Children are the funniest people on the planet. As a father, an uncle, heck, a great uncle, I have been entertained forever by the random things that children will say. There is a purity to it, no ego, no fear of being derivative, just youthful imagination coming out. If only we could package it up and sell it.
Y’know, without putting Bill Cosby in a room with small children again.
Oh, lucky for us comic nerds there happens to be a magnificent web series that exudes the humour of a child. Axe Cop is a webcomic that I have written about previously and if you didn’t check it out then you are seriously missing out. The series was put together by Ethan Nicolle, a pretty talented comic artist, using his younger brother’s outrageous ideas. 24 years his senior, little Malachai Nicolle was only 5-years-old when the series began.
Malachai’s innocent cleverness made Axe Cop an instant success and has become one of the most popular webcomics of all-time. The franchise has grown to include games, action figures, an animated television show, and of course print comic books.
Axe Cop: American Choppers was an original series produced by the brothers specifically for Dark Horse Comics. It shares the same strengths that made Axe Cop so popular, to begin with, the untainted imagination of a child. With Malachai Nicolle earning a credit on this title at just nine-years-old, he becomes a part of comic book history. Which makes this a perfect book for today’s Longbox Select.
This is the first appearance of Axe Cop’s super team, the American Choppers. Some of these characters have been seen through previous Axe Cop stories like Axe Girl and Super Axe, but any good Axe Cop story offers many new friends and foes, and of course plenty of axes. The cover features Ethan Nicolle’s talented artwork that manages to perfectly encapsulate the fun of his brother’s wild ideas.
“Time to chop off bad guys heads!”
Super Axe is enjoying some Hawaiian food at a Hawaiian restaurant when the place is suddenly held up by bad guys for all of their coconuts, pineapples, and other Hawaiian foods. Super Axe calls his friend Axe Cop to get some help against the bad guys, the food force five, when suddenly a new hero arrives, Captain Axe.
After the bad guys have been defeated Axe Cop, Super Axe, and Captain Axe all become friends and hunt down the Food Force Five’s secret boss, Walter Melon. They cut his head off. Then they decide to start a new super team.
Captain Axe thinks he should be in charge because he is a captain. Axe Cop cannot be a captain because Captain Axe comes from Captain Planet where all captains are born and it was destroyed by all of the generals of General Planet. Axe Cop ignores him and leads the team anyways, giving them the name, American Choppers.
Some old friends join along like Axe Cop’s old girlfriend Axe Girl and her 50 year older mother, Axe Woman. They give an axe to Axe Cop’s dog, Ralph Wrinkles, who becomes Axe Dog. And a goat randomly shows up who has axes for horns and they call him Axe Goat. And, they all celebrate by eating ham.
But, as Axe Cop surprises his new team with fresh axes from the axe factory, the weapons come to life and they’re evil. The American Choppers will have to wait for their ham as they are bombarded by evil axemen.
This book is packed full of the humour that you would want. It is a cleaned up version of the source webcomic, but much more raw than the animated show. The jokes can be hard to describe as it often comes out in the dialogue as these characters speak like a child would. The open sandbox world these brothers have created give absolute freedom to Malachai’s ideas such as Captain Axe’s RV which has beds, a bathroom, rockets, can turn into a helicopter, a hot air balloon, and a monster RV jet with 20 tires.
Another thing that showcases the young author’s imagination is the characters you meet in these stories. Besides all the axe-themed heroes of this issue we also meat Mr. Chicken-Chicken Slice, who can shoot chickens out of his brain when he closes his eyes.
And then the most random things will happen like how Axe Cop and Captain Axe were having difficulties bonding, but after defeating a bunch of monsters and turning the RV into a hot air balloon, they all break out and sing the Hot Air Balloon Song. Whatever that is? Thankfully I have the lyrics for you here:
“Hot air balloon, falling down.
Floating down from a fight.
Hot air balloon, save your life,
From falling down really high…
’cause it lands so softly on the ground,
And you don’t die.”
That is just a small example of the humour that fills every panel of this book. It is a near impossibility to not laugh out loud while reading Axe Cop. But, it is that uninhibited imagination that is the source of not only this title but comic books in general. Axe Cop gives us the ability to connect with our own inner child and laugh at the small things again. He is the hero that helps us break away from our dreaded adulting and just be in a world of flying dinosaurs with sunglasses and guns for hands, which is somewhere we all need to visit once and a while.