I know, I know, I said I’d be getting back to the Low-Rez Recollections this week. You’re palpably, viscerally disappointed in my fraudulent claims. But sometimes, I just need to stop the presses and let a master take the spotlight.
Now it’s not uncommon for artists (or hell, anyone else) to exaggerate a bit on their curriculum vitae, especially given the old employment Catch-22 of “They want me to have experience before they’ll hire me, but I can’t get experience unless someone hires me.” What takes real chutzpah, or perhaps just a lack of sense, is apparently making up whole swathes of specific work in an insular industry like comics, and while you’re running off at the mouth and keyboard about that, also selling barely retouched work by other artists as your own on your website, E-bay, and at public conventions.
This, in a nutshell, is the saga of Rob Granito. That he got away with it for as long as he did could be a subject of speculation in of itself, but this past weekend it all finally caught up to Rob, and people were not pleased to find out the “famous artist” that had been a special guest of several conventions (and was already slated for several more) had, for instance, never been heard of at DC comics. Ever. When questioned, Rob even name dropped a DC writer, “Jay Diddilo”, who seems to exist in no real time or place except for a spoof Facebook fan page whipped up in the wake of the controversy.
But don’t take my word for it, true believers. Bleeding Cool has been following the story ever since it first broke, and here’s a nice little selection for your viewing pleasure:
And a climactic article that has links to the above and more in the whole sordid timeline:
Mark Waid apparently lost his shit when he heard that Granito was claiming to have been a close associate of Dwayne McDuffie –probably because, as of February this year, Dwayne McDuffie is no longer alive to personally correct Rob on that claim. This was a particular claim it might have been wise to sit on for awhile, regardless of whether somewhere in Rob’s mind he actually thinks it’s true. But hey, Granito also apparently claims that he was the artist for Calvin & Hobbes. (NOTE: Granito’s website has been taken offline since this article was written, so I’ve changed that link to the still cached page for now.) Even if you care nothing for superheroes, there is arguably no quicker way in all the Earth to turn cartoonists against you than to mess with Bill Watterson. For cartoonists, taking credit for Calvin & Hobbes is like someone at Cannes claiming to be the director of Citizen Kane. It insults their intelligence, insults the true artist, and insults a work many consider to be a masterpiece of the medium. In short, this is Borat-level craziness, only with no Sacha Baron Cohen reveal to be found at the end.
Then there’s the ever-growing body of evidence that Rob’s $60+ signed ‘originals’ aren’t very original. Bleeding Cool has quite a selection of side-by-sides, and more keep appearing at Granito’s facebook anti-fan page, Robert Granito is a Fraud.
And sadly, I don’t think it’s insanity or delusion that’s responsible for all this (even if Rob reportedly goes to conventions toting along a “bodyguard” with a concealed handgun). Some of the swipes it seems like he didn’t even try to cover up, but others are flipped horizontally, or have a few minor details changed. If you haven’t looked at any of the links yet, here’s an example:
This speaks to me of acting pretty deliberately, especially when you then turn around and offer your version as something you want well above ‘fan art’ dollars for.
In one of the videos taken last weekend at his MegaCon appearance, you can clearly hear Rob being asked if everything on the table is for sale and hear the prices he’s asking. In others you can also hear him wondering why everyone’s being so hostile… so maybe there is a little bit of insanity involved, since a sane man under these circumstances would have quietly pulled up stakes and gone to ground after day 1. I guess he’d just been getting by without question for so long that it never occurred to him the jig was up.
Now he’s gone to ground whether he wanted to or not. His upcoming convention appearances have been pulled by embarassed organizers. His E-bay auctions have been canceled. His deviantart page is deactivated (though he seems to have pulled the plug on that himself), and he’s already the butt of several in-jokes and memes. Go ahead and google “legit-o-mite” if you doubt me, or check out a selection of webcomics already inspired by the situation.
Rob made a good chunk of change over the years from the unwary, but it’s all over, and if he ever had actual dreams of working as a comic artist, his misrepresentations and outright fabrications have sunk them. As for me, I have a fairly unimpressive resume by comics industry standards… but after the story of Rob Granito, at least I can content myself that said resume cannot be summed up by this: