Darlene Pekul is a fantasy artist who typically goes by her first name "Darlene". She established herself in the heavily male dominated world of role playing in the '80s during TSR's transition from infancy to cultural phenomenon. She is best known for creating the full color maps that accompanied Gary Gygax's original AD&D Greyhawk supplement, aka The World of Greyhawk. She also did interior art for the 1979 edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide, Deities & Demigods, and The Rogues Gallery.

She was a frequent contributor to Dragon Magazine, although she had a bit of a falling out with them in the early '80s when she began writing a regular strip for them called Jasmine. Jasmine was one of those comic strips you either loved or fiercely, viscerally hated. The later emotion seemed to be the emotion Jasmine most engendered. Jasmine, unsurprisingly, was a rather feminine story line, lacking talking dragons, war gaming trolls, or bosomy sidekicks named Dixie. Chicks are fine and all in comic strips but usually they need to be chained to a wall 'n' such. Jasmine featured no elf princesses chained up in a balrog dungeon. The Jasmine character kinda just walked around a forest. It was all pretty airy fairy stuff, about emotions and crap, and was ultimately pretty impenetrable to Dragon's male readership.

Needless to say the strip did not last long. It ran only for a year, from issue 37 to issue 48. In what might have been an eleventh hour appeal to male readers, Jasmine featured a plot that involved a decapitation. What male worth the pleather dice bag his mother sewed him doesn't like a good beheading? Dragon's editors jumped on this "innovation" and shit canned Darlene, although they rather kindly gave her one follow on issue to wrap up the whole strip.

Darlene didn't take her firing sitting down. At Origins '81 she set up a table and solicited gamers to sign a petition to bring back Jasmine. About five fans of the strip put their name to the petition. Needless to say Darlene was under whelmed, saw the writing on the wall/petition, and gave up the fight.

She fled the RPG scene and seems to have found work creating illustrations for various Wicca/Goddess themed publications.

After about a 20-year hiatus she has recently returned to the world of RPG illustration. She's working along side Gary Gygax again for a company called Troll Lord Games.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.