Inner Geek hosts ‘Power Rangers’ book-signing event
HUNTINGTON — On a Marshall game day, a herd of more than 150 people decked out in green stood in line Saturday afternoon to get to meet and greet a special player.
No, it wasn’t a Marshall basketball player this time. Over at Inner Geek at Pullman Square, it was “morphin’ time.”
Actor, author and martial arts expert Jason David Frank, who played Tommy (the original Green Power Ranger) in the TV series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” was in Huntington as part of a two-day bookstore tour with Inner Geek, promoting his new graphic novel about his character, called “Soul of the Dragon.”
Frank, who appeared Friday night as the Ashland Inner Geek store, came strolling into the packed store and walked the entire line, grabbing video of all the fans — some who had come from hours away.
“Power Rangers” fans William and Amanda January got up at 5:45 a.m. Saturday and made the trek to Huntington from Marion, Ohio.
William, who is 34, and Amanda, who is 31, said they grew up watching the show and had never met one of the actors. When their buddy, former Marion resident Tyler Francis, who goes to Marshall, told them about Frank’s appearance, they decided to drive down and meet one of their childhood heroes.
“I was little watching the first episode on TV with my dad, and have been hooked ever since,” said William, who brought Tommy’s famed Green Dagger to be signed. “My favorite Power Ranger is Jason or Tommy because of his leadership.”
Don and Barb Jenkins, who live on the West End of Huntington, stood in line to get a photo that they were sending to their son, Erik, a thirtysomething who now lives in Tucson, Arizona.
“That’s why I’m here, because he loved Tommy and the ‘Power Rangers,’ and he has all of the characters, from the beginning to the end,” Barb said.
Frank said he was pumped to see such a large turnout at the former Empire Books and News and now Inner Geek, which is owned by Jarrod Greer, who Frank knows from doing comic and pop culture conventions across the country.
“It feels so great to come here and to see so many wonderful fans, from the older kids to the little kids. It just feels good. Jarrod is a longtime friend of mine from the conventions, and he told me he had a bookstore. He didn’t tell me it was as big as a Barnes and Noble,” Frank said, laughing. “I am here to see all the fans, and just as much as I am here to try and make their day, they always make my day.”
Greer said his goal with Inner Geek is to bring in pop culture icons such as Frank to add to the already regular mix of book signings and events at the store.
“Jason’s attraction is basically what our store attraction is — geek stuff and ‘Power Rangers’ and toys and comics, and he is into every part of that,” Greer said. “One of the things that I wanted to do when we bought it was to have signings and events to get the community back into the store and just to see that we are doing something different here.”
Greer, who also owns an Inner Geek in Lexington as well as Ashland, said the Pullman Square location has been doing well.
“We are just trying to keep the bookstore here and even expand it and make it as good as it ever was, plus adding our stuff to the mix,” Greer said. “Through Christmas I think we got a lot of people into the store, and it has been just phenomenal since then. I couldn’t be happier with the way it has been developing.”
Plans are to expand in the next couple of months, reopening the back section of the store, which originally housed the children’s section when Empire Books and News first opened.
“We hope to get this next section open in the next couple of months,” Greer said. “We will be putting in some tables for board games to give people a place to chill, and also basically expanding the footprint of what is here, expanding the toys and comics and books. When we got here, the books were a shadow of what they were 10 years ago, but believe it or not, bookstores are on the upswing again. They took a hit because of Amazon and online, but people are starting to find the attraction of a small, independent bookstore again. We are happy to have them back.”