Jason David Frank, also known as Tommy Oliver, the original Green Power Ranger, will be at Oiltown Comics at noon Saturday, Oct. 3 in Corsicana.
Frank's visit is part of his Power Ranger Protection Program, an initiative he created to help comic book shops affected by the pandemic.
Through PPP, he travels to locally owned shops to meet fans, sign autographs, and share part of the proceeds with the small businesses he visits.
Frank's love of comics started at an early age, a hobby he said “got him out of his head” as a kid.
At 17, he sold his extensive collection to benefit his first karate school, taking the first step to becoming a young entrepreneur.
He was introduced to the comic con circuit by a friend, and as a hobby, has attended hundreds of comic cons, unpaid, to meet fans and sign merchandise and memorabilia.
With many events on hold during the pandemic, Frank continued to explore other ways of connecting with people.
Through JDF Live, featuring cameos from his celebrity friends, Frank used live videos to have meaningful conversations with his audience. However, he said he was still missing the personal connection.
“They can hear my heart, but they can't feel my heart,” he said. “People need human interaction.”
With this in mind, he asked himself: How can a Power Ranger save the world?
“There's always a way to connect with people,” he said.
Frank said he thought of all the people who stood in line for hours just to see him at comic cons.
“That's who I deal with and I love it,” he said of the fans who attend these events.
The event at Oiltown Comics will utilize a number system through the Telegram app. The shop will start handing out tickets Friday, Oct. 2, through Saturday at 520 W. First Ave. in Corsicana.
This system will maintain social distance procedures and operates like a queue, with the app notifying guests when it's their turn to meet Frank.
Guests will receive their number and can leave to enjoy other activities while they wait their turn. The Telegram app will notify them when it's time to return.
The idea for the Power Ranger Protection Program came to him as a way to give back to the places and people who make so many connections possible.
Frank randomly stops his Harley-Davidson at small comic book shops, donating thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for shops to sell as many struggle to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic.
“I just wanted to leave merchandise and share the proceeds,” he said.
Frank sometimes returns to the shops he visits to host signing events like the one at Oiltown Comics. So far, he's traveled 7,000 miles on his motorcycle, visiting 29 shops in the past two months.
“Corsicana is such a great town, with lots of great people,” he said.
Fans visiting him at Oiltown can look forward to a more personal meet and greet experience, exciting 3-D posters and exclusive merchandise.
Frank's signature on these items and fans' memorabilia adds extra monetary and sentimental value.
When asked about some of the stranger items he's been asked to autograph, Frank laughed, and said it's not uncommon to be asked to sign cars and babies.
Events like this have draw hundreds of people, and with social distancing measures and masks on, he can safely meet with 10 to 15 at a time.
Frank says fans can now see and feel his heart, experiencing first hand his passion to connect with others and share positive experiences.
“I may be a little selfish because, mentally, it helps me get through these times,” he said of the PPP.
Frank puts strong emphasis on mental health, using his fame as a platform to address depression and empower people to deal with it.
His YouTube series, JDF Spoken Truth, delivers powerful messages through poetry, and his new short film “In My Head” is currently making the rounds.
He said he wants to let people know it's OK to feel depressed and help them begin to fix the problem.
As “accountability partners,” Frank and his fans help each other navigate life's ups and downs. He said people often share with him their struggles and success with mental health, something he said he finds very rewarding.
“Everyone I've seen always has one less problem when they leave,” he said.
“I want people to say 'I can. I will.' I think you can still conquer the world and be creative during this time.”
Frank played fan favorite Tommy Oliver in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo, Power Rangers Turbo, Power Rangers Wild Force and Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
According to his IMDB page, his character has appeared in more than 225 episodes - more than any other Ranger.
He’s also a highly accomplished martial artist with an eighth degree black belt in Karate, purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Master of Muay Thai, and inductee of the World Karate Hall of Fame.
Frank created his own martial arts system, called Toso Kune Do, and owns Rising Sun Karate with schools in Texas and California.
Currently, Frank is working on “Legend of the White Dragon,” a project fans can follow on his YouTube channel, JDFFFN.