A fun and fast paced adventure through 19th century Turkey, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant delivers in print form.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant coverLovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an Indiana Jones for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.

A little bit Tintin, a little bit Indiana Jones, Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine…and globetrotting adventures.

Tony Cliff Writer/Artist
First Second, 8/27/2013
ISBN: 9781596438132
6 x 8 1/2 inches, 176 pages
Softcover, Full-color throughout
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Range: 7 and up
$15.99 USD
Order online: Amazon, Book Depository

I started reading this work online, as the story ran as a web comic a few years ago and is still available. I found the fonts a bit blurry on screen but the characters kept me interested. Now First Second has picked up the material and published it at that all ages size of 6×8 inches.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant interior 1

The draw to this material is the cordial, polite and good-natured relationship between Delilah and Selim. No matter what was happening they treated each other with respect and courtesy; very Victorian from our modern perspective. Delilah has all the skills required for a life of swashbuckling adventure, and Selim knows how to make delicious tea. Together they make their way through, but just barely.

There is a high level of action adventure, don’t worry. Delilah gets herself into a slew of circumstances that never get the best of her, and Selim scrapes his way through with a considerable amount of assistance. There’s a lighthearted feel to the story, even though the body count piles up and death surrounds our lead characters throughout. Delilah kills a lot of people in this book, and while there isn’t any blood shown it’s hard not to notice since this is such a light and playful tale.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant interior 2

Tony Cliff brings the story to life through detailed environments, colourful costumes, research and a keen animator’s eye. Not content to rely on dialogue, he creatively adds sound effects to panels to provide that same element of whimsy, like “shrug”, “gasp” or “whisper whisper”. Small accents to the graphics that really enhance the subtleties.

Humour plays a large part, whether through pithy dialogue or physical gags. It’s a fun read. Things stay light until the story needs it to get serious for a few pages. Cliff pulls it off extremely well, keeping the reader thoroughly engaged at all times. This story would excel in any medium.

The art is large and expansive so the diminutive size of the book feels cramped at times. Understandably this is the creator’s first major work, priced to get into as many hands as possible. Maybe we’ll see an oversized hardcover with additional material at a later date, nudge nudge.

Originally published at Comic Book Daily.