Sunday, December 25, 2022

REVIEW: Axe Cop, Vol. 1 (graphic novel) written by Malachai Nicolle, drawn by Ethan Nicolle

Axe Cop is a fantasy action series. I bought my copy of this volume used - it includes a sketch and autograph from Ethan Nicolle.


Axe Cop is a cop who chops bad guys' heads off with his axe. His partner is Flute Cop, who, through various transformations, becomes Dinosaur Soldier, Avocado Soldier, and Uni-Avocado Soldier. In the world of Axe Cop, very smart people sprout unicorn horns that grant wishes, good guys always beat bad guys, and somehow the good guys are easily identifiable despite their tendency to, say, chop people's heads off and eat babies.

The important thing to understand about Axe Cop is that it all originated from the mind of a 5-year-old boy. The series started off as just play-time between Ethan Nicolle (29 at the time) and his younger brother. Ethan turned it into some comic book pages, posted it online, and it took off. Conversations with Malachai helped produce material for additional Axe Cop adventures. Each story and "Ask Axe Cop" strip in this volume includes commentary from Ethan with "behind the scenes" info about the process of translating Malachai's words and ideas into comics.

It's a wacky, weird series that's over-the-top even by the standards of the most over-the-top action story you can think of. Anything could happen. At the same time, certain things come up repeatedly, and young boy thought processes put certain limits on the story. There was a lot of poison, unicorn horns, zombies, and random exploding items. Ethan mentioned the difficulty he had with getting Malachai to create villains that weren't incredibly easy for Axe Cop to beat (from a "working with children" perspective, I found Ethan's notes about what did and did not work well when it came to getting new material from Malachai fascinating).

I loved the weirdness of it all, and I really liked certain strips and stories. Of the longer stories, my favorite was probably Baby Man's quest to acquire all the things on his "Hunting List." I laughed out loud at Malachai's ideas about the sorts of things that might lure adults to their doom (free cars, ringing phones).

That said, this was a little exhausting to read all in one go, and although I love the way this series originated (this seems like such a cool way for an older and younger brother to bond), I'm not sure I'm interested in continuing on with it.


Includes a gallery with 7 additional black-and-white illustrations created by other artists.

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