title = Digger
author = Ursula Vernon
url = http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/digger.php
status = Updating every Tuesday and Thursday
2003 March 18[Date listed next to wombattest1.jpg[http://web.archive.org/web/20030405070858/http://yerf.com/vernursu/3.htm here] ]
"Digger" is a
webcomicdrawn and written by Ursula Vernon. It updates every Tuesday and Thursday, and is hosted at Graphic Smash, a member of the Modern Talesfamily of webcomic syndication sites. It is also published in print form by Sofawolf Press.
*Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels The title character — Digger. A young hard-headed wombat, lost far from home after tunnelling into a miasma of unknown magic. She comes from a mining background, and speaks with unironic delight about the digging of ditches and cellars. She has an extreme dislike of all things magical, and by extension of all things divine, though she increasingly tolerates the Statue and what it represents, as he's shown himself to be trustworthy.
*"Ed" A hyena, outcast from his tribe. Once a skin-painter, in his isolation he has turned his skills to cave-wall painting. His actual name is unknown, having been "eaten", but Digger names him "Ed". His people (who, like real hyenas, are fiercely matriarchal) consider him a pariah. Ed insists upon referring to Digger as "Digger-mousie" and has a rather shaky grasp of whatever language is spoken by the other main characters. A recent strip suggests he was in an abusive relationship another hyena known as Blood Eyes, who he killed after realizing that she was also abusing their daughter. This led to his expulsion from the tribe.
*Shadowchild A small supernatural creature, unsure of what it is and wanting to know. There is a
running gagbased on Digger assuring the Shadowchild of various unlikely things it definitely is not, e.g.: a leaf; a water sapphire. Shadowchild has some disturbing powers and is suspected by some of being a demon, but it seems friendly and well-intentioned.
*The Statue A living statue of the
Hindugod Ganesh, located in the temple where Digger surfaces after first getting lost underground. Friendly and generous with the temple food-offerings, representative of his dedication to compassion. The priests and staff at his temple are human (though the library is tended with the aid of rats, winged versions of which also serve as its messengers,) as are the local villagers.
*The Veiled The local theocratic police force — human - at least so far — and not entirely friendly. They conceal the lower half of their faces with veils, that the gods might rely on the Veiled as a whole and not individually.
*Captain Jhalm The leader of the Veiled. Claims to be fond of Digger, due in part to her unusually open dislike of the Veiled. He definitely distrusts Digger, and may intend her serious harm.
*Murai A lapsed member of the Veiled, who apparently was once an acolyte of the Statue and the god of which it is an avatar. She is the most amicable of the Veiled whom Digger has met, but is troubled in her mind as a consequence of a previous uncomfortably close encounter with a goddess: she is prone to mad fits of babbling when "the darkness begins to shine".
*Grim Eyes Hyena warrior and leader of a hunting party from the local tribe. Female, like most, if not all, hyena warriors.
*The Hag The local healer and witch. Human. Young for the job, and sensitive about her age.
*Oracular Slug A slug gifted with knowledge of the future thanks to an old, depressing incident at a druid's microbrewery.
*Surka A professional bridge troll who is not actually a troll at all, but rather a female warrior shrew with a colorful past.
Other characters encountered include the hyenas of Grim Eyes' tribe, human villagers and farmers, human bandits, the acolytes of Ganesh's temple (some of whom hide a disturbing secret beneath their hoods), metaphorical pigeons, skin lizards, a dead god and its servants, and vampiric squash. Dwarves exist in Digger's world, noted for their reliance on magic, but none have appeared in the comic as yet.
In the opening pages, Digger is tunneling alone through the ground, lost and dazed after being intoxicated by a pocket of bad air, causing her to — so the reader is led to believe — hallucinate various things, including the two skin lizards that later appear in the comic. Digging to the surface, she emerges in a temple, where she meets the Statue of Ganesh. Here she finds that something or someone has "magicked up" her tunnel, cutting off her route home. The comic describes her experiences and encounters in the temple, nearby village and surrounding area as she seeks information on the whereabouts of her warren, how she came from there to her present location, and how she might get back.
Digger was named one of the best webcomics of 2004 by The Webcomics Examiner, and was voted "Outstanding Black and White Art" winner in the 2005 and 2006
Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. It also won the WCCA for "Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic" in 2006. Also in 2006, Digger was nominated for its first Eisner Award, in the category of "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition". The award, instead, went to Aaron Renier; Ursula seemed to take the loss in stride, saying in her blog, "I had been saying that I didn't expect to win, and it was a relief to find out I'd been telling the truth! I was mostly just immensely relieved that it was all over." [ [http://ursulav.livejournal.com/504873.html Vernon's 7/24/06 blog post] ]
* [http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/digger.php Digger]
* [http://www.metalandmagic.com/ Metal and Magic] Ursula Vernon's home site, including galleries of her other work.
* [http://ursulav.deviantart.com/ UrsulaV] Ursula Vernon's deviantART page.
* [http://ursulav.livejournal.com Bark Like a Fish, Damnit!] Ursula Vernon's public blog.
* [http://www.epilogue.net/art/interviews/sept2004.html Interview with Ursula Vernon]
* [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/pb/10724165918428.htm Vernon SBC interview] Another Interview with Vernon.
* [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/pb/1073664724881.htm Vernon SBC interview, conclusion] Conclusion of same Vernon interview.
* [http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-33899/TS-34480.mp3 Ursula Vernon guest-anchors Operation BSU.]
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