Water Sprite (Superman enemy) (Action Comics)

Water Sprite

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


The Water Sprite clashed with Superman in 1945, and that’s it. Back then Superman was still authored by Siegel and Shuster .

Supes was just starting to build up a rogues gallery back then, with early takes on Luthor, Mr. Mxyztplk, the Prankster or the Toyman.


  • Real Name: Kenneth Darby.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base of Operations: East Coast of the US.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark Hair: Bald.


Powers & Abilities

Darby is a former Olympic diving champion, and an accomplished swimmer. He remained in good shape.

As the Water Sprite he wore an horrible mask that altered his voice to make it sound watery and supernatural.

He also wore a layer of grease over his body, allowing him to escape even the superhuman grip of the Man of Steel.

Lastly, Darby was experienced in construction, and municipal politics.


A champion diver and swimmer, K. Darby won a diving medal during the 1936 Olympic Games – the ones with Jesse Owens .

He then retired from sports to become a construction entrepreneur, selling dams to East Coast municipalities.

By 1945, he was working on a sale in Annisdale, a rural burg not far from Metropolis. But the Mayor was opposed to the project. He thought that the existing levee was fine – even though it had been overflowed before.

Yet the Mayor was more right than he knew. Darby was planning to secretly use substandard materials and pocket the additional margin.


Agent of N.E.P.T.U.N.E.

To ram the sale through, Darby came up with a strange plan.

He convincingly disguised himself as an aquatic supernatural, the Water Sprite. He then used his swimming talents as part of a campaign of terror and sabotage. It had two goals :

  1. Convince the citizenry that the levee was too vulnerable and needed to be replaced by a full dam.
  2. Sabotage the dam once it had been built. That was to cover for the shoddy materials that gave it a lifespan measured in months.

As the disguised Water Sprite, he spoke in a poetic way, made numerous allusions to protecting the natural flow of water and serving Neptune, and left seaweed behind as his calling card.

He also occasionally terrorised local maidens to better establish his mystique.

One such scary apparition caught the attention of the Daily Planet. Though Lois Lane and Clark Kent were sceptical about the tales of water spirits, they witnessed the “monster” attacking the levee.

Superman intervened and prevented a flooding in Annisdale, but couldn’t capture the slippery “spirit”.

And it would have worked, too…

The Planet article about the levee break galvanised Darby’s supporters, and the Mayor soon had to authorise the building of a dam. The Water Sprite continued to make appearances, and escaped from Superman a second time.

However, Supes accidentally learned that Darby had been a diving champ. This, and observing the materials used in the dam’s construction, let him deduce the truth.

As Kent, he set up a trap for the Water Sprite. There Superman captured and unmasked Darby, using his cape as a sort of net to counter the grease layer.


Darby is entirely bald, and powerfully built. He usually wears a pine green business suit.

The Water Sprite’s mask is remarkably lifelike, and horrible. Even Lois Lane (well, 1945 Lois Lane) fainted when faced by this creature.


Darby seemed to be an enthusiastic, upbeat entrepreneur. There isn’t much more to say from this 13-page story.


(Sabotaging the levee) “Rash is the being who dares close the tap and imprison the free flow of the sacred water. Gush forth, o gurgling fount !”

“Let those who trammel up the iridescent waters, beware !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Water Sprite

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Construction entrepreneur
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Wealth: 005
Init: 010 HP: 015

Acrobatics (Athletics): 05, Artist (Actor): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Acrobatics (Athletics) is limited to aquatic applications.

Expertise (Dam construction, Municipal politics), Familiarity (Water sports).

None demonstrated.

None demonstrated.


  • Water Sprite Mask [BODY 01, Charisma (Intimidation): 03, Strange Appearance, Artist (Actor): 09, Limitation: Artist (Actor) is limited to one specific voice deformation filter].
  • GREASE [Grappling immunity: 13].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Action Comics Vol. 1 #82.

Helper(s): Darci, Maficklin.

Writeup completed on the 25th of April, 2018.