The problem with reviewing this is that I don’t know where to start….

Digger is one of those rare things from the world of webcomics: A small project that bloomed into a larger story, and then came in for a successful ending. (Projects that don’t successfully do this aren’t rare in any medium, but only webcomics let you see the process of wandering around trying to find the plot. In other mediums, failures don’t get published very often.) This process took a mere eight years and ~760 pages, collected into six volumes.

I jumped in the deep end with the full collected omnibus. It is now the largest graphic novel I own (yes, beating those legendary Cerebus ‘phone books’—those are only ~500 pages).

Digger echoes Bone in its use of a variation of the Visitation Fantasy where the start of the story is the main character wandering into a new and strange locale, and you never see the character’s original home. Unlike Fone Bone, Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels talks about her home quite often, and it helps provide defining contrast to what the setting of the story is like.

The central plot structure is The Big Quest, but it takes some doing to get there. In the meantime, the small little area Digger is in provides for more than enough conflicts, and Newhart-style comedy to be going on with.

I’d certainly like to see more of this world. We get an idea of what wombat burrows are like, we see a hyena tribe, we meet a god or two, we see… almost nothing of a human village that’s in the middle of the geographical area the story is in, though we do meet a few humans (including one that currently has a deer head). We hear of dwarves, but don’t see any. There’s a lot of very dangerous territory between Digger and her home, and it takes a lot of arcane knowledge to travel much of the distance safely. It’s a world filled with potential stories.

And a good amount of anthropology (furry-pology? zoopology? eh, heck with it), with the origin myth of hyenas explaining why females are bigger and the first child often dies. Fumbling attempts at ethics. Fortune-telling slugs.

It’s big, and it rambles, and the end is slightly disjointed, and it’s still an excellent story.