NYCC ’17: Cameos, Announcements, And More At Go Go Power Rangers Comics Panel

by James Ferguson

An excited group of fans gathered to witness the Go Go Power Rangers panel from BOOM! Studios at New York Comic Con. Moderator Jim Viscardi from ComicBook.com introduced the panelists including Managing Editor at BOOM! Studios, Bryce Carlson, Edgar Pasten from Saban Brands, Power Rangers comic writer Kyle Higgins, David Yost who played Billy Cranston / the Blue Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Walter Jones who played Zack / the Black Ranger.

After reviewing the convention exclusives available at the BOOM! Studios booth, Viscardi jumped right into a hot button question, asking the panelists who their favorite Power Ranger was. Pasten & Carlson both said the Pink Ranger as she was an early crush. Higgins said the Phantom Ranger, but had to remind everyone that it’s his job to be cool to all of them. Unsurprisingly, Yost and Jones picked themselves. I would too if in the same situation.

When asked of their favorite memory as a Power Ranger, Jones said it was probably the performance at Universal Studios which backed up traffic for miles. It was a pretty big deal as it was a stadium performance, in the same place that Michael Jackson has played. Yost gave a very humble response, explaining that the convention is the most amazing experience for them because he gets to see how the show influenced people’s lives.

Higgins recapped the Power Rangers comic series to date, which is up to issue #19. He explained the origins of the series in that he suggested to Carlson that BOOM! Studios should do a modern day Power Rangers comic. A year or two later, the publisher announced it had acquired the license. Higgins immediately asked “Who do I have to murder to do a Power Rangers comic?” He went on to explain his approach was to write the series the way the TV show made him feel.

Higgins was asked to tease some upcoming aspects of the comic as they pertain to the characters of Billy and Zack. With issue #20 they’ll be going back to see the Power Rangers from 1969, led by a female Red Ranger. In the present day, she runs Promethea, a company that’s like Space X mixed with Apple. Naturally, Billy Cranston is a great fit for something like that. The Zack stuff was too spoilery, which Jones responded by saying “I like it!”

Jones went on to say that he’s been blown away by the places the characters have been going in the comic. He wishes he was able to do this stuff in the show. Higgins pointed out the comic reveals that Zack was Rita’s first choice for the Green Ranger, but he said no. Jones chimed in with a menacing laugh, followed by “Homie don’t play that.”

The panel then turned to the Go Go Power Rangers companion comic series written by Ryan Parrott and illustrated by Dan Mora. It’s more of a teen drama comic, focusing more on the characters behind the masks. Higgins pointed out that Parrott is actually one of his close friends and BOOM! Studios hired him to write this book without knowing that. They went to college together and talk regularly.

When asked what about the characters have made them stand the test of time, Yost pointed to the diversity of the cast. People were able to see themselves on TV. He played the nerd and that gave hope to nerds everywhere. He began to tear up a bit as he spoke of people that came from miles and miles just to see them because of the impact they had on their lives. Jones agreed with the sentiment, pointing out that he was basically the first black super hero on a live action television show and that meant a lot.

A new logo was revealed for the 25th anniversary of the Power Rangers slated for next year. The brand will be celebrating with “25 for the 25th” releasing special items throughout the year. There will also be a special anniversary episode of the TV show airing on Nickelodeon in the Summer of 2018.

Carlson said they have “so much stuff” coming to coincide with the 25th anniversary. Power Rangers #25 will be released in March and will be an oversized, black polybagged issue. It’s described as “earth-shattering stuff” that will set the stage for a summer long event.

BOOM! Studios will be publishing an Artist Tribute book with artwork featuring a number of different iterations of the Power Rangers. The publisher will also release two archives collecting the Power Rangers comics previously released by Marvel, Image, and Papercutz. The first is set for release in June 2018.

The panel was opened up to a Q&A but before the first audience member could ask anything, Tommy Oliver himself, Jason David Frank showed up to rousing applause. He asked the panelists when we can expect to see Lord Drakkon again, to which Higgins revealed the character would be returning in issue #25 with some very big ambitions. Issues #21-#24 will set things in motion with #25 described by Higgins as “the biggest story I’ve ever written.” Everything has been building up to this.

When asked if other versions of the Power Rangers such as Turbo or Zeo would one day make an appearance in the comics, Pasten only said “We’re excited for our 25th anniversary.”

An Argentinian woman said that she wasn’t originally going to come to the convention, but made the decision to do so when she learned that Yost and Jones would be in attendance. She had a crush on Billy growing up and the character meant a lot to her. Years later, she met her own nerd and she’s now four months pregnant. It’s this kind of inclusive community that makes Power Rangers such a great franchise that has stood the test of time. Upon hearing this, the crowd went wild.

Another fan asked why the 1969 Rangers featured a female Red Ranger. Higgins explained that it was an interesting power dynamic and we’ve seen plenty of male Red Rangers before so he wanted to do something different. It plays into the story in a big way and is important to the character.

Someone asked about the possibility of turning the Power Rangers stories into motion comics with the original actors providing the voices. This was met with enthusiasm. Jones then told everyone that he wants to be on Dancing with the Stars.