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1%%˛%%Zero-context examples not allowed. Please add context to examples before removing comments.˛%%˛˛[[quoteright:195:]]˛[[caption-width-right:195:[-Wombats really love their bracing.-] ]]˛˛->'''Shadowchild:''' Should we go help?\˛'''Digger:''' Go help ''who''? How do we even know what side we're on? And if this is some kind of raid, I'm pretty sure both sides are going to be stabbing first and asking questions later, if at all.˛˛''[[ Digger]]'' is a black-and-white webcomic by Creator/UrsulaVernon. It starts off with a disoriented wombat named [[OverlyLongName Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels]] getting lost far from home, and her attempts to get back. Along the way she encounters hyena people, dead gods, the shadow of a dead bird, a talking statue of Ganesh and some crazy veiled monks. She reacts to all of it with unshakeable Wombattish practicality, a bone-dry wit, and occasional resort to outright sarcasm. She also knows a heckuva lot about digging and architecture.˛˛After having been hosted on a subscription site for most of its existence, it is now completely free to read. So go read it. [[ Preferably from the beginning.]] (NOTE: As of 2017 a handful of pages may not display properly, but can be viewed complete on the Website/WaybackMachine.)˛˛Started in March, 2003. Ended on March 17th, 2011, to the tears of many; though the ending was written just as it had originally been planned, it left enough open questions that some felt it was abrupt. ''Digger'' won the UsefulNotes/HugoAward for Best Graphic Story in 2012 and the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature in 2013.˛˛A successful Kickstarter [[ campaign]] was held for it, with the aim of collecting all six volumes into one omnibus. It has the dubious claim of fame of being the only such Kickstarter, ''ever,'' to offer foam pickaxes and pear sculptures as add-ons.˛˛Character page [[Characters/{{Digger}} here]]. Contributions welcome.˛˛----˛!!''Digger'' contains examples of:˛˛* AbsurdlyDedicatedWorker: The Dead God Underground has so-called "cold servants", implied to be vampires, which ceaselessly force its heart to beat in order to keep it alive.˛* ActionGirl: Grim Eyes and most of the hyena women. To a somewhat lesser extent, Digger herself. Though really, by hyena standards the trope would be "Action Guy". Amazonian culture at a genetic level…˛* AintNoRule˛--> '''Jhalm:''' Honoured Burrower. Skulking through the woods, I see?\˛'''Digger:''' Is there a law against it?\˛'''Jhalm:''' ''Several''. But as you are unlikely to be either poaching or soliciting the sale of unnatural acts, I doubt we could make the charges stick.˛* AlienLunch: Digger ends up eating liver as part of a hyena funeral. As she's an herbivore, it makes her ''very'' ill.˛* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Gender-flipped. A character clearly states that even after all the horrible domestic abuse, he never stopped ''loving'' his partner. Which, all things considered, makes it far, far more tragic. Added tragedy is that the situation wouldn't have gotten half so bad if his spouse hadn't been ''pushed over the edge by her own sibling''.˛* AlliterativeTitle:˛** Chapter 4: ''Metaphors and Machinations''˛** Chapter 5: ''Of Warriors and Wombats''˛** Chapter 8: ''The Unspeakable and the Unspoken''˛** Chapter 9: ''The Mad and the Misunderstood''˛* AllTrollsAreDifferent: Especially Surka (who, admittedly, is only a professional troll, and not born as one), but the 'normal' trolls are pretty strange, too. The cartoonist has actually explained where their design came from: she started wondering why trolls would hate goats so much, and eventually decided they must be the distant ancestors of domestic goats. Imagine how wolves would feel about Chihuahuas if they understood their relationship, and you have the general idea.˛* AmazonBrigade: Justified. They're hyenas.˛** Also when Digger eventually does go questing, it's with two other females and...a shadow creature of indeterminate sex. In fact most of the major characters are female or, in the case of the Shadowchild, not indicated to be male or female. But then again it's complicated because Grim Eyes has a 'male' role in hyena culture while Ed has a 'female' roll so it's [[PlayingWithATrope played with]].˛* AnachronicOrder: Not in the story itself, but the page numbers on the site are notoriously confused, which can impede an ArchiveBinge somewhat.˛* AndTheAdventureContinues: The story ends just as Digger is setting out for the long journey home, leaving open the possibility for further adventures before she actually gets there.˛* {{Animorphism}}: Digger meets a man named Herne (named for an English folkloric figure) who ended up with a deer's head ([[ "There was an accident with an herbal supplement, okay?"]]).˛* AnnoyingArrows: Subverted. After defeating all but one of the bandits raiding the village single-handed, Digger is shot in the shoulder with a crossbow at close range. Just when it looks like Digger is going to shrug it off and beat up the guy who did it, she passes out midway through what was probably meant to be her WorldOfCardboardSpeech. [[FromBadTOWorse The fact someone broke of the shaft let the head shift and get lodged under her collarbone did not help, she needed immediate and major surgery and was incapacitated for a realistic period of time, and may now be addicted to poppy milk]]. (She gets better! ...Eventually.)˛* ApeShallNeverKillApe: A hyena dying in the course of a hunt is not a major issue, but if a hyena dies at the hands of another hyena, the dead's honour is determined by who avenges her.˛* ArbitrarySkepticism: Digger calls herself on this. Digger very quickly accepts the idea of talking statues, sentient shadow creatures, and hunting hyena tribes. But rats being something other than ordinary rats? That's what finally drives home to her how far from home she is.˛* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking:˛** "The trader Samuel who was master of unspeakable arts? Who knew dark secrets of sorcery, necromancy, and accounting?"˛** Another, which overlaps slightly with GeniusBonus- when Digger first meets Vo, he comments that he thought wombats were fictional, "like dybbuks and cameleopards." The latter is the scientific term for a giraffe.˛* ArtEvolution: On the first page, Digger is drawn in a noticeably different way. Grim Eyes the hyena has also undergone some heavy changes from her first appearances. Not even past the first chapter, the style that the comic is drawn in is noticeably different, becoming less detailed and more cartoony. Most notably, Digger goes from having slight, visible breasts under her vest to being more stocky and cylindrical.˛* ArtShift: The scenes narrated by Ed are drawn like cave paintings, shifting from the "megascribble" style of the regular panels.˛* AscendedToCarnivorism: Digger is forced to do this at one point to become an honorary member of the Hyena tribe, but is horrified by the idea. [[spoiler:Turns out [[ShownTheirWork her fears were justified]]; she then gets very, very ill.]]˛** The hyena tribe also has an inversion of this in one of their [[JustSoStory origin stories]]. In hyena mythology, hares were originally carnivores and descended to herbivorism.˛* BadassAdorable: Digger, Shadowchild, Ed. Hell, 90% of the entire cast.˛* BadAssNormal: Forget gods, magic and daemons... [[BattleCry REMEMBER TUNNEL SEVENTEEN]]! Grim Eyes and Surka also certainly count.˛** It should also be noted that Surka is a shrew who is, maybe, [[PintSizedPowerhouse six inches tall.]]˛** Pretty much every character (apart from maybe Shadowchild) is this, even Boneclaw Mother, though she does her best to keep it a secret.˛* BattleCry: ''REMEMBER TUNNEL SEVENTEEN!'' Complete with [[Creator/TerryPratchett Pratchett-esque]] origin myth.˛* BeatStillMyHeart: {{Inverted}}; the heart is not beating on its own, nor is it a sign that its owner is alive. Instead, a team of slaves pull on ropes that force it to beat and keep an [[OnlyMostlyDead otherwise dead god]] alive [[WhoWantsToLiveForever against his will]], even though the rest of him has rotted away to bones. When the protagonist skeptically lampshades this, pointing out that the heart isn't even hooked up to anything, she receives the explanation that [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve it's the metaphor of the thing that makes it work]].˛%%* BeneathTheEarth˛* BigBad: [[spoiler:Sweetgrass Voice]]. Curiously, though, it only really appears near the climax of the story.˛* BigScrewedUpFamily: How in the name of She-Is-Fiercer did [[spoiler:Grim Eyes]] grow up even approaching normal? The best bet is that [[ Boneclaw Mother raised her herself]] and used sheer badass and CoolOldLady age granted wisdom to keep her from becoming like her mother.˛* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: TheFellowshipHasEnded. Ed died and can't even be buried or mourned properly by his people, the Shadowchild has lost its innocence, and Digger [[ShellShockedVeteran will have to live with the trauma and horrific things she has seen]]. However, Sweetgrass Voice is defeated and He-Is has finally died in peace, Boneclaw Mother will ensure Ed is remembered by his tribe in some fashion, Shadowchild has avoided becoming [[AlwaysChaoticEvil monstrous like other demons]] thanks to Digger's mentorship, and thanks to the efforts of the friends she made, Digger finally [[HomeSweetHome gets to go home]].]]˛* BizarreSexualDimorphism: A truth is stranger than fiction example, as the dimorphism shown by the hyenas [[ShownTheirWork is completely normal for real life Spotted Hyenas]].˛* BlahBlahBlah: As Digger starts to tune Boneclaw Mother out in the funeral speech, she [[ starts to perceive the speech as this.]]˛-->'''Boneclaw Mother:''' Blah blah blah honor blah blah respect blah blah Skull Ridges...˛-->'''[[FootnoteFever Footnote]]:''' Purely from Digger's perspective. Not even Boneclaw Mother would do that.˛* BlueAndOrangeMorality: The skin lizards, at times.˛-->'''Murai:''' It may sound strange, honored Digger, but I do not believe they are malicious. I do not doubt that they would skin us, but they do not seem to mean any harm by it.˛* BookEnds: A (probably) unintentional example with the chapter covers. Chapter one doesn't have one, because Ursula didn't know she'd be writing a multi-chapter work, and she never went back to do one. Chapter twelve doesn't have one either, because she didn't want to break up the action, and was looking forward to [[ the opening page]] she used for that particular chapter (though there's some agreement that it makes a good cover on its own). Consequentially, the first and last chapters are also the only ones without titles.˛%%* BreakTheCutie: [[spoiler:Ed's backstory]]˛* BrickJoke: "Are you a talking deer?"˛* BrownNote: If you value your sanity, do ''not'' look directly on the face of the Black Mother.˛* BuffySpeak: Minor example:˛-->"I have this rock, the rock is bad, you thought I was bad, but it's really the rock, what's with the rock?"˛* CarnivoreConfusion: Digger tells the Shadowchild that it is wrong to eat anything that can talk, while hyena people do not share this belief -- anyone not in their tribe, talking or not, is not considered a person, and [[spoiler:their funerary practices involve eating the liver of their deceased comrade, who ''was'' considered a person]]. Chalk it up to CultureClash.˛* CastsNoShadow: If Shadowchild eats something's shadow, it's literally been eaten. Apparently having no shadow is usually enough to make a person fall into a coma and die. What happens if they ''don't'' die isn't specified but probably isn't good.˛* CatchPhrase: "Blood and shale!", "Mother of moles...", and "As ''my distant relative'' used to say". Not to mention the facepalms.˛* TheCavalry: The hyenas, for [[spoiler:Murai at the temple of Ganesh]]. According to Boneclaw Mother, she would like to have a worrrrd with Jhalm. They're the cavalry because Jhalm wants to arrest Digger despite her doing nothing wrong.˛* ChekhovsGag:˛** The vampire squash, which first appears to be nothing more that a weird, random tidbit. But later, [[spoiler:when Digger is being pursued by the cold servants, she intentionally runs into a field of the vampiric vegetables so that they'll deal with her pursuers.]]˛** One dropped all the way back on [[ page two]] is picked up ''[[ almost at the climax of the entire story.]]''˛--->'''TheRant:''' On the off chance that anybody thinks that this is the end of a dreadfully cunning six-year plan, conceived when first I wrote the lines about [[spoiler:the lefthand names of God and purple ink]] - let me just say "[[WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants]]."˛* ChekhovsGun: All ''over'' the place. Though the author admits that she was [[WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants writing by the seat of her pants]] during the point where most of these were introduced, so she didn't actually intend to use them when they were first introduced. The ones she ''did'' plan on being [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Guns]] are straight examples, of course.˛* ChurchMilitant: The Veiled, after a fashion. They're more of a police force than military, and are at the disposal of ''multiple'' deities rather than a single faith.˛* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: The Black Mother was created when street children adapted their own version of a myth. (Especially tragic, [[NightmareFuel to the point of horrifying]], when you realize that the whole process that created her is based on an elaborate set of "secret stories" created by [[ homeless children in Miami]].) It is implied that this was not a unique case.˛* CombatPragmatist: [[spoiler:''Ed'', of all people, when he realized there was no help for Blood Eyes and he had to kill her to save their daughter from her abuse. She was a powerful warrior and he was a puny skin-painter... so he killed her in her sleep, before she could fight him off.]]˛* CoolOldLady: Boneclaw Mother, despite being blind and frail, still manages to keep the other hyenas in check. She's also [[DirtyOldWoman a bit dirty-minded]] as well.˛* CouldSayItBut: Boneclaw Mother, quite late in the comic's run and during the climax. "Were I a ''[[ crude]]'' old woman..."˛* ACrackInTheIce: On the quest, [[spoiler:Digger and Murai]] fall into a crevasse in a snowfield [[spoiler:as cryptically prophesied by the slug. Murai breaks her arm, and Grim Eyes and Shadowchild are barely able to save them.]]˛* CrossCulturalKerfluffle: Between Grim Eyes and Herne. Because Grim Eyes is from a matriarchal culture, she treats Herne as a member of the weaker sex - tries to help him with things that require heavy lifting and such. Herne is far less than appreciative.˛* CultureClash: Given the very different values of hyenas, humans, wombats, demons and gods, it's a wonder anyone can relate to anyone else at all.˛* DeadpanSnarker: Digger. Ed also manages it, occasionally.˛-->"Oh, well. Here Ed is being worried it was being something ''strange.''"˛** ''Herne''.˛** The Statue of Ganesh also gives a few [[IncrediblyLamePun stonefaced]] deliveries.˛-->"Since I am capable of neither hermaphroditic reproduction, nor of moving myself about by means of a slime trail, I daresay that slugs can do ''many'' things that I cannot do. I confess, however, that I do not feel any particular grief over this lack."˛** Really, at least half the cast is a DeadpanSnarker. It's the reason why there's so much SnarkToSnarkCombat in the story.˛* {{Determinator}}: Comes close to WhyWontYouDie. Digger's initial response to being shot with a crossbow quarrel is:˛--> '''Digger:''' "Okay, yeah, maybe, but a really ''crappy'' crossbow. It doesn't have a crank... so you have to draw it... manually... so while you're reloading I can... walk right up... and..." [[[WrittenSoundEffect Thud!]]] "Ow."˛** Given that immediately after, she remains analytical enough to describe having a crossbow bolt embedded in the shoulder as "reasonably excruciating," it is clear that she retains her deadpan even when being improbably badass.˛** Grim Eyes also has the scent of the {{Determinator}} about her in the way she pursues Digger after their first encounter. Even after they become allies she can still seem to find Digger uninvited any time she likes. Given Spotted Hyenas will chase prey until it is too tired to defend itself or until it dies of sheer exhaustion, this is [[JustifiedTrope Justified]].˛** The Cold Servants are also {{Determinator}}s.˛--->"[[AC:It--is--foolish--to run. We--do not--tire.]]"˛* DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: The People, [[spoiler:ritually cannibalistic]] bipedal hyenas who consider any non-hyena sentient fair-game when hunting, who turn out to mostly be very nice people once you get to know them, ''especially'' [[TheWoobie Ed]], who after all does start off trying to eat Digger, and a few comics later [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin serves her tea.]] And the Statue of Ganesh: although infinitely compassionate Digger instinctively feels all gods are [[NayTheist dangerous and best not meddled with]] but is eventually forced to grudgingly admit the Statue of Ganesh is a good guy. Ursula Vernon likes this trope. [[ A lot.]]˛** Embarking on her journey with Murai, and having been somewhat more brusque than usual with the Statue, Digger learns the being she was just surly to was not the usual Statue avatar but the actual spirit of Ganesh Himself. ˛* DoctorsOrders: The hag is willing and able to overbear the statue of Ganesh about her patients.˛* DoNotTauntCthulhu: "Ed is not being sure if taunting ancient evil is being the ''best'' idea..."˛* DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale: [[AvertedTrope Averted]] with [[spoiler:Ed being beaten by his mate,]] which is much more of a TearJerker than a source of comedy. Of course, a large part of this has to do with [[spoiler:the usual sexist gender stereotypes being reversed in hyena society]].˛* DueToTheDead: [[spoiler:Ed gets a pretty good one.]] ˛* DramaticUnmask: Digger removes the masks from the cold servants [[spoiler:[[ here]]]]˛* DugTooDeep: How the story started and arguably its entire premise. It is however {{reconstructed}}, as unlike the dwarves of Moria, wombats know there are some things in the deeps you ''leave the hell alone!''˛** "Generally we don't cut [gods] loose. Presumably if you've been bound in the bowels of the earth with a [[Myth/NorseMythology giant serpent dripping poison into your eyes]], someone had a damn good reason!"˛* DyingMomentOfAwesome: Complete with TakingYouWithMe for last words: [[spoiler:[[ "NAME IS ED!"]]]].˛* EasterEgg: On several panels, an observant reader can spot things like a snail tagging a rock in the background with "Gastropodz RULE!" or a fish ostensibly swimming home from a birthday party (he was wearing a little hat, you see).˛* EldritchAbomination: Ganesh tells Digger a story about a... ''thing''... called [[ Famine]], describing it as an elemental - of a type of element that does not exist in our world.˛* EmbarrassingRescue: Digger tried to justify why she saved [[spoiler:Grim Eyes]] from going over the bridge. She lists several valid reasons, and then ends with "because you just don't let people fall off bridges." Both find this a little awkward.˛* EvenEvilHasStandards: "Heh. Forgive our manners, little creature -- that we may well kill and eat you is no excuse for rudeness."˛** Even after [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope descending]] into a paranoid, delusional, spiteful KnightTemplar, one character still has enough common sense to not want to have kill one of his own [[spoiler:Veiled.]]˛* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Hag has no other known name. Nor does the statue of Ganesh.˛* EyeScream:˛-->'''Digger''': And, hey -- speaking of gods! The acolyte -- with the eyes--?\˛'''Murai''': The ones in the full hoods? There's only a handful like her. Most of them are normal. I was an acolyte myself.\˛'''Digger''': There's ''more'' like her? That have their-- '''''[[spoiler:their eyes sewn shut?]]'''''˛* {{Eyedscreen}}: All the time. Once with a ''squash''.˛* ExoticEquipment: It's made clear that the hyenas are...[[UnusualEuphemism anatomically correct]] far as spotted hyenas go. Likewise, Digger is an anatomically correct marsupial, and so is thoroughly [[{{squick}} squicked]] by placental mammal reproduction. Fortunately this is not the sort of comic where those points are given too much detail by Ursula. [[RuleThirtyFour The comments by the fans, however...]]˛* TheFaceless: The Veiled (no surprise there...) and to a lesser extent, Boneclaw Mother.˛* {{Facepalm}}: Digger does this [[ a lot]]. It's rather hard to blame her, considering.˛* FailedAttemptAtDrama: When Digger is trying to get directions from trader Samuel.˛-->'''Samuel:''' Maps? There are no maps. I go by dark ways, unclean ways. If such a map existed, it would be beyond price. Nameless cults would battle in the low places of the earth for such a prize. Dreamers would starve themselves in endless visions seeking its location. Such a map would have to be drawn on the skin of a black he-goat, in virgin's blood, with a brush made of dragon's eyelashes. The cartographer would go mad, and it would profane the hands that touched it.\˛'''Digger:''' I can get you a pencil and the margins of "101 Goat Diseases".˛* FantasticRacism: Hyena people do not consider other sapient species and races as people. Also, all but one of the human guides from a particular village refused to escort a crew that included non-humans.˛** And ''he'' had a [[spoiler:deer's head]].˛* FantasyCounterpartCulture: The Good Man is fairly clearly based on Jesus, and [[GodOfEvil the Black Mother]] on [[ a story about a group of street kids who created a derivative mythology.]]˛* FantasyKitchenSink: In this universe there are trolls, dead gods, "Jesus", magic, a "Virgin Mary" (who may or may not be an evil witch as well), Ganesh, demons, talking animals, and deer-minotaurs made from herbal pills.˛* FateWorseThanDeath: The hyenas have one. Exiled tribe members have their name "eaten", making them a nonentity in their culture.˛* FootnoteFever: Useful for those hard-to-translate wombat homilies.˛* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Let's look at the questing team: The Shadowchild (sanguine), Grim Eyes (choleric), Murai (leukine), and Digger (melancholic). Surka is another choleric, though she doesn't appear as often as Grim Eyes.˛** Also, depending on what gender you think of the Shadowchild as ([[AmbiguousGender if you think of it as having a gender at all]]), they are a FourGirlEnsemble.˛* FreakyFuneralForms: Digger is horrified when she realizes that the underground creatures will [[spoiler:skin Ed's body]], but has no other way of burying her dead friend.˛** Digger and Shadowchild both have problems with the hyenas' tradition of funerary cannibalism.˛* FromACertainPointOfView:˛** Digger and Murai start their journey around midnight to avoid Jhalm, whom the Statue of Ganesh told they'd be leaving at dawn.˛--->'''Murai:''' Lord Ganesh, I do not understand... you ''lied'' to the Captain?\˛'''Ganesh:''' On the contrary, my child. It is always dawn somewhere.˛** Later on, with Boneclaw Mother; "there isn't much I can do for Skin Painter any more. But it seems to me that I might have a relative at a distant tribe named ''Ed'' [[spoiler:who fell heroically in battle with a demon not long ago, and it's only appropriate for me to honor him.]]" Digger was adopted into Boneclaw Mother's tribe, and in a way, the wombat was family to Ed... and aren't Digger's biological relatives a long way off? ''Heeeeey''...˛* FunnyAnimal: Done with accurate biology and their own appropriate cultures building off these facts.˛* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Plenty. [[ Look around carefully]] in big panels where the main characters are not centered.˛* FurryComic: Sort of. Includes more humans and emphasis on humans than typical for the genre, and dodges most of its other tropes, but there's plenty of furry sapients wandering around as well, including the protagonist, and they're treated as more than just "fuzzy humans".˛* GodCouple: She-Is[=/=]He-Is. Before a demon messed it up, anyway...˛* GodOfEvil: The Black Mother. Arguably [[spoiler:He-Is]], although he doesn't want to be.˛* GodsHandsAreTied: The statue of Ganesh does not have the authority to overrule the Veiled as the Veiled serve more than one god. [[spoiler:He-Is]] has his hands ''literally'' tied, and that's [[FromBadToWorse the least of his problems]].˛* GoodIsNotNice: Jhalm and Grim Eyes.˛** [[ Ed thinks that gods, like demons and natural disasters, are dangerous by nature, and wombats are probably smart to avoid them]].˛* GotMeDoingIt:˛** Before Digger tells soon-to-be-Ed her name, he refers to her as "Mousie". She catches herself doing the same.˛** Over the course of the comic, Ed gradually picks up and starts imitating Digger's snarky sense of humor.˛* GreenEyedMonster: Blood-Tail's [[SiblingRivalry envy of her sister]] does not end well.˛* GrowingUpSucks: Pretty much quoted, by [[spoiler:the shadowchild.]]˛%%* TheHomewardJourney˛* HurricaneOfPuns: Occurs in the comments section of the pages featuring the vampire squash.˛* ICannotSelfTerminate: A lot of problems later on the the plot arise from the fact that [[spoiler:gods]] appear unable to end their own lives, [[WhoWantsToLiveForever especially when]] [[spoiler:their worshippers]] won't let them.˛* ICantLookGesture: Digger turns away as [[spoiler:the Cold Ones are being pummeled by the vampire squash.]]˛-->'''Digger:''' I can't look.\˛'''Surka:''' ''[watching eagerly]'' I can!˛* IfICantHaveYou: [[spoiler:Blood-Tail courted Ed when he was just a young skin-painter, but he didn't much appreciate the fact that she was only courting him because he was a surviving firstborn, which in hyena culture makes him a living good luck charm and status symbol. He fell for her mildly unstable but genuinely loving sister Blood-Eyes instead, so Blood-Tail manipulated her sister's instability until she posed an active danger to her daughter, forcing Ed's hand; she is to this day incredibly smug that her brother-in-law was made an {{Unperson}} (as the law of the tribe states must be the punishment for killing your spouse), but no one, besides no one, is actually in any way deluded about what really happened. Blood-Tail is not a popular lady.]]˛* IKnowYourTrueName: Hyenas don't appear to consider anyone without a proper hyena name a person. Fine if you're not a hyena: [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman they'll just kill and eat you.]] If you however ''had'' a name and [[FateWorseThanDeath did something to get it taken away...]]˛* IOweYouMyLife:˛--> '''Grim Eyes''': If the Elders say I may hunt you again, I will warn you first.\˛'''Digger''': Errm...Thanks?˛* ImADoctorNotAPlaceholder:˛** Digger says that [[ she's a wombat, not a lungfish.]]˛** In the comments there's a RunningGag of "Dammit, Jim! I’m a x, not a x".˛** The Statue of Ganesh says that [[ he's half a god, not half a geologist.]]˛** Trader Manuel says that [[ he's a merchant, not a murderer.]]˛** Herne says that [[ he's a wilderness guide, not a Sherpa.]]˛* ImAHumanitarian: Whatever you say about the hyenas eating other sapient species, [[spoiler:they're not hypocrites]]. What's more, the way they explain their [[spoiler:funerary cannibalism]] has several [[ShownTheirWork anthropologically recorded parallels]]. No doubt due to Ursula having a bachelor's in anthropology before deciding to pursue art.˛* ImmuneToFate: A downplayed example with Helix's bloodline, [[LoopholeAbuse with the exception of oracular slugs]]. Also, you can't make a prophecy about them directly, but they're still fully covered by fate and won't be breaking any other prophecies.˛* InternalRetcon: [[ Discussed]], where the myth of a goddess and the good man, where the good man walked across the path of the moon. It gets an extra myth added stating that the Good Man was killed by his mother, and that the mother became a mad ruler of the town. ˛* IThoughtEveryoneCouldDoThat: Shadowchild doesn't realize that other people can't stretch themselves out into frightening-looking shapes.˛* JustInTime: [[ When Digger et al. return from their mission to the monastery.]]˛%%* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Oh Ed...]]˛* KillTheGod: [[spoiler:The climax of the story involves performing a mercy kill on He-Is.]]˛* LadyLand: Ursula ''[[ShownTheirWork did]]'' [[ShownTheirWork do her research on hyenas]].˛* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Subverted. Digger starts off the story with no short term memory of why she is digging, what happened, or where she is; but the missing period is typical for real-life drug-induced amnesia (in her case, caused by an underground gas pocket that has drug-like effects).˛* LimitedWardrobe: One of the few examples that [[ItMakesSenseInContext makes any sense in context]] -- Digger is trapped far from home, and so only has one vest with her; the veiled all have identical uniforms; the statue of Ganesh has his clothes moulded to his body; and the hyenas' concept of clothing seems to end at {{loincloth}} + [[BlingOfWar warpaint + lots of necklaces]] = awesome.˛%%* LoveHurts˛* LukeIAmYourFather: Digger is a direct descendant of [[spoiler:[[MeaningfulName Descending Helix]]]] She [[LampshadeHanging lampshades this.]] In addition, [[spoiler:Ed is Grim Eyes']] father.˛* MadeOfIron: Digger [[ has some aspects of this.]] Of course, she regrets it later.˛* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: On occasion.˛** First, [[ Digger takes an arrow.]]˛** Second, Murai shows her [[TheStoic stoicism]] [[ even with a broken arm.]]˛* MamaBear: Digger and her maternal instinct to Shadowchild.˛* MasculineGirlFeminineBoy: The norm with hyenas. Justified due to hyena society being matriarchal.˛* {{Matriarchy}}: The hyena tribe are mostly a Patriarchy Flip, though with a few original elements as well. Males can hold important posts, but it is shown to be far from the norm: there is [[TokenMinority only one male]], Owl-Caller, on the Elder council, and he is extremely deferential to Boneclaw, whereas the female elders argue with her as near-equals. {{Justified|Trope}}, since [[ShownTheirWork this is how]] RealLife [[ShownTheirWork spotted hyenas operate]], with the highest ranked adult male below all females and juveniles in female's care.˛* MauveShirt: [[spoiler:Skull Ridges]] is a named character who is important in the plot at several points, and is a good friend of Grim Eyes. Oh yeah, and she [[spoiler:dies to save Digger]] before she gets so much as a pixel of screen-time.˛* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler:Descending Helix is a direct ancestor of Digger. Thus they share at least some of the same DNA...]]˛** Grim Eyes.˛** Digger-of-Unnecessarily-Convoluted-Tunnels does seem to have a truly amazing ability to get herself into an unnecessarily convoluted adventures and inadvertently keeps digging herself in deeper.˛* TheMedic: The Hag and Owl-Caller.˛* MoodWhiplash:˛** Murai is moping about her past hardships and the transient nature of her destiny. Then Shadowchild appears, announcing, "I ate a sock!"˛** [[spoiler:Ed has]] just died. Then the Skin Lizards show up with a light, and announce thus: "It is a bug on a stick!"˛%%* MythPunk˛* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: [[CuteBruiser Grim]] [[GoodIsNotNice Eyes]], [[LoveMakesYouCrazy Blood-Eyes]], Blood-Tail, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Shadebones]]...most female hyenas seem to have them. Even the benevolent ones like [[EccentricMentor Boneclaw Mother]]. And unless they like you, you'd better run ''really'' fast.˛** Even the harmless old male healer has a creepy name. Would you take your medication from a guy called [[OminousOwl Owl-Caller?]]˛** Even Digger's honorary hyena name, Little Mother of Earthquakes, is like this. It's even better since it's taken from the name of a goddess that causes earthquakes.˛* NameThatUnfoldsLikeLotusBlossom: Sort of inverted. Wombats seem to have rather unpoetic names that reference their occupational habits and skills. Similarly, some hyenas have names that indicate their professions (e.g. Owl Caller, a shaman who probably speaks to birds) but often seem to be based on a physical feature (Grim Eyes, Bloodtail).˛* NayTheist: Most wombats, it seems, are aware that gods and magic exist, but believe that the world would be better off without them, and generally make an effort not to get themselves involved with divinity or magic. Based on some of the hyenas' talk, this isn't an entirely uncommon point of view.˛* NobodyPoops: Averted [[ here.]]˛** And [[ here]] as the after-effects of a herbivore having eaten part of a carnivore's liver work their way through.˛* NoNameGiven: "Ed" is unusual in that at one point he had a real name, [[AFateWorseThanDeath but it got eaten.]] Digger decided to name him Ed because she refused to call him "it", as he did.˛** And that one act made... quite a difference. '''[[ Warning: Contains AWESOME. And spoilers.]]'''˛* NoodleIncident: Used frequently for one-shot gags. Example: [[ Homicidal big toe?]]˛* NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer: [[ The vampiric squash.]] (No, they don't exist, but the legend did before the comic.)˛* OddJobGods: Kind of. The Veiled work for all gods, and their specialities are "comparative theology and hand-to-hand combat". Specifically, a few of of the gods mentioned in passing appear to be less-than omnipotent cosmic super-beings, such as Falls-From-Heaven, a god [[GodsHandsAreTied so horrified by the evils of man]] that he ''continually faints''.˛** Where he lands, groves of exceptional peaches with soporific qualities grow. They are prized by chefs and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick assassins]] alike. This can't help the problem any.˛* OddNameOut: Not a name thing, exactly, but Lady Surka, the professional bridge-troll, lists some of her past jobs as dishwasher, assassin, and pirate queen.˛* OfThePeople: The People - which is to say, the tribe of hyenas who call themselves "The People" - consider other races fair game when hunting, but they will adopt others under exceptional circumstances, such as when Boneclaw Mother tells them to and no-one wants to argue with her.˛* OhCrap: [[ Meep.]]˛* [[OnlySaneMan Only Sane Wombat]]: Digger feels this way throughout most of her journey.˛* OrganAutonomy: The Hag is sufficiently skilled at surgery to re-attach severed body parts, but they do have a slight tendency to go evil and try to kill their owners. As she points out, [[SlidingScaleOfVillainThreat this is more of a problem with arms than with earlobes, which rather than trying to throttle you just wiggle aggressively]]. [[NoodleIncident Specific mention of a suicidal re-attached toe that tried to stub itself at any opportunity was made]].˛* OrphansOrdeal: When you think about it, [[spoiler:Grim Eyes]]'s early life really ''sucked''. When she rejects her father in a later strip, it's like a [[TearJerker sucker punch to the tear ducts]] for both her father and the reader, and for some a serious case of FridgeHorror.˛* OurDemonsAreDifferent: Demons can be evil, but the one that gets the most screen time is actually very innocent. It eats shadows. The way Ed explains it, a demon is an "all-thing", beholden to its nature and rarely actively malicious. Fire burns, not because it likes to cause ruin, but because it's ''fire''; demons are similar.˛** [[spoiler:Shadow [[FanNickname (Shadolescent? Shadult?)]] later explains that all previous demons have either been born feral or raised by others of their own kind, and that thanks to Digger, it is the first one to have been raised to be "good". It plans to do something about that.]]˛** Given that demons can eat shadows and seem to only partly exist in the universe's dimension, they are clearly very strange entities indeed.˛* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Aside from (over)using magic in their construction projects, what we know of the dwarves seems to fit this. Aside from being {{Funny Animal}}s, wombats ''also'' fit the stereotype fairly well.˛* OurVampiresAreDifferent: For one, they're ''squash'' -- based on real Balkan folklore, believe it [[ or not.]]˛** There are also more ordinary vampires -- [[spoiler:the cold servants]].˛* PlanetOfHats: Aside from their love of applied geology, wombats seem to be defined by their pragmatism and reasonable approach to everything.˛* PoisonedWeapon: Boneclaw Mother prepared for the case Captain Jhalm decided to kill a wounded girl protecting the shrine. She put poison on her left claw and would just do one swipe. ˛* PropheciesRhymeAllTheTime: Averted; you're lucky if they're a full sentence. One prophet notes a particular prophecy as remarkable, since it's "with a verb and everything!"˛* {{Proud Warrior Race Girl}}s: The hyenas.˛* PunchClockVillain: [[AC:The--[[StrangeSyntaxSpeaker cold servants]]. They just--follow--[[JustFollowingOrders the commandments]]--of their--god. Whose--[[OurVampiresAreDifferent blood]]--sustains them. No--matter--what.]]˛* TheQuest: Eventually, Digger sets out to perform [[spoiler:a mercy killing on a dead god]].˛* RealityEnsues:˛** Even a wombat's armored hide cannot shrug off a crossbow bolt.˛** Eating a carnivore's liver is a *very bad* idea, especially for an herbivore.˛* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Boneclaw Mother is very good at delivering these to the deserving, to the point her daughter treats it like magic. "Do the Thing!" Ganesh defuses a threatened one, however, by saying that any such insight could only be a benefit. ˛* RefusalOfTheCall: Subverted. Digger knows she'll take it in the end, she'd never be able to live with herself otherwise, but she's bloody well going to stomp around kicking stones and brooding about it for a while first.˛* {{Reconstruction}}: The story parodies traditional heroic antics with a heavy dose of RealityEnsues. But then the characters go do the same things, noting the complications and succeeding with planning and preparation.˛* RunningJoke: [[ConstantlyCurious The Shadowchild]].˛** "What's a trope?" "I'll tell you later." "Am I a trope?" "No."˛* SacredHospitality: The first sign we see that the hyena who will eventually be called Ed isn't a complete monster is his reaction to Digger apologizing for accidentally invading his home: he tries and fails to give her a formal greeting and invitation to stay the night.˛-->'''Hyena:''' Let [[ThirdPersonPerson it]] think... In-- In-- ''Under'' the eye of She-Is-Fiercer, be... be welcome to its home. Ah... H-h-hospitality will be given and... something... hearth-- hearth-- something--˛-->'''Hyena:''' *ashamed* It can't remember. It used to know. Been too long since it said them, or since someone said them to it. Mousie stays anyway, maybe? Even without the words?˛* SealedEvilInACan: [[spoiler:Sweetgrass Voice]]. Interesting in that the "can" in this case is [[spoiler:a ''living body'', which the evil cannot exist without]].˛* SeldomSeenSpecies: Several. You would be hard pressed to find another work that not only has hyenas [[Disney/TheLionKing (besides the obvious)]], but good ones at that. It's even harder to find one with wombats.˛* ShoutOut: Ursula Vernon makes numerous references to her other works in Digger.˛** Ed's Cave art contains an EasterEgg shout-out to [[ Conspiracy of Mammals]].˛** The hyena people first appeared in her ''Literature/BlackDogs'' series before appearing in Digger.˛** The first view of the library shows that it includes, among many volumes about chickens and assorted other topics, copies of ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'' and ''ComicBook/TheSandman''.˛** The Librarian Vo organizes a series of firsthand accounts about Ursula Vernon's Literature/{{Gearworld}} and mentions the T'Chang empire that was briefly visited in ''Literature/BlackDogs''.˛** And Ursula's book ''Nurk'' features the eponymous shrew frequently referencing the journal of his [[ActionGirl illustrious]] grandmother, [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Surka]].˛** Ed the hyena, to ''Disney/TheLionKing'' (the other hyenas have more exotic names).˛* ShownTheirWork:˛** The bits about hyena biology and their absurdly high infant mortality rates for first births, and the mythology created about it. Lots and lots of random anthropology, too, since the creator has a degree in it.˛** The Skin Lizards' description of making purple dye is a fair rendition of the (rather nasty) process used to make Tyrian purple, the original royal dye. Ed's proposed alternate dye uses false indigo, which Vernon grows in her own garden (though she hasn't made dye from it herself).˛** A lot of the comments are [[ViewersAreGeniuses the audience]] showing their work, from unpicking wombat axioms to dyeing cloth to anthropology to [[SidetrackedByTheAnalogy whether it was a simile or a metaphor]].˛* ShutUpHannibal˛--> [[spoiler:'''Sweetgrass-Voice]]:''' Do you have any idea how long ''twelve thousand years'' is?˛--> '''Digger''': I know it's not long enough to make a good rock.˛** [[spoiler:When Sweetgrass Voice offers to restore the skin-painter's eaten name, the skin-painter replies, "Has a name! Name is ''Ed!''"]]˛* SidetrackedByTheAnalogy:˛** Surka does this to Digger. Quite a lot. What’s better is that the first time this happens, the comments reveal the audience is distracted by arguing about whether it was a simile or a metaphor Digger was distracted by.˛** Crawdads? Really?˛* SnarkToSnarkCombat: Since about half the cast is made up of {{Deadpan Snarker}}s, including the protagonist, this happens often. Most prominent, though, are some of the exchanges between Digger and the statue of Ganesh.˛** By the end of the comic, even Ed, who can't form a grammatically correct sentence, is quipping non-stop with Digger. It subtly shows [[GotMeDoingIt how much of an influence]] [[ThePowerOfFriendship she's had on him]].˛* SpeechBubbles: Most characters have black text on white speech bubbles, but the Shadowchild has white on black speech bubbles, the cold servants speak in white-on-black with their sentences broken up into multiple bubbles ([[ like so]]), ghosts speak in translucent bubbles, the god Ganesh speaks in blocky bubbles, the skin lizards speak in an entirely different font from everyone else, and when a character is whispering the edge of the bubble is in dashes.˛* StarterMarriage: Wombats accounted for these, by having [[ marriage contracts last 1 through 5 years]], with renewal option.˛* StrangeSyntaxSpeaker: [[AC:The--cold servants--[[SelfDemonstratingArticle communicate]]--in--an unusual--manner. One--speech bubble--per--concept. {{Telepathy}}--is the--favoured--fan--[[{{Fanon}} theory]].]]˛** Ed too -- ever since he was exiled, he never talked to anyone before Digger came along (presumably because no one but the hyenas would know where to find him, and they consider him to be unclean since [[AFateWorseThanDeath his name was eaten]] when he was exiled). After seventeen years of silence, he simply ''forgot how to speak'' and the syntax he uses is his best guess.˛* SuicideMission: The statue of Ganesh sends Digger and Ed underground to deal with an undead god. He doesn't expect either of them to survive the task.˛* SupernormalBindings: The dead god underground is bound by chains made by dwarfs of impossible things, in a probable shout out to Norse Mythology. In order to make sure the chains are also proof against mundane threats such as earthquakes or lockpicks, a wombat was also hired as a consultant.˛* SurvivorsGuilt: Digger has quite a bit after [[spoiler:Ed falls to his death]]. Talking with Boneclaw Mother and learning from the Statue that [[spoiler:it honestly hadn't expected either of them to survive at all, much less ''win'',]] helps.˛* TakeAwayTheirName: Ed had his original name "eaten" when he was cast out of his tribe for [[spoiler:killing his wife because she was abusing their child]]. He considers his name to be gone, and we never find out what it was; however, the protagonist gives him the new monicker "Ed", which he gratefully receives. In an unusual twist, he still remembers his name perfectly well -- there was no supernatural process to make unrememberable or unpronounceable -- but still considers it eaten and gone.˛-->'''Digger:''' But can't you remember what it was?\˛'''Ed:''' ''Of course'' it remembers! It remembers the rabbit it ate yesterday too, but rabbit still gone. Memory not life. Name dead, eaten, ''gone''.˛* TalkAboutTheWeather: Digger's response to being told that the statue had, that time, actually held the god.˛%%Tearjerkers go in TearJerker.{{Digger}}.˛* TeamDad: The statue of Ganesh and [[CoolOldLady Boneclaw Mother]].˛* TeamMom: Digger herself for the journey arc.˛%%* TheyHaveTheScent: '''SKREEEE-HAAA!'''˛* ThirdPersonPerson: The hyena eventually called "Ed" only refers to himself as "it" until given the nickname, and even then only slowly transitions to using that name for himself. Since his original name was eaten when he was ousted from the hyena community, he doesn't consider himself a person, and he's been alone in exile so long he seems to have forgotten altogether how language structure and syntax work, including first- and second-person pronouns.˛* ThisIsWrongOnSoManyLevels: Digger has this reaction to [[ Shadowchild's first memories]].˛* TinyGuyHugeGirl: [[ Little Skin Painter and Blood Eyes]], because of the way hyena biology works.˛* TheTreacheryOfImages: The Statue of Ganesh discusses this when it and Digger first meet: it is an artistic representation of the actual god Ganesh, which yields it a greater physical presence but far less divine power. "It is both more and less".˛* TooMuchInformation: When the Oracular Slug is telling his backstory:˛-->'''Oracular Slug:''' Coupla hundred years ago, see, there was this local druid chap. Madder than a mayfly. Hairier than a caterpillar. His back looked like the underside of a sheep.\˛'''Digger:''' I don't think I need this level of detail.\˛'''Oracular Slug:''' Too bad.˛* TrollBridge: Surka the ''professional'' bridge troll. She's actually a shrew, although she has a couple of popular trolls on hand too.˛* TruthInTelevision: The creation of the Black Mother, in particular the reasoning devised by the refugee children, is based on a [[ La Llorona mythos]] that emerged among children in Miami shelters. Ditto about the high infant mortality rate of the firstborn cubs of hyenas. And the myth of vampire squash, although in the comic it actually happens. And the [[MadeOfIron extremely rugged backsides of wombats.]]˛** Ursula Vernon stories are often large amounts of ShownTheirWork for some of the more ridiculous aspects of biology and mythology.˛%%* TunnelKing: Digger.˛* TheUnreveal: The true name of Sweetgrass Voice. Turns out, "most mortals are incapable of even hearing the names of demons, never mind such niceties as [[ pronouncing them.]]"˛** With the exception of armadillos, of course.˛** Also, Ed's true name. [[spoiler:But in the end, he chose "Ed".]]˛* UnsoundEffect: Everything from "swoon" and "stab" to "Sounds of distant ethereal chanting!"[[note]]"[[LampshadeHanging There is no feasible onomatopoeia for this]]"[[/note]] and [[EvenTheSubtitlerIsStumped "Somewhat more disgruntled ethereal chanting."]] Usually with notes explaining why these were chosen over more traditional sound effects.˛-->'''[[[WrittenSoundEffect STAB!]]]''' \˛[[FootnoteFever Footnote]]: "Actually, the sound of a wombat being stabbed is a scratchy noise of bristles scraping on steel, followed by a rather unpleasant "Squlorp" noise, followed by a damp smack of hilt. But "scratch-squlorp-squithud!" lacks a certain pithiness.''˛* VerbalTic: Grim Eyes used to [[TrrrillingRrrs roll her r's in the beginning,]] but she does it much less often now.˛** Judging by Boneclaw Mother in her BigDamnHeroes moment, they either roll their rs when they're really ticked, or their words partially become growls.˛** The skin lizards have one. [[SelfDemonstratingArticle They do. Yes.]]˛* ViewersAreGeniuses: The jokes are often pitched with the presumption the readers will know as much about geology, anthropology, comparative theology and pre-modern industry, cloth-dyeing/pigment use, lead-smelting and healing as Ursula. As the comments show, a truly scary amount of the readers ''do'' know this stuff.˛** Given the somewhat...odd tangents the commenters go on, there's a good argument that the [[ViewersAreGeniuses Viewers Are Also]] [[TheLoonie Loonies.]] For example, when Digger said, "if that's true, then I'll eat my pickaxe. Without salt," Ursula probably wasn't expecting a long list of alternate condiment suggestions from her fans.˛* [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman What Measure Is A Non Hyena?]]˛* WhamEpisode:˛** An early one happens towards the end of the second chapter. Up till then, Digger has been exploring in a rather happy-go-lucky manner, finding out all the weird things about the world she's in, and, though she does brush with danger a few times, she always manages to escape unscathed. But then [[spoiler:she comes across a village that's undergoing a bandit raid, finds an insane priest curled up in a terrified ball, and is shot in the shoulder before her companion eats the shadow of her assailant, knocking him into a fatal coma]]. It's basically the story's way of saying that things are going to get serious and the plot is going to start rolling in full force.˛** And then, an even more dramatic one at the very climax of the story... Most fans' reactions to it are probably, "[[spoiler:Ed, you're okay, right? Ed? ''[[KilledOffForReal ED?!]]'']]"˛* WildChild: Digger at one point suggests that Shadowchild is more or less the demon version of this. Also, apparently wombat children occasionally wander away from the warren and end up being raised by moles.˛** Digger asks Murai if humans have something similar, and Murai blandly replies that "[[RaisedByWolves wolves]] are more common with us."˛* WithThisHerring: In a bit of a subversion, before setting out on a journey Murai, a veiled monk character, decides to travel extremely light, bringing little with her but a begging bowl. Digger, on the other hand, spends hours packing, checking and double-checking her supplies, armed with knowledge of exactly what lies ahead, all the while worrying that she is underprepared. [[spoiler:She was.]]˛-->'''Digger''': You're taking your sandals, your robe, and a begging bowl? No food? No money? No ''first aid kit?''\˛'''Murai''': I am a servant of the god, honored Digger. The god will provide all that is needful.\˛'''Digger''': Yeah. Okay. See, what I think you're failing to grasp is that your god ''did'' provide, and what he did provide was ''me''. So you're going to corner whatever passes for a quartermaster in this joint, and you're going to get a ''blanket'', a ''first aid kit'', and a couple of pounds of ''trail mix'', got it? And a ''knife.'' And ''tinder and flint''. And I suppose it's too much to ask that anybody's heard of ''crampons'' around here...˛* WomenAreWiser: As with most things about the hyenas, gender-flipped. Owl-Caller is easily the least weird member of the hyena tribe's council and TheOneGuy.˛* WorldOfSnark: Pretty much a trademark of Ursula Vernon.˛* WorstAid: The Veiled who find Digger with a crossbow wound seem to think the best way to deal with the bolt is to snap the shaft off. It's not. The surgery to get the bolthead out makes Digger's injury significantly worse.˛˛----


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