8 Things I Learned at Power Morphicon 2014

By Liz Ohanesian in Daily Lists, Nerdery
Monday, August 25, 2014 at 6:00 am

5. Sometimes People Get Clever with Their Costumes.

Liz Ohanesian
What a cool costume!
Early in the afternoon, a Twitter pal sent me the directive, "you need to find the guy dressed as the command center." The tweet threw me for a loop. How do you dress as a command center? Certainly, if someone did that, I would have seen him right when I walked inside the building. It's not a huge convention, but a command center is a huge costume, the sort that might leave one stranded in a lobby all day.

I went into a panel and the message slipped my mind until the end of the day. I was interviewing someone on the show floor, when I saw a dude with a command center balanced on his shoulders. After the interview, I went to find him. He was gone, but turned up again unexpectedly around another corner in the building.

Neil Consuelo was cosplaying Zordon, who helps out the Rangers during the Mighty Morphin era. He painted his face blue and made a clear, plastic mask that gives the illusion that he's a head in a tube. The command center that is settled around his shoulders is crafted from a mix of cardboard, styrofoam, PVC pipes, LEDs (he uses 99 Cent Store flashlights) and rhinestones. It only took a few days to make.

6. Super Sentai Will Hit the U.S. Soon.

Liz Ohanesian
From a Dinosaur Sentai Zyuranger panel at Power Morphicon.
Power Rangers uses footage from Super Sentai, a Japanese show that has gone through many incarnations in many years. Fans of the U.S. version of the show aren't oblivious to its Japanese roots. There were a number of fans here who turned up to meet some of the people involved with Super Sentai this weekend as well. Sometime soon, these fans will get to check out the Power Rangers source material in an all new Shout! Factory collection.

Shout! Factory made the initial announcement at San Diego Comic-Con, but were on hand at Power Morphicon to answer fan questions. First up is Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, the series that spawned Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Brian Ward from Shout! Factory said that they're just getting started on the project and are working with both Saban and Toei on the release. The DVDs will be subtitled, not dubbed.

When I talked to Ward, he mentioned that Super Sentai is quite different from Power Rangers. "The character that people know as Rita Repulsa, she has a back story, a legitimate story that involves her son and her vengeance on the earth," he said. "It's really interesting to get the opportunity to show people that."

7. It's Not Just Power Rangers at Power Morphicon.

The convention is definitely Power Rangers-centric. The cosplayers here don't stray too far from the many characters that inhabit this TV universe. Still, there's more to check out here.

On Saturday, I hit up an Invader Zim panel. This might seem odd, but there are connections. Richard Horvitz, who voiced Zim, was also the voice of Alpha 5 in several Power Rangers series. Wally Wingert, Almighty Tallest Red, did some Power Rangers work too. Rikki Simons, who was also at the convention, is just cool. Everyone loves Gir.

Over the weekend, the folks from Fujiyama Ichiban put on a few performances. This is a stunt show, and a movie, that revolves around the story of a student in Los Angeles who becomes the masked and armored hero Fujiyama Ichiban when he has to fight evil. It's a really fun show that would certainly appeal to Power Rangers fans. (Also, if you're into stuff like Kaiju Big Battle, you should look up this group.) The creator of Fujiyama Ichiban, Michi Yamato, worked on Masked Rider, which was the Saban version of Kamen Rider Black RX.

8. There's Still a Lot of Love for the Classic Power Rangers.

Liz Ohanesian
Austin St. John signs at Power Morphicon.
The biggest crowd I saw this weekend was in a back corner of the exhibit hall, where fans were waiting to get a minute or two of time with Austin St. John, the original Red Ranger. If there's one thing I've learned from Power Morphicon, it's that Red Rangers are overwhelmingly popular. Here, in this corner booth was the first one, the actor who played Jason Lee Scott, the first in a long string of heroes.

St. John was a huge draw, but other Mighty Morphin-era Power Rangers spent their weekend signing autographs and chatting with fans too. On Sunday, I met Karan Ashley, who played Aisha Campbell, the second Yellow Ranger. Ashley was just out of high school and had only a couple commercials to her credit when she landed a gig that would change the course of her life. She spent two seasons on the show and was part of the 1995 film. Over the course of the years, she has remained part of the Power Rangers community. This year alone, she's hitting up 17 events because of her gig on the show.

"When we were on the show, obviously, little kids were standing in line waiting to get our autograph," says Ashley. "It went from little kids to being teenagers to now, it's adults that were those little kids and they're bringing their kids and their kids know just as much about the show as they knew about it." Right before we spoke, Ashley posed for a photo a baby wearing a Power Rangers onesie. There's another generation getting ready to set foot into this fandom.

Previously by Liz Ohanesian

"The 18 Coolest Exclusives to Snag at San Diego Comic-Con 2014"

"20 Best Cosplays We Saw at Anime Expo 2014"

"14 Episodes of Highlander You Need to Watch"

"7 Lessons Learned From Watching Star Wars with Someone Who Never Saw It"

"9 Awesome Things You Might Not Know About Cartoon Network Studios"

"7 Reasons Why Marvel Superhero Movies Are Really Boring"

"10 Surprising Facts About Titmouse Animation Studio"

"The 8 Goth-Rockingest Episodes of The Venture Bros."

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