(Needless to say, this is also why I expect strange looks from people when I tell them I made a movie and I do comic books. After all, the movie didn't sell and the comics aren't available in stores. They have nothing other than my word that I did that stuff. I don't blame people for going, "Naaaaaah! You're fucking with me!")
The professional comic book community is very tightly knit. This is why you have to be careful. The smaller the pond, the more effect even the tiniest ripples have. This is why I don't bug editors. This is also why, when I write something here, in print where anyone can see it, I make sure it's an opinion I will stand behind. If I'm going to pay for my beliefs, I want to make sure there's no ambiguity to my point of view. I'll gladly take honest hatred.
Being in the trenches as long as I have breeds a lot of resentment. Dammit, I have talent! I can hit deadlines! Why am I not getting anywhere?!? It's tougher to break into than people think, having been told stories of people with raw talent who impressed the right people and suddenly started working in the industry they love. As Huey Lewis sang in Oliver And Company, "If they pick you out, you're on your way to a happily ever after that never ends" (yeah, I know, a never ending happily ever after is kind of redundant). All those success stories don't tell you of the bad jobs they took to get their foot in the door. Or how long they kept at it. Or how being friends with someone who already made it was what got them in. Or how much they had to spend on agent fees or whatever to get there. The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams goes around the world, and everyone's house is just off of it.
So, you have people who engage in that old chestnut of human behavior, embellishing their resume. Jim Shooter did this when he launched Defiant, and was immediately hammered by the comic pro community for his revisionist history. But such easily disprovable lying doesn't usually happen with the big names. Usually, its the smaller ones, the ones who are stuck with us in the trenches and aren't sure they are ever going to climb out of them. There was a furry artist who claimed he was the actual creator of Lola Bunny in Space Jam and actually worked at Warner Bros. Then other animators found out and revealed he just did some character sketches based on an already existing design from the real creator (he kept this up until Warner Bros. had their lawyers have a chat with him). In the small press world, there are hundreds of stories conflicting over who created what (another reason I'm glad I taught myself to draw my own stuff. I don't have to worry about that crap). And people who will brag about professional credits they never had. They just lie a little bit, just so that people won't think they are idiots for pursuing their lofty dreams for so many years and having so little to show for it. I quote Chris Rock -- I'm not saying they shoulda done it...but I understand....
There's a fellow by the name of Rob Granito. He's been a guest of honor recently at Wizard World Toronto. He's a big enough name to get guest of honor status at several cons (which usually means discounted or free table space and some perks and comps).
But then someone noticed his art pieces he was showing off looked very...unoriginal.
Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool contacted him for his credits. Granito's response?
"Yes I am currently working iwth Jay Diddilo on a batman title that has not yet been released. I’ve worked on dozens of books the shaddow of the bat being the batman title I was on for about 4 weeks. Most of my work has been covers though. The current took deals with a bit more of the history of the “batman” then his current exploits though."
That was the first point where my little red choo-choo done jumped the tracks. Who the hell is Jay Diddilo?!? (The guy in charge of DC is Dan Didio.) There is NO ONE at DC named Jay Diddilo, not even the guy who brings the doughnuts. I know this, and I'm just some outsider. You can bet Rich Johnston knew it. So he wrote him back, asking what issues and who was Jay Diddilo. The response?
"Jay is one of the big Writters for DC I probbibaly spelled his name rite, covers range from the Shaddow of the bat issues 12-25, teen titans 1-7, Spiderman I did a butt load I dont know the numbers, for Iron Man the same. For the Animated batman series 1092-1995."
The Shadow Of The Bat covers were by Brian Stelfreeze. The Teen Titans covers were by Dan Jurgens and George Perez. The response?
"I did mix work, fill in work and was a ghost artist for most of the projects I did, Iron man was for Marvel Multi Media as was Spiderman, Batman the Animated was under the WB Studio."
Johnston decided to contact Jurgens and Perez. They denied this. Johnston asked Granito about it. No further communication.
Oh, and another blog covering the story got this comment posted to the thread...
"No he is legitomite i was a DC Assistant Editor until a year ago and we used Rob as a ghost artist on a number of books we used he is well known on the “insiders” level of the industry and did alot of promotion art for DC and Marvel dont believbe rumors i worked at DC as an art director for 6-7 years and we used Rob alot he is legit"
The reason this is so interesting is there is a major comic convention going on in Orlando this weekend, MegaCon, and Granito is one of the guests of honor.
In a flash, a Facebook group was founded to out Granito. Many pros stepped forward about his art theft. Ethan Van Sciver, a guy who really has no personal sense of shame, went up to him and said hi yesterday, and it was epic.
Today's lesson? If you're going to lie, don't lie about shit they can check up on!