After a lot of back and forth, talking with Rob’s wife and manager Alison, Rob Granito agreed to answer a few questions to Bleeding Cool. I didn’t get any follow ups, and the answers were dictated by Alison. I also didn’t pay anything for the privilege.
I last spoke to Rob Granito online a couple of months ago, after chargers were made regarding the work he was selling, that he was misrepresenting himself, his work, and the sources for his work. After I challenged a number of his statements, he stopped answering questions. The piece ran anyway and the resulting interview became a viral hit, inspiring much other commentary and proving that not all publicity is good publicity. This is now a chance for Rob to explain himself. We pick up where we left off…
1. Rob, in our original interview, you told me that you’d worked as a ghost artist on covers for Shadow Of The Bat, Teen Titans, Spider-Man and more. We know that’s untrue, can you explain why you told me, and your customers, that?
I completely mis-explained the answer, and I totally get why I messed up, so I’m sorry. What I meant to explain is that I did ghost layouts for cover recreations of those issues, that’s all. I was in a rush when I first got those questions, packing up for a show, and just breezed through it. I shoulda taken the time to tell you, a buddy of mine did cover recreations for certain collectors, at certain cons, and I did ghost work on those for him. But I don’t wanna give his name because he’s a good dude and my name is so infamous now!
2. You also said you were working with the top writer Jay Didillo on a new Batman book. We know there’s no such person and DC deny any knowledge of such a book, or person. Can you explain this, and why you told me and your customers this?
Yeah, again this is something else I didn’t explain when I should have, and it’s blown up in my face! I met an editor at a Con a few months back, and he gave me his card, and as best as I can remember, his name sounded like that. He said he was looking for up and coming artists for a Batman book about different eras of Batman or whatever, and he would keep me in mind. It happened! I just lost his card and can’t remember the other specific details, but nobody can prove it didn’t happen. I’m sorry my memory isn’t absolutely perfect but I meet a lotta people at shows.
3. You told people that you worked with Bruce Timm on the Batman Animated TV series to sell your Batman pictures. We know that’s not true, though it appears you may have had work in a Warner gallery once. Can you explain this, and why you told your customers this?
Well, I did have work in a Warner Gallery, so to me, yeah, that means I worked with Bruce Timm in a sense, because I was working on the style he established, and maintaining his level of quality. That is all I meant, and people have twisted it and taken it from how I meant it.
4. You’ve said that accusations of swiping were only because there are only so many ways to draw a character. We know that’s not true, you’ve directly swiped most of your work, in some case just dropping a little colour around the edges of a photo or a scanned in image, such as the Ghost Rider, the Calvin & Hobbes, and the Buffy or Anastasia photos, then signing it yourself. Do you understand how this make the people who created that original work upset, or those who have purchased work only to find its not as original as it was sold as? What do you say to them?
I would say, did you enjoy the piece when you bought it? Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have paid for it, you know? I’m sorry if you feel I misled somebody, but it’s only now because everyone has gone crazy with bashing me, people are gonna now be upset. I worked on all of my art, and in many cases, I spent so much time it looks photo realistic because that’s just the amount of time I put into it.
5. You also told me “I’ve also done Stamps for The United States Post Office, for both Marvel and DC comics as well as FOX when I did the Simpsons and Canvin and Hobbs. ” We now know that rather than this, you did a cancellation stamp for one post office, not for Marvel, DC or Fox. And the colour image you sold of Calvin and Hobbes was printed from the original, with a little paint round the edges. Do you see how your statements and your actions have caused anger?
If anything I said caused anger, you know, I just apologize. I should think before I speak sometime! (laughter) But it’s like, it is what it is. I’m an artist, I didn’t know I’d be judged on every thing I said. I mean, innocent until proven guilty, I’m serious, that still means something to me, right? I did a cancellation stamp, so I didn’t lie. I DID do a stamp, and it was a REAL one, so, to me, that works. Now I gotta worry that everything I say will be taken out of context. I mean, why? I’m a comic book artist! I’m not running for office or something.
6. You posed as other people online to defend yourself but gave yourself away. Why did you think you had to pretend to be other people to back up your side of the story? Do you see how that damaged you?
I mean, is there proof of that? I don’t think there is. I am rarely on the internet, trust me, anyone who knows me knows.. I am not internet savvy or whatever you call it. I rarely go online.
7. When Dwayne McDuffie died, you states that you’d enjoyed working with him. You had never worked with him. Why did you say that, and can you see why it angered people?
Okay, I’m very glad you asked that one. I did work with Dwayne McDuffie, at least, I considered it working with him because he gave me pointers. I’ll tell you the story. A couple of years ago, at a con, I was doing fan sketches, and one fan asked for a sketch of Luke Cage, so I was like, cool. And I started it but didn’t really like it and decided to start a new one. So I ripped the other one up, and Dwayne McDuffie was going around the floor, and I had met him before, so he came up to look over my shoulder to see what I was drawing, you know, friendly and stuff. So he sees me doing this Luke Cage, and he started giving me advice, because he told me, this was such an important character to him from when he was a kid. And I was really getting off on it, you know? Because Dwayne McDuffie was such an influence on all of us. And it was so creative and so cool, we were just riffing on it together, like a real collaboration. Dwayne was telling me little subtle things, like “more gangsta” in the character’s expression, and telling me how Luke Cage was “from the streets” so he had to have this certain look in his eyes. I could tell he really enjoyed it, and it was one of the best pieces I’ve drawn, I wish I had kept it ! Actually, Dwayne told me, that was so good he wished he had it, and of course, now I regret not giving it to him. But that experience is one of my best memories and one I’m always gonna cherish, you know? That, to me, was working with Dwayne McDuffie, because he guided me and we collaborated and all I said was it was a pleasure working with him. I didn’t say we did that one show together or something. So I don’t get it. I mean, nobody can prove that didn’t happen, you know?
8. You are now working with Josh Hoopes, who has a far worse reputation that you, for conning artists, writers and publishers out of hundred of thousands of dollars, and their work. Why do you trust him so, when there is so much evidence that he has repeatedly conned people, people who can least afford to be conned. Why do you think it will be different with you?
I don’t really…. I don’t really wanna bash or trash-talk other artists, and I don’t know that I should comment on this? I mean, nobody is conning me, I have had some people, some people in the industry, some people who are artists, call and offer their support, because… because they know, I’m not as bad as the internet has made me out to be.. they know I might have made some mistakes and all, but that I’m a decent guy who is trying to make it as an artist. So, I don’t know where you get that I’m working with anybody, right now I am dealing with being this big tabloid guy who everybody follows around for news and that’s work enough, y’know? (Rob laughs) So I can’t really say anything bad about Josh or Josh Hoopes, the dude hasn’t done anything to me.
9. Your wife and manager says that you are working on a project with Dick Ayers. Can you elaborate on this at all?
I have a lot of projects coming up, you haven’t seen the last of Rob Granito, trust me. I wanna say, what I’m guilty of, I can be a man and admit, is just making the innocent mistake of not writing out that the art that was pissing people off was tribute art.. the word is, homages, like how Alex Ross did with the Jack Kirby covers, stuff like that. And I apologize to whoever was hurt, but I was never trying to steal. I see a lot of artists doing tributes to famous covers and stuff, and you know, fans like things like that because it’s like a tribute to what came before, but in that fresh, new style. I don’t see why I should be banned from the industry I love because of one little mistake. I’ve got guys like Mark Waid and this Lamar Igle who are just like, bashing me, and it’s like, come on. What did I do that makes you this pissed off? If I say I’m sorry, isn’t that enough? Because if you look at it, what I seem to have done, is just not explain myself well enough. I didn’t point out like the facts of each project. Well, I’m sorry! But it is what it is. I have done some work with Dick Ayers, who is a living legend, just stuff like assisting him on backgrounds, but he doesn’t know me so well. And I don’t want to bother him because he’s older and retired and all that, but a few years back he did like an original project at this company that closed down, and I did some inking, some backgrounds, maybe he didn’t know, or didn’t realize. The point is, I do have some indie work coming up and I think if people can be fair, they will see it’s gonna blow their minds, so give it a chance. You know, the bashing has really hurt me with my contacts at DC and stuff. So independents might be where I take it for a while. I got to think, theres some collectors out there who are gonna wanna comic created and drawn by me due to all the controversy. Should I not, like, cater to that market just because some people don’t like me? I’m like- we gotta do what we gotta do.
10. Do you have plans to create work for sale of display, that is not swiped from existing art? Can you show us any work that is all you?
It’s like I said, I have stuff I’m planning. I don’t know about display, but I am working on a new website where I address the controversy and show my other talents in painting and storyboarding and whatnot. I have some characters of my own that I’ve always had, but my schedule kept me so busy, but now I am preparing a sample comic, just looking for a writer. And I am also talking to some editors outside of the US, where I think they don’t care about the scandal here. Other countries are weird, they don’t want to get involved in all that, you know? Yes, you will see more art from me. If the guy from this website wants to write me a one or two page script, I would even consider illustrating it for him! I don’t sweat the small stuff, you know, I’m an artist and I can’t stop being one.
It feels good to give my side of things, and I am gonna keep my fingers crossed that this clears some stuff up. I know my guy, my assistant at the shows, has been following some stuff online and tells me theres like an online group out to get me and stuff, but you know, it is what it is, and I don’t sweat the small stuff. Theres always gonna be people who love controversy and bad boys and scandals and stuff, so I guess I was lucky to be that guy, and you know, I was only charging for interviews because it seemed like the entire internet was using my name to get people to look at their sites! It’s like, whoa, I’m famous overnight. But now, you know, I’m sorry for that too, so any questions these comic pros want to ask, go ahead, I think I’ve proven I’m an honest guy who just has made some mistakes.
I contacted Dick Ayers who told me that the only project he is working on is with his son.