Appearances

Ask Axe Cop #96: World Cop

This is one of those things I love about how kids see the world.  When you get older and jaded, you tend to mock Mall Cops.  But to a kid, the job is equal to being Batman.  Malachai’s only real issue with the mall cop is that he only stays inside the mall, when he could be protecting the whole world.  A Segway is not a silly device to Malachai, it’s awesome.  It’s like a stand-up Batmobile.

I hope Mall Cops the world over are inspired by this one.

Also, Steve Jackson Games, makers of the awesome Axe Cop Munchkin Card Game, have partnered with AxeCop.com and will be advertising upcoming games.  Big thanks to them for helping pay the bills on the site.  I am a big supporter of their work.  They have a game that we will be advertising in February called Nanuk, and it has bears.  You know how I feel about bears.  Here is the info they sent me:

Winter is Coming
 
All the hunters boasted of their prowess, but you boasted the loudest. Now you have to deliver . . . 
 
In Nanuk, each player bids for how long he can stay on the trail and how much he will bring home. Each boast must be greater than the one before, until one hunter refuses to raise the bid, saying “You’re doomed!” Then the hunt begins. Will the hunt leader make good on his boast, or will the doomers be right? Every player decides secretly to help . . . or to let it fail.
 
Beware Nanuk, the great polar bear, who can end any hunt in failure. If you find an inuksuk, it will protect you — once. If the hunt is successful, the hunters share the animals collected. But if the hunt fails, the doomers score instead.
 
Nanuk is a fast-playing, highly social game of bidding and bluffing for 5 to 8 players
nanuk
Also, there is still time to enter the Revenge on Rainbow Girl contest on Facebook!
Ethan

Page 215 – The Fight Begins!

UPDATE: the splash image is no longer found by clicking the image, but you can CLICK HERE for it.

Let the violence commence!

Today’s page is what’s known as a double-page splash, so it’s technically two pages. When I started plotting out the comic I did it based on how I wanted it to look in print. Ethan says that’s the way to go, but because I wasn’t paying attention to how to leave off for each page, sometimes the pages for the site will leave off on a boring panel. Keeping two media in mind when drawing these things is not easy. As a double page splash it doesn’t really fit in the page format for the site, so handy Axe Cop site-guy Doug worked up a way to have it work out. Click  above for the full-sized page.

The only dialogue here wasn’t written for the comic. In the telling, Charlotte merely started describing the fight. For the beginning of the battle, though, I wanted a big double-page dealie with an introduction to the action. I took the dialogue from something Charlotte said when she was four. We were on the couch and she attacked me, and we started wrestling. She yelled “THE FIGHT BEGINS!” I always liked it as a line that one combatant would yell as a battle kicks off, and it seems very appropriate to Axe Cop. So here we go.

Interestingly- or not- Axe Cop’s “get out of my way!” on Page 3 was likewise based on something Amelia said when she was three. I probably couldn’t communicate what was funny about it, but she was grinning and barreling at me at the time.

First (non-child) blood next week, as we learn how to kill bad guys Dinosaur Soldier and Army Chihuahua style.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

The following was a playful insult:
“You’re a baby. You’re a baby that
was just born out of a belly.”
                                        -Charlotte, 5 years old

This was a song:
“i only had a sissy if you only had a sissy
with a gun, with a gun, with a gun”
                                        -Amelia, 3 years old

Page 214 – First Aid

Doctors spend years getting degrees and wasting their time. Just stick things back together and walk it off.

…I honestly don’t have much to say today, so this is going to be a pretty anemic blog post. Actually, let me take this opportunity to post something Charlotte and I talked about when she was four years old. We were in her room playing with her stuffed animals, and she established that we live in a world of dogs. I joked that I wanted to eat one of the dogs.

Her: “No, don’t eat one of the dogs. Here…” she brings over a stuffed dog. “This one’s dead.”

Me: “It’s dead??”

Her: “Yeah. So you can eat it.”

Me: “Oh. Well, that’s considerate and creepy. Where’d you get this dead dog?”

Her: “The store.”

Me: “You bought a dead dog at a store?”

Her: “Yeah.”

Me: “What else do they sell at this store?”

Her: “I dunno. Nothing.”

Me: “So it’s a dead dog store.”

Her: “Yep.”

Me: “What’s the name of the store?”

Her: “World Dead Dog.”

Me: “Wow. What’s their slogan? A slogan is something the store says about itself. McDonald’s is I’m lovin’ it. What’s World Dead Dog’s slogan?”

Her: “I’m Puppin’ it.”

Me: “How much can I buy a dead dog for?”

Her: “Twenty cents.”

Me: “What do you do with a dead dog once you’ve got it?”

Her: “You eat it!”

Me: “Do they come in different flavors?”

Her: “Yep. Chocolate and strawberry.”

Me: “This sounds great, but how do the dogs die?”

Her: “Well, they live to 65 years old, and when they get to 75 they die.”

Me: “And World Dead Dog sells them to eat. Aren’t old dead dogs less tasty than fresh ones?”

Her: “No, they’re delicious!”

Me: “So if my dog dies, can I sell it to World Dead Dog?”

Her: “Yep. Fifty-five cents.”

Me: “They’re not making much of a profit, then.”

Her: “No they’re not.”

Me: “Do they have a kids’ meal?”

Her: “They have little monkeys that kids like to eat.”

Me: “Are the monkeys dead too

?”

Her: “Of course.”

Me: “I thought World Dead Dog sold only dead dogs.”

Her: “Well, they sell a few dead monkeys.”

Me: “I see. Do they do catering?”

Her: “What’s catering?”

Me: “Catering is when a restaurant brings food to a place. So do they go to parties and set up piles of dead dogs on long buffet tables?”

At that point I imagined silver catering trays filled with dead dachshunds and burst out laughing hysterically. I’d been trying to hold it in and just couldn’t anymore.

Oh, hey! Ethan and I are throwing a contest on the Axe Cop Facebook page. It’s the GET REVENGE ON RAINBOW GIRL contest, in which you tell us how you’d get revenge on that dastardly villainess. The winner gets a bunch of cool signed Axe Cop stuff. Visit the page for details and enter.

Contest-01

I guess that’s it for this week. Big page next week, and from here on out, not one page of REVENGE ON RAINBOW GIRL isn’t packed with violence. It’s been a peaceful story so far, but things are about to go off. Have a great week.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“I have a boo-boo in my mouth
and it’s like a toy for my tongue.”
                                        -Charlotte, 5 years old

“Mommy? I wanna be a drag
queen when I grow up.”
                                        -Amelia, 5 years old

Ask Axe Cop #94 – Axe Land

This has been a popular question and it was about time we look at what Axe Land really looks like.  This easily could have been an entire book.  Malachai was ready to map out a theme park that could cover a planet.  I think we get the idea here though… you just add axes and dinosaurs to old theme park favorites like Splash Mountain and the Jurassic Park ride (which already had dinosaurs, so you make them into mummies too).

I don’t think my wife generally keeps up to date on my posts, so I am going to take a chance here and post this link to an original piece by Doug TenNapel and me of Axe Cop teaming up with Earthworm Jim.  I want to use the money from this to put towards her birthday present.  It will help me be able to buy her something a little more spendy if I don’t pull money directly out of our checking account.  The use of bonus funds alone will be a gift to her, as she is very frugal, which is one of the many great things about her.

ac_ewjORIGINAL

I sold 100 of these as prints with a bit of color added.  This is the actual original drawing by Doug and me.  As far as I know, this is the only drawing we have ever drawn together.

Ethan

Page 213 – You Will Never Be Evil Again

And there it is, the first blow of the coming battle is struck, and it’s called foul right off. The way this came about was in telling the story, Charlotte got to this part and said:

“…Axe Cop walks up with all his pals. And he says to them “you will never be evil again! And then he chops off the little kids’ heads.”

She immediately rethought it and started to go another way, but it was too funny to let go so I kept it. You HAVE to keep a sudden, unprovoked axe attack on little kids to punish the parents. You know, when I type it out like that, it’s not so funny anymore. But… well… at least it’s funny in the Axe Cop universe. Infanticide is many horrible things, but at least we can enjoy that it’s hilarious in the context of an Axe Cop comic.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

‎”If The Hulk just played dead,
nobody would ever bother him.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Amelia’s in trouble and she thinks her
stuffed bear, Vanilla, has told on her.
She yells 
“Curse you, Vanilla!!”
then throws him down the stairs.
                                        -Amelia, 5 years old

Ask Axe Cop #93 – Blind and Paralyzed

There are a lot of questions surrounding Axe Cop’s methods for determining the hard-lined, black and white morality he can determine before he chops a bad guy’s head off.  Obviously, we know his most common method is to check their front kick or their eye color.  But if the bad guy cannot kick, and does not have eye pigment, Axe Cop employs other methods.  I don’t know why, but I find the shirt-lifting belly button check the most intrusive.  Maybe it’s because I am a self conscious fat guy.

 

Ethan

 

Page 212 – Showdown

Well, all right, all that art-talk over the last two blogs was a complete dud and no one cared. Sorry ’bout that.

 I don’t have the time to write up much of a blog this week, I’m under the gun on an art deadline and am cranking out pages. I wouldn’t leave you with nothing, though, so here’s the audio of Amelia telling an Axe Cop story. I requested it be in a smoothie shop because I was trying to tie it in to the comic story, and didn’t wind up using this at all. I definitely don’t have the time to draw it these days, but if anyone  has the time, this’d make a good guest strip.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Me: “I need to take a shower.”
Charlotte: “Why?”
Me: “I need one, I’m stinky.”
She gives me a hug.
Charlotte: “You’re not stinky.”
Me: “Aww, thanks!”
I sneeze.
Charlotte: “But you ARE gross.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Amelia is going to get her room painted.
She says she’s going to have pictures painted
of “blocks and tigers and people and butts and people.”
                                        -Amelia, 4 years old

Next week, the first act of aggression in this street fight is about to go down, and it’s a doozy.

Ask Axe Cop #92 – Military Training

This one goes out to all the Axe Cop readers who are enlisted or are veterans of military service.  I am always humbled by people who choose that path, considering my line of work.  If it weren’t for people like I could never live in a country where making silly comics like this would afford me a living.

Ethan

Page 211 – How to be a bad guy

For anyone wondering, yes, Axe Cop only slept for two minutes.

Last week, I mentioned that I’ve come up with a pretty solid inking technique in Manga Studio and said that if anyone wanted to know the process I’d fully detail it. It got a couple of responses, so here we go. These instructions are for Manga Studio 5 or EX5. If there’s some way you can make it work for your inking program, do it up.

Coloring Detail-02-02

Before you begin, go to Manga Studio > Shortcut Settings and in the Main Menu settings area, find Transfer To Lower Level. Set its shortcut to Cmd + F. You’ll be using this function a lot, and this command will make the process much quicker for you than clicking the button on the Layer palette, seen above. Note that I use Mac, so PC users substitute Cmd with the Ctrl key.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 10.55.46 AM

1. Have your pencils on a layer. Set the Expression Color to cyan and lock the layer.

Expression Color is a very useful setting in the Layer Properties palette. It applies a lightening color to everything in the entire layer, but not permanently- meaning that if you click it off again, the image is normal. You’re using it as a way to see between your layers while you work.

2. Create two layers above your Pencils layer. These are your inking layers. Name the top one “Working Inks” and the bottom one “Finished Inks.”

3. Set the expression color of Finished Inks to red.

4. Begin inking, in black, on the layer Working Inks. Hit Undo frequently and redraw a line as often as it takes to get the line you want.

Remember that you can change your brush size on the fly by holding Option + Cmd and dragging your pen to find the desired size. This keeps things moving so much more quickly than clicking over to the brush palette and sliding the brush size slider. Also hit the R key to rotate the page freely as needed.

5. When you have a chunk of inking you’re happy with, hit Cmd + F. You’ll see the inking turn red as it moves to the Finished Inks layer.

6. When you have overlapping ink lines at corners and edges, erase at will on either inking layer until you get the desired effect.

Hitting the C key will set the color you’re drawing with from black to erase. This keeps things moving somewhat more quickly than switching over to the eraser. Hit C again and you’re back to black.

7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you’re done inking.

8. Delete Working Inks and click the Expression Color button for Finished Inks to turn it off, and to turn the red lines to black. You’re done!

I hope some of you find this helpful. It’s really streamlined my process quite a bit. To think that just a year ago I was inking on paper, erasing pencils, scanning, and cleaning up the mess in Photoshop. I’ll never go back.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Me: (yawn) “Man, I’m tired.”
Charlotte: “So go to sleep.
Blah blah blah, end of story.”
                                        -Charlotte, 6 years old

Daddy: “Charlotte, you have to eat some of your salad.”
Charlotte: “But I don’t LIKE salad.”
Amelia: (points to bottle of bacon ranch dressing)
“Probably, this will help you.”
                                        -Amelia, 3 years old

The kids are planning to stay up until midnight tonight and then camp out in the living room in Amelia’s new Spider-Man tent that she bought with her Christmas money. Amelia’s a huge Spider-Man fan. Everyone got her Spidey stuff for her birthday and Christmas (I got her a full costume, she loved it) and she still bought more on her own. It’s pretty awesome. Anyway, I’m predicting that Amelia will have passed out by 10:30, and Charlotte will be a zombie by 12:20. They always think they’re going to go all the way on these late nights they occasionally have, but they never quite make it.

This year’s been good for me, and I hope 2014’s even better. Have a great New Year’s Eve, everyone, and a happy 2014.

Next week, it’s a showdown on the street, good guys vs. bad. Heads are about to start getting seriously chopped.

Page 210 – We Have To Plan Revenge

Merrrrrry Christmas, y’all! I wish I had more of a “very special Christmassy episode” to share with you today, but today’s page is all about the plan.

I thought I’d talk a little, today, about the art process. Unless you like art-talk, the following chunk of text will be terribly boring to you so skip to the end for your Kids’ Quotes and you’re free to leave. For everyone else, let’s go.

I work entirely digitally these days- everything from sketch to finished happens in the computer. I understand Ethan works the same way. The difference between us is that now and then, I think he still likes to draw on paper in the real world. Me, I couldn’t be happier to be done with paper, art supplies and scanning. I don’t have to go to the art store anymore at all, now, and I love it. It’s kinda like when you discovered Netflix and began dancing merrily on the grave of Blockbuster Video.

I’ve tried going wholly digital in the past with Painter and Photoshop. Painter had a completely baffling interface that I couldn’t figure out and Photoshop’s brushes were nnnnot good for inking. I felt trapped in the world of drawing on paper. Then- and here’s where what I’m saying is going to start sounding like a paid endorsement- I tried Manga Studio in March of last year. A colleague had used it and recommended it, and it was only $80. I gave it a try and was impressed- it did almost everything Photoshop did (at least for art production), the interface mimics Photoshop so it was easy to pick up how things worked, and the inking handled like a dream.

Ethan uses it too, but he’s much less… I dunno… evangelical about it. I use it for almost everything and I sing its praises all the time. These days I only open Illustrator and Photoshop to do lettering and photo manipulation, respectively. I’m churning out pages in a quarter of the time and at twice the quality, and I do it going from sketch straight to inks. I never fully pencil anything out anymore. I’ve pioneered a technique- or at least I think I came up with it- that maximizes speed and efficiency in digital inking. It involves using two layers. If anyone’s interested in the full inking process, sound off in the comments and I’ll detail it fully.

Here’s a video I made doing the art for my pin-up in the new Axe Cop print volume.

KIDS’ QUOTES OF THE WEEK

We’re playing superheroes one day.
Me: “I’m Superman. I can fly and I’m strong. What can you do?”
Charlotte: “I”m Spider-Man. I can play on my ropes, jump,
stick, and make everybody pay attention to me.”
                                        -Charlotte, 2 years old

On the phone with mommy, who’s at work:
“When you come home, can I have you?”
                                        -Amelia, 2 years old

If you’re looking for a nice present to get me, I could really use one of these. Don’t look at the price, just get it for me… we’ll both be happier that way. Merry Christmas everyone.