Editorial: Defrauding Fandom

I learned a name on Wednesday; Rob Granito.

For those of you unfamiliar with him I give you this link:


For those of you not wanting to read this news article, then let me fill you in on the gist. Granito is an artist of some talent. This is the last compliment I will give him. What he will do is find a piece of work from a REAL artist, change it ever-so slightly, and pose it as his original work. In various links I will provide, you can see some of these things. To see this work, he’s a natural mimic. He can copy the various art styles of these real comic professionals. If he’d branched out his talent a bit and showed he knew sequential art, I could have seen this guy actually working on books. This brings me to my next point….

If faking your credit on art isn’t bad enough for you, then going out of your way to fake the credentials as a “ghost artist” is even worse. To hear his words, he’s worked on various titles such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Shadow of the Bat for numerous issues, but the crown on this? He also claimed to have worked on Batman: the Animated Series. For those that know VaderFan and I, we tout this show very highly. They did a grand job that continued through various projects which culminated in Justice League Unlimited. Many is the day I miss that show. I digress, on this…

So now this goes to the section where people look at this and say, “he’s been caught and everyone knows he’s a fraud.” Yes, that’s true. People now know that as fact, but the simple truth is that this guy is actually indicative of others that do the same thing. Granito has caught my special attention because he’s the first name that I’ve come across attached to this. Worse yet, he’s the name that took it a step further. That sort of thing doesn’t sit well with me, especially because outside of this forum I am a graphic artist. Moreover, I am a comic fan and pencil artist. Well known? No. That’s okay, all in my own time.

I wanted to share with the internet community, artists, and general fans of art (especially comic art), my thoughts on this. The news report says all that you need to know, but my heart and soul scream out at this. Why? As I said, I’m an artist. I’ve been so for nearly 20 years of my life. When I first started to pick up comics, it wasn’t even for the story. I wanted to study the artwork. See masters in their craft put their skills to the test in sequential art. My grandfather pointed out to me that this was the best way to do this, since I had a collection started at that point anyway. Yeah, at the time I was collecting just to collect. Never really thought of it before, but it seems like that’s how I started. In any case, I got addicted to the stories that were told and the artwork that pushed it along. In a few short years I got to respect people like Dan Jurgens, Neal Adams, Norm Breyfogle, George Perez, Phil Jimenez and an ever growing list. Their artwork inspired me to keep going, even when they moved away from the books I read on a regular basis. I wanted to give up on comic art altogether in ’96 due to the lack of care that was being tossed around on a great deal of titles I had been picking up. Then a book hit by the name of Kingdom Come. I had never read Marvels, so the skills missed my attention. Painted comic books! The art was gorgeous and I poured over every pencil sketch I could find of Alex Ross’ work. It was a great way to learn things. Shading techniques, the study of the facial features and the overall grandeur of these characters next to their mere mortal counterparts. An artist’s dream, by my standard.

I was a fiend, tossing out piece after piece of artwork trying to hone my craft. I wanted to see the world under a shade of graphite. I had a passion for this stuff that made me think I could do amazing things. I went to school for art, tried my hand at learning things that I needed to know to make this dream a reality. Well, it didn’t quite happen the way I had wanted it to. However, this is my fault. I own up to that. I would get too frustrated with my artwork and put the pencil down, then eventually something would reignite my flame and I would furiously produce a series of works. Then it would fade again, mostly in the middle of a project. I would beat myself up over every line and what wasn’t right about it. I did start a webcomic called Scenes from the Breakroom, which I did for a year. I ended it because I found that it wasn’t coming off as I had intended. I found shortcuts to do it and it showed. I made an attempt, and it was some hard work. It still wasn’t the full labor of love that it should have been. So my claim to fame at the moment is that I’m a graphic artist. I am actually employed as one in the D/FW area. I do freelance work, which can be seen around this website and the Fellowship of the Geeks. I’m proud of this work, but I still want to do the other. I just need to learn patience and how to buckle down.

I guess we’ve reached the point where you’re asking why again. Why tell this story about you, when this is about some fraud artist out there? The reason I’m telling you this is two fold. First, I wanted to give you a little glimpse into my artistic life, so you may understand what little credentials I do have. I am a fan in the comics community. That doesn’t give me fame among them, nor does it give me credentials to be listened to by the masses or the major companies that deal with comics. This goes back to entitlement. I am entitled to enjoy and try my hand at trying to elevate myself up to that level. It’s a matter of me doing the work. Here is Granito, a guy that literally calls down this level to him because he can’t reach the majors. In doing so, he’s disrespected artists and creators throughout the industry. Worse yet, he’s doing this at comic conventions. As a comics fan, when I go to a con, I know what artists I want to hit up and what books they’ve been attached to in the past. When I see names I’m not aware of, I hit their tables to see what they’ve got to offer me and to see if he’s got credentials to go with it. However, I understand that as you go through multiple titles, you tend to forget certain details and sometimes have to go back and refresh your memory. That happens to everyone. Granito is saying he’s ghost artist, which means copying the style of artist and making sure that it matches in every conceivable way. If people don’t know what they’re looking at or hearing, some will buy what he’s saying. This adds up to money in his wallet to fleece the next artist that comes along. I keep thinking about some of the kids I’ve seen walking around these things. I’ve been curious about how many parents shelled out major cash on some drawing for their kid hoping that one day it could pay for something big. They’re about to get a rude awakening when they find out that it’s not even worth the time he put into the copy job.

I said two fold, and here’s the second: I want this to be my personal letter to this scum. I too have mimicked the art of many of my favorite artists. I’ve proudly displayed it too, as a not for sale item, with credit to the original artist. This is meant  to be an homage, not some direct rip off of these well-respected people.  I couldn’t face them  at a convention knowing I’d done such a horrid thing! It’s completely unconscionable to me that you’ve done this to fellow artists, not to mention fans! I personally hope that no convention ever allows you in their artists alley and that you’re name is blacklisted from any comic forum for the rest of your life. My sincere hope is that they put a restraining order on you to remain 50 ft away from the crayon aisle at your favored stores. The audacity to pull this over and hope that no one would notice is beyond brainless and heartless in at least one case. It is beyond a cold move to say that you were working with Dwayne McDuffie on any project. The guy died and you decided to cash in on it?! That’s ghoulish! I hope that they find a way to slap you with some sort of hefty fines. Being broke and ill-reputed seems about the only thing suitable for a punishment.

I found out you’re charging anywhere from 100 to 250 bucks for an interview?! Really?! And the comment that you’re wanting to be candid and tell the whole story. Okay, what is there to tell? You’ve given your info out. You worked on all this stuff supposedly, Bleeding Cool News called you out, and turns out no one’s heard of you. To my mind, there’s nothing more to be said here. $250 bucks of nothing for an hour is ridiculous. You want to tell it, you better offer up for free. The hook isn’t baited, the blood in the water is from you cutting yourself with your own words. The sharks are circling you. Personally, I’d drop it and go into anonymity. Just my thoughts and opinions.

Let me put it to you in these terms. I would rather be a no-named artist for the rest of my life then to rip off the fandom that I love so much. I cannot and WILL NOT ride the backs of legends to elevate my status. The only reason I’m giving you the time of day right now is because this is a news site. People need to be warned about you and you need to know what sort of bottom-feeder you truly are. To think that you have some skill and you wasted it on a stupid lie. The worst part of it is that I’m willing to bet that the only reason you’re sorry right now is that you’ve been caught. Mark Waid should’ve tossed you out of that con on your can and the money redistributed to those people that bought “your art.”

As I said before, I know this isn’t the only instance of such copying. He’s just the guy that took it up several notches. Such things shouldn’t be tolerated. If you’re proud of the ability to make the work look so similar then I say be proud and display it. Show people you’ve got the skills and then make some original content to sell. It’s hard work. Gruelling on occasion . The point is that it can be done, ask the professionals. The ones that exist outside your imagined partnerships, just to be clear.

Other links on this subject. Some may have materials on them that you may not want to display to kids or at work. Discretion is advised: