Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Visual History of Digger

I lost the best picture I ever drew of Digger and don't know if I could ever duplicate it. However, while I'm thinking about possible T-shirt designs, I thought it might be interesting to look back at how Digger has evolved visually. This may only be interesting to me, but what the hell, it's late and I want to be silly.

When I first came up with Digger as a Champions game character, I wanted him to be dressed in more-or-less earth tones, given his affinity for dirt. But all brown and green was just crying out for brighter color, so I ended up with this:

The tan pants and brown boots are earthy, while the blue shirt suggests sky, maybe. I just thought the bicolor effect on the shirt looked cool, while I added the fringe to the tops of the moccasin boots both to break up the silhouette and for joke value, since the fringe would rarely survive a battle intact.

I also, though I didn't draw it, imagined him wearing a poncho, a'la Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti Western, whenever he went out in public, to conceal the Drillers.

Almost a year later, I decided Digger was getting a bit tired of his plain ordinary look, and gave him a radical makeover:

You'll notice I'd been watching a lot of anime at that point. I gave him naval dress blue pants with a racing stripe and an original X-Men tunic, partially concealed by a completely non-functional chest armor console. Basically, Digger had a dashboard. I also switched out the boots for a more durable pair with a big buccaneer flap, cut his hair, and grew out his beard. But you'll notice I left the poncho in place. Oh yeah, and I added some decorative fins to the Drillers, just for the hell of it. It's a weird mish-mash of a costume, mainly memorable for not being anything like the previous one.

Several months later, a long-running storyline entered a crisis (right before summer vacation), so I did a special illustration to show Digger at the height of battle.

This was the only time I'd ever seen anybody use a dramatic close-up on a character sheet, but I figured 'what the hell?' (and yes, you'll notice I was still watching a lot of anime). The dashboard is gone, as is the beard. The hair is back to shaggy and wild, the shirt is ripped, and there is a certain air of desperation about him. He's cornered and fighting a losing battle, obviously, but he hasn't given up.

That campaign ended soon after, but I brought Digger back to fight again when I started a new campaign in Oklahoma City. At that time, I debated another new costume concept, but ended up going back to almost classic Digger, combining elements of both costumes to create a new fusion. Oh yeah, the fringe is back, baby!

The description in Hero Go Home, however, is a throwback to the blue-shirt days, with the only new element being the "D" logos on each shoulder, an innovation that was added by PlayCo. I've also lately been thinking more of the Drillers as being elevated away from the arm, like this incomplete sketch from "Astromonkeys!"

I don't really know what's best anymore, except that I know I'm not a huge fan of the "Quake"-style look they gave him in Baen's Universe. So I'm going to take a shot at an illustration over the weekend, see how it works out.

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