Odds are likely that at this point, you’ve heard of the wild success story that is Ethan and Malachai Nicolle’s Axe Cop, but for a moment, let’s pretend you haven’t. Have you ever sat down and actually listened to a kid make up a story? Children don’t have the same filters that we do — concepts such as suspension of disbelief and the three act structure are as foreign to them as a time before the internet — and so when one asks a kid to come up with a story, the result is pure imagination… or, depending on how you look at it, pure madness. Kids are unintentionally the masters of absurdist humor (check out this Tumblr for further examples of what I mean), but it took until 2009 for someone to realize “What if I wrote this all down and illustrated it?” The result was 5 year old Malachai and 25 year old Ethan Nicolle’s Axe Cop, which began as a webcomic until it was published by Dark Horse Comics. If this still isn’t ringing any bells, experience it for the first time at their website, thank me, then continue reading.
While Axe Cop is a story of beautiful madness (sorry White Wolf), the fact that Axe Cop both exists and is as popular and successful as it is crazier than anything within the comic strip. Ethan Nicolle truly was on to something when he thought to illustrate his brother’s ideas, but it wasn’t just clever — it was a hell of a thing for a brother to do. It’s enough that Ethan did what he did — bringing the creations of his younger brother to life in art deserves a drastic tip of the hat — but good lord, can you imagine how crazy it must be for Malachai to be a published comic book writer at his age? The story of Ethan and Malachai is a story of dreams coming true, and, when you get right down to it, a story of true brotherly love. What does this story actually look like when we pull the camera in? The Kickstarter campaign page promises that “[at] its heart, this is a story about family and the perks and perils of unexpected fame,” promising potential backers that this is not some extended promo piece, but an honest examination of this brotherly dynamic.
There are so many questions to be asked about the sensation that is Axe Cop. What is the creative process like in detail? How does Ethan feel about illustrating a “joke comic” — as he says in the promo video, this certainly wasn’t how he was expecting to get into comics. How far, creatively and legally, does Malachai’s status as “writer” go? How has Malachai handled his overnight internet celebrity status? These are only a few of the multiple questions that the Axe Cop Doc aims at addressing, and the crew producing the documentary has been following the brothers for over two years to get the answers; this isn’t some half-assed after-the-fact cash grab, but a team that has been there since nearly the beginning, promising the full Axe Cop experience — minus, you know, chopped heads, which are an integral part of the Axe Cop experience, but you get what I mean. As one of the wildest success stories in comics, this is something that everyone should get the chance to learn about without cornering Ethan at a con and telling him to tell you his secrets. After all, as Ethan jokes in the video, that’s what the doc is all about: getting you to leave him alone so he doesn’t have to explain his success.
The team admits that their rewards list “looks like an IHOP menu” (only everything is in all caps), but that’s because there are multiple options for many of the target donation dollar amounts, big and small: three $15 donation choices, two $20, two $25, two $40, three $50, two $75, two $100, two $500, two $1,000, and two $2,000. Many people who want to support projects on Kickstarter have a target amount that they might be hesitant to pass, and so the ability to have multiple choices is an excellent choice. With three different options, $50 is the prime amount in order to find something that caters to your preferences. The Supersized Hat package nets you an Axe Cop baseball cap, a digital copy of the movie, an Axe Cop ring tone/outgoing message set, and remaining Axe Cop pins and badges; The Hard Goods is for those of us who like owning physical copies, awarding donators a DVD with bonus features, as well as the pins and badges (definitely, not only if there is an overstock); finally, the T-Shirt Package is the same as the Supersized Hat Package, only with a Kickstarter-exclusive t-shirt. If fifty smackers is a bit too much for you, though, considering the ever-looming fiscal cliff they keep talking about in between my classical music on the radio, then feel free to check out the a la carte items on the menu.
Big spenders have a lot to win in this Kickstarter. Big Axe Cop fans who feel like pitching in $100 will get a wooden, handmade Axe Cop mustache combs. If that’s not ridiculously awesome enough, go ahead and ask me who they are handmade by.
Okay, Walt, who makes these mustache combs?
The wooden mustache combs are made by none other than Nick Offerman.
Wait, isn’t that… holy crap, isn’t that the man who plays Ron Swanson?
You better believe it
That is amazing.
I know, my friend. But that’s not all! If you’re a big money Axe Cop fan, then you can donate $2,500 and receive a handmade axe from Offerman. Is there really anything more manly than an axe made by Ron Swanson to promote something Axe Cop-relate? If there is, I can’t think of it. Be warned, however — there is only one axe to be had, so act quickly! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see if it was gone by the time this actually goes live, so act so quickly you go back in time!
In a medium full of the bizarre, Axe Cop manages to top them all while remaining oddly touching — well, maybe not in-comic, but in theory. It is exciting that someone had the bright idea to capture Ethan and Malachai’s bright idea as it happened, and you should certainly do your best to help make it a reality. And if no one gets that axe, I will probably cry. I was hoping to live vicariously through you.