Post-Graduate Studies: AXE COP

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

It’s almost been a year since I’ve gotten my MFA, and aside from the precarious stacks of omni-genre books in my house, I’ve had one reading mainstay—Axe Cop. Every Tuesday, I open my computer at work and read a new page of a web-comic created by two brothers, Ethan and Malachai Nicolle. Malachai, a six-year-old, writes the book, while Ethan, his 30-year-old brother, draws it.
The story is also about two brothers—Axe Cop and Flute Cop—fighting bad guys on their flying tyrannosaurus that has Gatling guns for arms. Axe Cop carries an axe and tells bad guys, “I’ll chop your head off,” before decapitating zombies, robots and all manner of creatures (excluding girls, who he just knocks unconscious because they can’t be on his team).
It takes place in a world that William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick couldn’t dream up, where anything is possible: unicorn horns grant wishes; if you get an animal or vegetable’s blood on you, you turn into that animal (including an avocado); there is a hero with socks for arms who wields a golden chainsaw and gets Santa Claus’s powers, and a lobster/dog/zombie who can sense danger.
The plot is a pastiche with an elastic logic that is both foreign and familiar, while the story itself vacillates between the ridiculous and meta-fiction that chops close to larger themes and ideas. The enormous gulf between the quality of the artwork and the voice of a child creates a tension that is hypnotic. There is no character, only plot and a strong voice with no phony affectation.
Axe Cop compresses all of pop culture into a singularity filtered through the mind of a violence-obsessed, morally ambiguous creative genius who happens to be attending kindergarten. Check it out.


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