Hello Hero-Club, today we continue with the second part of my recent interview with comic book writer Kyle Higgins. For those who are unaware or did not read part one, Mr. Higgins has worked for both Marvel and DC. However, tokusatsu fans best know Mr. Higgins for his work on Boom! Studios’ Power Rangers series and the Marvel Ultraman comics. Yet, while Kyle Higgins is writing for Ultraman at Marvel, he is also producing Radiant Black with Image.
Now, the previous half of the interview focused on his earlier works, and the current Ultraman run. Whereas, this part is all about Power Rangers and Radiant Black, since the two titles have similar characteristics. Also, since this is the last part, we will talk about other projects Mr. Higgins is working on. So, without further ado let’s finish my interview with Kyle Higgins!
Question 11: Well, we talked about your work with Marvel and DC, as well as writing films. Now, let’s talk about the meat and potatoes that most fans know you for, Power Rangers. So, what was it like in 2015, when you were hired by Boom! Studios to write for the franchise?
Answer: Not to sound dismissive or reductive, but… it was a lot of fun! It took a little while for everyone to get on the same page — the lovely folks at Saban had never made a comic book before. So, there was a process of onboarding and teaching everyone what the production process and methods were, when notes were no longer viable, etc. But the coolest thing, which never happens on a licensed comic, is that Saban liked what we were doing on the book so much, that it became a bit forward facing for the brand. Shattered Grid, Battle for the Grid, some of the action figures… it was a really cool time to be building new things for the Rangers.
Question 12: With talking about your work on the comics, we also need to mention the evil despot that is Lord Drakkon. The character is one of the strongest villains in Power Rangers history, he actually kills Rangers and takes their powers. So, what was the creation process like for Lord Drakkon, and the decision to make him an alternate universe Tommy?
Answer: It all came out of story. I’ve talked about this at length before, so I’m not going to dive into it all, but my way in on the series was through the lens of Tommy — a brand new Ranger — joining the team. As a part of dealing with his own self-doubt, insecurities, as well as the other Rangers understandable reservations about Tommy, I knew I wanted to build the final arc of “Year One” to be something of a dark mirror cautionary story, where Tommy would face off against his greatest fear: a version of himself that chose darkness. In overcoming that fear and beating down — what became, Lord Drakkon — it was the culmination of Tommy’s arc.
Question 13: I know that fans on both Twitter and Rangerboard are fatigued from the oversaturation of Tommy Oliver in the franchise. Honestly, I do not blame fans either for having that criticism towards the character. However, what did you think about the fandom’s initial reaction to Drakkon, and when he was revealed to be an alternate Tommy?
Answer: I didn’t really get into any of that, to be honest. Everyone has their favorite characters — I totally understand that. But, as a writer, I have to tell stories that excite me and that I believe in. And I felt like Tommy was an interesting way in.
Question 14: To promote the comics during Shattered Grid, you directed and produced a live-action trailer featuring JDF as Lord Drakkon. The trailer was great, although I found it funny how fans thought it was a fan-film/ adaptation of the comics. Yet, how insane was it being able to produce that Shattered Grid trailer, and actually have JDF in it?
Answer: It was fun! Jason and I were very close during that period, so we really tackled the short together. Whether it was crystal clear it was for the comics or not, it certainly did what we hoped it would — got people talking about Shattered Grid, Lord Drakkon… and how cool a live action series would be. Which, we came pretty close to making.
Question 15: If it is possible, have or would you consider coming back to Boom! Studios to work on Power Rangers comics? Especially, if you had a good idea for a standalone mini-series, or a graphic novel?
Answer: I’m super proud of what I helped to build and creatively drove for, what, three years? Behind the scenes it was almost four. That said, no, I think my time with the brand is finished. And honestly, I’m at peace with that. There’s nothing worse than wearing out your welcome and staying on something for too long.
So, I’d say it’s highly unlikely that I would come back for anything, and even more unlikely that I would come back to the comics. I think, just with where I’m at in my life, career, etc., the only thing I would ever really consider, when it comes to more Power Rangers, would be to do something in live action.
Question 16: This next one is a bit of a twofold question. So, I assume you watched several seasons and episodes of Power Rangers to prepare writing for the comics. With that in mind, what were your favorite season, and do you have any favorite episodes?
Answer: I really like Jungle Fury. RPM is a great season, too.
Question 17: Since you are currently busy with Radiant Black, have you been able to see any of Power Rangers Dino Fury? I ask this question because it is doing so many things right, like its use with the Morphin’ Masters.
Answer: Nice! I haven’t watched any of it. To be honest, I find it hard, emotionally, to stay involved in stuff, even as a fan, after I’ve said goodbye as a creator. I haven’t written the main Nightwing book in six years, but I’m only just able to look at some of the other newer comics.
Question 18: Okay, I think that we discussed Power Rangers enough for this interview, so let’s move onto Radiant Black. Firstly, where did the idea for Radiant Black come from?
Answer: It was born from a few different influences — my time on Rangers, from an aesthetic standpoint, a web series I had considered trying to develop, as well as a different DC series pitch, I was considering developing — as well as a unique opportunity: Eric Stephenson, the publisher of Image, asked if I’d ever considered creating a new superhero? I told him that I’d love to do something like that, but assumed there wouldn’t be a market for it. He thought there could be.
So, I started thinking about the kind of book that I’d want to write — not just now, but ten years from now — as well as all the different things I love about superheroes, and the things that scare me now, at this stage of my life. Debt. Failure. Generational fears and pressures. Radiant Black is my way to talk about all of those things.
As well as some big, cosmic mythology that we’re just about to get into.
Question 19: Following Radiant Black’s first issue release, you tweeted to announce that the series will include a mecha. After taking a good look at the thing, it reminded me of an Eva from Evangelion by its shape. Was there any influence from Evangelion, or am I overthinking it?
Answer: There’s an influence, sure, but you can say that about a lot of robot design. There’s a history for the robot that will hopefully provide more context for you, when we eventually tell that story.
Question 20: I know we cannot really talk a lot about Radiant Black, since Issue 1 released not too long ago. However, since it ended with a red Radiant Black robbing banks in Chicago, what can readers expect in upcoming issues?
Answer: Issue 4 is the game changer.
Question 21: Now, I recently discovered you were helping Mat Groom and Erica D’urso with their upcoming graphic novel, Inferno Girl Red. I even celebrated its Kickstarter getting funded by customizing a Captain Marvel figure into Inferno Girl Red too. So, what is it like helping a friend bring this concept of a female led tokusatsu-inspired graphic novel to life?
Answer: Mat is one of the best writers I’ve ever met, and at this point, one of my closest friends. Words can’t describe how proud of him I am, and how excited it makes me for the Kickstarter to be doing as well as it is. Mat is the real deal, and he’s put in the work. So much work. I truly can’t wait for people to meet Inferno Girl Red.
Question 22: Alright, with this discussion on creating original stories, what advice can you give to those trying to get into the comics industry? Also, advice for those possibly trying to publish their own books like your title, Radiant Black?
Answer: That they should! There’s absolutely no substitute for making things — if you’re serious about wanting to work in comics, or even just, you want to make your own comics, then the answer is very simple: make your own comics. Finish things. And put them out there. The world is incredibly interconnected — there’s no such thing as undiscovered genius in 2021. If your work is good, and you put it out there, you can absolutely start a career from that.
Question 23: With the pandemic, I have been focusing on hobbies like painting gaming miniatures from Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid. May I ask besides writing comics, what have been your favorite things to do or hobbies acquired during the lockdowns?
Answer: Nice! I’m trying to stay active, though it’s tough. Honestly, 99% of my life right now is work. The other 1% is eating, exercising, and just trying to stay alive (laughs). But, I’m almost out of this crazy bottleneck, and now that I’m vaccinated, I’m looking forward to finally being able to travel again!
Question 24: Finally, my last question for the interview is what can fans expect from you in the future?
Answer: That’s a great question! My dance card is quite full at the moment, but only a fraction of the stuff I’m working on, has been publicly announced! I’d recommend following me on Twitter: @KyleDHiggins, and signing up for my newsletter, Kyle Higgins’ BLACK MARKET News.
Anyway, this concludes my entire interview with Kyle Higgins, which I must thank him again for allowing me this opportunity. I hope fans enjoyed reading what was discussed over the course of these two parts. Maybe in the future I can interview Mr. Higgins again, and provide an actual recording of the event. Then again Hero-Club, itself, may bring Mr. Higgins back for an official site interview rather than featuring my contribution. Also, thanks again to my friends here at Hero-Club for allowing me to host my interview here. Nevertheless, I have been ZeltraxMillennium and I hope people look forward to my other future contributions here on Hero-Club!