We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a few books from :01 (First Second) and I’ve got to admit that this book has sat on my to review pile for a while. I started reading it months ago, finished it quickly and thought it was wonderful. Somehow the review never got started. How about we rectify that oversight immediately.
When I started the book this was literally all I had to go on; From author Tony Cliff: “Delilah Dirk is the heroine of a series of adventure comics set during the early 19th century. Each story is completely self-contained, and they’re suitable for readers of all ages!”
Well anyone with even a passing knowledge of the early 19th century knows women adventurers were few and far between, at least recorded exploits, so we were already looking at a unique story idea (always a plus). And if you know my proclivities a female protagonists and an adventure comics are things I find hard to resist.
We open with an introduction to Selim, the titular Turkish Lieutenant, on the day that will be the first of his new life.
He’s a soldier in the service of the local Sultan, in the Janissary Corps (The Janissaries were elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan’s household troops and bodyguards.) On this day his duties include deposing a criminal in the Sultan’s custody. He does the job and reports his finding to the Sultan. It’s quite a description, I’d list her attributes but I think Tony Cliff will do a better job than I,
Let’s face it, there are not enough formidable female protagonists out there. If half the stories she tells Selim are true Delilah she’d be the epitome of the adventurer. When we see the action it becomes apparent that she is many things and all of them graceful and impressive. It’s very hard not to fall instantly in love with Delilah. She’s the girl on the playground who was just a little bit faster than you, a little bit surer, and that made you want to play with her all the more.Tony also gives us a likeable character, she’s playful and happy even during the craziest scenes.
As the story unfolds and Selim rescues Delilah, no wait Delilah rescues Selim. Well they rescue each other. They embark on a journey, sometimes fleeing sometimes just traveling, and it’s wonderful. The relationship that develops is far from a romantic one (which does this father’s heart good) but it is the type of relationship I hope my daughter experiences. They banter, they challenge each other, they fight, and they just enjoy each others company. Add the swashbuckling action and the lush art and this book is a must read.
As the father of a 7 year-old girl I scour the racks for characters I want to raise my daughter on, Delilah is one we’ll enjoy for a long time to come.
I can heartily recommend this book, it’s a 5 out of 5. Buy this book.
Oh did I mention Tony Cliff makes the first 36 pages available to read online? Go check out his site delilahdirk.com. (psst… there’s also a sneak preview of the next chapter in the adventure!)
Delilah Dirk and The Turkish Lieutenant
Writer: Cliff, Tony
Artist: Cliff, Tony
Cover Artist: Cliff, Tony
On Sale: September 04, 2013
Publisher :01 First Second
Diamond Id: JUN131130
Format: GRAPHIC NOVEL