Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Who On Earth is Rob Granito?
April 8, 2011 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Meet Rob Granito, Professional Comic Book Con Artist. Sure, his art is perhaps a little similar to other work, and yeah, his claims of industry contacts are pretty much made up, and he's been banned as a fraud from multiple conventions, but hey, a playa's got to get paid, right?
posted by robocop is bleeding (59 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
A con artist is an artist who goes to cons, right? What's the problem?
posted by Naberius at 6:20 AM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


blorrf!
posted by crunchland at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2011


More celebrity for the sake of celebrity. Let's give him a FPP.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


TRACER! TRACEERR!
posted by zamboni at 6:41 AM on April 8, 2011


So he's a tracer, right?

When I was 12, I was ripped off by a guy selling Michael Whelan prints. Now, I know what I was buying was just a reproduction and not a numbered one or anything, especially since it was like $10 or $25. But they did represent themselves as legitimate sellers, with royalties to the artist, etc. So I was very upset when I got home and realized that behind the matte, the image had been cut from a calendar. They had taken a Michael Whelan calendar, cut each month out, matted it and sold it off to little kids and other unsuspecting people. I was angry, because the whole calendar itself probably $10.
posted by jb at 6:44 AM on April 8, 2011


sorry - that should be "knew what I was buying" - I thought I was buying an unnumbered (and thus mass produced) print; I was sold a page sliced out of a calendar.
posted by jb at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2011


he's also stolen from Bill Watterson

Finally, someone is made to pay for the crime of "Calvin peeing on logos".
posted by DU at 6:46 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was reading about this on fandom_wank earlier and just couldn't believe the audacity of this guy. (As well as how long he was able to hoodwink everybody.) Listing "Calvin and Hobbes" in your credits? Seriously?

My favorite bits though were his "defenders" from the industry, who all just happen to make the same kind of grammar mistakes as he did:
"No he is legitomite i was a DC Assistant Editor until a year ago and we used Rob as a ghost artist on a number of books we used he is well known on the “insiders” level of the industry and did alot of promotion art for DC and Marvel dont believbe rumors i worked at DC as an art director for 6-7 years and we used Rob alot he is legit"


"Gabe Carey - i was a proofreader at dark horse and other publishers and i personally saw rob granito perform at a professional and talented level this is nothing more than a whichhunt to the ones who love drama the guy is being treated unfairly because its a slow news week"

and

"Dave Parker - Hi I have been at many conventions, and, I have seen Mr Rob Granito work, and I never saw him steal, There are Alot of Tribute Pieces of Art, Why blame it all on Rob Granito, Just dont buy his stuff if it bothered you, Were else can he go to work everyone has a right to work, I dont know him myself but I have been reading this and It Is Just my Opinion."
The Mark Wait/Megacon story is pretty amusing too.
posted by kmz at 6:51 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the third link ended on a humanizing note, because really, things like this make me profoundly sad. I can't even explain why; maybe it's the smidge of sincerity that people like this have that keeps me from seeing them as just another con artist.

I don't know, but I'm glad the one article went out of its way to show that he is a human being.
posted by byanyothername at 6:51 AM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


seems legitomite
posted by yesster at 6:55 AM on April 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


Also don't miss Jay Diddilo's website.
posted by kmz at 6:57 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, how am I meant to feel about that? He’s not a monster, he’s a human being. And… damn. Anyone who does approach him at Megacon, just keep this image in mind.

Pffft. Do we have confirmation that these are his babies? Looks like he traced Brian Stelfreeze's kids.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:05 AM on April 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


The guy is obviously a tracer with fake artist credits hustling to make a buck. That being said the line between artist and tracer seems to be blurring significantly in the comic book industry. Greg Land is notorious for tracing his own work and still photographs and the guy keeps getting book after book.

So while I don't like tracers getting rewarded for theft it seems the industry as a whole has taken a very liberal stance towards "homage" to previous artists.

If he just said Original Work inspired by Artist X he probably would've been solid.
posted by vuron at 7:06 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone is going to hire this guy to be "ironic" and make a million bucks.
posted by tumid dahlia at 7:12 AM on April 8, 2011


Legitomite is delicious on toast.
posted by pts at 7:15 AM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am kind of impressed by the ones where he leaves the paintwork rough around the edges, as if he was distracted during his moment of inspiration and is now unable to reignite the spark he needs to go back and properly finish the labours of creation.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:17 AM on April 8, 2011


Legitomite is delicious on toast.

Just remember to spread it thinly! Too many people ruin their legitomicy by applying too much at once.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:32 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


kmz: "Gabe Carey - i was a proofreader at dark horse and other publishers and i personally saw rob granito perform at a professional and talented level this is nothing more than a whichhunt to the ones who love drama the guy is being treated unfairly because its a slow news week"

Because when professional proofreaders are off duty, they like to kick back, drop the apostrophes and stay away from that comma key. This truly is the work of a master forger.
posted by him at 7:33 AM on April 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


hey if i get paid to comma at work like hell am I going to do it for free
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Your mother's a tracer. (Holy shit that's Casey Affleck: who knew?)
posted by hydatius at 7:46 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh, I missed the brouhaha at Megacon, but that's what I get for being busy running other events.

Assuming he hasn't already been banned, I'll ask the board to look into this.
posted by Wossname at 7:50 AM on April 8, 2011


About that photo in the 'humanizing' article: those aren't his kids!
posted by kimota at 7:51 AM on April 8, 2011


Actually, given what The Last Psychiatrist says about narcissists whose fantasy worlds cave in on them, I wonder if we should be concerned for those kids.
posted by kimota at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


HAW! I KNEW IT!
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:53 AM on April 8, 2011


My personal fave is when he took catwoman and milk, and breastacularized it missing the fun part of the milk flowing over the breast. Opportunity wasted.
posted by dabitch at 8:05 AM on April 8, 2011


He has a lot in common with Andy Warhol.

Except this is his 15 minutes.
posted by chavenet at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2011


Good lord, you can do large or small evil in the world, but apparently if you can convince someone to squirt out some progeny, boom, you're have the shield of humanity. Even if they are his, which we have every reason to doubt at this point.

Anyone can have kids: animals, coma victims, serial killers. A picture with some kids tucked in your arms makes everyone go ahhhhhhh. I have kids, you have kids. They don't make you special or protect you or excuse your thieving, shitty ways. I have never understood that reaction. I tend to feel the opposite, 'Oh, these are the kids you're going to teach to be thieving, lying bastards, just like you.'
posted by umberto at 8:14 AM on April 8, 2011 [14 favorites]


For all the tracer jokes, I really admire the artistry of a good inker. An artist friend of mine really opened my eyes to how inking can make or break images.
posted by jb at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2011


[Kids] don't make you special or protect you

No, but they humanize him. It's a nice touch to remind the comic-book fanboys, "Now that we've got y'all boiling about what a rotten scumbag Granito is, here's the final perspective: Our point is to 'out' him and to end his shtick. Not to beat him up, or slash his tires, or call his house at 3 am. We just want everybody in comics to understand what he's doing, and hopefully he'll stop."
posted by cribcage at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good artists copy, great artists—wait... nevermind.
posted by 0x88 at 8:48 AM on April 8, 2011


Byanyother name said: "I'm glad the third link ended on a humanizing note, because really, things like this make me profoundly sad. I can't even explain why; maybe it's the smidge of sincerity that people like this have that keeps me from seeing them as just another con artist."

I admire the charitable attitude that inspires this remark, I sincerely do. Even so, Granito has gone way beyond where we might be able to put his actions down to simple human fallibility. If deliberately lying, disrespecting the dead and stealing money from people by repeatedly misrepresenting himself isn't enough to deserve condemnation, then what is?
posted by Paul Slade at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2011


He has a lot in common with Andy Warhol.

Yeah, except Warhol could actually draw.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of this.
posted by cass at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2011


I'm with umberto on this. Even if those were his kids, the fact that Rob Garito, the parent, forged and took credit for others' work, lied about his credentials and fabricated backstories that implicated others as using ghost artists when they have never done so--well, that doesn't make him more human to me. It just makes it all the more clear how abhorrent this guy really is. Because if you can do this kind of thing without squirming in front of your own children, you have no conscience.

And I would bet good money that that picture, whether those are his kids are not, is *intended* to make you feel sorry for him.

I worked in retail while I was in college, in a boutique clothing store. Shoplifting is always a problem for places like this, and we were always on the lookout. The worst offenders--the pros who would steal whole racks full of clothes and run them out to accomplices in vans and trucks and then later sell them online for profit--these women would bring their very young kids, toddlers usually, with them when they worked.

It was a calculated move on the part of the thieves to avoid jail time. You see, if you engage in theft of over a certain amount in my state (at the time, I believe it was ~$250), the crime is no longer simple theft, but something like grand larceny, and the perpetrator gets bumped up from a misdemeanor to a felony.

These shoplifting Moms calculated that, if they got caught, few retailers would be willing to press charges when there was a kid to deal with. Things get messy then. No one wants to be that heartless person who called Child's Services to come for the poor, tearful child who had just watched Mom being carted off to jail.

So shoplifting Mom would get sent off with a stern warning instead, and she could just keep right on going. I'm told the guys in the vans recruited women who were willing to do this because it worked to their advantage.

Eventually, though, the retailers lost so much money they couldn't keep on just letting the women go.

Those signs you see in stores, "Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law"? That's how those signs came into being. Because of people like those Moms whocold-bloodedly used their kids to get away with stealing hundreds of dollars of merchandise. And believe me, when retailers lose money like that, the good customers pay for it, too. Prices get jacked up to make up the difference.

Guys like Rob Garito don't get much sympathy from me these days.
posted by misha at 8:59 AM on April 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thanks for that link cass, what a fascinating page.
posted by Theta States at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2011


The kids are cute and all, but their squinty, heavily-lined faces and unnatural poses seem a little derivative of John Romita Junior's early work.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:18 AM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wow. Now I kinda want one of his "paintings" to go in my nascent frauds and forgeries collection.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on April 8, 2011


Reminds me of Brett Bash.
posted by the cuban at 10:39 AM on April 8, 2011


...and Azrael son of Ashphael was delivered unto the Legitomites, and spake unto them, saying...
posted by Mister_A at 10:46 AM on April 8, 2011


Well, he's no J-Bolt, that's for sure.

In all seriousness, the comics industry is full of hustlers, grifters, and scam artists at just about every level. Rich Johnston (proprietor of the Bleeding Cool website in the first link, and formerly of Lying in the Gutters and All The Rage) has made a career in part out of exposing these four-color frauds, up to and including people like Pat Lee, as well as "Swipe Files" of side-by-side comparisons of original and copied art. And you can go back even further to The Comics Journal, which has done the same, even taking respected comics veterans like Keith Giffen and the late Dave Stevens to task for doing the same thing. At least in Giffen's and Stevens' case, though, it wasn't as if those guys couldn't draw and didn't have their own distinctive styles. Is there anything of Granito's that isn't a swipe?

And, yeah, I don't give a shit if they are his kids. He doesn't get to use them as a meat shield [spoilers for the movie The Dead Zone] for his artistic larceny. I'm more concerned about this guy going to cons with his gun-toting buddy, Derek. I can imagine any number of scenarios with Rob and Derek not ending very well.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and Azrael son of Ashphael was delivered unto the Legitomites, and spake unto them, saying...

"Please buy these totally original drawings of me, done by my ghost artist friend Rob while Joe Quesadilla was busy.."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2011


Also, vuron, in the case of a legitimate homage, it's always good form to credit the original artist, preferably in the same page or panel. John Byrne, for example, has done any number of homages to Jack Kirby's cover to Fantastic Four #1 in that fashion.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2011


seems legitomite

I thought Rudy Ray Moore was legitomite.
posted by tetsuo at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not about having "sympathy" for Granito. It's about tempering the possible ire of Internet basement-dwellers. No offense to anyone in this thread, but "You stole IP? MEAT SHIELDS CANNOT SAVE YOU!!" is roughly the kind of rhetoric that you wonder might presage some crazed Ty Templeton fan barreling over an autograph table to tackle Granito in a fit of avenging fury. If BleedingCool is trying to head that off, good on them. The guy deserves to be outed, not thrashed by random nutjobs who have no particular stake in this affair.

It is possible to publicly excoriate someone on the Internet responsibly.
posted by cribcage at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being a Ty Templeton fan for some time myself, I doubt that any of his admirers would tackle Granito (who has been banned from just about all comics conventions everywhere, at any rate). I can't speak for people that might have known Dwayne McDuffie, and unlike Mark Waid and Ethan van Sciver, don't limit their abuse to verbal exchanges, but then again no one asked Granito to claim a professional association with McDuffie on his Facebook account.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:33 PM on April 8, 2011


Just what America loves: A lying sack of lie.
posted by Catblack at 12:48 PM on April 8, 2011


For more discussion of originality vs. swiping, check out the comments on this blog entry by A Distant Soil creator and veteran comics artist Colleen Doran. She makes some really good points that I hadn't thought of, such as the possibility that some "swipes" may be a case of two artists using the same reference photo. One of Granito's swipes, on the other hand, involved taking a drawing of Superman by Al Rio and photoshopping out the artist's signature... but leaving part of it in.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:01 PM on April 8, 2011


Just what America loves: A lying sack of lie.

Why not? It worked for that abusive ass author with the initials of G. ()(*$)($*)(#*(*%(^(!!(*)(@*)@(*@)(*@)(*@)) F.
posted by Samizdata at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2011


that abusive ass author with the initials of G. ()(*$)($*)(#*(*%(^(!!(*)(@*)@(*@)(*@)(*@)) F.

Huh?
posted by grubi at 2:58 PM on April 8, 2011


If you continue with slander and defecations of character, we will pursue this.

I think we just found the part of the Venn diagram where Real Life and Dadaism overlap.
posted by bakerina at 3:23 PM on April 8, 2011


He really looks like Charley from It's Always Sunny…
posted by klangklangston at 5:26 PM on April 8, 2011


You could have some Mad Libs goodtimes with that "pls interview me and give me monies" email.
The Blog owner at All Things Geeky even [VERB ENDING IN -ED] how he had thousands of [PLURAL NOUN] to his site when he had never experienced that before. Rob Granito has gotten more attention and caused more [VERB ENDING IN -ING] amongst his [PLURAL NOUN] and his [DIFFERENT PLURAL NOUN] than any other comics [NOUN]!

Hours of fun for the whole family, meat-shields included.
posted by Neofelis at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2011


OK, so I have a question. Granito apparently took commissions for new works, right? What happened if the customer wanted a drawing of something that didn't already exist? Would he just turn it down, or try to cobble together something to trace from disparate sources, or...?
posted by Neofelis at 6:22 PM on April 8, 2011


Neofelis, he'd probably turn it down, with the excuse that he's got so much work with all of his (imaginary) comics and animation gigs, you know...

In fairness (not that he deserves it), there are some comics pros who won't do something that they're not familiar with already, or will do it only if they have time to research the character. Even then, though, you've got pros who will give it the old comics try. I went to a con where I got a few sketches, some of which were free or cheap, some of which cost a pretty penny. Walt Simonson, whose run on Thor is spoken of by its fans (of which I am one) with almost embarrassingly-hyperbolic praise, was giving out free sketches at one of the few cons that I've attended, and I asked him for a sketch of OMAC. Astonishingly, for me(since he'd done a decent run on Orion and had done other Jack Kirby characters), he'd never done OMAC and wasn't sure what the character looked like, but he took my stammering suggestions--Superman-looking dude with a mohawk? Eye on the chest? No problem!--and did my favorite non-Kirby picture of OMAC of all time.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:34 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Halloween Jack, that's really neat! Mister Simonson sounds like a charming and awesome fellow.


One thing I wonder: can Granito draw at all? I'd imagine he has to have at least a little talent to pull this off for so long but I suppose I could be wrong. I have this idea that fine art forgers are often very talented but find it easier/more lucrative to create fakes of old masters or something. Is Granito the comics equivalent of Hans van Meegeren? Or did he do what he did because he wasn't good enough to make it as a real artist?

So many questions! Fraud and forgery are so interesting.
posted by Neofelis at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2011


No, he can't draw. From his "original works" that have surfaced, they're bad schoolyard tracings.
posted by reiichiroh at 8:20 AM on April 9, 2011


Probably going to regret asking this, but the part where Waid calls Ethan van Sciver a Nazi (affectionately) - is Ethan van Sciver an extreme right-winger?
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:36 AM on April 9, 2011


Probably going to regret asking this, but the part where Waid calls Ethan van Sciver a Nazi (affectionately) - is Ethan van Sciver an extreme right-winger?

Whoa. Comic books: Go hard, or go the fuck home.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:41 PM on April 9, 2011


It's not about having "sympathy" for Granito. It's about tempering the possible ire of Internet basement-dwellers.

See? We differ. I think it's about not liking thieves who try to bend my heart and create completely underserved sympathy out of their amazingly special ability to have sex and produce dubious offspring; just like I don't like our nascent police state wrapping itself in a big American flag every time it degrades its citizenry or tortures someone or commits some other heinous act. Difference of scale and style, that's all. But, hey. Cute kids. I'm sure they would head off b or whoever didn't take a shine to this guy. Right. It's not even a cheap ploy that WORKS on internet basement dwellers.

Trouble with reminding people of your humanity is that 'humanity' encompasses some pretty foul stuff. That always kills me as an argument: Idi Amin was rife with humanity, too. Lots of facets, the human.
posted by umberto at 9:27 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Archived Baseball photos from 1917-1956...  |  Best of a Normal Day; SLYT, 2.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments