SCREENSHOT VOL. 2: AXE COP
Welcome to volume two of screenshot! Comic book fans rejoice, this week on the monitor we’re taking a look at AxeCop! An axe, a flute and a five-year-old are not the beginning of a joke, but how Ethan Nicolle came up with what is now the internet sensation: Axe Cop.
Below, Ethan takes a shot at our questions.
So… Axe Cop? How did you come up with that?
It started the Christmas before last. I was visiting my family and my 5 year old brother kept asking me if I wanted to play “Axe Cop”, which was what he had come up with when he combined a fireman and a policeman. As we played, a comic formed in my mind and I decided to draw it. We ended up doing about five episodes while I was there for that visit.
But, it’s written by a 5 year old, how did you know people would like it?
I never saw it as something I could ever make a living on. I originally did it for family and friends, who loved it. I wanted to get into doing web comics, so I used Axe Cop as practice and made an Axe Cop website. It went viral and basically became my job over night.
Has it gone from your night to day job now?
It is my day job. It is not an amazing income right now, but it’s just enough for me to not get a second income. I am one of the few people in independent comics who make a living at drawing comics. The only way to do it is to get a large audience, and for me, because Axe Cop went viral, my large audience came very fast. For others in comics they build that audience slowly over years, and for many they never build enough to do it as more than a hobby.
How do you get people to keep coming back?
I think at this point it is a combination of new visitors, who check out Axe Cop because people are still regularly sharing the link and discovering it, and people who regularly come back to see what has been posted. I post regular content, depending on the season I am in with work outside of just the online comic (I also am doing print-exclusive Axe Cop comics with Dark Horse Comics too), I post between 1-3 episodes a week on AxeCop.com. I think frequent posting, along with the unpredictability of Axe Cop keeps people coming back. You just never know what Axe Cop will do next because it is still written by my little brother who does not always follow conventional story telling templates. Also, lots of interaction with fans on Twitter, Facebook and on the web site.
What’s the hardest part of putting the series together? Do you have collaborators that help?
Working with my little brother is the hardest part, but also can be the most fun. I get all the stories from him by playing with him and asking questions, and then I construct a story out of what he tells me. Often his stories don’t add up at all and I have to keep coming up with questions to ask him to get the story back on track. I have spent an entire month with him twice now working on material. It is a lot of fun, but exhausting at the same time. Probably similar to being a parent (which I am not), it’s all a big blessing but that doesn’t make it easy.
You owe it to yourself to check out Axe Cop and start from the beginning with episode four (you’ll see what I mean). You’ll be wowed by millions of children, loving parents, a man-eating snowman and of course – an axe wielding cop!
Check out last week’s Screenshot here.
–by Erikka Yancy for Film Independent
January 12th, 2012 • No Comments