Dropping Bread Crumbs With Kyle Higgins – Chatting Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

by James Ferguson

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Boom! Studios has been a stellar read, bringing the almost 25 year old team into the present day without losing any of the qualities that made the TV show a hit. I spoke with writer Kyle Higgins at New York Comic Con about the book and where he’s taking it into the next arc leading up to a monumental event.

James Ferguson: Let’s talk about the build up to Power Rangers #25. At the panel earlier this week, you said this has been in the works since you started writing the book. How do you prepare for something like that? I’m picturing one of those detective scenes where they have a bunch of red yarn sticking to a bunch of different pictures on a bulletin board.

Kyle Higgins: No, I’m not Jonathan Hickman. I don’t have my serial killer notebooks. I started building this with the idea and introduction of Lord Drakkon. Also knowing the landscape of the publishing line and when the 25th anniversary of Power Rangers was coming definitely informed how I was going to structure all this.

One of the joys of writing an ongoing series is leaving those bread crumbs, planting things that most of the time you have an idea of how they’ll pay off, but sometimes you don’t. You know in your gut as a storyteller that there’s something interesting there. That’s a story generator. That’s something I can bring back later. I had ideas for how to bring back some things in the early issues and others I wasn’t quite sure on, but I knew when the time was right, I’d develop something. It’s kind of an organic process.

It’s a combination of rigid setups and loose belief and trust in yourself as a storyteller that these things will start to shape. Your subconscious is always working on things without you realizing it, trying to connect the dots. There is a little bit of an aspect of flying by the seat of your pants. It’s such a grind, that it’s just no fun to plot everything out perfectly.

JF: Is this how you originally anticipated it when you began working on the title?

KH: It has changed. The original plan for what the event was going to be, and what Drakkon’s plan was, has changed, [but] not by much. That’s part of the fun. You figure out a concept and talk about it, thinking it can be really cool. Then that becomes a problem for Future Kyle. One day Future Kyle becomes Present Kyle and he starts having to actually figure that out and he hates Past Kyle for being a total jerk and leaving him all this work.

JF: That’s how you work with any licensed property, right? You leave those bread crumbs to hopefully pick up yourself, but otherwise someone else comes along to take it somewhere.

KH: Are you kidding me? Tim Seeley and Tom King made a career off of pulling all my Court of Owls stuff from Nightwing! They made a killing on that stuff.

JF: How has the fan reaction been to the comics? You introduced a new Power Ranger in Lord Drakkon. Have you seen anyone cosplaying as him yet?

KH: I have. There was someone here this weekend. The way the fan community has embraced the character is really cool. What’s most exciting for me is that I haven’t done anything with him yet. It’s bare bones. To readers right now, he’s nothing more than Evil Tommy Oliver. There’s much more to his character, not only his backstory, but what he wants and what makes him unique. That is what we’re going to get into as of issue #25. He has a very ambitious plan.

It’s cool to see fandom embrace the concept of the character more than the character himself. To see him resonate so early, I think is a testament to Jamal Campbell’s design. Visuals, especially in super hero comics are 90% of the character and why they pop. They can have the most compelling, amazing character in the world, but if they’re not visually striking and unique, they will get lost. You can point to some of the most famous Marvel characters in the past 20-30 years like Venom, Gambit, and Psylocke.

JF: Did you provide any insights or guidance on the design?

KH: We had a whole back and forth and Saban weighed in quite a bit on Drakkon’s design. They really wanted to support and embrace him within the legacy of Power Rangers. Jamal did a bunch of different variations. Originally we talked about Drakkon just having the White Ranger powers, then that shifted as I started establishing more of how he got those powers. The idea of merging the green and the white became a launching point for our conversations. Was there a way to combine the powers where the White Ranger powers were keeping the Green Ranger powers at bay and vice versa?

JF: Shifting gears to the upcoming arc with the 1969 Power Rangers, would this be considered the first Ranger team?

KH: Until I decide there were ones before this, sure. Yeah, this is the first Ranger team. It’s at a time in history when the world was very complicated. I think we were in a lot of ways, very far apart. The political and social landscape was very complex at that time. I wanted to use the Rangers as a microcosm of that. The five Rangers that are chosen are from all different walks of life and different countries.

JF: Are they still five teenagers with attitude?

KH: Hmmmm…to varying degrees. Some of them have more attitude than others. One of them is a little older. He’s in college. It’s a little bit of a different spin on the concept of the Power Rangers. The teams before this all knew each other. These five don’t. They’re meeting for the first time. All of their differences come out as they try to work together for the fate of the world.

JF: Has it been stressful at all weaving the story within the existing continuity?

KH: It’s hard. It’s definitely a challenge. The best way I can describe what we’re doing is that we’re a remix. We’re taking different elements of the Power Rangers. Some of them are adhering very closely to the show, while other elements are more open to our interpretation. There are certain things from the show that Saban doesn’t want us to deviate from.

I get it because fans of the show want everything tied to that continuity, even as wonky as that can be. I didn’t sign up to do this book to just tell missing episodes of the show. I wanted to do something new, and play with the concept as I remember it making me feel, less what it was. It’s a collaboration and we talk about it when we want to try something new. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we can’t.

JF: How long have you planned out the series?

KH: I have concrete plans through August 2018. That involves issues #25-30 and some additional content and stories that you’ll be hearing about over the next couple months.

JF: Anything you’d like to tease going into the next story arc?

KH: If the first year of the story was about Tommy joining the team and looking at teamwork through that lens, this year leading up to the event and even into it, is looking at leadership. The introduction of Grace Sterling, who used to be the Red Ranger in the ’60s and her life after being a Power Ranger is something that resonates with Jason. Her relationship with Jason as it pertains to leadership is what I’m most interested in exploring with this next arc. If the Power Rangers are out to save the world, Grace Sterling and Promethea want to make the world worth saving. How those two ideas can co-exist with two different styles of leadership is what gets me excited about this next story arc.

We’d like to thank Kyle Higgins for taking the time to speak with us at Comicon.com.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 came out on October 25th, 2017. The first year of the series has been collected in a massive hardcover, as well as separate trade paperbacks so there is plenty of opportunity to catch up.