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Axe Cop is a webcomic written and illustrated by LA-based comic book artist Ethan Nicolle and his younger brother Malachai Nicolle, which tells the story of a police officer named “Axe Cop” who fights crime and evil with a team of allies. Within days of its launch, the series drew much attention and praises for its quirky stories and child-like style of illustration.
In December 2009, Ethan Nicolle began drawing single pages of a story called “Axe Cop” as a parallel to the video games he played with his then five-year-old brother, Malachai. Ethan did not initially intend to upload or publish the comic, but after drawing five episodes, he began sharing the comics on his personal website. On December 28th, 2009, Ethan uploaded a behind-the-scenes video describing the creative process. Two days later, he registered the domain AxeCop.com where he released the first five episodes on January 25th, 2010. As of January 2013, there are 146 episodes of the comic, with 82 blog entries in the Ask Axe Cop series.
Axe Cop, the protagonist of the comic, was born as Axey Smartist in 2004. He became a cop to avenge his parents’ death after they were poisoned by candy canes sent by Telescope Gun Cop. He only has two known weaknesses: being surprised and Cherry Rainbow candy canes. He often works with his brother, Flute Cop, who has undergone many transformations throughout the series. As of January 2013, there are dozens of recurring characters in the comic including Abraham Lincoln, Book Cop, the Queen of England and a variety of other humans and animals.
During its first two weeks online, AxeCop.com crashed twice, seeing anywhere between 30,000 – 52,500 unique visits each day. In its first month, there were nearly 750,000 unique visits. A Twitter account for Axe Cop launched on January 24th, 2010. Three days later, the Axe Cop website was linked on MetaFilter, yielding 90 comments. On January 28th, it was mentioned on Geeksystem, Urlesque, Neatorama and named as the site of the day by Entertainment Weekly. Following press coverage of Axe Cop, a Facebook fan page was created on the 28th, earning 1800 fans within four days and nearly 26,000 likes in three years.
In December 2010, Dark Horse published the first volume (shown below, left) of Axe Cop comics.They continued to publish volumes of the webcomic and, in March 2011, released their first Axe Cop miniseries (shown below, center). In July 2012 a special print-only series of Axe Cop (shown below, right) in which he is appointed president of the whole world began. As of January 2013, there are three issues in this series, with a collection volume scheduled for release in May 2013.
In April 2012, Fox announced that an animated series adaptation of Axe Cop will premier in July 2013 as part of an animated comedy block. Clips of the show began appearing online in October 2012 (shown below, left), with actor Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson in Parks & Recreations) voicing the main character. Additionally, on December 7th, 2012, YouTube channel Rugburn launched an unrelated webseries(shown below, right) inspired by the original Axe Cop comics.
Deadline Hollywood – Fox’s Saturday Late-Night Animated Block Greenlights First Series