reboot, I don’t know if you watched the film, but did you feel that sense of like…watching your character but from the outside, I guess? Or…?
WJ: The new movie was very different, different from our typical characters. Like, our original characters, we all had different things that we excelled at doing. They were more focused on the attitude, whereas we had attitude but we were also fit and a martial artist and a gymnast and we had these separate skills that made us a little highlighted already, and then when we morphed it made it better. So, that was very different but I think they did a great job and I enjoyed the movie.
DY: I mean, I agree, I really did enjoy the movie and thought they did a good job, I really liked what RJ Cyler did with the role of Billy. It’s very different than my role but it does have similarities. I do agree with Walter, for us, when we were characters, we had a skill set we brought in and I don’t think that was really developed in the movie, but overall I think it was amazing and I really liked it – I saw it twice, I’ll see it again.
Writer’s Note: Walter Jones and David Yost, you and your characters will always be important to me and to millions of other adults and kids. I know I said it like a billion times at comic con, but I’ll say it again here: Thank you for everything you have done and thank you for talking with me. It was seriously one of the coolest moments of my entire life.
You heard it straight from the Power Rangers themselves, so make sure you head to your local comic store and check out Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, and Go Go Power Rangers published by BOOM! Studios.