Well kind of. Technically they weren’t Power Rangers, but the predecessors of what would eventually become the Power Rangers. With Powered Morphicon, the largest Power Rangers convention in America (which I will be covering live), only a few weeks away, I felt compelled to write articles regarding the 20+ year franchise.
A couple months ago I wrote a piece introducing my readers to the greatest superhero franchise they’ve never heard of: Super Sentai. Power Rangers is the American adaptation of the Japanese superhero teams called Super Sentai. The first American adaptation of Super Sentai occurred during their 16th season on the air which featured the team many children around the world will recognize as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
But did you know that there were 16 other teams prior to the Japanese Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Marvel certainly did. They actually co-created one of them. The first Super Sentai in fact. While not the official first Sentai in the long running series, “Battle Fever J” was the first to be billed as Super Sentai.
Confused as to why Marvel has anything to do with Power Rangers? Well there’s a pretty simple link between Marvel and the Power Rangers franchise. In 1978, Toei (the production that makes Super Sentai) teamed up with Marvel to produce a Japanese Spider-Man live-action show. Spider-Man would pilot a giant robot to combat monsters. Sound familiar?
As crazy as it sounds, this really did happen. The collaboration was successful and Toei asked Marvel to help produce a superhero show called “Battle Fever J” which featured five agents from around the world combating an evil organization. By transforming or henshining into power suits, the five heroes protected not only Japan, but the world. Marvel and Toei brought the giant robo or what American’s call Megazords (which was created in Spider-Man) into the Super Sentai series in what would eventually be a trademark for the franchise.
The rest was history. The series would continue to use the Super Sentai name even today, in now its 38th season and team. The giant robos are still in every episode and the Japanese Spider-Man is very much alive in the Marvel universe, slated to appear in the upcoming story arc “Spider-verse.”
In a way, Marvel was responsible for the Power Ranger’s Megazords.
Here’s a fun trivial fact to end with. Disney acquired the rights to the Power Rangers franchise from Saban in the early 2000’s before selling it back to Saban in 2010. They would later purchase Marvel in 2009. For about one year, the franchise that Marvel inadvertently helped create was owned by the same parent company.
Be sure to subcribe and follow me on Twitter for all things geek related and of course Power Rangers as Powered Morphicon approaches! I’ll be covering all three days of the convention in person and will break the news right here!