When we go to comic book conventions (or really any kind of convention) we mostly go to connect with creators of the media that we love or to buy and sell that hard to find artwork. We notice the models working the booths because that’s what they’re there for - to draw us in so that we check out whatever their boss is peddling. But we rarely get to know these people. This is the third in a series of interviews I did with models at Baltimore Comic-Con.
On my way to see Mark Waid I came across a woman wearing chain mail who was not just a cosplayer, she appeared to be working with Barry Kitson. After chatting for a bit, I decided to interview her for Player Affinity.
Me: So I saw you on the convention floor with Barry Kitson and you said you were working with him on Red Sonja, can you talk a little bit about your collaboration?
Tara Piehl: I’m currently here promoting his Red Sonja print that’s going to be for a series of four prints. She represents Autumn. We’re going to be doing a spring Zatanna, a summer Poison Ivy, and a winter Ghost. So I’ll be helping model for that series.
Me: How did you get involved with Barry?
TP: I met him at Denver Comic-Con when he was there. I suppose it was about three months ago now. It was the first official Denver Comic-Con and he had made the large limited bear print that they used for the promotional poster. I was in my Red Sonja costume - it was the second time I’ve worn her and I was getting a lot of praise and attention for it and he noticed and it was very coincidental because he had already started the project for the Red Sonja print. He thought it would be great to have me help promote and shmooze with the fanboys while they were waiting for his ….. he does a wonderful service where he does a free sketch if you wait in line and some of these amazing people wait all day because he puts out an amazing product every time. He always swears it’ll be a five minute sketch, but it turns out phenomenal. They’re always amazing and it’s especially fun to stand next to him and promote the poster and watch him draw all day. It’s a great gig.
Me: Before you met him at Denver, had you done anything like this before?
TP: I’ve started to dabble in the cosplay community, I guess. You just want to see that character come out of the page so this was my opportunity to express myself and really show a lot of love for the characters I’ve bonded with. My favorite is Conan. But I’m a girl - that won’t stop me! Some day I’ll do a reverse-gender Conan. But the closest thing would be a Red Sonja. I’ve done a Zatanna that I got a lot of praise for. Everybody just seems to love her; she’s very fun and magical. And I’ve done a Silk Spectre when the movie was coming out at that time. She was a lot of fun too, very dynamic fight type. I think I lean towards that. Zatanna would be my offshoot from that really aggressive female type that I like to portray.
Me: Have you been reading the new Conan series that came out recently? TP: The Brian Wood? Correct? Yeah....I’m....so bad! I have all of them, they’re waiting...WAITING for me to read them. I get caught up in the story and the art and it can take me forever to read a comic. I envy the person that can just fly through a comic and can plow through 20 in an hour. But I, unfortunately, can maybe read four. Because I get so caught up in everything in it. I will. It’s there. It’s waiting.
Me: The only reason I mention it is because there’s a really good female character in the opening arc and she seems to pose a real test to Conan. So it might be a good alternative to a gender bender Conan. Although, that wouldn’t be too bad, either.
TP: Any excuse to have a really big sword is a great excuse to have a costume. There’s just something cool to be someone else for a day or a couple days is like Halloween any time of the year.
Me: So just to clarify as a last question. These prints that Barry Kitson is doing - the Sonja, the Zatanna - are they limited prints? A one-shot comic?
TP: They’re just prints. The set of all three is limited to a set of 15. The prints are one in 50. They’re a very high quality, limited print.
Me: Thank you for taking time to talk to me.
TP: Thank you for having me talk to you.
photo credit on Zatanna photo: Anginet Photography, LLC