Malachai is 10!

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OK, I admit that this is really late.  Malachai turned 10 on March 6th.  That means Axe Cop will have been around for 5 years by next Christmas.  I was out of town on his birthday, and I did not have anything to post with Revenge on Rainbow Girl having taken over these last couple months.  I sent him his gifts, talked to him, all that stuff, but I didn’t post.  Usually I post.  Finally I thought, man I really should post.

Devoted Axe Cop fan Blake Roten sent me this home-made birthday card for Malachai and I decided I needed to post it:

malBday

We are currently in the middle of another mini-series, the American Choppers.  I think that, with the 10 year old milestone, and the amount of content we have created in the last 4+ years, that we may be exploring some new avenues after this miniseries is done.  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.  One thing I would really like to do at some point?  A Liborg comic.  I love Liborg (though admittedly I do not see him having the personality they gave him in the TV show.)

I have a lot of ideas, and none of them are final.

For now, wish Malachai a happy belated birthday.  Axe Cop is growing up!  Thanks for being  a part of something huge for both of us.

Happy birthday little brother!  I love creating with you and I hope we never stop.

Ethan

An Introduction to the Book I May Write Some Day About Kids and Creativity

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There is a tendency in all things to see them only from our unique position and be done with it.  A man will look at a woman and expect her to think manly thoughts and live by manly rules.  A woman will do the same, thinking that he is simply a more hairy version of herself.  Pet owners will look at a cat or dog and apply their own human emotions and reasoning to the behaviors of a beast.  One culture will look at another culture and be baffled by their choices, customs and traditions.  Most of us would admit that wisdom is born out of a healthy ability to see outside of ourselves.  We would also agree that doing so is one of life’s greatest challenges because it requires growth, and growth always hurts.  

I think that in most cases, people are at least willing to entertain the idea that they cannot apply the reasoning of a man to a woman, or a man to a cheetah, or a man to a dandelion.  Many will resist this at first because life would be easier and simpler if your world was THE world, but in that view all we do is make the world small.  So small, in fact, that our life becomes a never-ending cycle of running into walls and then cursing at them.  Most of us, to some degree, will begin to remedy the problem by simply admitting that there is a lot to learn outside ourselves (or our walls).  I would say that those who never begin to learn this are bound to live the most miserable of lives.  But as willingness to look outside ourselves goes, there is one area I feel this is not so readily accepted:  Little boys.

Having been in the unique position of creating a comic and TV series with my much younger brother, who was 5 at the time we started, I’ve experienced a lot of opinions and reactions to the way a little boy thinks.  On one hand people marvel at the freedom, creativity and wonder that pours out of that active imagination at a seemingly endless rate.  On the other hand, they are often horrified by the results.  They see a five year old talking about lopping the heads off of evil men and they shudder.  They think something must be done immediately.  This child must be corrected before he becomes the next Charles Manson.

But just as a man means something totally different than a woman when he speaks of sexual attraction, and a human means something totally different than a horse when they say “neigh”, a 5 year old boy means something completely different from an adult when he says “kill”.  The idea of killing, thus far in his life has mostly been limited to what happens routinely in a game of Super Mario Brothers.  And in that context, if we were to be so literal and adult about things, a bloodbath has ensued and the body count is breathtaking.

What a little boy actually means when they talk of killing bad guys is another huge topic for another time. I do not claim to have it all figured out.  But when we claim to know what they mean because they are kids and we are adults, we have simplified them.  We have taken them for granted because they are small.  Understanding the world of a child is as deeply and widely complex as trying to understand the opposite sex.  That is why I will not try to dive into it too much here.

I write this only to make this first point.  When you look into the world of a child, look into it with the same awe and wonder with which you would look into an alien world, or a mystical world inside of a Wardrobe.  Assume, from the start, that words and ideas have different meanings.  Humble yourself before that little mind and it will become vast before your very eyes.  There is a reason Christ said that “anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it” (Luke 18:17).  He is telling us that most of us, as we grow, lose the thing we needed to hold onto the most.  What was it?  That is the question, and the answer is in your four year old son who day dreams of battle with monsters and defeating every kind of evil.

We grow up and we get jaded.  We learn that flight is impossible, super powers are imaginary, guns are bad and the only real ultimate good is to put your pop cans in the proper container and don’t judge anyone or anything.  We may get bigger, but our world gets smaller.  We shrink.  We carry our withered and jaded view of reality like a badge of wisdom and we try to force kids to accept it before their time, and it is in that moment that we rob them of what being a kid really ought to be.

I want to make it clear that I am not one who thinks that kids possess wisdom and should be our teachers.  All I am saying, truly all I am trying to say in this posting, is that it is a mistake to view a child through an adult filter and act like you have them all figured out.  If it were so easy, Christ never would have had to utter those words that surely shocked the monocled know-it-all’s of his time.  A child is not only a wonder because they inhabit a different world than adults.  They are an even greater mystery because they possess a world we once inhabited ourselves, but lost along the way.  Like with all wisdom, there is a paradox at the heart of the matter.

It is not enough to say we should give up our world to regain theirs.  We need to remain adults.  But to really see a child and accept their world beyond the confines of our adult perception expands our world.  Just as when we really work to let go and see the opposite sex on their terms, or to love someone for the sake of who they are and not what they can be for us… our world is inevitably made more robust, deep, meaningful and those little walls of our own world broaden.  Seeing a child’s world does not make us kids again, it makes us better adults.

I would like to get into the specifics of my own observations on the philosophy of why little boys obsess over battling bad guys, but for now I will leave it at this.  Look at your kids, and all kids, with humility.  You do have something to offer them, but they have something to offer you too.  When we try to turn kids into little adults we make the whole world grow up too fast, and in so doing, it shrinks.image

From my 4 year old step son’s 94 page story book titled “Stories That Knock You Out”.  Available on Lulu in print or digital.

 

In Love

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It's weird for Axe Cop to say he is in love, but many great super heroes have fallen in love.  All I know is that the upcoming scene is one of my favorites in a long time, so I guess we will see what you guys think.

 

Ethan

 

The Voices of Axe Cop!

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Ok, first, I apologize this post is a day late.  We celebrated my first ever Father’s Day on monday, because the kids were with their dad on Sunday, so we made Monday step-father’s day and it totally threw off my week.  I didn’t realize I missed Tuesday until Wednesday was already here.  So here is your post, a day late.  Last week the site was down for three days so we never were able to post the Thursday episode.  It’s been a little rough around here.

I’ve been pretty excited to talk about the amazing voice casting that has been happening over at ADHD for the Axe Cop animated series.  The one voice I was not allowed to own up to was the most obvious one, and that’s Axe Cop himself.  We were all legally obligated to not say that Nick Offerman is playing Axe Cop.  Well, now we can say it apparently.  To celebrate I have decided to put together a little list of some of the coolest voices the show will feature, coming July 27th.  There is going to be a lot of reasons to like this show, but here are some to add to your list…

Yes, Axe Cop is voiced by Nick Offerman.  Ron Swanson himself.  Until just yesterday we were not allowed to say this because Offerman was under contract with NBC, and Axe Cop is on FOX.  He was going to do the role “uncredited” and we were set to list Axe Cop as “himself” on the credits.  Offerman is a big fan of Axe Cop and a super cool and friendly dude.  Before the TV show deal was even a thought, Nick took me out for beer and meat and along with his writing partner spent most of the time talking about his love of woodworking and Axe Cop.  At the first big meeting to kick off creating the TV series, Nick showed up with his Axe Cop books worn and ragged, with sticky notes all over the place picking his favorite moments.  He knows the comic like it’s scripture and where I feel a false respect from a lot of folks in Hollywood, Offerman emits a real respect and I always feel like Axe Cop is in good hands with him.  He often reminds everyone in the room to remember Axe Cop is great because of it’s two creators, which is honoring, because another typical thing that seems to happen in Hollywood is that the more other people work on an idea, the more they start to act like they came up with the whole thing.  Offerman is humble and grounded and he is just not your typical Hollywood type of guy.  He also knows how to deliver Axe Cop lines.  He was made for the role.

Up next is Flute Cop, voiced by the hilarious and talented Ken Marino (Children’s Hospital, Party Down).  Probably my favorite change in direction we took on the TV show from the comic, Flute Cop, while he does transform when blood rains on him, he defaults at Flute Cop.  In the comic he often defaults at Dinosaur Soldier.  Ken waited in line at San Diego Comic Con one year to meet me and tell me how much he loved Axe Cop.  I didn’t know who he was at the time because I watch hardly any TV.  Since then I fell in love with him in his role on Party Down, and seeing his take on Flute Cop has been nothing short of amazing.  I know he wanted to be Axe Cop from the beginning, but he nails it as Flute Cop.  Marino and Offerman really play off of each other and give the characters a dynamic literally impossible to pull off in comics.  I’m pretty excited for you guys to experience Axe Offerman and Flute Marino.

Sockarang is voiced by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt.  The day of our first meeting to kick off the show, Patton randomly was walking by because we were only meeting two houses down from his home.  He came in and on the spot said he’d love to be on the show.  He gives Sockarang a great childish personality that really works well to contrast Flute Cop’s more grown up demeanor.  When Malachai visits, my three year old step son, Ezra sees him as a total hero.  He loves him and he thinks every single thing he does is awesome.  Sockarang is like Axe Cop’s Ezra and Patton nails it.  I got to sit in on voice recording one day while he recorded and he nailed 95% of his lines on the first try.  I’ve tried doing some voices on the show myself so I know how hard that is to pull off.

Gray Diamond took on a character of his own when Rob Huebel of Chldren’s Hospital voiced him.  Rob’s take on Gray Diamond was so good we started adding him to other episodes and making him a regular part of Axe Cop’s team.

British actor/comedian Peter Serafinowicz (Sean of the Dead, Darth Maul) is amazing when it comes to voices, as exemplified in the multiple roles he takes on in the show.  Pretty much every male with an accent.  In the Zombie Island episode alone he voice three of the main characters who all sound very distinct from one another.  But I think his Dr. Doo Doo is the best of all of them.  Peter was another early adopter of Axe Cop and he has been a fan and very supportive for quite a while.

It’s true.  Michael Madsen is Baby Man (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill).  Apparently when Madsen came in to do the role it took a while to convince him he was not on Punk’d.  He had not heard of Axe Cop and it is quite a bit to take in moments before you start voice acting in a sound booth.  Unlike the Baby Man of the comics who is mostly silent, the Baby Man of the show will speak when he isn’t sucking on his pacifier.  Madsen’s delivery of the line “Shake what your baby gave ya” is pretty priceless.

Here’s one that, as a big Breaking Bad fan am pretty excited about.  Jonathan Banks plays Book Cop.  You have to see the episode to understand what Banks brought to this character who was just a clone of Axe Cop before.  He is amazing and a sincerely kind man as well.

More awesome Breaking Bad casting… Giancarlo Esposito plays Army Chihuahua.  It’s surreal to hear the voice of “Gus” delivering lines Malachai and I wrote.  Just wait for the origin story, it’s chilling and hilarious.

Of Madmen fame, Vincent Kartheiser is Bat Warthog Man.  He plays the sad super hero who lost all his friends, and the episode is downright awesome.

There are more great voices and I am sure even more to come.  Megan Mullally is doing most of the female voices.  Jared Harris as the King of England.  Tyler the Creator as Liborg.

And that’s just the voices!  The art, backgrounds, designs and storyboarding I have seen has also been phenomenal.  This show is being created all in house, similar to South Park, but at a true saturday morning cartoon animation level of quality.  It’s something pretty unheard of and everyone working on it is really putting their all into it.

If you catch the ADHD panel, or the Axe Cop panel (or even better, BOTH because they are back to back) as San Diego Comic Con this year, you will see the premier.  Otherwise, the first episode airs July 27th on FOX at 11pm pacific time.  That’s almost a month away!

Ethan

We’re Back Again!

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It's good to be back.  I have been trying to cram in and get extra pages done since new pages will be posting and I have a deadline to get this all done for Axe Cop Vol. 5.  The upcoming scene is one of my favorites, as you will be able to see because I spent a lot of time on the art.

 

Mezco is debuting some summer Axe COp toys.  A badge, a uni-avocado soldier plush AND a Wexter plush!  A stuffed Wexter to keep you warm at night has to be one of the best things to ever come out of the success of Axe Cop.  I'm excited to see my own step kids cuddle up with these guys.  A picture is below, and go here to order your own now!

See you Thursday!  We are back on our twice a week posting schedule.

 

Ethan