Review: Delilah Dirk and The King’s Shilling

Review: Delilah Dirk and The King’s Shilling

Delilah Dirk & The King's Shilling Tony Cliff First Second March 8th, 2016 Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from the publisher and may contain spoilers. Just as I finished reading Delilah Dirk and The King's Shilling, it was announced that Disney acquired the film rights to the comic series by Tony Cliff. Set in the

Delilah Dirk & The King’s ShillingDelilah Dirk and The King's Shilling by Tony Cliff. First Second. 2016.

Tony Cliff
First Second
March 8th, 2016

Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from the publisher and may contain spoilers.

Just as I finished reading Delilah Dirk and The King’s Shilling, it was announced that Disney acquired the film rights to the comic series by Tony Cliff. Set in the 19th century, Delilah Dirk is a world traveler and adventurer whose companion is a lieutenant in the Turkish army named Erdemoglu Selim. Dirk offers Selim excitement and adventure while Selim brings his impeccable tea making skills. One of the first graphic novels I’ve read from First Second was Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and The Turkish Lieutenant back in 2013.

Revisiting the first Delilah Dirk, I’ve realized how much of Cliff’s art has changed. The lines in the first volume are cleaner. There’s polished look to it thanks to the highlights of the white shine. The second volume is sketchier, giving it a harsher feel that’s softened by flattened colours. That’s not to say that the change in style has lessened the quality of the art–quite the opposite. I loved it! There is a confidence in it that translates into the characters’ actions. The book is like an Indiana Jones-style adventure with sweeping, exaggerated body language that’s also coupled with subtle facial expressions that convey so much personality and emotion.

Delilah Dirk and The King's Shilling by Tony Cliff. First Second. 2016. Page 24.

Delilah Dirk and The King's Shilling by Tony Cliff. First Second. 2016.I really enjoyed it. In this latest volume, Delilah is accused of spying on the British for the French by the crooked Major Merrick, which forces her to follow him back to her home of England to clear her name. There, Selim discovers Delilah’s family and the secrets she’s been keeping. It’s a book about reputation, how important (or unimportant) it is to people, and how far some will go to defend it. It’s also a comic that evaluates the trust of a partnership between Selim and Delilah, but also examines the relationship between mothers and daughters. I’ve included a photo of the page where Delilah’s mom rushes to embrace her daughter who’s been away from home; it made me feel so warm and gooey. I have a very close relationship with my own mom, which made the scene very relatable, but so was the clash between them. Both Delilah and her mother want what’s best for her–Delilah wants to go on adventures and her mother wants her to be a society lady–but the two of them are more alike than they think. It’s watching them deal with that that makes reading this fun, and it also reminds us that our parents had lives and dreams before we were a thought in their minds.

It was a welcome read as I fasted during Ramadan, and it made me think about the upcoming Disney adaptation. I think there is a place for this story on film, and I hope it’s a film that both kids and adults can enjoy. It’s an adventure story, and I’m hoping for some fun. Before the Delilah Dirk movie hits screens, check out this rad comic.

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