Amazing Arizona Comics Satirizes the State

In Russ Kazmierczak, Jr.'s comic renderings of Arizona, superheroes travel back in time from the future to communicate with Governor Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe sends Lou Ferrigno to the border to combat a "marijuana catapult," and a young immigrant from Mexico finds an alien sombrero in the desert that gives him super powers.

They're all story lines in Kazmierczak's self-published comic, Amazing Arizona Comics, acted out by familiar local villains and imaginative super heroes like Speed Cameron, June Monsoon, and Sonny Gunold. "Every issue basically deals with whatever current event is going on when I made that issue," Kazmierczak says over coffee at Fair Trade Cafe.

Remember when they shut the speed cameras off, and around the same time the Sheriff raided a bunch of McDonald's around the Valley, looking for illegal immigrants? Well, in AAC, that happened because Speed Cameron was out of a job and wanted another way to fight crime, so Sheriff Arpaio sent him on the McDonald's raids. And when the Tempe Town Lake dam burst? That was all Al Gore's fault. He showed up (wearing a jet pack) to try and use June Monsoon's powers to prove that global warming exists, and his experiments burst the dam. And that time when Governor Brewer was struck silent and stammering for almost a minute and a half on live television? Amazing Arizona Comics explains that gaffe, too.

See, what happened was, Speed Cameron traveled back in time from the future to warn Brewer that if she read whatever was on the teleprompter, it would incite a nasty civil war, so whatever she did, she better not say whatever she planned to say. Then he dropped her back in time, at the precise moment she got tongue-tied. "That was the only logical explanation I had for why somebody so reassured of re-election would be babbling dumbstruck," Kazmierczak says. 

​Issue #4 pokes fun at Joe Arpaio's celebrity deputy posse, including Lou Ferrigno. Arpaio sends him on a mission to intercept marijuana at the Mexico border -- after Ferrigno bursts into his office, jealous about the fact that Arpaio let Steven Seagal use a tank to bring down a cockfighting ring (yes, that really happened; click here for video). "Arizona headlines won't let you give it up. There's always something cool happening in our own backyard," Kazmierczak says. 

Kazmierczak's been creating Amazing Arizona Comics since the summer of 2010, and tries to publish a new issue every other month. So far, it's been a hit in Arizona, and can currently be found at stores including Evermore Nevermore in Mesa, Jesse James Comics and Drawn to Comics in Glendale, and Samurai Comics locations around the Valley.

He says his target audience is "anybody who lives in Arizona," but he's also taken AAC to out-of-state events like San Diego Comicon, where he says it was pretty well received, especially considering he had a small press table among thousands of other vendors. "I feel like everybody I sold comics to were from Arizona. A lot of people came up -- and their name and city is on their name badge -- Gilbert, Chandler, Phoenix. It sparked conversations based on that," Kazmierczak says. "One guy said he was moving to Arizona from Alaska, and he thought my comic might give him some insight into what's going on. It was a good opportunity for exposure, and I passed out hundreds of cards and fliers, and I sold a couple dozen copies."

The next issue of Amazing Arizona Comics will feature Speed Cameron and June Monsoon working together to discover why Sarah Palin really bought a house in the Valley. Kazmierczak hopes to have it ready by August 19, when Indie ArtHouse will host a Third Friday opening featuring Kazmierczak's comics, including several of the covers on canvas.

Amazing Arizona Comics will be featured Friday, August 19 with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. at Indie ArtHouse, 1504 NW Grand Avenue. Visit for more information.

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