In case you couldn’t tell from our headline, there’s some ‘amazing’ stuff going down in Arizona right now, specifically the Amazing Arizona Comic Con, happening Valentine’s weekend, Feb. 12-14. And who better to talk about the convention and its impact on the local pop culture community than Arizona’s ultimate comic book fan and Amazing Arizona Comics creator, Russ Kazmierczak?
We asked Russ, whose independently published AZ superhero comic series coincidentally shares the ‘Amazing Arizona’ moniker with AACC, what makes this annual gathering of geeks important for local artists and authors; and what the con means to him as a connoisseur of comics.
What makes Amazing Arizona Comic Con (AACC) special?
Amazing Arizona Comic Con is my favorite large-scale show of the year. When I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time in 2001, I easily approached and talked to some of my favorite creators in the industry. AACC is still the right size for those casual conversations. It’s growing, but it still seems old-school intimate. I can flip through back issue bins and enjoy cosplayers at the same time, without feeling like one is overshadowed by the other.
What sets AACC apart from the other AZ pop culture conventions?
Jimmy Jay, Holly and their crew set AACC apart from the other shows in Arizona. We’re really lucky to have a great con scene here, with a large-scale show like Phoenix Comicon, and developing shows like TAPE in Tucson; but Jimmy’s hospitality surprises me every time. He always remembers my name and considering the number of exhibitors he must deal with that’s special and important to me.
Do you have any Amazing Arizona Comics exclusives or other new projects featured at your booth?
I’m self-publishing monthly and January’s issue of Amazing Arizona Comics will be available. If February’s issue isn’t ready by then, a free sneak preview will be available – featuring Santa Claus and Arizona’s superheroes in combat with Cupid over the claim of February 14!
Are there any special guests you are looking forward to seeing?
Rob Leifeld, creator of Deadpool, will be here the very weekend that movie opens nationwide, so I’m excited to be a part of that! Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, will be here, too, and I can’t wait to see him again. Eastman is an inspiration, because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as an independently published comic, just like mine. I can only hope someone will look forward to seeing me at a show someday!
Where will your booth be located at AACC?
I’ll be in Artist’s Alley, at table #D18, sharing space with my friend Marty and his incredible zines.
Kids 10 and under can enter free all weekend with a paid adult admission. Some convention special events require additional fees. Guest appearances and events are subject to change, so please check AmazingArizonaComicCon.com for the latest details. Follow Amazing Arizona Comic Con on Facebook at: facebook.com/AmazingArizonaComicCon.