When Axe Cop first started as a co-production between five year-old Malachai Nicolle and his 29 year-old brother Ethan, one of the first thoughts that went through the minds of readers -- once we were done with stuff like "this is amazing" and "you have to see this" -- was how long it could go. The charm of the series that came from Ethan interpreting Malachai's unrestrained creativity and translating it to the page was, by its very nature, on a time limit as Malachai grew up.

That was over four years ago, and now, we're living in a world where Axe Cop is a smash hit, with print comics from Dark Horse and an animated series on Fox. On March 6, Malchai turned 10, a milestone that led Ethan to reconsider how the comic works.


Axe Cop by Ethan and Malachai Nicolle


In his annual Happy Birthday post for Malachai, Ethan Nicolle noted that while Axe Cop shows no sign of slowing down in the immediate future and that he still enjoys working with his younger brother, he wanted to try to change up the process:

"Malachai can write now.  He can type, and he can sort his thoughts out much better than he could at age 10.  He is still intensely creative and we always have fun coming up with new material, but I think that, now that he’s done some growing up, I am going to see if I can get him to write out an outline.  See if he has it in him to really “write”.  I think, as he has aged, that it might be fun for us to be a writing team.

Sure this may change the flavor of Axe Cop.  And who knows, maybe we will do something else, maybe we will just take a break.  I want to try something new though.  I don’t want Malachai to think writing is as easy as answering questions.   I want him to start learning why I ask the questions I do, and why I sort the answers out the way I do.  I think he is ready."

As a fan, it's a relief to see that their creative partnership is still strong, and as someone who's enjoyed Malachai's creativity over the past few years as Ethan has adapted their conversations for the page, it's interesting to see him being encouraged to take even more control of what they're doing by writing actual stories and actually really heartening to see Ethan encouraging him. Either way, it seems like it's still going to be a lot of fun.

And, on a slightly less serious note, Happy Birthday, Malachai!


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