Written and illustrated by the immensely talented Tony Cliff, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is the first in a series of swashbuckling, semi-historical adventures of the eponymous Ms. Dirk and her reluctant but loyal companion Selim as they wind their way throughout 19th century Eurasia, stealing treasure, infiltrating palaces, battling armies, and causing heaps of property damage in the process.
The year is 1805, the setting Constantinople. Selim is a lieutenant in His Majesty’s Janissary Corps, a thankless job that leads him directly into the path of one Delilah Dirk, a clever and ingenious young woman of unprecedented talent and unnerving cheer. An expert in several forms of combat and a penchant for trouble, Selim and Delilah find themselves fleeing Constantinople with a death-sentence on their heads, and the hapless Lieutenant is swept up into Delilah’s whirlwind life of daring sword fights, harrowing escapes, and dangerous exploits. Did I mention she also has a flying boat?
A delightful combination of classic heroism and buddy comedy, Delilah Dirk will have you transfixed. From the gorgeous and sweeping illustrations, to the high-energy fight scenes, to the sweet and subtle development of the title characters, Tony Cliff works wonders through his art and storytelling. His narrative is thoroughly engaging, staying rooted just enough in reality to make all the eccentricities and wonders of Delilah’s strange existence that much more dynamic. Not to mention his witty humor, brilliant pacing, and charming dialogue make this not only a worthwhile read, but a fun one.
All of these fine qualities, plus their stunning and seamless execution, amount to what is truly one of the best comics you will ever have the pleasure of reading.
The first two chapters of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant are available to read for free on the internet. If you wish to read the complete story (which I recommend you do), it is available for purchase through several retailers.