Douglas Paszkiewicz was kind enough to share with us his thoughts on the Rob Granito situation, where Granito (bottom right corner in the image below) is being accused of artistic fraud. There is a large amount of evidence to support this accusation, and it has made waves throughout the industry this week. All thoughts expressed below belong to Paszkiewicz. If you’re a pro we want to hear what you have to say!
“The Granito Problem
If You Don’t Respect Yourself, Who Will?
There has been quite a buzz lately in the old comic book industry about one Rob Ganito. Rob is some dork whose been going around at conventions with a made up resume, including allegedly working on everything from Calvin and Hobbes to Batman. A couple of web sites actually did some reporting and pretty much proved this fellow to be a fake. See the link below for one story on this fella.
Well…I don’t know who “broke” this story first, but several people have picked it up and ran with it piling on old Rob, including Jill Thompson. Well, I have some words for ol’Jill…and everyone else, except whoever “broke” this story first. First off, let me say that I respect Thompson, I think she does good work, and from all accounts she seems like a bright woman. But she and everyone else has missed the point.
You all managed to prove this guy is a fraud who does not deserve to be declared an “illustrator”…well, BULLY FOR YOU! WOW. Great job! You really dug deep to uncover that little conspiracy…
YOU CAN’T SWING A DEAD CAT IN “ARTIST ALLEY” WITHOUT HITTING ONE OF THESE GUYS.
Lets focus on whose really to blame here, shall we? I mentioned here and on my podcast that the guy running artist alley at Wizard world ADMITTED to me that he didn’t have any knowledge of whom is whom in the comic book industry! One of the largest comic book convention operators in the U.S. had been employing someone who doesn’t know Stan Lee from this Rob what’s-his-name. Aside from the fact that it’s their JOB to know SOMETHING about the industry they are in, these conventions require us to fill out paperwork which lists our website and our work. Why are we bothering to do that if it is not being checked? In an industry where 75% percent of the fans could name the first issue that Galactus appeared in. In a time of 10% unemployment- it shouldn’t be that hard to find someone to do that job. Who can tell the wheat from the weeds!
The victims here are The Professionals who couldn’t get a table, and more importantly the people who paid good money to go to a convention that LISTED THIS GUY AS AN ILLUSTRATOR FOR BATMAN. Anyone who bought anything from this guy based on the bio that Wizard World listed, or accepted him into Artist Alley because of it, were ripped off thanks to Wizard World. A smaller convention I might give a pass, as they have a smaller staff…except that a smaller show/staff means less people to check up on. I mean, this guy claimed to have worked on Calvin and Hobbes for crying out loud. He would have been, like, TEN when that strip ended.
Wizard World took people’s money to go to their show to see the “pros” they listed, without checking to see if ANY of these “pros” are actually “Pros.”
The other people who are to blame are the other pros. Sixty percent of Artist Alley doesn’t deserve to be there as far as I’m concerned. You have half-assed mini-comics, half-assed slice of life comics crapped out in-between semesters, and while [there are] stoned, sad, wannabe artists with crappy photoshopped drawings of superheroes that have been made into “prints” (WHICH IS ILLEGAL BY THE WAY), people have been accusing old Rob of plagiarism. Well, guess what? He’s not actually a plagiarist, he’s a BOOTLEGGER. Making multiple copies/prints of your drawing of someone else’s character is copyright infringement and bootlegging. Every Artist Alley I go to has five to ten of these goofs selling copies/prints of someone else’s character – Batman, Superman, Spider-Woman in cheesecake poses…that is against the law. And when I see a real fraud, I tell the convention operator. What’s wrong with the rest of you?! How hard is it to look to your left and ask the guy “who the hell are you?”
The Artist Alleys at these shows are a refugee camp of broken dreams and people with such skewed self image issues that they don’t realize how little talent they actually have. It doesn’t need to be that way. The convention operators need to start weeding out the crap, and we fellow professionals need to start putting pressure on them to do so.
I don’t know what’s wrong with everyone else’s self esteem, but I personally take offense to, after ten years of hard work to get where I am, being categorized and placed in the same section as some dopey kid with Kinko’s made comics, and 40-year-old goof balls who want to play “artist” one week out of the year. Now, if you are a smaller show with only one section…well…what can you do, I guess, but Wizard World has no excuse for respected industry professionals to be next to some guy with four page mini-comics that he made the night before. And don’t get me started on web-comic makers with zombie computer programs that click 50,000 times a day on a strip NO HUMAN ACTUALLY READS. You wanna complain and look down on Rob…great…now start looking down and complaining about the rest of them. Artist alley doesn’t need to be a joke. People with actual credentials shouldn’t be lumped in with wannabes.
I will admit there needs to be a place for people to get started, to get their feet wet. Some people in that Alley are getting started, and honestly driven to make a go of it. All the more reason to weed out the frauds! I’ll leave the judgment up to you fellow pros; is the joker next to you in Artist Alley producing something of merit, or is he making half-assed crap to impress a girlfriend, get cheap passes, stoke a distorted ego, or SELL BOOTLEG PRINTS? You need to start judging. It takes very little effort to assess the people around you, and let the convention operator know that you don’t appreciate being next to/in the same category as a fraud.
This is NOT being a prima donna, this is NOT being an ego maniac; this is demanding the respect you have earned. If you go to an auto show, do you see a 69 Charger next to a Honda Civic with a gray door? If you go to a sports card signing, do you see Hank Aaron next to the water boy for the ’73 Green Bay Packers? If you go back stage at a concert, does the headliner have the same accommodations as the guy who checks the tickets? NO! Why? Because they are on completely different levels of skill, popularity, performance, and respect. Hell, even Wizard World, unbeknownst to itself, makes distinctions based on these things by putting the movie stars in a different section. So in their eyes movie/T.V. stars are on one level, store owners and retailers another level, and the guy who draws Spider-Man for Marvel and a 19-year-goofball with bootleg prints are another level. Those [last] two are the same level as far as Wizard is concerned, and it isn’t going to change until you speak up for yourself. If any dumbass with enough cash to buy a table can get into Artist Alley, then what is it? It’s not Artist Alley, it’s “I spent $300.00 this weekend alley.”
A distinction that could be earned by even an ambitious pan handler.
More important perhaps than mere respect is the $$$. The better the field in Artist Alley, the more people will attend, and the more they will be accustomed to paying real money for real work, rather than looking for free mini-comics and $10 prints.
Rob’s bio was made up…big f#@&ing deal. I would say that between the paintings he did and the work that went into creating the work of fiction that was his bio, he actually put more work into being declared an “artist” than most of the people I am next to in “Artist Alley” on any given weekend.
Congratulations Rob, you made a lot of people look like dumbasses. Anyone who complained but doesn’t complain at the very next show they are in, I place them firmly in the dumbasses category, too. “Dumbass Alley,” I’ll call it.”
Douglas Paszkiewicz’s work is regularly featured in several national publications including Mad Magazine. His own publication Arsenic Lullaby was nominated for the comic book industry’s two highest awards – the Eisner award and the Harvey Award – and is distributed across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe. His work can be seen at – www.arseniclullabies.com.
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