Here at ComicsAlliance
, we run across comic book oddities on a pretty regular basis, but rarely have we ever stumbled on something quite as mind-boggling as IDW's 2009 one-shot, "The Adventures of Digger and Friends."
The reasons we we're perplexed are many, but it started with us finding out that Digger the Mole is NASCAR's mascot
, and unlike NASCAR's previous effort at breaking into the comics scene -- "NASCAR Heroes," a pretty straightforward story of racecar drivers that gained super-powers and fought each other while racing -- everything we learned after that just left us more confused.
Our first question, for example, was why exactly NASCAR felt that they could best be represented by a mole, but a little research revealed that he was actually the mascot for the "Gopher Cam." That made sense, but in discovering that, we also learned that he made a cameo in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel," and since we can barely get our heads around the fact that that movie exists, we were back to where we started.
As near as we can figure from the first story in the comic, Digger is a mole who lives underneath a racetrack with his friends in a network of tunnels large enough to contain an HDTV with a cable hookup, a couch that seats four, and a workshop capable of building at least five giant, murderous robots. But we'll get back to that in a second.
The key point here is that Digger's tunneling is opposed by Lumpy, a badger that also appears to be a policeman:
Now admittedly, our knowledge of NASCAR is entirely made up of what we learned from Will Ferrell in "Talladega Nights," but trying to keep a Caddyshackish rodent from building gigantic tunnels right underneath a track where 3500-lb. cars zoom around at 200 miles per hour actually seems like a pretty reasonable goal.
It's also worth noting that Digger is obsessed with NASCAR. That might seem like a given, what with the fact that he's the mascot and all, but even with that, he's taking the whole thing a little too far. Check out his reaction when one of his fellow moles informs him that he can build an unstoppable legion of super-strong robots:
If your first thought when your friend says "Hey, I can build robots" is "IT WOULD BE AWESOME TO WATCH THEM RACE CARS," then you're taking your obsession to a level that even the Hamburglar would be worried about.
Lumpy ends up stealing the plans for the robots and using them in an attempt to roust the moles from underneath the tracks, which is foiled when Digger's grandfather lures them onto the track, endangering the lives of the racers:
The second story, an apparent reaction to the fact that the last one did nothing to clarify matters, is meant to function as a sort of primer on NASCAR itself. After opening with a sequence that implies that racecars are equipped with radar screens designed to keep birds from soiling them, the story moves into a sequence where a group of forest animals debate the environmental impact of having a track built in their home...
...and determine that all things considered, it's pretty awesome.
Since a few of the animals fail to see the appeal of driving around in a circle on an otherwise productive afternoon, however, Digger & Co. organize a race. Over the course of it, they lecture their animal friends about the importance of cornering, warn them not to bump into each other (and subsequently mock their pain when they do), and eventually set up a bizarre win condition that we're pretty sure has absolutely nothing to do with NASCAR:
We'd go on about the other increasingly incomprehensible elements of the story--chief among them being Annie, the iPod-sporting lady mole who fills the Smurfetteishly indeterminate Sister/Girlfriend role--but in re-reading the two stories, we think we've actually figured it out:
Digger works to undermine an organization, commands an army of robots, sets completely arbitrary rules for others to follow, and is opposed by a uniformed authority figure that he fails to acknowledge is actually doing the right thing. Digger is totally the mole equivalent of Dr. Doom.