July 23rd, 2009


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Discussion (91)¬

  1. Snuffle says:

    http://twitter.com/UrsulaV – comment from June 24th


  2. wicketbird says:

    “was I your friend?” **WAS**?? Want my Shadowchild back! snif…first my kid goes and grows up on me, now Shadowchild is all big…

  3. Sil says:

    I’d have to go with the hands clasped in front, as well. Sort of a pleading, protective-of-oneself gesture, and also one of fear.

  4. wolfofsilver says:

    I agree with motub, but I also agree with TekServer. I don’t want to think that SC has been all or partly consumed, or that SGV has been all or partly consumed, but it leans towards it.

    I agree with the hands clasped in front. But couldn’t it also mean a unconscious restraining gesture of sorts? What if, in growing up some, ST has more power now–and possibly more than he realizes. And there’s the possibility that he’s a restraining force for SGV within him (IF SGC is within him). We all do these little nervous gestures, and, sometimes, they have meaning.

    We’ll see what we see. We’ll miss you ShadowChild, but we’re damn proud you made it to shadowlescence!

  5. wolfofsilver says:

    Added note: I think ST looks kinda pretty & elegant now. ^_^

  6. Levana_b says:

    I like the theory of SC eating SGV, but I don’t think that means our lovable SC/ST is gone. It’s always possible that it got to eat SGV and changed it by eating it. So it has some of SGV’s knowledge, without it’s malice.

    *crosses fingers*

  7. Arioch says:

    Ursula, your writing and art are wonderful. This story is heartbreaking. Poor Shadow, you’ve grown so much all at once. I hope Digger tell the truth that she was and is his friend.

  8. Amarys says:

    SC has eaten Sweetgrass voice. Since Sc was largely on it’s way to “goodness” and SGV was pretty darned bad, this has led to some inner identity problems.

  9. Argent says:

    First Townsen, next Shadowchild. My favorite webcomics are killing innocents left and right.

  10. Tris says:

    [Immediate response upon seeing this page] awwww…. shadowchild…
    [Goes off to cuddle cat]

  11. Alaenor says:

    What is with the past tense there!? Shadowchild isn’t DEAD!?!?
    They didn’t merge or something, did they?
    I’m going to be SO upset if anything happened to make him not Showchild we all love anymore…

  12. Rei says:

    Oh, here it comes: Shadowteen. xD

  13. Laura says:

    Well. Just that one little sentence is enough to break my heart.

  14. Hawksong says:

    I saw ST’s arms as being close in to the body, perhaps clasping hands together as he has done before…or, more likely from the way I interpret the last couple pages, kind of holding the arms against himself…a self-comforting gesture very common in youngsters who’ve suffered some kind of recent trauma. After all, how could the confrontation between ST and SGV have been anything BUT traumatic…?

    But yes, that “was” has me on edge and weeping. Even if ST hasn’t amalgamated with SGV…it makes it very very clear that the “child” is gone. As I said before…the death of innocence…quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing in this world. It doesn’t have to include the death of the being who was innocent…and many times does not…and in a way that makes it hurt all the worse.

    ST’s question reminds me of a child grappling with teenhood and asking its parent…”Did you ever really love me, Mom?”
    Dear God I’m going to cry all weekend now! Thanks Ursula! :P

  15. Tengu says:

    Alternately, ST is going through an identity crisis, or can’t quite remember who he was before he became what he is.

    “The me-that-was knew who and what he was, the me-that-is has some figuring out to do…”

  16. Kayru says:

    He sounds so… grown up… gosh, this is sad.
    Sure, corrupt the most beautiful little character ever known to man… D’=

  17. jassius says:

    If only we could measure readers anxiety by the number of comments generated in 24 hours… :D

    Ursula must be somewere silently observing and laughting at our reactions to the plot. You succeeded in creating a tension climax. Well done!

    I’m still quite sure that is not the last from SGV. Just hoping she got a couple of burned fingers from that confrontation. Now, SGV has never been seen in a phisical (?) confrontation for what I remember, so it is possible she is not an strong shadow in a direct battle. This situation might have scared her quite a lot.

    About shadow fussion. If that was the case. Would it be possible that SGV also absorbed a part of what Shadowchild lost? Imagine her torment if the knowledge of the burden of wrongs caused to a race of talking creatures suddenly falled upon her shoulders o_O . That could turn her mad and would assure an interesting confrontation when they make their way to the god corpse where she will be stronger.

    Just my thoughts for the weekend.

  18. daggaz says:

    Incredible graphic novel, I’m going to buy it in print when its complete. Found it on OOTS and forced my self to slow down, so I only read it in a day and a half =( Guess I will go outside now.

    Thank you for the incredible journey, eagerly awaiting more! =)

  19. motub says:

    Y’know, after reading this for the umpteenth time, I’ve noticed something (well, two things actually, but the fact that, if you look hard, you can still “see” the “old” Shadowchild in the Shadowteen’s posture, and the whole shape of its head is not relevant to this point).

    What ST asks is “Was I your friend?”, not the other way around.

    How in the name of sanity is Digger supposed to answer a question like that (other than to say, “As far as I knew, yes, you were my friend. I hope you still are, as I hope I am still yours, just as I have always been, or tried to be, up to now. (What’s happened?!)”)?

    Obviously only ST can know whether it was in truth Digger’s friend or not! Digger can only tell it what she believed to be the truth as far as she knew it, which may or may not be the “absolute”, “true” truth (parents can be wrong, after all, which knowledge is another sad part of growing up).

    Well, Digger is sleepy, and quite practical (meaning she knows better than to try to answer an important question if the question is unclear so that she can’t answer responsibly, especially at a deficit of being just awakened– and without even a fortifying cup of tea to sustain her– so not at her full capacity), so maybe she will ask politely for more clarification before she answers.

    From one tense, delicate situation to another, all in very short order… this is going to be a long weekend….. :) (Great arc, Ursula!)

  20. rista-liehna says:

    Anyone else notice how much Shadow looks like a bird now?

  21. Archangel Beth says:

    At least Shadowthingie still has some of its ears…

    It’s using her *name*. Did it use her name before? It was calling her *she* to SGV… But that might’ve been because names have power and no way was it giving SGV that…

    What’s with the past tense! wails my kid. Also, “And why are you so tall?”

  22. Josh says:

    Ok, it’s cheating to make me cry at a webcomic.

  23. Becky says:

    I’ve got to tell you, I just finished a weeks-long binge of these archives and…agh! That’s all I can say about current events.
    I caan HEAR the change in the pitch of Shadowchild’s voice.

  24. Hawksong says:

    @ rista-liehna: Yes, I do notice that Shadow’s outlines bear strong resemblance to the silhouette of the Kingfisher depicted as having been the vessel of He-Is.

    @motub: While it’s true that your interpretation is a possible meaning for the sentence as uttered, it seems far more convoluted than anything Shadow OR SGV ever said. Also, since Digger is indeed quite practical, even IF she sees that particular loophole (which I don’t think she will since she’s so sleepy), the answer is still YES. Even if it’s a case of Digger stating what she believed to be true at the time, it’s still YES. Yes, she regarded Shadow as a friend, yes she tried to BE a friend to Shadow.

    The past tense is still the kicker.

  25. ortonmc says:

    Oh no… She’s not going to have to sacrifice Shadowchild to get rid of SGV, is she?

  26. TekServer says:

    Just found this while revisiting the archives … https://diggercomic.com/?p=401

    Apparently SC *has* called Digger by name before this …


  27. Stryde says:

    He looks like a chicken now. owo

  28. Andrew says:

    A few days ago, I posted a long, rambling comment with tons of links and pointless speculation. But the system didn’t accept it, I presume because it had so many links. So, not to be thwarted by an overzealous spam filter, I’m reposting with the links shortened to the last bit. I have entirely too much free time.

    **** original post:

    Yes, I think from now on we should call him SweetShadowGrassChildVoice…Teen. :) Sorry, couldn’t resist a bit of absurdism there.

    Seriously, though, I went back through the archives looking for clues about the properties of shadow beings in this world. Here are some of the more interesting:

    “Shadows are not independent beings. Always there is some greater presence which stands between them and the light. So if your creature is truly itself a shadow, you must ask — what manner of being is casting it?”

    “The god there throws too much light. It makes the shadows sharp and dark, like holes in the air. I can’t eat them all. If I went in there, it would be like trying to drink the ocean… The god is old, and nothing gets that old without shadows on it.”

    “Don’t bother. He hasn’t got a shadow anymore.” [he’s dead]

    “How unusual. The shadow on your mind is so dark, but it belongs to somebody else. And there’s hardly any shadow on your heart at all. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

    “There are shadows on your heart. Dark ones too. You stink of old regrets.” [om nom nom…]

    “Does not having a shadow kill someone?”
    “Usually. Live things are bright, and bright things have shadows. If you get rid of the light, they don’t have the shadows any more. But if you get rid of the shadows first it just… you know. Doesn’t work. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s just wrong. So they die.”

    “They cut me with their swords. It hurt…. There’s a little hard spot where a sword cut me. When I fade out, it doesn’t. I think it’s a scar.”

    Here are a few bird references, too:

    “…the dead bird I hatched from…. It had white feathers…. it had grown too small to fit in.”

    “…in the Year of the Dying Swallow …. a white peacock appeared.”

    “…the god [He-Is] came to us in the shape of a kingfisher the color of ashes …. his grief clung to him like black smoke.”

    “Anyway, once [the death-binding] was in place, the god shucked off that bird body. Never seen anything like that. It was like cracking an oyster and having a horse fall out.”

    A dying swallow, a white peacock, a kingfisher the color of ashes — any one of those might’ve “had white feathers.” But the first two wouldn’t make as much sense as the latter… I think Shadowchild is closely linked to the story of He-Is, maybe as his shadow, or that of SGV, or maybe even as the spirit of the unborn first child of He-Is and She-Is, or the shadow thereof. No, wait… Let me work through this. Gods and living things cast light. Shadows are formed by something between them and the light. The existence of a shadow requires a source of light — a god, living being, or maybe a spirit — as well as something to block the light — madness, regret, …demons? Argh!! The suspense is killing me, and Tuesday is so far away!!! *whimper*

    Incidentally, by the way, Shadowchild DID at one point refer to Digger as “my friend”:
    Of course, Shadowchild’s question here is the other way around, but still…

    And sadly, one other thing occurred to me: the entire story could come back to Digger’s “other possibility”:
    Maybe it was all just a wicked head trip from the bad earth / dead air, and she never came back from it. She’s been wandering feverishly through her warren babbling nonsense about gods and shadows and hyenas while the other wombats try to be as compassionate as possible, in their pragmatic way… I really hope that’s not it. :)

  29. wolfyhound says:

    arg!!! I finally caught up! Now I have to WAIT for each comic panel….. *weeps uncontrolably for a very brief moment.. then spots something shiney and wanders away.

  30. Carthen says:

    Seeing the way Digger was drawn in the last panel, I can’t help but be reminded of the highly symplified style Usula used when telling the legend of He is/ She is.

  31. Larry G says:

    I just finished the archive (insert weeping and gnashing remark about how long it is to Tuesday here) and I have enjoyed watching Ursula’s growth as an illustrative artist as well as a storyteller. Thank you. I will wait, because if I don’t, I will miss something wonderful :D

  32. D.G. says:

    I just thought of something. Wasn’t the peacock sacred to Juno, roman godess and wife of Jupiter?

  33. Hawksong says:

    @ DG the peacock was one of the sacred animals thought to be linked to Hera/Juno (both Greek and Roman traditions connected the bird to her); it was also a symbol of vanity (or being overly proud). In this case, since Ursula has mostly avoided specific pantheons, I think it might *mostly* relate to the pride of He-Is, that ultimately gave SGV the leverage to split the two mates.

  34. Iain says:

    Wow… that was a loong and wonderful read through the archives.

    The only question I have is just how long in it’s life (?) was Shadowchild away fighting the big bad?

  35. Wayne says:

    I wish to note that I have just realized that Shadowchild’s “plumage” resembles that of a Kingfisher.

  36. sandra407 says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  37. TekServer says:

    Andrew, that’s a nice summary of related previous pages there. It made me think of something: do you suppose that SGV has been sustaining itself all these years by feeding on the (willingly volunteered) shadows of the Cold Servants? This could explain a lot about the wrongness of their nature …


  38. BunnyRock says:


    I really don’t know what to say. Poor Shadowchild! Poor Digger! please let this work out!

    @Sil. Digger is a person, just not a human person. if that makes scene.

    @TekServer…. good summary of everyone feeling, but i’m still not letting go of the “shadolescence” pun. mostly because you beet me to it.

  39. JET73L says:

    “I thought so. Aren’t you still?”
    …is what Digger should say, in my off-the-cuff opinion, and I think is a correct response (or as close to one as there is) after reading the comments. “Yes, but what do you mean ‘was’?” Is close, and denotes the ongoing friend-ness, but… [shadowchild difficult idea pose]my head hurts[/pose] Thinking about her answer’s phrasing or givig a question as the answer could be problematic.

  40. The Procrastinator says:

    Anyone else think the Shadow’s hands (top panel) look rather single-clawed? Rather like those of a certain fallen Entity?

  41. TekServer says:

    “Shadows are formed by something between them and the light. The existence of a shadow requires a source of light — a god, living being, or maybe a spirit — as well as something to block the light — madness, regret, …demons?”

    This is why I reread comments when I revisit the archive – sometimes I spot something I missed the first time through (especially on pages like this with lots of comments, and especially on long comments like Andrew’s).

    It hadn’t occurred to me until I (re-)read this that demons, their actual, “physical” presences, might not be directly perceptible to regular mortals (humans, wombats, etc.). Instead, they block the “light” from somewhere else – a god, another dimension, the “black heart of a star”, or whatever – and cast a semi-solid, 4-dimensional “shadow” into what we perceive as reality. This shadow is then the only part of the demon that our fleshy characters can actually interact with.

    This would explain a lot: by changing the way they block the light, demons could alter the shape and size and tangibility of their shadow. They could only really be hurt by other demons, or perhaps by something like a magic sword that could have some effect on their actual other-dimensional bodies (as opposed to a very non-magical pickaxe, which can only interact with the shadow and thus not harm the demon’s actual body).

    I don’t know if this is what either Andrew or Ursula had in mind, but I think it’s a cool concept.