Monday, March 19, 2012

092. Darcy Dare Designs

action heroine

Designs from Darcy Dare paper miniatures, 2002, ink.

Wow, this month marks the tenth anniversary of the Darcy Dare SPARKS paper miniatures set!

In middle or late 2001, I approached S. John Ross to express my interest in developing a set of paper miniatures for his SPARKS line of specialized fonts. For a couple of years I’d been drawing this heroine, "Darcy Dare," and I imagined she could be the central figure in a collection of modern pulp action characters. Ever the gracious fellow, S. John said he was down with the concept and so the fun began!

I tried to think of various characters that’d be at home in the adventure comics and cartoons I loved as a kid (and continue to love). I knew we needed ninjas, a jungle princess, various costumed goons and, of course, a robot gorilla. By the time we were done we had twenty-six characters, plus Darcy Dare in four alternate costumes, as well as several “flats,” various props appropriate to the genre.

Pictured above is “classic” Darcy Dare, along with rear views of three alternate costumes: Urban Commando Darcy, Arctic Action Darcy, and SCUBA Scout Darcy!

Sure, with a decade's perspective I see things I’d change; I think the designs could be more flavorful and each suffers the effects of my “wedge finger” period. Further, Darcy’s not quite the same character she was ten years ago.

Still, I’ll always have a special affection for these drawings and for the clever names, crazy concepts, and snappy descriptions that S. John developed for the collection.

I’m flattered that folks continue to stumble upon the product and make the purchase!


  1. I do prefer your more recent work, but this is great stuff nonetheless. Glad to get a look at it! The rear 3/4 views are excellent. ("Wedge finger"?)

    1. Thanks, man.

      Re: wedge finger: For a long while all my figures featured big hands with thick, wedge-shaped fingers. The end.

  2. After yet another request for a Darcy Dare RPG by email just a few weeks ago, I was re-reading our old emails discussing the character lineup :) Good times.

    1. Gosh, I had no idea people demanded such things.

      I imagine one could run a very suitable Darcy Dare game using nothing more than Risus and your write-up on the web page. How can you beat FREE?

      Still, a DD mini-module for Risus does sound awfully charming ... :)

    2. Yeah, I wrote the blurbs with the intention that you could basically infer not only the setting but even a kind of "episode formula" from what's already there :) (I did similar stuff for Cairo Moon and Legend of Winter Forest).

      But yeah, I have a thing in the works for Risus where DD would fit perfectly, so it's a possibility I've never discarded ... hopefully someday you'll get an email from me about it!

  3. I came here from a link on and I came there from the Darcy Dare page on The Darcy Dare set is my favourite set of Sparks and I think I may very well have emailed S John about a Darcy game.

    "Why not use Risus?" I choose to imagine you asking me. Well, Risus, much as I love it, hasn't really got a system that has much use for minis.

    Anyway, I love the Darcy Dare Sparks and I'd buy a follow-up set in a heartbeat.