BooksOfTheMoon

Digger: The Complete Omnibus

By Ursula Vernon

Rating: 5 stars

Digger is a wombat. She hits a patch of swamp gas while digging one day, which causes her to have a bad trip. When she comes to her senses, she’s completely lost, so digs in the only direction where she’s sure to encounter something: up. She finds a talking statue of Ganesh, a religious police captain a little too enthusiastic about his job, oracular slugs, hyenas with attitude and much, much more. Magic gets involved, as does prophecy, both of which are enough to make a wombat’s fur itch, but Digger does what she must to deal with multiple gods and try and find her way home.

I originally read this story online at Diggercomic.com and fell in love with the practical, pragmatic Digger within about ten pages. Digger is a fantastic character, the perfect foil for the magic- and prophecy-ridden land she finds herself in. As the statue says within minutes of meeting her “In the seven hundred years that I have been a temple statue, I have never head someone utter the words ‘a god’ in the same tone that one might describe, oh… foot fungus”.

There is a sense of size to the world the Vernon builds. You get the impression that this is just one story amongst many that could be told about the Cerulean mountains and its inhabitants and the fates and destinies that seem to cross there.

While Digger is most definitely the head of the story, its heart is the most excellent Ed. A faceless monster when we first meet him, he soon develops into a complex and very interesting character. We cheer up as much as Digger does every time she goes to meet him, as he always has a good word and some tea to hand.

The whole story of Digger is huge, and I’m very glad I got to the webcomic after it had been completed (taking over half a decade, I believe), but I was even gladder to read it on paper, rather than clicking through, a page at a time. Even if the book is huge and unwieldy (about 1.6kg, if you’re interested), it’s substantially cheaper than buying each of the six volumes individually (especially including shipping to Europe).

Another thing I really liked about this is that not only is Digger female, but so are many of other the characters who drive the plot forward. This isn’t in your face or anything, but it’s just there (and hell, I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Boneclaw Mother). It’s the sort of thing I shouldn’t even need to mention, but unfortunately, it’s still very much important that we see multiple female characters interacting like this, without the need for a man to be involved (hello Bechdel test).

A marvellous story, then, one that I recommend without reservation to anyone with the slightest interest in fantasy.

Book details

ISBN: 9781936689323
Publisher: Sofawolf Press
Year of publication: 2013

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