One of the greatest trends to hit the greater Los Angeles area in recent years is the rise in nerd-centric art exhibitions. In the last year, Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra has featured artwork inspired by Cartoon Network, Where’s Waldo, and a personal favorite of mine, Legend of Korra – only to be rivaled, perhaps, by the latest installation: an entire gallery’s worth of beautiful Power Rangers art.
As a person primarily reared in the 90s, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the American variation on the Japanese series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger made a lasting impression on me. Apparently, I was not alone in this sentiment. Opening night of the exhibition also served as the launch party for BOOM! Studios’ new comic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 and the two creators in attendance, writers Kyle Higgins and Mairghread Scott, both whom are roughly the same age I am, had similarly nostalgic admiration for the Fox Kids’ series.
In fact, Higgins got into writing comic books because of his love for Power Rangers, originally manifested in the form of countless hours spent pretending to be the Red Ranger in his youth.
“The way I got started writing comics was because of a movie I directed in college that was ‘Superhero Noire’ and the way I got directing that was because of the films I started making when I was seven. And one of those films as a seven year old, was a Power Rangers film that my dad shot for me. So I’ve been playing Power Rangers and filming Powers Rangers since a very young age.”
Scott also spent a good portion of her youth defending Angel Grove from Rita Repulsa and legions of Putty Patrollers.
“We played Power Rangers all the time. I was the Yellow Ranger most often,” said Scott (though she admitted she really liked being the Pink Ranger, but usually chose not to be her because she didn’t care for the boy who insisted on being the Green Ranger).
She had a similar experience to me in that part of what attracted her to Power Rangers as a child was the presence of two capable female super heroes.
“The yellow ranger was so badass and the pink ranger, she doesn’t really get as much of a chance to shine, but she’s like flying like death! She shoots lightning and that’s awesome.”
Both Higgins and Scott agreed that revisiting the series as adults had definitely changed their perception of it, but had not tarnished their memories.
“I don’t know that I was as aware of the formula when I was eight,” said Higgins. “I think kind of all the aspects of the show, some of the writing, some of the acting, some of the production value . . . as an eight year old, you’re kind of a lot more accepting of certain things, whereas, as a thirty year old, you’re maybe a little less accepting of some things.”
Scott agreed, but for a slightly different reason. “It is definitely different, especially because I had a huge crush on the Green Ranger as a child and that’s a lot weirder when you’re thirty.” (I was more of a Red Ranger girl myself . . .)
Scott, who writes for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on Disney XD and multiple Transformers series including Robots in Disguise and Rescue Bots, added that part of what makes working on the comic so rewarding is the chance to recreate something she recalls from childhood, as spectacularly as she remembers it.
“I think the important thing for me was I wanted to capture the Power Rangers that I remembered as a kid, ya know? And we really had the chance to do that in the comics because we don’t have budget limitations, like we can only show the Zords for this long. And as someone who works in animated television, I could see things like, okay, this sequence can only be this long, but in a comic, we can make it as long as you remember, we can make it as cool as you remember. So that’w what we were trying to capture.”
Higgins, who’s best known for his work on the Batman franchise at DC Comics, says that being out in the convention circuit rekindled his love of Power Rangers.
“I kinda re-found what I loved about it in the last few year, really doing comic conventions for the DC stuff I was writing for. And there are all of these people, my age and younger, and older who are still big Power Ranger fans. And it just kind of reignited something for me to see their passion.”
Like Scott, he also aims to recreate the Power Rangers he remembers from his youth in the new book.
“As you get older and you understand the way the world really works and you become a little more cynical and you realize things are actually really depressing – going back to the things that made you happy as a kid, there’s something very cathartic about that and that’s kind of how I feel about Power Rangers. That’s what I look to capture in the book.”
I think it’s pretty safe to say, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are in very good hands.
Gallery Nucleus is located at 210 East Main St, Alhambra CA 91801. The Power Rangers Official Tribute Exhibition runs from now until January 31, 2016.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 is published by BOOM! Studios and is available now.