Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant: swashbuckling graphic novel

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a new graphic novel extending the adventures of Tony Cliff's beloved, swashbuckling webcomics heroine Delilah Dirk. Set in 1908, this volume opens with the hapless Lieutenant Erdemoglu Selim reporting to the sultan about the new prisoner he's just gotten through questioning: a woman adventurer who claims to be the daughter of a British diplomat, skilled in many of the world's swordfighting techniques, fearsome fighter and adventurer, and expert escapologist.

The Sultan is contemptuous when the Lieutenant reports that she's allowed herself to be imprisoned for the express purpose of breaking out and stealing some of his valuable scrolls, but he's alarmed when she does break out. He decides that Salim is in league with the prisoner, and orders his execution — an execution that is stopped with moments to spare by Delilah reappearing in the Sultan's palace, killing several guards, rescuing Salim, and whisking him away on her flying boat. She has rescued him because he seemed like a good egg, and had made her a truly remarkable cup of tea.

So begins a marvellous and exceptionally lovely graphic novel that ranges far and wide, buckling titanic quantities of swash as it goes. Salim and Delilah rob pirates, survive artillery charges and bombings, endure long and arduous crossings over hostile terrain, and drink a lot of tea. This the the pure, distilled essence of adventure, and features an extremely likable pair of heroes, as fine as you'll see in any comic, novel or film. The whole book is on the web, and you can read it to your heart's content, but as with all of publisher First Second's books, the printed object is particularly finely made and makes a handsome trophy and an even better gift.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant