MinInterview: Ethan Nicholle
Interviewer: Jenn Zuko Boughn
Recently I had the very great pleasure of using my 5-question “Mininterview” format to ask Ethan Nicholle about upcoming Axe Cop vol. 3, and the future of the series. ~Prof. Jenn
1) How has Axe Cop evolved as Malachai has gotten older? How do you see him evolving as Malachai continues to get older? What’s coming up in Axe Cop’s future that we can get excited about?
Malachai’s tastes and interests are changing pretty rapidly, so Axe Cop’s attention span is at about the same rate. Whatever is going on in Malachai’s life makes it into the story, for instance the family just got a new dog, so he called me to tell me there is a new dog character in the Axe Cop universe. I’m as interested as anyone to see how Axe Cop changes as Malachai grows up. I’m open to whatever works. The most exciting thing in Axe Cop’s future, next to Volume 3 coming out on March 28th, is the new print-exclusive miniseries titled Axe Cop: President of the World which launches in July.
2) Axe Cop’s fan base exploded pretty quickly. How did this fandom affect how you composed Axe Cop? Did it affect how Malachai composed it? How about the feedback you both have been getting at conventions?
It just sort of rocketed us into making more Axe Cop and really fast. When I first made Axe Cop I assumed it would be a fun thing to do with Malachai whenever I visit (which is about 3 times a year). When it blew up, I decided we should strike while the iron is hot and start making more of these things. It became a lot of fun and quite an interesting project. Especially working on the more long form stories with him and spending entire months with him. We get awesome feedback from fans, the support for Axe Cop is huge and people who love it REALLY love it. I think there are people out there who love it more than Malachai and I combined. I think that Axe Cop popped up right when people were getting tired of the more negative, gritty and edgy style that was the “thing” for a while, and Axe Cop is such a breath of fresh air in that world. It is totally sincere and innocent and it inadvertently parodies comics that take themselves too seriously.
3) I noticed in Volume 3, there are many “Ask Axe Cop” episodes as well as a lengthy guest appearance (on the website, there have been several more guest appearances recently as well). What are your thoughts/feelings about the collaboration? Do the guests appeal to Malachai, and does he springboard off of those?
Malachai has gotten ideas from the guest episodes. He really liked the one where Axe Cop has little axes on his arm hairs. He pretty much stole that concept for himself and made Axe Cop have sword arm hair. The guest episodes are a lot of fun, especially the ones where people follow the model and team up with their own kids/nieces/nephews to make an Axe Cop story.
4) How do Axe Cop, Bad Guy Earth, and Bearmageddon inform each other? Do you have a particular favorite issue?
Well Bad Guy Earth is just more Axe Cop, but it is written in a longer format. It’s more of our attempt at “feature length” Axe Cop story telling. Bearomageddon I wouldn’t say is informed by Axe Cop much mainly because I created it before I created Axe Cop, I only finally started to release it after. I think Bad Guy Earth is my favorite thing I have done so far just because it is so out of the box and such a fun/crazy experiment in creativity. A lot went into making it.
5) Who are some of your artistic inspirations? Is there anyone you even now try to emulate in your work? What is one of your artistic dreams? (e.g. have you always wanted to draw a certain superhero/create a world that you haven’t yet?)
My biggest influences growing up were Bill Watterson, Gary Larson and the many artists who drew the Ninja Turtles. Later I got into indie comics and became a big fan of artists like Jhonen Vasquez, Evan Dorkin, Ethan Van Sciver (who was indie back then) and Sam Keith. I have a lot of respect for Doug TenNapel because I like that he emphasizes storytelling and he really pushes creativity and wonder in his work. I think I try to emulate that. I have never really dreamed of drawing other people’s characters, I have always wanted to make my own stuff. So I don’t know what my dream project would be. I think right now Axe and Bearmageddon are dream projects, and I’ll have other ones down the road.