Monday, March 29, 2010

Wish I'd Thought of It First

As usual, I'm probably the last person with an Internet connection to discover something keen, in this case a webcomic called
"Axe Cop." "Axe Cop" began when a 29-year-old comic book artist actually listened to the endless, pointless, nonsensical stories his 5-year-old brother made up and set out to illustrate them as real comics. There's a load of patience and a touch of genius in how artist Ethan Nicolle (29) perfectly captures the loopy head-chopping adventures of Axe Cop and his partner Avocado Soldier (formerly Dinosaur Soldier, who was formerly Flute Cop) spun by writer Malachai Nicolle (5 when they started, now 6).

Anybody who's ever spent quality time with a child knows how this story goes. It has no beginning, no end, no structure, no exposition or explanation or consequences. Things just happen and then lead into other things that also just happen. Pure undisciplined imagination. When my girls were very young, the stories we acted out typically involved the fateful meeting of Captain Picard and the much-too-tall-for-him Barbie as they beamed down to the Lego fortress of the evil Spider-Man and his tiger minions. It's fun for a few minutes, sort of interesting after that, and then--and believe me, I love my kids--exhausting. So Ethan's got my respect for not just hanging in there, but actually making something of it. "Axe Cop" isn't for everyone, but I'm a fan.

What I'm Up To
I haven't said much lately about how I'm spending my time. First, my day job has been very busy and looks to continue that way for a while. I don't mind; for the self-employed, "too busy" is always way better than "not busy enough."

But I'm also doing some good writing and drawing for Mystery Project X That I Hope Will Be My Next Book. (Some of it's good. Some of it convinces me I've forgotten what little I ever knew about writing and drawing, and should never attempt it again.) No commitments from my publisher yet--the last time Editor Charlie and I spoke about it, we agreed it needed more work before it was ready. I think I'll have more-better to show him soon. We'll see.

Karen and I went to see the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie yesterday as an infinitesimal show of support for my pal Jeff Kinney. It's getting good reviews and making decent money, including our $15 (matinee prices--sorry, Jeff). We were the only adults in the theater unaccompanied by minors, which seemed to amuse the girl at the ticket window. While it's obviously not our usual fare, we enjoyed it. It's better than it needed to be. The movie retained a lot of the book's whimsy and charm, and I think surmounted the challenge of turning Jeff's simple line art into a real world. I liked the casting, notably the boys who played Rowley and especially the weird red-headed Fregly, who stole every scene he was in. On a personal note, I just remember how excited Jeff was when he showed me photos from the set on his iPhone, and I loved seeing his characters come to life. I even liked how they used his hand-written font in the credits. I just don't know how they're going to make a sequel; those kids are going to grow up fast.

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