Swashbuckling Days with “Delilah Dirk”

If You Like…

  • “Indiana Jones” adventures
  • Unlikely heroes
  • A journey to the East

Then You’ll Like…

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

crazyI want you to think back into the days of your youth. You may have been a child, a teeanger, but recall if you will, how it felt when you saw an Indiana Jones film for the first time. How did it make you feel? Adventurous? A sudden hankering for archaeology and the civilizations of old? Or was it the thrill of the journey?

Regardless of how you felt, it’s rare to get that “first-time” feeling back when it comes to the adventure genre. I have hankered for a book with that same feel, that sense of unbridled adventure through nations and danger. There were a few books I discovered that mimicked the feel, but rarely in a visual sense for me. At least until I stumbled across Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant.

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Courtesy of Tony Cliff

I first discovered this eastern-inspired adventure tale online, while perusing for webcomics. The author and artist, Tony Cliff, had uploaded two chapters to the site and I devoured them with childish glee. Just one look at the first image on the homepage was enough to set my gears of adventure spinning. Since then, Cliff has published the adventures of Delilah and her reluctant companion, Mr. Selim, in book form.

While short in form, the colorfulness and delightful cantor between the two main characters is highly enjoyable, much like a standalone film. The story mostly takes place in Turkey, around the time when global exploration was becoming the norm (although I am no expert on the history). Delilah Dirk is one such lady that we all wanted to embody as children: an expert swordsman with a colorful resume, including training with French marksman, Japanese masters, as well as being a lady-in-waiting in the highest courts of Europe (though not for long). With a history like that, it’s no surprise that she can hardly be tied down to one place for long. Poor Selim is swept up in her antics wholly by accident, but decides to stay with her for the rest of her journeys.

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Courtesy of Tony Cliff

As I said, while a short-ish book, I highly enjoyed that feeling of trans-continental travel. I mean, Delilah has a frickin’ flying boat for Pete’s sake, and her dialogue is sassy and marvelous. Cliff’s art style is fast-paced and reminds me of Disney. The movements of the characters are energetic, and the colors are bright, so I can honestly say that it’s a feast for the eyes. He even takes a few panels to throw in a few on-screen gags during chase or fight scenes, which I deeply appreciated. It harkened back to those funny moments in “Indiana Jones” such as when the titular character faces off against a dramatic, flourishing swordsman and pulls out a gun ‘cause he ain’t got time for that (you know what I’m talking about!).

If you’ve been searching for a new adventure to swallow, with bonus colorful visuals, pick up a copy of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant and see what adventures lie in wait for you. Want to get a taste before you spend the dough? Check out the first two chapters and download a 36-page e-book HERE!

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Will Make You Feel: Like rewatching those old Cecil B. Demille and Steven Spielberg films

Music to Listen to While Reading: John Williams compositions

Publisher: First Second

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