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'Then They Grew Apple Hands That Could Shoot Apples': The Kindergartener-Created Comics Sensation AX

An image from Axe Cop.

hide captionAxe Cop may be the greatest comic you'll ever see based on the musings of a kindergartener.

By now, many of you will have already met Axe Cop, the impressively mustachioed officer of the law who wields his trusty fire-axe to protect and serve.

...And chop bad guys' heads off.

Last Thursday, links to the heart-stirring, head-chopping adventures of Axe Cop and his sidekick, Avocado Soldier (about whom more in a bit) started popping up in Twitter feeds across the nation. EW.com linked to him, as did several comics bloggers, including Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance. (Who followed up yesterday with an interview.)

Axe Cop: Who He Is and How He Came to Be

The unlikely hero the world knows as Axe Cop is the brainchild of a brainy child. Five-year-old Malachai Nicolle, to be exact.

The chief reason Axe Cop's fame extends beyond crayon drawings magnetized to the Nicolle family's refrigerator door, however, has to do with Malachai's older brother, Ethan Nicolle. Ethan is the creator of the gleefully weird (and Eisner-award nominated) humor comic Chumble Spuzz, published by SLG.

All heroes need an origin story, of course. Here, then, is Axe Cop's:

During Ethan's visit home last Christmas,

...Malachai was running around with his toy fireman axe and 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 than 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.

That one-page comic became two, and three, and four, which Ethan promptly posted to his blog and Facebook page. An Axe Cop website soon followed, complete with fancy navigation, a cast of characters, and more. Word started to spread; last Thursday, it spread all over Twitter. The site crashed a few times over the weekend, so now Axe Cop and friends mete out their swift, decapitory justice on a designated server. (Which, at this writing, is still a little slow/wonky.)

Whence the Awesomeness?

From young Malachai's fevered, juice-box-fueled mind, that's whence. Malachai is a five-year-old kid who loves dinosaurs and swords — and dinosaurs with swords. (Here, dear reader, is as good a time as any to contemplate the tragic tale behind Axe Cop's trusty sidekick Avocado Soldier, who was known to the world as Dinosaur Soldier (and before that, Flute Cop) until the day he ate an avocado which turned him into a giant avocado that can shoot avocados out of his hands.)

Malachai's loves are many, and they are random (a word that keeps coming up in any objective assessment of the Bros. Nicolle oeuvre). Fruit figures largely, for example. Also socks. And snowmen and talking dogs and aliens and wrestlers and flying books that are actually secretly robots and people with pretzels for heads.

But without older brother Ethan's art, which channels this raging stream-of-five-year-old-consciousness into clever narrative shapes, Axe Cop wouldn't attain the giddy power it does.

Here are some things that Axe Cop is: Funny, goofy, frenetic, exuberant. It's also, not for nothing: a pure, crystalline, downright weaponized expression of the kidlike essence of comics.

Here are some things that Axe Cop is not: Precious, heart-warming, cute, Kids-Say-The-Darndest-Things-y.

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