In what is sure to create a bidding war for the next big thing written by a 5-year-old, FOX has announced plans to use the popular web comic Axe Cop as a means of introducing its new late-night animation block intended to compete with Cartoon Network's popular, but increasingly non-animated, Adult Swim.
The series tells the tale of a cop who wields a firefighter's axe as a weapon and frequently issues threats to chop heads off with it. Thankfully, the series throws in a flute as the cop's partner, a mini-gun-toting Tyrannosaurus Rex and a magical baby with a unicorn horn – just to make sure Axe Cop is about more than head chopping. If this premise sounds either wildly similar to something David Lynch would conjure while on a bender - or delightfully childish, the latter would actually be an accurate assessment.
Malachai Nicolle, who created the series with his 29-year-old brother Ethan in 2010 (when Malachai was just five), writes/outlines/acts out Axe Cop while Ethan serves as the series' primary artist.
The series has proven popular enough to merit celebrity attention, it became Entertainment Weekly's site of the day, and was put in print by Dark Horse comics. So, naturally, Axe Cop would be the first choice to lead FOX's intended late night animated programming. The production is under the guidance of Animation Domination HD (yup, that makes it ADHD), which is coincidentally headed by former Adult Swim guy, Nick Weidenfeld.
Weidenfeld has apparently been trying to work out a deal for Axe Cop since his days at Adult Swim, but for whatever reason, he couldn't acquire the property until now. His next step will be to find a showrunner for the series who "has a good idea of how to adapt it, without ruining what's great." Given that Axe Cop's absurdist humor has a lot in common with Adult Swim favorites Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies, Weidenfeld's search shouldn't prove too difficult.
The network has already ordered six episodes of Axe Cop, which will air as 15-minute segments during the aforementioned Saturday night programming. The animated block will eventually grow to include several series, along with some animated shorts that will likely air in between episodes or during commercial breaks. The idea is, of course, modeled largely after Adult Swim - but also on the recently-launched and decidedly more kid-friendly DC Nation – which also airs on Cartoon Network. According to FOX, the idea is to eventually have enough content to comprise a 90-minute chunk of television that will go up against Saturday Night Live sometime next year.
Screen Rant will keep you updated with Axe Cop and other late-night animated offerings from FOX.