Sunday, March 27, 2011

An open letter to comics fans regarding Rob Granito and others like him

Above: Rob Granito's version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Below: the original Art Adams illustration from which it was swiped.

I posted this as a note on facebook earlier today -- it seemed worthy of reposting here on my blog.


Dear comics fans,

You've likely noticed the fuss this week over a certain Rob Granito, a plagiarist who has been making the rounds of comic conventions for several years, selling prints that are slightly altered copies of works by other cartoonists or photographers. His resume is full of lies and, at best, half truths. See this:

And yet, he's been selling these prints and "paintings" to fans, and seemingly making some real money in the process -- at least enough to hire an armed bodyguard to sit with him at shows (I'm not kidding about this -- it's documented).

Now the real blame for Rob lies with Rob. He's either self-deluded or too stupid to know what he's been doing is wrong -- or he's simply a liar and thief who doesn't care.

A little bit of blame has to go to the conventions who've been letting Rob (and others like him) set up to sell their fraudulent wares -- and that's a serious subject that needs to be dealt with, but I'm not to going to focus on that here. I'll let others fight that fight.

But the Rob Granitos of the world wouldn't be scamming people with their fake art if people weren't lining up to be scammed. Now I'm not blaming the victims here -- but I do have some suggestions that could help you to not be a victim.

If you love comics, take the time to learn more about the artists who create them. It's easier now that ever. A quick search on the web turns up this great comic book artist hall of fame: -- if you claim to love comics, you should know all these artists. Anyone who loves comic art will be thrilled by these images.

If you want to discover more current creators, then try the Drawn blog: (be sure to check out the work of twin brothers Asaf and Tomer Hanuka -- great drawing!).

If you're more drawn to characters than just comic art in general -- say you're a Batman fan -- then take the time to discover who created the Batman imagery you like best. You could start here: (though why Bruce Timm and Frank Robbins aren't on this list, I have no idea). If you discover that Bruce Timm is the "Batman guy" you like best, and you familiarize yourself with his work -- then maybe, when you see rip-off artists copying his drawings and trying to sell them at cons (as Granito has done), you can know enough to say no thanks. That way you won't be taken advantage of, and you won't be supporting the work of a plagiarist.

Guys like Rob depend on the fact that their customers are not educated enough to know their swiped artwork from the real thing. Don't let these goons steal from you and treat you like a "mark." Educate yourself -- delve deeper into the world of comics -- there iswonderful stuff to discover and you'll be all the richer for it. Studying comics history isn't painful. If you really love comics it's a joy. Do you know Hal Foster, Alex Raymond or Roy Crane? If not, I envy you the joy of discovery -- look them up!

And next time you're at a con, how about looking at the work of new up-and-coming artists? I've been teaching in the comics program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for some time now, and have had some remarkably talented young artists in my classes. Some are still in the Twin Cities area and will be at the upcoming Spring Con: Take a look at the work of a few of them, will you?

Evan Palmer:

Maddie Queripel:

Bart King:

Sean Lynch:

Anna Bongiovanni:

Renny Kissling:

Tuo Vue:

There are so many more I could list -- all them them talented, sincere, original -- and far more worthy of the attention of comics fans than a hundred Rob Granitos. Don't hand your hard earned money over to the rip-off artists -- instead, I beg you to support the honest work of these (and many other) cartoonists who wouldn't dream of stealing from other artists or you -- because they are too busy putting their own dreams on paper.

All the movie promo, costumes, gaming and such that have flooded comic convention in recent years can be fun -- but, please remember this all started with the comics -- and those comics were all created by talented, hard-working, dedicated artists spending long hours putting ink on paper to create all those characters and stories that you love. Batman is just a fictional character -- but the artists who draw his adventures are real people -- many of whom are in the same "artists alleys" at comic cons as the Granitos of the world, and would be happy to draw a legitimate (as opposed to Rob's now notorious "legitomite") Batman sketch for you.

Don't be a mark for con artists, please. Support the real artists -- long-time pros and fresh new faces -- who create their own work with passion, honesty and skill. The world of comics will be much better without scam artists. Do your part to make them go away.


Terry Beatty

PS: Please feel free to copy and repost this anywhere you like -- thanks.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pins and Pinups: Memory Lanes in Minneapolis Sat. March 26

I'll be one of the artist guests for this event this Saturday night at Minneapolis' Memory Lanes. There will be burlesque performances, rockabilly music, bowling, beer and lots of art and comics from me. Admission is free -- though the bowling, art, comics and beer will cost you.

I put together a collection of prints of pin-up and pulp themed prints of my work to sell at the show -- you can see some previews below. All will be signed and available in limited numbers at the show. I may be offering them elsewhere later, so if you can't attend, you can still have a shot at getting them.

Some of the prints are digitally enhanced pieces based on pencil drawings of live models -- some of them the very burlesque performers you might be seeing at this show. Some of these, I can't show here, as they are a little too revealing.

Others are illustration work, taken directly from the original drawings and paintings -- these include the Johnny Dynamite pencil prelim for the tpb cover painting, the cover illo for the Mickey Spillane anthology, Tomorrow We Kill and the cover of the Ms. Tree novel, Deadly Beloved.

I'm also considering doing a similarly themed sketchbook, which would feature some of the same images -- though in black and white, not the color of these hi-res prints.

I'll have copies of the Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave comic book, Scary Monsters magazine and Batman comics, all featuring my work -- as well as a small selection of original art. If you're in the Twin Cities area, please come by. This should be a wonderfully entertaining evening!

Doors at 9PM, show at 10PM. 21+ For more info:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Commission time!

About a month ago, I took on a small batch of commissions. I had set aside an entire weekend to work on them, and had planned to stick to the drawing board until they were done -- and then get back to my regular comic book and illustration work when Monday rolled around.

Of course, things do not always go as planned. About an hour into working on these I felt a tickle in my throat -- started to cough a little -- and an hour later was suffering one of the worst colds (or flu bugs -- or allergy attacks -- who knows?) I'd ever had. I spent the rest of the weekend curled up under a blanket on the couch, hoping I'd die soon and get it over with. The cough hung on for weeks.

So -- the commissions lingered, as I had to get back to my regular work. But I'd find a little time here or there to work on them -- and finally finished these today. Now of course, I have to make time to pack them up and send them -- and as busy as I am, that's trickier than it sounds.

And then I need tackle the last one -- which I haven't started yet! I will draw it, Richard -- I will!

But let's have a look at the ones that are finished -- starting with Daredevil and the Black Widow.

Here's a more elaborate piece than usual -- as the client wanted the character running through a swamp at night -- it's Marvel monster Werewolf by Night.

The Golden Age Phantom Lady and her flowing locks! How much time does she spending curling her hair, I wonder?

I've often been commissioned to draw Golden Age DC characters -- particularly members of the Justice Society of America -- so here, one more time, are Dr. Mid-Nite and Hourman.

I do enjoy doing these -- and wish my schedule allowed for more right now -- but I need to spend the rest of this month finishing up (as much as possible) my pages for Return to Perdition. So if seeing these has you wanting to hire me to draw your favorite character(s) -- I'm happy to do so (for my standard fee) -- but it'll be a little while before I can take any orders. So hold that thought and get back to me in 30 days or so, OK? Thanks!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

School days and a yard sale tale

Today's post is for my old classmates who follow my blog. The rest of you are welcome to read on, of course, though it won't mean as much to you as it will to them.

Growing up in a small town means that you go through the whole school experience with the same small bunch of kids. In my case, Muscatine, Iowa had several grade schools, two junior highs, and one high school. So, while you may have started out in different schools, you eventually got to know all the other kids your age by the time high school rolled around. This was my crowd from Jefferson Grade School. I know the teacher is Miss Douglas. I think this is fifth grade, 1969 -- maybe it's fourth grade -- I'm not 100% certain. (Note: I'm told by a fellow Jefferson student that it was fourth grade -- so 1968, not '69) (Note: years later my daughter attended the same grade school.)

The actual photo is in a folder with a key to the students written in my own grade school cursive scrawl. Here's the rundown.

Front row (L to R): Kimberly Ritz, Sheila Cozad, Roxanne Schram, Rachel (no name noted -- and I don't recall it -- or her!), Doreen Knox, Wm. Ravenscraft

2nd row: Miss Douglas, Greg Allison, Mike Woodworth, me, Coleen Rickey, Ricky Bluhm

3rd row: Shawn Carter, Mike Munday, Lorie Cozad, Mike Miller, Deb England

4th row: Katherine Ash, Jeffrey Elder, Stephen Draves, Ross Nelson, Rodney Swailes, Gregg LaRue.

I haven't kept in touch with anyone from this group. It seems most of my closest friends were made in junior high and high school -- my friend, Kerry Grady, was either in the other 5th grade class at Jefferson, or had moved across town by this point -- my memory is shaky on some of these matters. But I remember most of these kids fondly and very well, and have seen a few at class reunions over the years.

When I moved to the Twin Cities, I had a little contact with Mike Munday, who was (is?) also living in the area. Mike was born a few days before me, in the same hospital, and we were in the nursery together, our mothers roommates for a few days, so he's the first one of these kids that I met -- though I really have no recall of that! He also lived just up the street from me -- and back then he and his older brother had a nice collection of built up (all unpainted) Aurora model kits. Are you still out there, Mike?

Oddly, I have almost no memory of the students standing on either side of me, or the girl in front of me. I do recall that this was the first teacher of mine that I didn't like (sorry, Miss Douglas, wherever you are).

Looking at this brings back a lot of fun memories, but it's also bittersweet, as two of these kids didn't live long enough to make it to high school with the rest of us. Greg Allison and Ross Nelson (the later of whom I counted as my best friend at the time of this photo) died way too young.

Greg was a troubled young man - a friend who, for reasons I can't fathom, turned into a nasty bully by junior high -- and then, tragically, bought his own ticket out of this world. I won't speculate on the why of it all -- I just regret things went that way for him.

Ross had moved away before we got to junior high -- to Burlington, Iowa -- not that far a drive by car -- but for a grade school kid, a world away. I lost contact after the move, and a few years later I heard he'd died of a heart attack on the field during track practice. I didn't attend the visitation or funeral, as my parents thought it would be too upsetting for me (and it would have been) -- but I always had trouble wrapping my head around the fact that he was really gone. Moving away is one thing. Dying is another.

On my last day in Muscatine, moving van already packed for the trip to Minneapolis, I spent some time just driving around the town -- wandering from neighborhood to neighborhood. I'd lived there for 45 years and wanted to take one long last look at the place. Much of what I'd loved about the town was gone by then (my newsstand, hobby shop, downtown movie theater, junior high school, the drive in theater, etc.), but the neighborhoods still looked the same as always, and the drive brought back a lot of memories.

I also stopped at a yard sale. Of course, I always stop at yard sales -- one never knows what baby boomer-era (or earlier) treasure might be found. And I've found more than a few.

In this case, the sale was in a neighborhood well off the beaten path -- not a place I'd usually drive by -- but I was giving the town a thorough look, so here I was. Most of the stuff was the usual yard sale fare -- that is to say, clothes and junk -- but I did find one prize. In a stack of books, here was the 1969 Whitman Mission: Impossible hardcover. Cool! Whitman's illustrated juvenile TV series adaptations were something I'd long collected -- the Alex Toth illustrated Maverick volume being my favorite of the batch -- and I was glad to add this to my collection for a quarter. I quickly handed my twenty-five cents to the older fellow taking the money, thanked him, and was on my way, tucking the book away to look at later.

The next day was the big move -- and unpacking the truck on arrival in Minneapolis. It was some time later -- loading up a bookshelf with unpacked books, when I actually got around to cracking open the Mission: Impossible book to take a better look at it. When I did, I saw on the inside front cover, written in a child's hand, the signature of my old friend, Ross Nelson.

You tell me -- was that a coincidence -- or an old classmate saying hello -- or goodbye? Thanks for the book, pal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's time for another Scary Monsters magazine cover. I just delivered this image for the wraparound cover of #78. This is the first cover I've done that is entirely digital. The drawing was done with the pen tools in Manga Studio and the color added in Photoshop. That's all for now!