Flash and JLA artist Ethan Van Sciver attended Megacon in Orlando, Florida. And he passed by Rob Granito’s table. These are Ethan’s notes on how it went down. Photo by Marc Hammond.
Towards the end of the day, Marc Hammond from the old FX show came by to hang out at my table. And some other kids. Someone asked me if I was working with Jay Diddilo, and I agreed that I’d like to, but I only knew him through a mutual acquaintance, Rob Granito. And that’s when they told me he was actually here, in Artists Alley.
I made sure that Marc had a camera, and I took him and a few witnesses to watch me confront Granito, and to take pictures.
Sure enough, there was Rob, with a HUGE display of his now infamous swiped painting, all familiar by now, because they’re all over every comic oriented website. Rob jumped out of his seat to shake my hand. “Ethan! Oh hi!!”
I didn’t shake his back, I just stood at his table, shook my head and laughed. “How’s your day going, Granito?” He chuckled nervously. “The weirdest day of my life. Everyone wants to kill me. I don’t know what I did?”
“You don’t? I just want to understand, Rob, in what capacity did you work on Calvin and Hobbes? I don’t get it.” Meanwhile, some dude sitting next to him hopped up to support Rob’s claim that people are all crazy, and being rude. But it doesn’t matter, because they’re still raking in the green! Rob’s answer about Calvin and Hobbes was almost pleading. His lip trembled. He said, “I drew the cancellation stamp for the Batman and Calvin and Hobbes stamp!”
I didn’t understand, so I asked him to explain. He said, “You know, when a postal official stamps a stamp, to cancel it? I drew that stamp.”
I was amazed. “So you drew the stamp.” And then I made the motion of someone stamping something, like a “REJECTED” stamp. And he nodded his head in furious agreement, pleased that I now understood. “That’s totally weird dude. Not the way you’ve made it sound.”
His lip hung agape. “Explain yourself, Rob. What’s up with all of these swipes here?” He said, “Well, it depends on what pieces you’re looking at. He paged through these 3 huge folders on his table. “THIS isn’t a swipe.” No, but it wa…s horrible. “Yes, but THAT is.” I said, pointing to the John Byrne Plastic Man painting that was hanging up. “John Byrne drew that, but I wouldn’t know it from the way you’ve presented it. It simply says, ‘Rob Granito.’”
”Well, people know…” “No, they don’t, Rob. If you must swipe someone else’s work, you must be very clear. It must say, “AFTER JOHN BYRNE” or something. You’ve got to credit the original artist with the entirety of the drawing.”
Rob got panicky and went through his folder again, pointing out a big print of George Perez’s Superman cover with Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield. It said, on the bottom, in typex, “Inspired by George Perez.” He tapped it with his two fingers, “I do do that! Look!”
“Rob, that wasn’t ‘inspired’ by Perez. That was STOLEN from Perez. It’s entirely his drawing, which you’ve traced.”
He shrugged and said “I don’t know what to do.” To which I instructed him that he must, if he should continue to do this, always make it clear on the paintings that they’ve been copied from other artists. “AFTER GEORGE PEREZ.” And even that isn’t good enough, because you’ve changed nothing. Tributing Perez’s drawing would be to draw the same image, but from a different angle, or to change the character and keep the pose, but to sign it, “AFTER GEORGE PEREZ.”
He agreed and became silent. I laughed and said that he was going to be a superstar of the comic book media for a long time. And I took a photo with him for my own amusement. It’s been posted by Marc, I believe. Everyone laughed at him, and we all left. The End.