Delilah Dirk and the King's Schilling by Tony Cliff
After meeting the irrepressible Delilah and Selim, readers are ready to follow this latest turn of events, when the duo find themselves traveling to England.
Delilah has a score to settle and this time it is very personal.
She returns to her home and family to right a wrong. The dual nature of her life as a proper British lady and as the world-traveling swordswoman becomes evident. Cover art cleverly hints at the resulting intrigue.
Selim sees a new side of his comrade-in-arms which tests the strength of their friendship.
The characters, action, and art are stunning.
This work is a cinematic masterpiece!
Note the care with which Cliff sets up his story.
His use of color and light draws the eye immediately to the destination: Portugal in the 1800's.
While the village shining in light is most evident, there is an important component of the tale happening within the shadows.
The open road invites the reader to take the journey, following the winding path that leads to the town.
It's at this point that a significant detail captures one's attention: Selim leaving the horse-drawn cart and setting off on foot at a quick pace. This sets minds to wondering why he abandoned the cart, where he is headed, and why his steps are hurried?
Cliff sets up his action sequences with precision and attention to detail.
His use of angles is brilliant. Note the body angle reaching out to throw the life line to Delilah.
What gives added vitality is allowing the viewer to observe the action from more than one point of view.
It's as if he has set up multiple cameras for the scene and these shots allow readers to witness the scene from various angles.
Panel placement follows the rope from the initial fling to the life-saving destination. The size and shape of each panel also propels the action forward.
It is worth noting how Cliff first uses up-close tight shots to draw readers into the action and then pulls back, giving the reader a broader consideration of the action.
Note how well the sound effects are placed, making the sound an integral part of the movement.
He brings the action to a personal level with close-up faces. Readers experience more than bodies engaged in battle. They also witness the toll that battle takes on the mind and the will.
This increases both the intensity and the personal engagement of readers as they experience the struggle firsthand.
Cliff introduces Selim with three distinctly different forms:
Cliff's use of color is exquisite. The shade of blue alerts readers to the knowledge that much of the story takes place at night, under cover of darkness.
The muted blue shades are a perfect complement to the contrasting bright golds. Fire explodes on the page, and causes readers to rear back, in a way that mirrors Selim's reaction.
Cliff knows how to set up a scene for the reader, carefully arranging both the size and shading of panels to lead readers to the big reveal.
This pacing allows the appearance of Delilah Dirk to leave readers breathless.
Her commanding presence of the page and particularly of this panel heightens the drama.