Delilah Dirk is a historical Swashbuckler webcomic and series of graphic novels by Tony Cliff, set in the Ottoman Empire in 1805. It follows the adventures of Delilah Dirk and Lt. Erdemoglu Selim as they travel the Mediterranean, collecting treasure, evading the law, and assisting the less-fortunate.
The series is comprised of three graphic novels and an independently-published short comic.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a 180-page graphic novel published by First Second Books in 2013. The first in the series, it introduces Delilah Dirk and follows Selim as he tries desperately to repay the debt he owes her for having saved his life. The first chapter was published independently in 2007 as Delilah Dirk and the Treasures of Constantinople and nominated for an Eisner award in that format. The third chapter was published independently in 2008 as part of the FLIGHT comics anthology, volume 5, as Delilah Dirk and the Aqueduct. Those chapters were bridged by additional material to create The Turkish Lieutenant, which was released as a serialized webcomic beginning in 2011.
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling is a 260-page graphic novel, published in 2016. While in Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars, Delilah is framed for treason by a cruel English army officer. Determined to have revenge upon him, she follows the man back to England, where she struggles against the societal expectations of Regency-era England and the demands of her mother, all the while unaware of the effect her blind determination is having on her closest friendship. Roughly the first half of this book was serialized online prior to publication.
Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules is a 240-page graphic novel, published in 2018. Wishing her exploits were more well-known and hungry for a fresh adventure, Delilah finds double the appeal in a Dutch newspaper-writer, Laurens van Hassel. He introduces her and Selim to the search for The Third Pillar of Hercules, a lost ancient city and writes wildly exaggerated tales of their adventure along the way, much to Delilah's pleasure. But his writing attracts the attention of a jealous foe, and the lost city holds many frightening secrets. Like the previous volume, roughly the first half of this book was also serialized online prior to publication.
Delilah Dirk and the Seeds of Good Fortune is a 30-page comic published independently in 2012. Delilah doesn't believe in luck, but she does believe in getting good value for money when purchasing adventuring supplies. Both beliefs are tested when a simple errand goes disastrously awry.
Delilah Dirk provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Delilah is skilled with swords and many other forms of combat.
- Bloodless Carnage: Many people get stabbed to death, but usually no blood is shown.
- Clear My Name: the conflict in Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling revolves around Delilah Dirk trying to clear her name of the accusation that she's a spy by the villain, himself an actual spy for the French. Ironically it turns out "Delilah Dirk" isn't even her name
- Cleavage Window: Delilah's costume has one — incongruously, as it's anachronistic and her clothing is otherwise practical.
- Cool Ship: Delilah's sailboat flies.
- Excuse Me While I Multitask: Delilah takes a moment during a conversation with Selim to kill an attacking mook.Delilah: One sec.
- Famed in Story: Delilah Dirk has quite a reputation.
- In Harm's Way: When Selim tries to settle down, he discovers that he misses adventure.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Defied. Selim interrogates Delilah by serving her tea and biscuits and listening to her boasts.
- Kick the Dog: Stab The Random Minion.
- Lady of Adventure: Delilah adventures constantly, and has an appropriate outfit.
- Last-Minute Reprieve: Selim is saved when Delilah kills his executioners.
- Living a Double Life: Selim is hurt in ''The King's Shilling" to discover that Delilah never told him about her life back in England notably, that her name is actually Alexandra Nichols and she's a noblewoman. She is notably reluctant to talk about her adventures around the Mediterranean to her friends and family back home, having passed it off as a normal Grand Tour for a young lady (with sketches provided by Mr. Selim)
- Losing Your Head: Selim in chapter two of The Turkish Lieutenant. But Delilah put it back on his body, and it turns out to have been All Just a Dream.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Selim joins Delilah after being ill-treated by his Bad Boss.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Zakul (the Terrible!)
- Pirate Booty: One of the things Delilah tries to steal.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Delilah and Selim.
- The Runt at the End: How the other guards treat Selim.
- Sarcasm Mode: When they're staying with Semih's family, Delilah is restless, but Selim enjoys it — though his narration says otherwise.Selim: It was horrible. I achieved no rest. None whatsoever. (panel of him sleeping soundly) The children were awful — always sullen and miserable. (the children are seen playing) And the sons — the fishermen — were as cold as their catch. (fisherman embraces Selim) Never mind the wretched wife, who was as poor a seamstress as she was a cook. (Selim smiling as he puts on the clothes she repaired for him)
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:Agha: Lieutenant, you know I've become tired of your long-winded debriefings...Selim: I assure you, Agha, that any previous loquacious tendencies have been curtailed and that now more than ever have I sought for and achieved new standards of brevity.
- Sidekick: The comic explores why Selim decides to become Delilah's sidekick.
- Spot of Tea: Delilah is English, loves tea, and rescues Selim because he makes excellent tea.
- Swashbuckler: Delilah swashbuckles as hard as humanly possible. Selim tries valiantly to keep up.
- You Have Failed Me: The Bad Boss is so angry at Delilah's escape that he accuses Selim of helping her and sentences him to death.