Ranger Fans, It’s Morphin Time!
Pasadena, Texas, located just outside of Houston, hosted the first-ever Power Morphicon Express on April 6th and 7th, 2019. This is a smaller, streamlined version of the Power Morphicon that happens every two years in Anaheim, California.
Most people know of the Power Rangers franchise. Not many, however, are aware of the fandom conventions that happen every two years in Anaheim, California. Power Morphicon Express is the first of its kind, kicking off its first stop on the tour in Texas. Directors and show owners, Scott Zillner and Loryn Stone, delivered an amazing convention experience. They did so with the assistance of longtime ranger Jason David Frank, or just JDF to his fanbase. For some attendees, this new condensed convention format is the only chance to meet their favorite Ranger, gather with fellow fans to attend panels, and purchase Power Rangers fan artwork.
There were more families there with small children than at PMC in Anaheim last August. Seeing the fandom passed on to the next generation was heartwarming. Whether fans disagree on who the coolest Power Ranger is, one thing is clear; the Power Rangers franchise is as relevant as ever, and the fan-base is “stronger than before”.
Boom Studios was present, selling copies of their Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers comic books. Alternate covers for the popular “Shattered Grid” story arc were also for sale. Collectible ranger helmet pins, t-shirts, and exclusive Boom Studios comic book boxes were also available for purchase.
Independent artists showcased fan art for nearly every Ranger team, as well as non-cannon fight scenes between rangers, and also team-ups. Cosplayers had the opportunity to have their costumes professionally photographed at one booth, with a variety of backgrounds.
Like other mainstream conventions, patrons had the opportunity to get photo ops with their favorite actors, both individually, and as part of team group photos. And of course, it isn’t a convention until you see a random Dead Pool cosplayer, and PMCX was no exception.
Because the show was smaller, patrons were able to get quality time with the actors, who are some of the most genuine, generous, and kind people you will ever meet. Instead of meeting celebrities, it felt more like reconnecting with childhood friends and reminiscing about the old days. Headliners at this convention included Power Rangers alumni from in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. Such actors are as Jason David Frank, Catherine Sutherland, Johnny Yong Bosch, Nakia Burrise, Paul Schrier, and Steve Cardenas.
Even Bad Hawkins, the voice of the original Gold Zeo Ranger, who was originally slated to be the White Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. As an added treat, Super Sentai actors Yūta Mochizuki, the Red Ranger, and Reiko Chiba, the Pink ranger joined the lineup of guests. For those who don’t know, Zyuranger was the Japanese show which MMPR was based on, which provided much of the Megazord fight scenes and the battle footage for the American show.
Topping it all off, writer Kyle Higgins was also there. Having been a big name in comics before writing the Mighty Morphin comic series for Boom Studios, Mr. Higgins was the creative power behind the nemesis Lord Drakkon in the Shattered Grid event. This event expanded the previously known Rangers lore tenfold.
As someone who loves attending conventions for the panels, I enjoyed the superb lineup of panels on both days of PMCX. Ranger actors demonstrated slick hero moves and morphing stances at the “How to Move Like a Power Ranger” panel.
Actresses Catherine Sutherland, Nakia Burrise, and Erin Cahill comprised a fascinating panel called “Women of the Grid: My Life as a Power Ranger”. This one was moderated by Jenna R Frank, JDF’s daughter, who is an up-and-coming actress and martial artist in her own right. The panel was as touching as it was empowering, not just for women, but for everyone. The ladies shared fun stories from the set and encouraged the audience to be themselves. Especially when they face of adversity; to battle on despite hardships. When asked why the representation of strong women in media was important to them, they unanimously agreed that they wanted the next generation of young girls to have good role models of all kinds to look up to.
Jenna Frank expressed a desire to build others up “because we all have insecurities and flaws, and we can help each other”. Catherine Sutherland said her kids are also the reason she writes children’s books now. One such story revolves around a boy who is sensitive and vulnerable and was written to show the next generation that there is nothing wrong with being those things.
JDF and Friends
Jason David Frank hosted the “Green With Power” panel. This is where he talked about getting the role of Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, who was only supposed to be in about five episodes. One amusing takeaway from that panel was when he explained what a fax was, for younger audience members. JDF announced that he is releasing spoken-word poetry now. “Walls” is the name of his featured piece. It is about wearing masks in day to day life.
Time Force rangers Michael Capon (blue), Erin Cahill (pink), and Jason Faunt (red) reunited for a panel to reminisce about their days as a team and talk about pranks and shenanigans which occurred on set.
Kerrigan Mahan made an appearance at the convention. He was the voice of Rita Repulsa’s iconic henchman Goldar in Mighty Morphin. During the voice acting panel entitled “The Goldar Growl” he exhibited his trademark vocal techniques.
There was also an amazing demonstration of strength, skill, and discipline. The Rising Sun Karate Academy, run by JDF and his partners performed for convention goers.
The Zeo and Turbo ranger teams both reunited for special panels. One can easily see that these teams had great chemistry on screen because of the friendships they shared and still share in real life.
Another panel, presented by Toy Wizards, was all about collecting Power Rangers toys and other such action figures and Zords.
Japanese actors Yūta Mochizuki, the Red Ranger, and Reiko Chiba, the Pink ranger talked about how Super Sentai changed pop culture. This one was really interesting as well.
In another panel, there was Paul Schrier (Bulk), Kerrigan Mahan (Goldar), and Kyle Higgins. They discussed the complexities of bringing western comedy and culture into the Power Rangers franchise. Some of the cultural differences between the Super Sentai and Power Ranger shows were also touched on.
A Successful Convention
All-in-all, this was a great convention, one which I would attend again. PMCX is an ideal convention for individuals who may have a hard time with the huge crowds and narrow spaces of normal comic conventions. No TARDIS or DeLorean is needed to travel back to the ’90s to relive your childhood. If you are addicted to nostalgia, you will definitely want to catch this convention. It is now on tour and is coming to a city near you!
For more information, visit the official Power Morphicon Express website https://powermorphiconexpress.com