Demographic Attack!, or, Who Watches the Axe Cop?



Axe Cop is magical. When the web comic detailing the cop with a perfect fireman’s axe began in 2009 artist Ethan Nicolle was 29 years old and his brother and fellow story writer Malachai Nicolle was five. And it shows in the best way.

There are ninjas and zombies and dinosaurs. Heroes develop preposterous new powers at the drop of a hat: they’re dinosaur one moment, an avocado the next and an avocado with a unicorn horn taken from an alien baby just moments later. The comic is a brilliantly illustrated transcript of a boy’s imagination unhinged in the midst of a game of pretend. If Calvin and Hobbes wrote a comic book it would be Axe Cop. It’s hilarious and so much more.

Reading Axe Cop harkens back to a time when five year olds didn’t spend their days pissing off grown ass men during Call of Duty bouts on Xbox Live and were instead more inclined to create their own entertainment with that ever-dulling tool imagination.

Is Axe Cop uninfluenced by idols of boyhood like Batman and Ben 10? No. But even when such influences are undeniable the insane adaptive liberties are a site to be hold. Here’s to you Bat-Warthog-Man.

The hero we deserve, or need, or whichever.

The hero we deserve, or need, or whichever.

Axe Cop has little concern for continuity or cannon and is instead wholly focused on being fun and having fun in the moment. If that means Wexter the T-Rex becomes Wexter the Dragon then so be it. As long as he’s still lighting bad guys ablaze Axe Cop is good to go.

And plenty of bad guys are set ablaze. Plenty more have their heads chopped off (it’s kind of Axe Cop’s thing). He also has a tendency to straight up murder them in their sleep. And a bunch of folks are attacked by evil poop from a poop planet.

The light hearted imagination of a five-year-old is constantly present in Axe Cop, but it comes with a similarly imaginative naïve dark streak. While I’m laughing hysterically at Axe Cop’s night time murder-prowls I simultaneously have to wonder if other five-year-old boys are even allowed to read Axe Cop. It’s material that simultaneously serves as the type of laughably violent potty humor a parent would want to keep their kids away from and the type of laughably violent potty humor every kid concocts and spews on a daily basis just out of earshot.

Further complicating Axe Cop’s duality is the new TV show adaptation on Fox.

The pilot debuted last weekend and it was amazing. Nick Offerman voices the titular icon immaculately and the animation brings Malachai’s imagination to life. The first 11 minute episode perfectly melds the bombastic creativity that is driving a car off a wrap into space to go to the dinosaur horn planet with the mundane monotony that is arguing with the guy at the dinosaur horn store over the merits of buying a dinosaur horn versus renting a dinosaur horn and risking the inevitable late fees. It’s a cocktail that’s sure to please viewers and it’s on Fox, so it’s pretty much destined to get canned and become an awesome cult phenomenon watched ad infinitum on college campuses the world over. You need to watch it. While you still can.

Adaptive brilliance!

Adaptive brilliance!

Unfortunately, brilliant as the Axe Cop TV adaptation is, it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst its peers in Fox’s Animation Domination programming block. It’s airing at 11 at night and being bundled in amongst shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. The show airing immediately after it, High School USA, boasts jokes about glory holes and being “rapey.” Woah. What?

Both the Axe Cop web comic and television show are hilarious and ridiculous, but they bring with that hilarity a sense of earnest nostalgia and joy. Not a nostalgia for Pokémon cards or Nickelodeon, a nostalgia for a mindset and a way of thinking that gets lost somewhere in growing up. It’s a beautiful thing, and while it might not be entirely appropriate for kids to watch, on another level it is the most appropriate thing for a kid to watch on television today. Pairing it up with the likes of The Simpsons and Family Guy and marketed exclusively to the late night college kid demographic might be smart and it might make sense, but man is it a bummer.

Still. You need to watch it immediately.