Friday, March 25, 2011


Back when he lived in Palo Alto, my friend Ben (originally a high school friend of the Abigail's) used to throw awesome cheese parties. These parties were so named (by me) because Ben has excellent taste in cheese. He loved to share his expertise, and would bring excellent cheeses to all parties, making them all into awesome cheese parties.

Ben moved to DC and took his cheese with him. I miss Ben.

Incidentally, you can find Ben here, doing surreal photocomics that I can't recommend heartily enough.

But I digress.

The point of this story was that it was at one such awesome cheese party that I first saw Digger on someone else's computer. That was back at the dawn of Digger when it was still a paysite, which is probably why it took me five more years to start reading the comic for myself. I did, however, eventually start reading Digger, and I've never regretted it.

Digger, by Ursula Vernon (whose other work can be found at the eponymously named, tells the story of an extremely lost wombat named (oddly enough) Digger who finds herself embroiled in an epochs-old conflict between god and demon, priest and hyena, oracular slug and fierce shrew highwaywoman.

Everything about comic is excellent: the art is creepy and fantastical, the setting is deeply weird and subtly explicated, and all of its inhabitants are wonderfully eccentric and fully realized people (even if some of them are hyena people). The character of Digger herself is really what carries the comic, however. In this brave little wombat, Vernon combines cynicism and idealism, compassion and pragmatism, and genre-savvy and dimensionality in a way that is uniquely endearing and compelling.

I'm also partial to hyena people, myself.

Despite being a webcomic about talking animal people, Digger is also surprisingly deep. It deals with issues of culture and ethics as well as even larger issues of fate, faith, and freedom, with surprising depth. And that's not "surprising for a comic about talking animal people," that's "surprising, period." I've had shallower from philosophy courses in college.

You may have noticed the past tense in this post's title. Not only is that because I am scorchingly, unbearably clever; it's also because Digger is over. Like all good things, it finally came to its conclusion. It's sad, sweet, and strange conclusion.

The entirety of Digger is still up for you to read, however, and I recommend you do it. Now.

Until next time, remember tunnel 17, and remember Ed.

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