Two weeks ago, I ran a question and answer session with the entity known as Rob Granito. It wasn't that satisfactory, I didn't have the opportunity to follow up on questions and I felt that Rob was basically avoiding the issues being presented. He wasn't exactly presented in the most positive of lights.
Two weeks later I'm doing it again. Third time lucky. If nothing else, I think Rob is starting to understand why people may feel the way they are feeling about his work.
Or he's a glutton for punishment.
Bleeding Cool has not paid anything for this interview. As before, the questions were posed to Rob by his wife, Alison Granito, who then transcribed them.
1. Rob, You tell me that your claims about ghosting cover work for Marvel and DC, was a mistake that you were actually doing cover recreations for a friend. That people have twisted your words when you said you were working on the Batman Animated series. But this is not the case. Time after time I have heard from people who you spoke to you and bought from you, and there was no twisting going on. You told people you worked on those books, on those series, and that justified the price tags of your work. You told me, and others, you were currently working on a Batman book with this "Jay Diddillo". Now you tell me he just gave you his card, which you lost. It's all about provenance and people like to buy work associated with such projects rather than copies. And will pay a premium. To claim a history of a work that's false in order to sell it, is fraud, however much they enjoyed the purchase at the time. Do you understand this? Do you have any apology to make to say to people who bought something in the belief that it had a provenance it did not? And do you plan to rectify this in the future?
Man, you are starting out with the tough ones! No, in all seriousness, I do apologize, and, you know, give my apologies to every single person that was hurt or offended or felt like ripped off in any way. I still stand by the fact that I'm just an honest dude who made some honest mistakes, and, and I certainly never thought I'd be in the midst of all this drama I didn't even mean to create in the first place! But I said it, it's like, look. If you were upset by me, then, dude, I'm sorry- really really. I always thought our country was like the country of second chances and it'd be nice if the comics industry was also into giving second chances. Because, you know, I don't want to stop creating art and being involved because I screwed up once. I wanna make amends and prove to all of you that I deserve another shot. If I can touch on it even though Ali doesn't want me to, you know, Josh was telling me about Coleen Doran being kinda pissed at me last week, and she went back to bashing me or complaining or whatever. And I feel like, OK, I get it, I see how I upset you by not thinking things through. And I've got this image now, this rep, as being a kind of controversial figure, I guess like Rob Liefeld used to be seen, you know, you'd read that he was the bad boy in the comics industry back at one time. So when somebody looks at Rob Granito, they can't just see Rob Granito, they see all the stuff, all the baggage, that goes with his name, and it like, adds on to the image they are putting together in their mind. So I automatically create this kind of bashing mentality, and it's like… I mean, if Coleen Doran ever met me, you know, I'm like a teddy bear dude, I can be sweet, I've got the charm, I'm sure she'd see I was a gentleman and a guy who truly has a passion for comics, and she'd have a smile on her face. This is one period of my life where I messed up a few things, and you know, I don't live my entire life by this one time period, I think I can try to make amends and prove myself. Oh, and by saying that, you know, let me thank the dude Rich for this interview in the first place because this is where making amends starts. See, I'm not bitter, and I don't hold on to stuff, I see people's points of views so I just hope they can see mine, you know?
2. Can you explain how the man who can spend so much alleged time accurately replicating a photograph, as opposed to just scanning it it and adding some paint daubs, the same man who would create this?
Well dude it's a very easy answer in that one genre of work…. is more high class. The other genre was like a quick sketch card. I did it out quickly and maybe it didn't look as good as I wanted it to. When I do a painting, yes, I try to be really, you know, meticulous, the way a Alex Ross would do it or whatever. But I mean, it's a friggin' sketch card, am I really to be judged by every little thing some people find? Look at any comic artist you want and you'll see some work doesn't always match the same level of quality but thats because it depended on the assignment. That was a sketch card and I was trying to hawk them out there fast, and it was kind of a challenge, you know, how fast can I do this, can I do it in like two minutes or whatever. But it's not important?
3. Going forward, do you have any plans to correctly label what you sell, on or offline, so people know what they are buying?
I mean, of course, of course I do! You've got to think… I'm more famous than ever, so it's like, no matter what, anything I do, any work, is gonna be under that microscope, now I've got the entire industry paying attention to me, and besides that, I've got tons of new fans, I've got all these haters, all the critics, and… and the entire comics website network or whatever, all the news sites, they are keeping eyes on Rob Granito, and it's like, it's "what will he do next"? "whats he gonna say?" because I've become this headline, this guy who gets news coverage. It's funny, I'm really not comparing myself to like, movie stars, but in a way, I get how the paparazti works, and how you feel when everything you wanna say or do will be examined. So to answer the question, yeah, people are going to know what they're getting, and no matter what critics are saying, you know, people will buy work from a controversial figure because thats the way collectors are and thats how comic book fans are largely. People like controversy and without it, comics are boring. But it doesn't bother me, you know, whatever works.
4. You missed a point I made before. The photographs of Anastasia that you swiped. How do you think she feels about her work being sold like that by someone who has no right to sell it? And the many people who created work that you blatantly copied. You can see lots of examples here. Do you have any apology you would like to make to people who created the original work that you copied and then sold?
Huh. You know, this was something I should have explained before too but, I really thought that girl was somebody else I used to see at different shows. Before you get all "really guy" with me about that, I mean, dude- do you know how many girls are dressing and acting like that at conventions? Looks good but is it original? I would defintely apologize, apologize sincerely, you know, tell her I'm sorry, promise it wont happen again, if it really hurt her or whatever, I'm serious, then I apologize. But at the same time, it's like, you want to be a public figure, you obviously want attention, you claim to be a model, well, you know that's what happens sometimes, people shoot photographs or you or sketch you, and maybe I just crossed the line but I am sorry. But that is still how I see it. I did think she was this one girl I talked to who I used to see, and who gave me permission to do some art based on her look, you know, it was very goth or whatever, so I guess I just assumed. I'm learnin, I'm learnin!
5. Rob, I'd like to quote Kurt Busiek to you. "The idea that Dwayne McDuffie told someone to draw Luke Cage more "gangsta" is funny all by itself. And by "funny" I mean "an utter lie." Dwayne McDuffie didn't have a lot of love for Luke Cage, and the fact he'd use a word such as "gangsta" in a positive fashion strikes people who knew Dwayne as most unlike the man. Are you sure it was Dwayne you spoke to?
Dude, this is the kind of thing where it's like, clearly against me because people don't like me. So you know, whatever they say, you're going to side with that. But tell me and I'm dead serious, what news coverage has Kurt Buseik been getting? All the sudden he wants to jump on the bandwagon and cut down every single thing he can? I met Dwayne a bunch of times, always a good dude as anybody would tell you. He always took the time to talk to people, I remember I had a Ben 10 painting and he really liked it and once again I wish I had given it to him. But I didn't lie, he was very into that drawing, and he was explaining to me, because I'm just a comic artist man, you know, the urban thing, the "streets" thing, and how Luke Cage was the kind of character who made his rep in the hood, it was all subtle stuff, in his eyes, in his expression. That guy was like a teacher! It's like, am I saying anything negative? No, I'm telling you positive truths. Positive truths are what I'm all about. I remember seeing Dwayne and he always had a big smile on his face when he approached my table, I remember him being so happy Blade was successful, and telling me we would work on something together one day when he wasn't so busy. That was a big honor in my life and people like Kurt Busiek can't take that away from me just because they're unhappy with all the attention I'm getting, dude. It's like, if you like me or hate me, I can't change facts, can I?
6. As to posing as other people online to support your position, and claiming all sorts of industry credits, you say " is there proof of that?". Yes. The posts had the same IP address that Alison has used to post comments , but the spelling was closer to yours.
Well I don't know how that's proof? A few times you know I used the computer at the library so it's possible other people did because the internet there is free. That's probably why it looks like that to you. But I don't think you have proof that I am posing as other people online. Is it so hard to believe, you know, maybe this dude has some fans? Some people who believe in him? I can't control what people write, dude.
7. Rob, why did you tell your wife that I was bitter because you turned down the gig to draw my Watchmensch comic (published two years ago), when we hadn't communicated with each other until a couple of months ago? The only person I considered for the book was the man who got it, Simon Rohrmuller?
Can I be real honest here? There's that dude, Joe… the one who wrote that long live journal thing about me and the Akira show. I don't want to say for sure, because my memory is a little hazy, but as I recall, he is the one who told me this at a show, that you were looking at my work for this Watchmen comedy comic and I told him I didn't have time, and dude, I totally didn't! And he was like, that dudes pissed, and he's gonna destroy you online because thats what he does to artists who reject him, its his rep, so watch out. And I was like, guy, I'm a comics artist! I don't get into all this drama. So I didnt think about it. But thats how that story started. Somebody at a show told me.
8. Rob, why do you believe that UK editors need to be paid to read submissions, and that Josh Hoopes, with the reputation of the biggest con man in comics, is the man to arrange that for you, if you pay him? Have you paid him yet?
I don't want to say anything about Josh, Josh Hoopes, or any other comics artist. I can tell you, a lot of editors don't take what they call, unsolicitated submissions or whatever. But I am working on it slowly. My goal is to find a place for myself and my art in the comic book world and I think I can, if people get to know the real Rob Granito. It's like, you read some articles and what does that mean? I got articles bashing me by people who don't even know me who never even met me, this kid in Japan, this lady who goes to conventions but never even talked to me, eventually I just throw my arms up! It's like, let them talk about me then cause that only means they're leaving somebody else alone! I am trying to focus on overseas editors because they really don't have a clue as to what us crazy Americans are arguing about, haha. Seriously it's such a different culture like, people in the UK and people in England and people in Europe, they don't follow this stuff, they don't care, they just want new stories, new art. I think it might work out for me and I will earn back my rep, I hope. I mean, like I said, I want to make amends and I want to apologize. So I don't see how you can't give me another chance.
9. What can you tell us about the titles you are intending to self publish by the end of the summer?
Well, self-publish is maybe not the…. I don't want you to think I am self-publishing like, actual comics and everything, not yet. What it is is this. I've always been asked, you know, why don't you create your own characters, your own stories and stuff, and the honest answer is, I just didn't have the time, ever. And you know, when people go to a show, they want to see the characters they know, not some new stuff they never saw before. But since this story broke and my name is out there and I'm more famous in the comics world, this might be the time to showcase some of my own stories. So what I'm gonna do is get some prints made of some of the concepts and ideas I have. And then, this is the big thing, I'm gonna sign them and give them out for free, to all the fans who want them. And it's like, go and re-sell them, whatever, I don't care, if it makes you happy. The idea is that people will see, hey, this guy can create, hey, this guy really has an imagination, and hopefully, people will give me that second chance. I've got about six or seven different ideas for different series and characters, like a whole universe, that I am working with my boy on, and Josh has helped a lot with contributions and suggestions and he'll also have a chance to show his artistic talents, too. Look- you can argue about it or admit it, but controversy creates cash. I know people are gonna be curious just because I'm so controversial. They like edgy stuff, stuff thats not so safe. Yeah, I am a big teddy bear, if people got to know me, they couldn't help but smile. But yeah, I've got that edgy side, too. I know people want unpredictable stuff too. But anyway back to your question. I am working on artwork now to present this stuff, and in a few weeks, or a month or whatever, I'd be happy to share it with your website, so people can get a sneak peek. I'll make these prints and hopefully it will raise some interest from possible investors, possible fans, who want to contribute. But I've got ideas for a bunch of series, and, when we do the next interview, I'll give you the titles and the concepts and characters, because I think alot of it is gonna blow people's minds.