I keep telling people, most recently Mark Westerby, the producer, at last night’s Pecha Kucha where we both spoke, about ‘a cartoon strip that’s written by a six-year-old and drawn by his 20-something brother’. Except I encountered it so long ago that, beyond a few initial Tweets and a long browse of their website, I had forgotten its name.
A quick search on Duck Duck Go located it: it’s called Axe Cop, and can be found at axecop.com.
It’s a work of genius. Malachai Nicolle, who began the Axe Cop saga when he was ﬁve, comes up with the ideas. His older brother, Ethan, 29, gets his younger brother’s ideas and draws them up as a comic strip. So for those who ever wondered what rests in the mind of a ﬁve-year-old boy, Axe Cop answers that question.
Many of us, while we admire the thought processes of a child, might not be able to use our own imaginations to appreciate fully what he or she has drawn. The Nicolle brothers solve that problem: while the interpretation still has a ﬁlter, this one’s probably ﬁner than many, since the pair are related and a big brother is far more likely to be sympathetic to his own kin in ensuring that his execution is faithful.
Below is a video made just under a year ago showing the writing process.
Episode 1 has been turned into a motion comic by Axe Cop fans, and gives you an idea of how the saga began:
I really admire the work of the Nicolle brothers. It also helps those of us who are grown up to try to recapture the thought processes that we had when we were children. The obvious beneﬁt is to innovation and product-development, freeing us from the rigour of standardized methods. It could go even further: remember when we were innocent, free from notions of racism and prejudice?
Sometimes, we have a lot to learn from children.