WASILLA — Wasilla’s most famous family and the Valley’s most notorious cash crop are prominently featured in the newest update to the state’s most irreverent deck of playing cards.
The 4th Edition of the “Alaska Outlaws, Rebels or Cons” playing cards have been released, with updates to many familiar faces and a few new members of the infamous pack of Alaska characters.
“There’s a bunch of new ones,” said creator Jason Hahn, the Anchorage man who first came up for the idea of the novelty playing cards in 2008.
The set hasn't been updated since the third edition came out in 2011. This year’s edition has a decidedly “green” theme, with new additions including the likenesses of disgraced television anchor and marijuana enthusiast Charlo Greene and the Absolute Chronic Delivery marijuana company. Back from the third edition is also “Valley Weed Growers,” (four of clubs) a catch-all card for Mat-Su growers touting the fact that Alaska’s marijuana crops bring in 20 times more revenue than hay.
Other newcomers to the set include the likes of Courtney Love (seven of hearts), who is recognized for spending time as a stripper in Anchorage, and Anchorage preacher Jerry Prevo (ace of clubs), who is recognized for receiving religious tax breaks on his 13-bedroom home.
There's also a card featuring the Brown family, better known as the "Alaskan Bush People" of reality television. The Browns (who are pictured on the six of spades) are singled out both for their TV fame as well as the family's recent run-ins with the law, including convictions against two members for Permanent Fund Dividend fraud.
And then there’s the Palins.
When Hahn first produced his cards in 2008, he intended the deck to reflect a mix of old-time Alaska figures (Soapy Smith, Wyatt Earp) and more recent newsmakers (Joe Hazelwood, Don Young). The timing of the deck couldn’t have been more fortunate, coming at the same time former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin was picked to run for vice president alongside presidential candidate John McCain.
“Right before we went to print, someone from Wasilla there made the news and kinda became a star in her own way,” Hahn said. “That was a big part of them getting recognition.”
Over the years, other members of the Palin clan have been featured, including Sarah’s husband, Todd, and Levi Johnston, whose high-profile engagement to Palin’s daughter, Bristol, was a key issue in the presidential campaign due to Bristol’s teen pregnancy. Todd and Levi aren’t in the fourth edition, but Sarah and Bristol again made the cut. Mrs. Palin is back as the queen of hearts, and also gets special recognition as one of two “jokers” in the deck. Her daughter, meanwhile, is featured on the six of hearts.
Although the Palins provide Hahn with plenty of content, the card-maker said he’s nearly at the point where he’s Palined-out.
“I get almost as tired as anyone else does,” of the family, he said.
The cards include brief descriptions of what led to each figure’s notoriety. Sarah Palin’s card features a picture of her shaking hands with Donald Trump and quotes from the former Alaska governor, including her “right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns” line that garnered national attention during her Trump endorsement speech.
Hahn said he tries to keep the cards as up-to-date as possible.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing the research into them,” he said.
As for Bristol Palin, Hahn’s depiction of the Wasilla blogger and reality television star includes an account of her second pregnancy and a much-publicized fight at an Anchorage party in 2014, in which Palin allegedly asked the host “who the f--- are you?” before punching the man in the face.
Hahn said the first three editions of his playing cards have sold about 20,000 packs, mostly in gift stores around the state and from online sales. They’re popular both with tourists and locals alike, he said.
“They’re always good conversation starters,” he said.
Other prominent figures featured in the deck include porn producer Larry Flynt, Binky the Polar Bear, ill-fated adventurer Christopher McCandless, "Grizzly Man" Timothy Treadwell, and "Butcher Baker" serial killer Robert Hansen.
While the cards tend to focus on often infamous or scandalous people and events, some people featured on the cards have actually been honored, Hahn said. Former Alaska Gov. Wally Hickel once sent Hahn a note thanking him for inclusion in the deck.
“That was kinda cool,” he said.
As for Wasilla’s first family, Hahn said he has yet to get any feedback from the Palins.
“They haven’t sent me an autographed deck,” he said.
Still, he figures the nationally prominent clan will continue to help him move cards. The biggest challenge with keeping up with the family, he said, is editing the family’s famously outspoken matriarch.
“To try to pare her down to 75 words is definitely a challenge,” he said. “There’s just too much there.”
For more information about the cards — which retail for $9.95 — visit alaskaoutlaws.com.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct a misspelling of Flynt's last name.