Austin St. John at Awesome Con 2018
Original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers actor Austin St. John met up with fans at Awesome Con 2018. In addition offering autographs and friendly meetups, St. John also was promoting a show he’ll be appearing at in April called The Great Philadelphia Comic Con. Youdontreadcomics.com had the opportunity to catch up with him and discuss the franchise, evolving fandom, The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, and a potential future with the franchise.
You Don't Read Comics: Mr. St. John, how are you? How has the convention been treating you so far?
Austin St. John: Man, it’s been awesome, it’s been good. A lot of people, I’m kind of the best kept secret here right now because I didn’t advertise. I kept it kind of quiet, because I’m here helping the Great Philadelphia Comic-Con, and tell the world they have a great convention that I’m gonna be at with some other amazing Rangers later this year.
YDRC: Very cool, very cool. Maybe You Don’t Read Comics will be there as well and we will be able to touch base with you there as well. But 25th anniversary of Power Rangers, huge milestone for the franchise, a huge event. How do you feel being there from the beginning? As someone who was there from the very beginning, including the pilot, how does it feel to see the franchise here now, 25 years later?
ASJ: Well, I gotta tell you, I didn’t think anyone would care all these years later. I didn’t think we would get picked up. I guess some of the other guys had more confidence, some of us more than others, but we all thought the show was kind of cheesy. Everybody thinks it’s a little cheesy. So, we weren’t sure it was gonna get picked up. And when it did, we were thrilled. And then we started making it, and here we are, all these years later. To be talking about this 25 years later, and to find fans who loved what we did, and that it meant so much to, that’s job satisfaction like you can’t get anywhere else. So, we love it, I’m thrilled to be apart of it, and I’m pretty damn proud of what the original five accomplished together. And what every other Ranger since then has carried on.
YDRC: Absolutely. And you talked to a bit about it being camp and cheesy, which I like, like many fans, consider part of the charm to it. It’s almost like the Adam West Batman TV series. And even when you watch the modern shows like Ninja Steel and Dino Charge, which admittedly still use campy Japanese stock footage, they have still retained that youthful feel good nature. Do you think that’s what resonates with fans?
ASJ: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s rated G with extra cheese as Karan Ashley would say, and that suits it. But one of the other things that I think makes it work so well is: A, there’s nothing like it, B: there’s a character in it that anybody from any culture or any race can identify with. As a brother figure, sister figure, father figure, mother figure, in a sort of family kind of setting. There’s that kind of familiarity of that’s the one (family figure) you want to have, or that’s the one you wish you had-
YDRC: Or that’s the person you want to be.
ASJ: Or that’s the person you want to be, or that’s the person you look up to. So whether it’s me, or any one of the other characters out of the 100+ Rangers now, there’s somebody for everybody. And I think, there aren’t a lot of shows out there that provide that for kids. And that’s part of what makes Power Rangers as special as it is.
YRDC: And then you also have the franchise exploding with the new Boom! Comics, there’s that new YouTube series HyperForce, there are just so many ways to interact with the franchise, and something for every kind of a fan.
ASJ: There really are. I mean, today if you are a nerd, it’s not just “okay” to be a nerd. Now it’s cool. Nerds are finally cool, it is cool to be a nerd. Nerds can be like: “you know what, I love some Sailor Moon. I love some Power Rangers. I love Thundercats” and they can walk down the street and be like “AND WHAT? Check out my t-shirt! I got Ghostbusters today, I got some Star Trek tomorrow. I’m a Trekkie, I’m a Power Rangers fan” and that’s cool. It didn’t used to be cool like that, and you know what? That’s awesome!
YDRC: That’s really cool. And you are here promoting The Great Philadelphia Comic Con. If you want to give a quick plug to that show and let our readers know a little bit about that.
ASJ: So The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, we will be there from April 27th through the 29th in 2018. I will be there with several other Rangers, and I am hearing rumors, that there may or may not be a new Ranger from the 2017 film. Not confirmed yet, I am just going to tell you to stay on the website of The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, cause it may happen.
YDRC: Alright, great. And one last question before letting you go. Is there anyway that you, as Austin St. John, might integrate directly once again in some capacity with the franchise? Ultimately that is up to Saban Brands, but would you consider a new collaboration like that in some form?
ASJ: They would have to write the role really well. Every time Jason has returned it has been done very, very well. And it would have to be done that way again.
YDRC: And then you would be on board with that?
YDRC: Mr. St. John, thank you very much for your time.
ASJ: Thanks, guys.