May 13th, 2010


The seeds of this scene–and Ed’s solution–were laid down in the very first pages of Digger, which boggles my mind a little.

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 the lefthand names of God and purple ink–let me just say “BWHAAHAHAHAHA….no.”

I didn’t know that Ed’s ink recipe would fix this until last week. The bit with the purple ink and the bugs was an amusing diversion (at least, I’m amused, because I find pigments and such fascinating) and it took a longish drive to the store to get groceries for me to suddenly realize why that actually mattered and had a bearing on the plot.

The original plan for Digger to get the skin’s aid was much weirder and didn’t quite work in my head at all.

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Discussion (34)¬

  1. Tindi says:

    Aha! I said Ed would have an answer!

    …See, you shouldn’t SAY things like that, Ursula! Now I want to know what would have happened as well as what will! And I have five days to find out the latter now (It’s just after midnight, so I still count Thursday)!

  2. -jr says:

    Whenever I look at the skin lizzards, I can’t help thinking it’s Danny and Wendell in Halloween costumes.

  3. B says:

    Great, now I’m seeing that as well, -jr.

  4. I love seeing your mind work (or well, the bits you show πŸ™‚ )

  5. TekServer says:

    Brilliant, Ursula.
    Of course, by now we expect no less … πŸ˜‰

    Don’t forget to VOTE, everyone!

  6. Jassius says:

    I am totally with Tindi on this.

    I don’t mind if it would have worked, but I would absolutely like a brief description of the weirder alternative πŸ˜€

    Ed to the rescue!

  7. WuseMajor says:

    Does Ed know how to make Aniline Purple? That’d be impressive because I thought is was a pretty complex process. Not that he’s not smart, but the Hyenas didn’t strike me as the type to do much complex chemistry.

    Though, given Owl Caller’s potions, maybe I’m wrong…

  8. arenhaus says:

    Brilliant move. Who else can you trust to know what to bribe artists with? πŸ™‚

  9. Otookee says:

    Aniline purple seems unlikely, as the hyenas would need a source of coal tar, which is a byproduct of certain industrial processes. Alizarin, on the other hand, is a plant extract, though closer to red than purple…

  10. JewelWolf says:

    Gah! You mean I have to wait until TUESDAY for this?! Urslua, why do you tease us so?

  11. Diatryma says:

    I had been a bit iffy on the purple-ink sidetrack– interesting, cute, but not moving forward– and now… oh, Ed, you are my favorite ever.

  12. abb3w says:

    Not as impressive as how Terry Pratchett figured out who Ronnie was, but still cool how the writing process sometimes turns up beneficent surprises.

  13. motub says:

    Yes, of course!

    Not only “of course Ed knows how to make a better purple ink, being a skin painter and all,” but “of course Ed, who I’d kinda forgotten was standing off-panel this entire time (and admittedly thought of as a bit useless in this situation πŸ™ ), gently offers the solution to a completely unrelated problem from out of left-field, as it were.”

    I adore Ed, and I am so glad that Digger has him for a true friend πŸ™‚ ! Beautiful moment…. made my dat (as Digger so often does)!

  14. libbyblue says:

    Right field.

  15. Madam Atom says:

    YAY ED.

  16. Now I’m picturing you in the car, driving to the store, trying to work your way through this, just like Digger is on this page — and Ed sitting quietly in the passenger seat, listening to you natter on about this hopelessly complex plan, until he finally says, in that quiet, exasperated “or we could just do THIS tone”….

  17. Hawk says:

    Hurray for Ed!

    Also, was reading over the archives from the last few times, from when Digger and Ed go back into the caves…and it made such an odd experience, because the entire time, my Caticus Terribilis was in my lap.

    Snoring. Noisily.

    Now for this to be as funny for everyone else, Caticus Terribilis doesn’t usually deign to sleep in *anyone’s* lap. He also has little interest in the computer. So him being in my lap asleep is unusual already.

    The snoring is also unusual, but C.T. has a cold. A really bad feline cold. Thus, he’s completely pooped, and wants comforting because he feels icky.

    When I started to chuckle at Ed’s most fitting and wonderful solution, C.T. woke up, sneezed loudly, and then stared at the computer for a moment. I doubt that he had any actual interest or reaction to the artwork, but for no outwardly visible reason, he began to purr.

    And then went back to sleep.

    Judging purely from empirical evidence and my own whimsy, Ed’s solution made C.T. feel better! πŸ˜›

  18. reapicheep says:

    Not one path to victory, but all paths to victory. I’ve often thought when reading, say, J. K. Rowling, that she throws in all those red herrings not only to make things amusing/interesting in the short term, but to hedge her bets. Howard Taylor, who runs the schlock mercenary webcomic, says he does the same thing.

    I myself have frequently been surprised to find myself stuck in middle of making up a bedtime story for the kids, vamping for time, when suddenly an Obvious Solution based on an amusing earlier detail pops out of my mouth, frequently before getting formal recognition from my brain.

    I love it when that happens! And yes, I want to know what your other idea was, but I also think this solution just works better. Let’s hear it for your subconscious!

  19. Karyl says:

    Me too, on the Ed love! He’s just such a cool and gentle character, a great foil for Digger when she’s struggling to find a good way forward.

  20. Hunter says:

    Yay! Ed’s finally doing something important! πŸ˜€

  21. Kinto_M says:

    The muses work in mysterious ways.

  22. Emma says:

    GO ED! The painter saves the day!

  23. Lucius Appaloosius says:

    I wouldn’t rule out coal-tar derivatives yet…… who knows what Ed might have stumbled upon while fooling around?

    Or – perhaps more likely – he knows of mineral pigments that can be combined? 7@=e

  24. WuseMajor says:

    While doing a wikipedia search on purple, I ran across Han Purple which is an ancient mineral pigment, so it might work.

  25. Nivm says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Ursula uses the comments page to start off the ink information search.

  26. poppiesnroses says:

    Go Ed!

  27. JewelWolf says:

    >Yay! Ed’s finally doing something important!

    What do you mean? Every cup of tea he’s ever brewed has been of vital importance. Also his vast, unending wisdom helps quite a bit.

  28. The pefect Bribe. All that was need was the right motivator. I love all the internal monologing that is going on here, and then all of the sudden, Ed’s answer cuts straight through it all like a vorpal blade. Snicker Snak.

  29. Cro says:

    I am so glad Ed has a big part in things πŸ˜€

  30. Quizt says:

    *I’m* so glad Ed *is*.

  31. Romanticide says:

    And so Ed gets them the upper handle in the negotiation:D

  32. BunnyRock says:

    I wonder if in this sense “better” means a truer, deeper colour, or an easer dye to produce. Given the difficulty the lizards seem to have making theirs I’d guess the latter. Or both, it’s always a possibility and Ed would be the sort to know what he’s doing when it comes to pigments.

  33. Elkian says:

    Ed, you’re a GENIUS