Cliff, T. (2013). Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. New York: First Second. ISBN: 9781596438132
Annotation: When Lieutenant Selim interrogates a mysterious female prisoner in Constantinople, he discovers that she is Delilah Dirk and has an amazing history. When she escapes prison, his boss assumes he is in league with her, and Selim had to fight by her side in order to survive.
Reaction: This book is wonderful. It’s a little more cutthroat than I had expected, but Cliff’s sound effect panels, which are so SO great, and beautiful colors make the story more light hearted than the amount of stabbing she does indicates. Plus the dialogue is wonderfully quick and witty, which is something I always appreciate. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but any character with a good one-liner is a character I love.
While this book doesn’t technically pass the Bechdel Test (Which says that a book/movie/video game, etc has 1. two or more female characters, 2. who have names, and 3. who speak to each other about something other than men), Delilah is such a badass character, that I’m willing to forgive the fact that she’s the only lady who really plays a part in the story. She is the most compelling part of this story, and I long to see more of her adventures. Also, I think there is the potential for Cliff to introduce more equally awesome female characters in the future.
The art in this is completely gorgeous and detailed. Cliff doesn’t say in the book what he used, but it looks to me like it was some sort of computer program. Whatever media he used, Cliff wielded it expertly. The characters are wonderful and real, and though Delilah might have the body dimensions of a regular super heroine, she is not as classically beautiful as we would expect the title character to be. And would you look at those backgrounds?! Ridiculous. They are so intricate and detailed and really help pull the reader into the story.
I would recommend this to high school readers and up, especially those who love an amazing strong heroine driven graphic novel. This is also great for people who are into the history of the Turkey/Greece region of the world or a good pirate adventure.
And everyone in the whole world should read Delilah Dirk and the Easy Mark, which is to say, “Delilah Dirk starring a CAT.”
Media Used: (from Twitter) The line art is pencil-on-paper and the colouring is all digital.