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Axel is one of the main characters in the Verne's novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. He is the book's narrator, nephew of Professor Otto Lidenbrock, who obtains an ancient Icelandic manuscript. By deciphering its runes, he and Axel discover how to find a passage to the center of the Earth.

Axel accompanies his enthusiastic uncle to the center of the Earth even though he thinks this is a bad idea. They have many adventures, discovering giant mushrooms, dinosaurs, and giant men before being expelled back to the surface of the earth.

Axel is resourceful, loyal, and energetic, as well as a good observer, despite not wanting to have gone on this journey. He nevertheless is awed by what he sees and becomes a full participant in the story's action.

Alec McEwan does not appear in the novel version of this story. He is a character, however, in the 1959 movie version, played by Pat Boone. He is the student of a Scottish professor named Sir Oliver Lindenbrook. Lindenbrook finds a mysterious runic message inside a heavy piece of rock. Deciphering it leads to the same knowledge as in the novel: the entrance to a passage to the center of the earth. Alec, like Axel, accompanies the professor in question to the earth's center: he plays a role very similar to that of Axel in the novel, though the movie version changes the story.

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