The Next Great Webcomic?
“Axe Cop” is not like most webcomics. It started off with humble beginnings, when comic book artist Ethan Nicolle took stories created by his brother Malachai, turned them into comics, and posted them on his Facebook profile. The comics were getting such good responses that Ethan eventually turned them into a full website, AxeCop.com, which led them to their current level of popularity.
Actually this story does make Axe Cop seem rather ordinary, so why even bring it up? Simple; though artist Ethan Nicolle has years of comic book writing experience, his brother Malachai is a bit of a rookie. In fact, that’s an understatement, because Malachai is five.
It all started when Ethan, 29, went home to visit his family for christmas. After watching his little brother run around laying a toy fireman axe, he was asked to join his brother and play “Axe Cop”. He agreed, and after his brother handed him a toy flute to become “Flute Cop”, Ethan offered a switch, which Malachai accepted. Suddenly, Ethan (Axe Cop) and Malachai (Flute Cop) were having enough fun that Ethan realized it would be a genius idea to turn this into a full-page comic. After all, Malachai had the creativity, so why not?
With all the stories coming out of the brain of a five-year-old, the plots seem a bit nonsensical, but that’s what gives “Axe Cop” its brilliance. There are currently six “episodes” available, with a “secret” Episode 0 providing some backstory on the man formerly known as “Axey Smartist”. The Nicolle brothers have also answered seven questions from fans, turning the answers into hilarious comics that delve deeper into Axe Cop’s past.
Axe Cop’s story is a bit complicated, which should be expected when it’s written by someone of kindergarten age. The first panel of the first comic shows a cop discovering the “perfect fireman axe” at the scene of a fire, and claiming it as his own. Axe Cop then inexplicably has to fight a horde of dinosaurs, so he holds tryouts for a partner and eventually meets Flute Cop. After an accident in their fight against the dinosaurs, Flute Cop has the first of his frequent “transformations”. Eventually, we’re introduced to a plethora of additional characters such as Telescope Gun Cop (who turns evil), Unibaby (a baby who grew a unicorn horn [that has special powers] because he was so smart), and villians such as The Evil Flying Book and Mr. Mutani Esu (a Japanese man who lurks around the playground at Axe Cop’s one-time school so he could beat the crap out of people for no reason).
What gives this comic such potential at widespread popularity is its appeal to reach the masses, and not just confine itself to one specific age/gender/type of person. Kids love it because of its simplicity and awesome story lines, and the older crowd loves it because it is so unbelievably random that it becomes hilarious. None of the plot lines make sense (as I’ve already said many times in this article), but they don’t need to. Webcomics are notorious for being random, but it is rare to find something as random as this. Usually five-year-olds don’t possess the artistic skill or web-savyness to produce a successful webcomic, but when you have an adult working on your side, it becomes easy.
I’m going to stop rambling because this article is starting to make less sense than the comics itself, so here’s a little guide to Axe Cop so you can see the genius for yourself: