Last year at San Diego Comic Con PapercutZ created quite a bit of buzz when they announced plans to print all new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers stories. The show recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in the US (though fans in the UK should be aware it first aired that side of the Atlantic in 1994) and though the audience will likely never reach the dizzy heights of those first few years when the show was known as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, There is a hardcore fanbase for it, With toys and collectibles from the show demanding series investment.
With that in my mind I decided to track down the PapercutZ series’s writer Stefan Petrucha to try and find out more details on the book which is due for release in May the 6th with art from PH Marcondes, And luckily Stefan was only to happy to oblige us with our interview request.
Now the series was very much of its time and has a growing cult following, mostly fed by those who viewed the show as kids. Being somewhat older than those now grown up fans how do you get into the story and appeal to those fans?
Yeah, yeah, I’m older. But in a way, I had my own version of the Rangers. Saturday morning shows like Land of the Lost, or Shazam! had the same kind of high-energy, low-budget, slightly strange, escapist fun. That feel reminds me of the Power Rangers. Knowing what I loved about those shows, I think I understand what appeals about the Rangers. Plus, I do get a kick out the shows myself – they’re fun to watch. Beyond that, there are also the simple basics of staying true to the characters, the world, and trying to tell a good story.
How have struck a balance between appealing to those older fans of the show and the younger fans who would be more familiar with current runs of the show?
While I think anyone would enjoy them, Super Samurai and MegaForce are mostly known to the younger fans. Our graphic novels were around for a year or so, and the mainstream comic world didn’t pay that much attention. When we announced MMPR, it was big news at San Diego, so it depends on the series.
With MMPR, I don’t really see it as a balance. The original show appealed to younger audiences, so if I capture that flavor, I capture that appeal. Likewise, if I’m true to the world and the characters, it’ll grab older fans. I do throw in an occasional sly reference to the time-frame or an in-joke. In a way it’s like the Adam West Batman TV series, which attracted both adults and kids, and could be enjoyed on two levels. I don’t think it’s a big shock to anyone to suggest that the Power Rangers are kinda campy.
Did you have to watch the show to familiarise yourself with the source material and if so what was your take on the show from an adult standpoint?
Sure – I’ve watched all the series, though not every episode. I tend to watch pivotal eps, so I can track the story. My take is that it’s a lot of fun. To be honest, having the heroes/villains/weapons switch every few years drives me a little crazy as the writer of a book that only comes out a few times a year. After two stories, I was just settling in with SuperSamurai when they started MegaForce.
Overall, MMPR holds up, and is my fave. It had the advantage of being around longer with the characters, so they were able to do some interesting variations.
From the details that were eked out last year it is understood that it takes place before Lord Zedd became the antagonist, Instead we are told that there will be a new antagonist. What can you tell us about them?
The first story does, but the series will actually jump around. The new stories will take place within the original continuity, progressing as it goes along. There will be a mix of monsters, old and new, but our major villains will be back.
Rita Repulsa and her henchmen are in the first issue. She’s around for at least the first three stories.
The second book, Going Green takes place the day before the first episode featuring Tommy Oliver. In it, he, using only his martial arts skills, battles the same monster as the Rangers, though they don’t see each other. I’ve co-written that with Ryan Buell, star of Paranormal State. He’s a huge MMPR fan and brought a lot of excitement to the story.
Past that, Lord Zedd first appears in the Free Comic Day special story, By Bug Betrayed, as does Tommy in his newer role as the White Ranger. In that one, Zedd uses his powers to turn Billy’s Rad Bug into a monster, leaving the Rangers to battle their own car! Heh-heh.
On the question of continuity how does this fit in with the show, Were there limits in place on what you could write or were you allowed to play around with the canon at all?
Saban has been great. They’re protective of the show and the continuity, and rightly so, but they’re also want to make the comic as exciting as it can be, and encourage experimentation. Aside from the aforementioned details, in Going Green, for instance, we reveal how Rita found the Sixth Power Coin.
If someone were to ask why they should be excited about the series, What would your response be?
Because the Power Rangers rule – and you know you love them!
And finally, Are there any projects outside of the MMPR adaption that you would like to discuss?
I’m very pleased to say that my quasi-steampunk mystery novel “Ripper” is currently up on the charts at Amazon. It’s technically YA, but a lot of adults are enjoying it. My favorite rave so far was from a real-life detective! So check it out.
I’m also working on a zombie comic, College of the Dead, which I’m very excited about – it’s probably too early to offer any details on that, other than what the title implies.
And a thanks for Stefan for taking the time out of his schedule to answer those questions, To find out more information on Stefan you can find his website at www.petrucha.com and for more details on the series head over to the PapercutZ page.
The writer of this piece was:
Gary Kane aka (GK)
Article: Flashin’ Back!
GK tweets from @Kanoclassic