the Little Red Reviewer

Digger, by Ursula Vernon

Posted on: October 16, 2014

ursula vernon diggerDigger, Vol 1, by Ursula Vernon

published:  this volume was published in 2012, but the webcomic has been going since 2005.

where I got it:  purchased new

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

When I peruse the graphic novel section of my local comic shop, I’m not interested in 99% of what I see.  I walk by, and very little of it catches my eye. No offense superheroes and dark noir, but you’re just not my thing. Could be that local comic book owner guy is really into superhero stuff, and not so much into other stuff. Different strokes for different folks.

 

Lucky for me, I ran into a copy of Ursula Vernon’s Digger Vol 1 at a Half Price Books store.   Having no idea what the story was about, and not quite sure what the critter on the front cover was (She’s a wombat, by the way), I bought the graphic novel because Ursula Vernon’s name was on it.

 

A few quick items of business before I getting into the nitty gritty:  It won the Hugo (and multiple other awards) for a reason, and I really gotta introduce local comic shop owner guy to this series.  Graphic novels that don’t look that interesting got you down? Digger is the cure.

 

it's Digger!

it’s Digger!

First off, Digger isn’t a what, Digger is a she. She’s a wombat, and she does what wombats naturally do: She digs and burrows and explores.  She’s also intensely pragmatic and practical.  When a pocket of bad air causes her to tunnel through someone’s floor and into a space that is decidedly not home, she decided to explore. Because how else is she going to find her way home? Perhaps whoever she meets can help her find her way home.  She quickly meets a Statue of Ganesh who can talk, a Hyena like creature whose name has been eaten, a shadowchild who doesn’t know what he/she is, a helpful librarian, the Ganesh statue’s overly enthusiastic guard, and a prophetic snail.  The story almost has an Alice in Wonderland feeling, except this Alice is a practical, no-nonsense engineer Wombat.

 

Actual Wombat

Actual Wombat

The subject matter itself isn’t funny, but I found myself laughing out loud more than once while reading Digger. Every few page I wanted to read something out loud to my husband, and I was able to restrain myself until I met Vo, the librarian. “Honey, I just met you in a graphic novel!” I shouted across the room, and read part of a conversation. Husband laughed his head off and said “yup, that’s me”.   The dialog is intelligent, wry, and humorous, you’re gonna love it.

 

Oh, and are you going to love shadowchild! This dark little child doesn’t know what he/she is, what kind of person or animal or supernatural creature he/she is.  Digger invites shadowchild to travel with her, perhaps as they are finding a map to Digger’s home, they’ll also find information about shadowchild. In a version of “are you  my mother?” shadowchild is very curious to find out what he/she is. Nearly everytime Digger explains something about the world, or has a conversation, shadowchild later will ask if that is what he/she is. Am I a tunnel? Am I a rat? am I a statue?  Am I a conversation? Am I a hyena?  And the timing for these conversations is just perfect. Makes me want to adopt a shadowchild!  Shadowchild does much more than just ask what he/she is, but if I told you, that would be a spoiler.

 

What I loved most about Digger (well, besides the characters, the dialog, the pacing, and the artwork), is the dichotomy of the natural and the supernatural, and how the characters take each other at face value. Nothing in this new land matches Digger’s worldview, and she never judges anyone or anything, never speaks down to anyone.  She asks a million questions, and wants to know the reasons behind everything. She’s curious and headstrong.   Digger is a tough cookie, and that’s not just because her hide is 3 inches thick, and crossbow bolts barely phase her.

 

The pacing was on the slower side, and I found I really appreciated that.  There’s a lot of detail in the artwork, and with the slower pace I found myself encouraged to explore the artwork rather than flip the pages as fast as I could to find out what happened next. The black and white artwork is pretty damn great, too. I especially liked Digger’s facial expressions, and the visual representation of what I’ll just call Shadowchild’s special ability.
Simply put, this was a damned good story, and I expect I’ll be rereading this volume a handful of times and singing the praises of Digger for a while. In the meantime, you should totally check out the webcomic page. In fact, here’s a link to the first chapter, so you can join in my quest to tell everyone about this series.

8 Responses to "Digger, by Ursula Vernon"

First of all, the wombat is my new favorite animal!! And I’m rushing off to check this graphic novel out. Thanks for the recommendation:-)

Like

aren’t they crazy looking? Australia has the weirdest, coolest animals. Biologists have got to love everything about that place!

Like

I knew about the graphic novel, but never realised it was a webcomic. I do love webcomics one of my favourites at the minute is Harpy Gee. But Digger sounds so amazing, such a lovely cast of characters and a real comfort read. Fantastic

Like

Same here, I hadn’t known it was a webcomic. I love the idea of webcomics, but my brain seems to better with them if I’m reading a paper book. That said, If I don’t run into volume 2 of this pretty soon, I’ll be catching up online, and then ordering volume2!

What’s Harpy Gee about?

Like

Ive gotta try and get the GN of Digger.
Harpy Gee is about an elf and her goblin cat, Pumpkin. here is the link http://dummcomics.com/2014/01/06/harpy-gee-001/

Like

That Wombat is huge! I had no idea they were so large. I read a few pages, and it’s a cool comic.

Like

same here! I thought they were little, like large rabbits. I hear the word “bat” in the name, and think they are small. but nope, these guys are little furry tanks.

Like

Make that Big furry tanks.🙂

Liked by 1 person

join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,623 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on WordPress.com

Categories

FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
%d bloggers like this: