He seems to be the con artist who keeps giving and giving.
Yesterday's article looking at Rob Granito's bogus credits that have gained him Guest status at Wizard World Toronto and upcoming shows, touched upon his swipe filery, but further research and information provided by you, the Little Bleeders who read this site, have painted a much bigger picture. Watch out, Rob may swipe it any second.
Canadian BC poster theinternet writes;
I saw this guy at wizard world toronto.
my friend got a sketch from him and bought a painting! he said he did animation work for a batman cartoon series and sold my friend a painting he did that was signed by one of the voice actors.
this is very weird…
and then followed up with
so my friend bought a painting off of him of wonder women at the toronto comic con this past weekend. It was signed by one of the voice actors. However, my friend looked up the autograph of the voice actor on ebay and its clearly not a match.
This guy is a scammer and Wizard World should be held responsible.
i want the $300 my buddy paid on the weekend at wizard worlds toronto comic con back.
fuck. this. guy.
The Batman piece he's holding in Rich's photo is obviously a Tim Sale drawing that has been oddly colored. Tim's take on Batman is unique, from the shape of the cowl's nose to the design of the chest emblem.
I had another artist point this hack out to me, as I'm the model he seems to have so much "work" of. I was the one who posted about him on DeviantArt, I assumed when things went quiet and I had so much other stuff to tackle that going after him legally wouldn't be needed as the only things I was aware of were ebay auctions.
He's got several of my photos that have been poorly painted over, and by painted over, I mean he did like 5 brush strokes and then called it his art. The most noted pieces he's ripped off are that he keeps calling Lady Death or "voodoo chic" is in fact my copyrighted character, VooDoo Baby. He actually used two photos that were published in magazines (one being VDB the other is my "fetish" Alice in Wonderland – hell, people saw me in person at the last Heroes Con dressed as Alice!).
I didn't realize this guy was THAT far over the edge, seriously, he's ripped off everyone on the planet. I'm glad others are taking notice and I hope if we put the heat on him, we can make life really uncomfortable. I do have his address and phone number for other artists that might need it for legal purposes.
If anyone needs to see, most of my original work is at my facebook.com/theacidpoptart and my DeviantArt.
Sara Teague writes;
Thank you for looking into this, Rich. I was at Toronto Comic-Con this weekend, and he made hundreds, and hundreds of dollars on his worthless art. It's one thing to sample the work of others, or do "tributes" or whatever (especially since the DC animated style has been used by many different artists, despite being invented by Buce Timm) but what Rob does to close a sale is lie directly to people, telling them stories about the voice actors on the Animated series he "worked" on (despite the fact that animators rarely interact with the voice talent, nor are they even usually done in the same city), or claiming to be the artist on an upcoming Batman arc, or whatever. He is lying to people's faces, and taking their money under false pretenses, and flouting copyright law by selling Star Wars, Disney and of course comics properties. I am so glad more people are becoming aware of him.
One thing left to do (and I hope Rich gets on it, because people in the industry listen to and respect him) is demand to know why Wizard gave him such prominence at the con (he was not in artist's alley, but was at the Featured Guest area, which Wizard comps for actually famous artists like Michael Golden, J. Bone, etc) and also inform the conventions he's about to do that he is a scammer and a liar. He shouldn't be allowed to take people's money on false pretenses and bogus credentials.
Dunder spotted this resemblance, Rob's art on the right, Marvel trading card on the left.
Cully Hamner talked about the allegation that Rob ghosted for Brian Stelfreeze on Shadow Of The Bat covers.
I can state for a fact that I saw in progress every SOTB cover that Brian Stelfreeze ever did, as our desks were right next to each other during his entire run. In fact, I even posed for a number of them, as did everyone else at Gaijin Studios at one time or another. Brian has never, ever used a "ghost" in the over 20 years that I've known him.
This guy is a liar.
SINically Twisted (Amy Fletcher) took out the calculator.
Interesting….According to his facebook profile………his birthday is April 8, 1975. Shadow of the Bat ran for 96 issues, from 1992 to 2000. Rob is claiming that he worked on issues 12 – 25, so let's say that issue 12 started about a year after 1992, so if you did the math wouldn't that have made him about 17 years old? So 17 years old, drawing covers at DC Comics?? Hrmmmmmm……
He also spotted these, an Al Rio christmas card on the left – and the one Rob ripped off in a design for an unsuspecting friend on the right.
Al Rio seems to be a favourite of Rob's
And then there are always photos made more… breastacular.
And here's one that was spotted back in 1996 by Kitty Cat. Rob's above, Jan Duursema's below.
David Yardin posts his own work on the left, with Rob's on the right.
And Rob's work again, next to some work in progress pieces of David's.
You can hear him talk about himself, and how he's working for MTV, VH1, Disney, Marvel and DC here, around the six minute mark;
Diana Greenhalgh writes;
Oh and apparently he managed to get on a couple of Marvel sets via Upper Deck…. most of his cards were rejected as "swipes" – but apparently collectors also noticed his cards were PRINTED ON then painted on. I found a few posts about it in card collector communities.
Dean Trippe replied;
I was just looking at those as well. I think that's legit. I did some of those (heh) "original" art cards for the second series, and the screening process for that dollar-to-five-dollars a card sketch gig is pretty light. I fully believe he did those, because A) It's not hard to. And B) HE ADMITS TO BEING CALLED OUT FOR SWIPING, leading to some of his cards being rejected! So fantastic:
Indeed it is, next to the below images is the text;
The cards were total mixed medium some acrylic paint some ink. Some of the cards actually got rejected for being swipes mostly the Spidy's saying they were Ramada's I think that was actually funny. With the 20+ years that they worked on the books I don't think it possible to do a Spiderman that doesn't in some way look like there's. But no seance in dwelling take a look and enjoy.
Pretty sure that's a Deodato Spider-Man, but I could be wrong. Heck, maybe it's a Ramada.
As Jamal pointed out, these guys are at every con. But Rob here is taking it to the next level with his so completely implausible resume. His lies are so entertainingly stupid, it almost makes up for the thievery. Not really. But I had a ball reading his responses out loud to people all day.
Haha and yeah, I love the idea of this guy doing "ghost art" for Brian Stelfreeze or anyone else. Lotta "ghost artists" in this business?
Shaun LcLaughlin writes;
I was at WB Animation from '94-2006 and was a producer on the Timm shows from '96 on. I recruited and hired most of the artists and knew a lot of the people there before and after me. Never heard of this guy and it pisses me off he can grift like this.
And any of this work would have gotten him rejected in a second.
SuperGeniusCoyote found this swipe;
When I asked him to go through DC for his request for Artists' Alley space, we got into 20 questions about who he should ask. Finally I said "ask Fletcher" and he didn't know who Fletcher was; More importantly, Fletcher didn't know who he was and neither did anyone in Editorial.
If he did work for DC, then have him produce his vouchers, blank out his rate and have him show those from the time frame he claims to be working for them.
Also I asked around at Warner Bros Worldwide Publishing and no one knew him there either.
A Facebook group entitled Robert Granito Is A Fraud has been launched (where the Acid PopTart images earlier were found) with a number of other swipes, including the following;
this is really lame. he blows up photos and puts paint around it to make it appear as if he painted them and ten takes photo's with paint smeared on him so it looks like he was had at work
Evan Van Sciver joined in
Swiping is one thing. At least some bare minimum of effort is made. THIS has been a brain teaser to me and my FB friends all evening. Check this out:
Aside from the bizarre description of the item, (I'll get to that in a second) I was quite impressed with the very able forgery of Watterson. It looks legit! The lovely, subtle use of blues in the tree trunk, that almost slapdash ink work…I'd mistake it for an original Bill Watterson piece in a heartbeat! But that's because:
It actually IS the original Watterson piece, mirror reversed and cropped. So my question is, why is Rob Granito signing it, and selling a print of it on Ebay? The wording of the seller's description is amazing:
"Up for auction is a great print, hand signed by artist Rob Granito of Calvin and Hobbes. This piece was done for the USPS Stamp series and comes with a Calvin and Hobbes stamp from the comic strip series and the competitive Cancellation from the USPS on the bottom! These were limited and only available from the USPS and NOT easy to find! Don't delay on this one!"
Someone suggested that he may have forgotten a comma after "signed by artist Rob Granito." Either way, something weird is going on here. I'm meant to believe that the United States government wanted to produce a Calvin and Hobbes stamp, Bill Watterson said, "Nah. Busy eating cheese. Use that unknown artist from Florida." And Rob Granito ably jumped into his boots to produce this print. And even that wouldn't explain why the print is actually Watterson's art.
I've fallen into the rabbit hole with this one. Digging up his DC credits was weird enough, but this is incredible.
Incredible Ethan? Oh it gets worse. Here's a shot of him with said original art. Which he did not create. He appears to have flipped the original, printed it, blown it up, with some additional paint lines, and then posed for…
Joe Peacock is a friend of Rob. Or at least he was. He designed Rob's rather slick website and, well this is a bit of a confessional. Joe writes;
Who Is Rob Granito? I Can Tell You.
I was working on a story for an upcoming project when an IM window popped up.
"Have you seen this yet?" asked a good friend of mine, Tom Feister. Tom is a professional in the comic book world. He is the cover artist for the GI Joe series, among many other things. And above all of that, he's a really, really good person.
"Seen what?" I asked.
Now, if you're like me, you read the URLs you receive from people before you click them. And when I saw that one, my very first thought wasn't "Oh, this must be an expose on my friend Rob Granito." I knew it was bad.
It had been a long time coming.
I've known Rob for about three years. We met at DragonCon in 2008, where I complimented a painting of Catwoman he did and he subsequently sold it to me. And it really is a nice painting of Catwoman, in a Darwyn Cooke style (whom I am a HUGE fan of). If you've watched any live webcasts of mine, you've seen it. I'm not going to link to it here or post it, because it goes against where I'm ultimately headed with this blog post. But it's a nice Catwoman.
We got to talking about hockey and other things, and as far as I could tell, we really hit it off. He told me he worked on Batman: The Animated Series, and I went into hysterics. "I LOVED that show!" I exclaimed. He went into his relationship with Paul Dini, what it was like working on the show, and so on. I mentioned that I collect animation cels (among other things) and he mentioned he had a bunch from when he worked on it.
I demanded that if he ever decided to sell them, to contact me first. He agreed. I told hiI mentioned that I was an author, and agreed to send him some of my books. I did, and he said he liked them. We kept in touch.
The next year, we met up at another convention (I forget which), and we got to talking. He mentioned he was having trouble with his website, and I offered advice. I mentioned that one day I'd like to write for comics, and he offered advice as a pro in the industry. "Heck, I'll put you in touch with people at DC," he offered.
I mentioned that I was working on putting together a show for The Art of Akira Exhibit; that I had finally met someone who could actually share my vision and had the perfect venue: Joe Wos, at ToonSeum in Pittsburgh, PA. He immediately offered any help I wanted.
Near Christmas, Rob emailed me and offered me a Batman cel. I gladly took him up on it, and when I received it, I got a Bane cel signed by Paul Dini, with a matte featuring a hand-drawn Batman by Rob Granito. I thought "Hrm… Why didn't he sign this cel?" When I asked him, he said "Oh, that wasn't one I worked on."
When the Art of Akira show opened in May of 2010, Rob drove out from New York to see it. He brought a ton of paintings and cels from cartoons with him, and even did prints of some iconic scenes from Akira. He actually showed up with 8 paintings. I had no idea he was going to produce that much Akira-related work — I thought at best, we'd get 2 or 3 pieces. But no, there were 8. And he offered all of them for auction or sale to benefit the exhibit, along with prints.
It was a very nice gesture. And to pay him back, I offered to do his website. He gladly took me up on it.
The entire time he was in Pittsburgh with us, he kept dropping names and credits on stuff he worked on, and offered to bat for me in studios and publishers with the exhibit, with comics I wanted to write, and so on. The entire time, artists in the Pittsburgh scene were annoyed and one of my really good friends, Ed Piskor, even got up and left due to being so frustrated. He later told me he could tell most if not all of the work Granito brought with him was projected onto a canvas and traced.
I couldn't tell. I'm no artist. But they could. And they were annoyed.
Something really, really strange happened. Derek, Rob's "manager" (and bodyguard), complained about how his holster was chaffing. I asked what he meant. He produced for me a Glock 21 (.45 caliber) handgun, which was in a holster under his jacket. "I'm always strapped," he said. "There's crazy people at these conventions."
I figured, okay, well, he IS a bodyguard, so I guess it's okay that he carries a gun, but what does this artist guy need a bodyguard for? But then I realized, I hang around weird people too. It's what makes the world go round. And they were nice to me, and helping out with my exhibit for no money (I paid for their hotel room though).
When DragonCon 2010 rolled around, we had a HUGE showing with Art of Akira there, and Granito was at a table right next to us. By this time, I'd met and started becoming friends with some pros in the comic book and animation world. And when we had the pros-only showing at the convention, a LOT of artists and pros were very leery that Granito was in attendance. I'd come to find out that they didn't want to mention anything to me, because they didn't know how close we may have been and didn't want to rock the boat.
But it turns out, even then, Granito had a VERY VERY VERY horrible reputation in the industry. No one could actually pin down any of his claimed credits, and artists were beginning to recognize their own original works in his. Of course, I didn't know any of this. I just knew that this guy Granito produced a ton of stuff to help the exhibit, and had all these professional credits at Marvel and DC and Warner Brothers and whatnot, and was really, really nice to me.
Once Jeremy and I began working on his site in December of 2010, I started getting a little leery. He sent a CD full of photos of his "original" art. Now, by this time, I'd been to a few studios and seen how artists worked. I saw pros who work on Pixar films, DC and Marvel comics, and other productions treat their original material. They sell the shit out of it, because that's a HUGE part of their income.
Not one single original comic page was in his portfolio. Not a single cover. Just paintings, sketches, and con commissions. And that's fine. I didn't really question it then, because he had told me that most of his comic-related work was as a "ghost artist" — much like a ghost writer would do for a celebrity or a very busy writer, he came in and worked on the title uncredited.
But when I got to his published works page, I had to question him. I sent him two emails, both of which asked him to flesh out his credits more. "They're really vague," I explained. He just replied that it was fine, he was listing the properties on which he worked.
Again, what the hell did I know? I figured, he's the pro. He knows what he's doing.
And so it launched, and it wasn't a smooth experience. Every email Rob ever sent was rife with typos. It was impossible to get him to reply to something directly, and half of my requests got lost as they went to his Manager (Derek). Rob called repeatedly, telling me that San Diego Comic Con wouldn't accept him until his website looked better. And of course, I knew that was bullshit, but I figured the guy really just wanted his website done and was trying to motivate me without being a total dick. But we got it done, and that was that.
Then, yesterday, the article I linked above drops, and so does the other shoe.
I got emailed by a LOT of guys in the industry, asking had I seen it. Tom was the first. He's always the first, cause he's a good guy.
My response to Tom: "No." My response to everyone else after that: "Yes, and I'm sick to my stomach about it."
This was a guy I considered a friend. He'd come through in a pinch for me, and I'd done favors for him. We've broken bread together.
I can forgive people doing copyrighted properties at conventions for commissions. After all, it's just how things work. People like Batman. They like guys like Mark Brooks. Ergo, if I have a few hundred dollars and really, really want to see what a Mark Brooks Batman would look like, I can pay him and it can be done.
But that's not the same as what Rob has done. He's outright stolen original works by tracing them onto canvas and reproducing them for money. Worse, he's stolen credits from people who worked VERY VERY HARD to get where they are (namely Brian Stelfreeze). People I know and like and respect very much.
And then, there's the fact that he outright lied to my face about who he was, what he'd done, and what he could do for me. And for what?
A few hundred dollars I'd paid in paintings, and a website.
And now, he's a pariah. A joke. I can say with 100% full authority that working artists in the industry HATE him now. Before, they really, really didn't like him, but couldn't really point to a reason to cast him out. He had no honest professional credits and hadn't worked with anyone at any of the conventions, and yet somehow got table and booth space out of the convention, which of course means an artist somewhere who actually did work in the industry had to go without.
But now there's actual proof. He's listed titles he had nothing to do with (Shadow of the Bat, issues 12-25 — which are very clearly Stelfreeze, who has never worked with a "ghost" artist) as his own, and then went and tried to establish an identity of some editor at DC named Jay Didillo, who no one in the industry knows of.
The comic book industry is SMALL. I was alarmed at how small it was, until I got to know some of the people involved. And it's really, really tight knit. Everyone knows each other. Everyone talks. And no one has ever seen a single credited piece of Rob Granito's work, and no one has ever heard of Jay Didillo.
But they absolutely do recognize their friends' works in Granito's. And they can tell when photographs are painted over, or projected onto canvas and traced.
And here I am, a part of his deceit. It's a small part, yes. But I'm partly responsible for sales made for Rob Granito; for his reputation being protected and defended to actual working artists who were just trying to warn me; for his getting space at conventions I attend.
I feel foolish. I feel like I've been had. And it really makes me sick to my stomach to look at his face or hear his voice on YouTube interviews that are being linked around, where he lists off all these phony credits.
It feels like hearing the voice of an ex, after they've cheated on you and left you.
Here's a guy I've talked to as a friend, who I trusted, who I stood up for. And good, hard working people I respect very very much tried to tell me who he was, and I stood there and said "No, you're wrong."
And the thing is, on the totem pole of victims, I'm actually only about 1/3 of the way up. The real victims here are the guys he ripped off by stealing their art and the credits for their hard work. That's not just theft by taking, that's actually reaching into their lives, their hearts, their souls as artists, and ripping away from them something far more precious than money or items. It's a crime of the lowest form. It's plagiarism. It's the lowest of the low.
I've decided not to take his site off my servers, because some artists had a REALLY good point — this is a reference for artists to find out what he's stolen or claimed credit for, and by taking it down, I'm actually helping Granito out.
I will be wrapping up and sending back all of the paintings of his that I have, as well as the prints he did. And he can do what he wishes with them. I wish him no ill will, but I don't feel comfortable having them around anymore.
Guys like Granito thrive on the fact that people either a) don't have access to, b) can't afford or c) don't know how to approach real working artists for sketches and original art. To fans, being a fan of an artist is actually separate from having a really cool hand done painting or portrait of a character they really like, so they do what I did — they see a really cool Catwoman and they buy it for a cheaper price. And because it looks nice, they're satisfied.
And so long as the artist making the Catwoman does it in their own style, I think most everyone is okay with that. It's when they rip off the original artist, by tracing, lightboxing, projecting, or copying in some way, that it becomes a sin. And Rob Granito has been sinning for at least 10 years that I know of, and possibly as many as 15.
When it gets into those numbers, it's not an oversight. It's not a fluke. It's purposeful and deceitful and wrong. And I for one am sad to have played even a small role in it, and sadder still to know that I can be so blind to someone like him and get taken advantage of myself.
It's like trying to sleep in your house the night after it's been robbed. You just can't accept that it happened to YOU.
Joe talks more at the Big Fanboy podcast here . The podcasters tell their own dealing with Granito at Dragon*Con in 2006 and his attempt to scam them by listing credits that they were able to check were bogus.
Megacon in Orlando, Florida starts today. Rob Granito is a Comics Artist Guest. Do let Bleeding Cool know if he shows. Photos if possible.
I understand that Wizard World are investigating complaints over the man.
Because here's the kicker. You've seen all his art. But from his open Facebook page, this is Rob Granito.
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.