I’m willing to bet that by this time next week the word “Granito” will be a shiny new entry on Urbandictionary.com.* It’s a broad term, with applications as a noun, a verb and even an adjective. It’s like a sad and deluded version of “smurfy,” suitable in any scenario where the user wishes to convey the depths of depravity that must dwell in a plagiarist’s soul.
The origins of this term lie squarely on the shoulders of one man, Rob Granito.
[Editor’s Note: statements about any legal wrongdoing by Mr. Granito should be considered alleged, as he has not been convicted of any crimes or sued for any copyright or other infringements.]
In case you have not yet heard, allow me to fill you in. Apparently, for a number of years (by some estimates as many as 15!) a fellow by the name of Rob Granito has been showing up at conventions around the country with a resume that takes padding to a new level. In that — it’s all lies. He also brings with him to these cons a variety of “original works” and prints that are blatant copies of other artist’s work. I have not called them exact copies because frankly his skills are minimal and his attempts to change or hide the original pieces ham-handed and sad.
What’s interesting is that many people have suspected or even known about this issue for years, and it’s just now coming to an inter-splosion largely because of this article. Rich Johnston of Bleedingcool.com was “sent a number of allegations saying that Rob is basically nothing but a chancer” and decided to do a bit of investigative blogging. He emailed Rob with pointed questions, and what he received in response was disturbing, and clearly worth sharing with the community at large.
The community was outraged.
The result has been a firestorm of blog posts, forum threads and Facebook shenanigans that Aaron Sorkin really should consider writing a bio-pic about. As luck would have it, Mr. Granito attended Mega Con in Florida this weekend, and well, he didn’t have the best time. Aside from being surreptitiously filmed via iPhone while talking about the very allegations that he’s currently so vilified for, he was also recipient of the world’s most gracious confrontation, courtesy of one of his “victims,” comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver.
If you missed all the hubbub and want to dive into some comic-art-geek-dramz on your lunch break, I’ve written a small primer to the situation, and collected a list of essential links for you. Enjoy! And don’t forget to support your favorite real artists.
- Mr. Granito’s deplorable grammar and spelling is one of his most unique and original qualities. As a result the interwebs are mimicking and of course mocking this mercilessly. So any posters exhibiting these traits are called out immediately as trolls, or as Rob himself (and most likely accurately).
- Terms such as Legit-O-Mite, based on Rob’s initial misspellings, have become instant hits. There are already t-shirts.
- Jay Diddilo is a writer that Rob has referenced repeatedly as someone he is currently working with. No one has ever heard of this dude, but he does have a fake Facebook page and website already — naturally.
- One of the more notable and ridiculous claims on Mr. Granito’s resume is that he worked as an artist for Calvin and Hobbes. No one other then Bill Watterson has ever worked on that strip. Additionally, Watterson is know for his rigid opposition to any licensing involving Calvin and Hobbes.
- Start here, at the blog that started it all. (Don’t forget to read the comments!)
- Podcast NonCanonical covers the situation — Rob talk starts at 8:00 mark. (Warning: language NSFW.)
- YouTube video of Rob at MegaCon (language NSFW).
- Side by side pics of originals versus Rob Granito Rip-offs.
- A former friend of Rob’s, Joe Peacock, tells his story and gives some insight as to how anyone was ever duped by this dude.
- Facebook anti-fan group.
- Ethan Van Sciver tells Granito that he’s not allowed to go to any more cons.
Food for Thought (links that aren’t directly related, but address the ideas relevant to this controversy)
- When Appropriation Masquerades as Re-Conceptualized Art.
- Appropriation Art topics at TechDirt
- Forgery and Plagiarism
*The fact that I submitted the term myself is beside the point. Lots of other people sent it in too. We were up late, and feeling rather touchy.