TNB Night Owl – Axe Cop

Axe Cop cosplay, Photo by Christopher Brown

The slow death of the traditional newspaper has dragged some professions down with it. Political cartoonists are an example; until comparatively recently, it was expected that all daily papers in cities would have a political cartoonist on staff. Today few positions remain, and those for only the most prominent of national papers.

The daily newspaper comic strip could reasonably be expected to follow this trend, with only a handful of long-established strips fighting for space on the shrinking comics page. In reality, the reverse is true; daily comic strips have proliferated and flourished. Without the need to worry about objections from comics syndicate and newspaper editors, creators have been free to produce strips targeted to specific audiences. Initially those audiences were the people most likely to be regular users of the internet: programmers, video game players and students. Over time, as the internet became a daily habitat for most people in developed countries, the focus of webcomics has spread.

By 2009, there were so many different webcomics that creators had difficulty being noticed. Some had audiences because they’d already been around for a decade. Some brought audiences from other works where an artist or writer had a following. The remainder sought a hook.

Or, in this case, an axe.

Axe Cop was the creation of a pair of siblings. The person providing the art and dialogue was Ethan Nicolle, age 29. The person providing the character and story ideas was his brother, Malachi… age 5.

As explained on their web site in 2010:

The AXE COP saga began on a Christmas visit to see my family. My Father, a man with very healthy loins, has managed to produce a variety of children, ranging from me, a 29 year old comic book artist, to my 5 year old brother Malachai, a 5 year old boy genius, with four other siblings in between. During the visit Malchai was running around with his toy fireman axe and he said he was playing “Axe Cop.” He asked me to play with him, and I asked what my weapon was… so he brought me a toy flute (actually a recorder). I told him I would rather be Axe Cop then Flute Cop, and he seemed just fine with being Flute Cop. The story that followed became more and more brilliant, until I couldn’t contain myself and I had to draw the whole thing into a one page comic. From there the saga continued, and over the course of my week-long visit we cranked out the first four episodes of AXE COP. I posted the comics to my blog and on Facebook and they got great responses. I decided to give AXE COP a home on the internet here and attempt to continue the saga as often as I have time to draw them, and I can get Malachai to write them.

The writing process is basically just me quizzing Malachai as he develops the saga. I’ll just try to pry all the details out of him and write them all down until something like a complete little story has been formed. Everything in AXE COP started in Malachai’s head, all I do is sort it out and draw it.

The series was as cartoonishly violent as one might expect from a five year old with an axe, but with the undeniable innocence – and bizarre imaginative links – of a child’s perspective.

For the curious, here’s the first strip (with, of course, links to future strips.)

Success followed, in the form of reprinted collections of strips from a prominent comic book company, a merchandise line, a version of the Munchkin board game, and even a cartoon series that aired on Fox and FX.

Of course, time marches on… and the five year old brother is now a teenager. So Ethan is now producing a new strip, Bearmageddon, about the day when all of the bears rise up and attempt to kill everyone. Because they’re bears.

I don’t think any of them carry axes, though.

Question of the night: What’s a positive experience you’ve had with law enforcement?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.