Entries in hack (1)


Who Watches the Weichmen?

forewarning: all of my commentary below is opinion, albeit with lots of facts mixed in. There, I'm now indemnified.

I can be a prick sometimes. I fully acknowledge and accept this.

However, my definition of prick is someone who doesn’t sit quietly while a load of bullshit is dumped at their feet and told “this is brilliance, enjoy!”. Generally, when someone is obnoxiously pushing people to believe they're the coolest cat with a heart of steel, I know enough to call them on it.

Anyway this is going to be one of those times and one of those posts of calling someone on something, so if you’re sensitive and think this qualifies as bullying…well, you’ve never met a chap by the name of Graig F. Weich.

Graig is a purported comic professional (at least according to him, though he's produced three comic books in something like twelve years) and he has a resume that’s six pages long, and most important, he’s the greatest and most versatile creator since Leonardo Da Vinci.

Now I write this post knowing full well that I’m doing several things: delaying a trip to the gym, taking an hour or so away from writing a first draft of a spec script that needs to be finished by the end of the month, and, most importantly, wasting time.

The analogy I’ve used about bringing some of the stuff that’s coming up to Graig’s attention is that it’s like playing chess against a pigeon. Yeah, I’ll dominate with a series of moves to make Kasparov jealous, but at the end of the day, what’s the point? The pigeon won’t care. He’ll just strut back and forth across the board, knocking over chess pieces and taking shits randomly.

All of this is known and acknowledged, but I can’t keep my mouth shut on this. Sorry.

I met Graig in college. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this up right now because I would know fuck-all about him and wouldn’t give a shit. He really isn't worth the time....and yet somehow I'm writing this. Go figure.

Graig was the consummate fanboy, more concerned with getting autographs from some of our more famous teachers than, say, absorbing lessons on improving his work.

This is the guy who presented Joe Orlando, at the time a fucking senior VP at DC Comics, with three pages of comic art he plagiarized from John Byrne’s Man of Steel mini-series (the issue where Batman chases the thug down an alley; Graig claimed it wasn’t plagiarism since he changed the thug, Bull, into the Joker) and pitched a fit when he was exposed.

Let’s get this one out of the way, since it’s his biggest claim to fame.

On varying websites (his own and others where he posts with a host of pseudonyms), you’ll see a variation of:

Graig Weich was the featured poster artist for Todd Mcfarlane's Spawn 

 So yes, there’s a double page spread in Spawn 30 by him. However…

A)   He drew that long before as a fan piece;

B)   He submitted it to Image comics because, if memory serves, at the time they were running fan art in every issue. Stuff by kids, mostly, but anyone could submit something, which was chosen either by Todd McFarlane or someone on his staff

This, then, is not professional work. You can say first work published in a comic, sure.

But ‘featured poster artist’ implies that this was work for hire. And it wasn’t. No money changed hands. I know this because we were both sophomores at the School of Visual Arts in 1994, when this whole thing went down. He showed up in class with a letter from McFarlane’s studio that his Spawn-Angela drawing had been selected to appear in an upcoming issue.

Now far be it from me to shit on someone’s ice cream cake. It’s pretty cool to get your work featured anywhere if you’re an artist.

But for fuck’s sake, that was eighteen years ago.

That can’t really be the peak of his life, right? It’s like Danny Bonaduce running around going “I WAS ON THE MOTHERFUCKING PARTRIDGE FAMILY” forty years later, and when asked what he’s done since, mumbles something about reality television and every drug known to man.

So what’s Graig done since? Well, I know he’s been pushing a couple of comics initiatives since at least 2002 (and produced a grand total of two comics, kind of sad for a guy who loves the medium so much), including a sickening twist that the villains in his Civilian Justice destroyed the World Trade Center in an effort to recover an ancient artifact.

Take a minute and let that sink in. A year after September 11th, this guy uses the building’s destruction as a comic book plot involving aliens and David Prowse.

Fuck. This. Shit. I need a minute here.

All right. Deep breath. Well. Let’s just catch up on what Graig has been up to in the last ten years by taking a look at his resume.

Holy shit this thing is long.

Ah, okay. I see. Part of the problem is that he considers an appearance on a television show ‘employment’.

Calling in to the Howard Stern show and proclaiming “I drew something that was in Spawn!” is nice, but it’s not employment. (What I wanna know is why does the video only have his end of the conversation and not Howard’s response? Did he get laughed at and hung up on?)

Nine times out of nine, it seems the only objective Graig has is to get someone famous to say his name while being recorded, at which point it’s off to Final Cut Pro to make it look like something important, rather than a chance encounter.

There’s also listed on the resume this tidbit:

Batman: Forever, the Movie

Now I remember this bit from our first month back for senior year. He hung this piece of art in the media rooms and called himself the ‘official poster artist for Batman Forever’, which led to this conversation between him and I outside of our portfolio class:

Me: Did Warner Brothers hire you to do that?

Graig: I drew the poster, yeah.

Me: But did Warner Brothers hire you? They paid you?

Graig: What does that matter?

Me: Because you’re lying. You’re not the official poster artist of the movie if they didn’t pay you for it. I’m sure their legal department would like to know you’re passing yourself off as such….

So now, he modified it to as the more likely bit of truth:

The United Artist movie theater in Times Square hired me to do Promotional BatMan Artwork

Well, still really dubious, and unless he’s got tax returns or receipts from them to prove the claim, probably bullshit.

Hmmm. Now here’s something that shows up both on his resume and on his bio page:

Our CEO, Graig F. Weich of Beyond Comics was interviewed on 20/20 ABC News MTV & FOX for his New SuperHeroes: "Ravedactyl" (coming soon) & “Code Name: Justice" (formally Civilian Justice)

Fact check time:

So was he really interviewed by 20/20? Yes.

But was it in reference to his ‘new SuperHeroes’?

According to the accompanying story on ABC’s 20/20 website regarding this episode in particular….not so much.

The episode title was "Food: Myths, Lies and Straight Talk

Hmmm…that sounds suspiciously non-comics related.

"20/20" picked a random couple and asked if they'd ever had a bad experience in a restaurant or thought they'd ever gotten food poisoning. Their answer? Yes.

"I had probably the worst 48 hours of food poisoning in my life, to the point where I thought it was over. I said, 'That's it. My life is officially going to end any moment now,' " said Graig Weich.

Despite the horrible experience, Weich seemed resigned to the thought that there's a food-poisoning threat lurking in all restaurants. "The truth of the matter is, is that no matter how nice a restaurant is, you don't know what's going on in the kitchen," he said.

Uh oh. That’s not comic-related at all. But let’s keep reading.

But what about our own kitchens? Nealon agreed to look at Weich and his girlfriend, Liga's, kitchen.

The peanut brittle they had left out was not a good idea. It's an invitation to bugs, Nealon said. He suggests putting food in a vermin-proof container after it's been removed from its original packaging.

He also noticed Weich's microwave oven smelled a little funky. "When in doubt, throw it out," Nealon advises.

Kitchen sponges, it turns out, are the No. 1 cause of food poisoning in the home.

Watching the full video and interview, it’s more about the mess in his kitchen than his ‘new SuperHeroes’. Actually, it’s not about them at all. Just a bit of advice on keeping a clean kitchen.

Back in February, New York 1 news stopped me as I passed the World Trade Center site to ask me about problems the leasing agency was having getting tenants to commit to the new Freedom Tower. For the rest of the morning my face would pop up every twenty minutes or so answering the questions asked. I didn’t realize that qualified as work experience. I’ll update my resume.

And from the same page:

Weich’s comic goes to #1!

What in the ever lovin’ fuck does that even mean? Number one what? I guess it’s easy to make bold claims when you keep it vague and don’t need to worry about backing it up.

But hold on, we have some updated news!!!

"Graig Weich gets cast in the Dark Knight Rises 3rd Batman film!!!"

This is the full cast listing for The Dark Knight Rises on IMDB. Go take a look and let me know when you find the name ‘Graig Weich’. I’ll be here when you get back.

Back? So soon?

Okay, how’d you do?

What?? There’s no listing for him? That’s not possible, it says “cast in the Dark Knight Rises”. A casting means his agent got him a part, which would lead to a credit in the film.

It can’t be a case of being cast as an extra, one of the hundreds involved in the cops versus criminals clash on Wall Street at the end and it’s being played up as something that it isn’t. I don’t believe it. Nobody would do that—

Wait, his resume says “Spider-Man 1 and 3: Appearing in the feature film by Columbia-Sony Pictures making a cameo principal-lead speaking role”?

Spider-Man the Sam Raimi movie?

Well, okay….there he is in the crowd when Uncle Ben is found dying outside the New York Public Library….but he doesn’t say anything. There’s no speaking role. And never mind the fact that you can’t be both a ‘cameo’ and a principal-lead speaking role’.

Hugh Jackman was a principal-lead in all three X-Men movies. He had a two word cameo in X-Men: First Class. There’s a difference.

And looking at the credits on IMDB again….nope, no sign of his name.

This can’t be yet another case of being an extra and pushing it as something more, can it?

I mean, that’s just dishonest. Unethical. Would Superman lie like this? More importantly....What Would Batman Do?

Hey, look, he appeared on Buried Treasure and was crushed to learn that the copies of comics he owns (including Amazing Fantasy 15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk 1, etc) are not worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars he thought they would be because they’re not in great condition. Wait, he pitched a fit when he found out that a Max Fleischer Superman animation cel would only get him $58,000 (rather than the hundreds of thousands he expected) and cut the video to make it look like there was a ‘final offer’ of one hundred thousand dollars? Really?

Graig can manipulate the video all he likes (including overlaying an image of one of his characters over his wife during the Buried Treasure segment, but also digitally adding scenes of Kevin Smith nodding his head during the Comic Book men segment), but the original video tells the truth. Kevin Smith wasn’t in the shop, and his wife was on the show when it aired. And I'm going out on a limb and guessing he had some variation of a forgery when he proclaimed he was offered $100K by Metropolis Collectibles for the Superman cel.

What’s really great, and what, to me, caps his hypocritical bullshit off with a smile, is the fact that his animation cel, the Max Fleischer animation cel he took forever to track down (and serious kudos to him for doing that) and obtain, the thing that inspired him to go into comics….is something he was willing to go try selling to Nic Cage for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Once he realizes that avenue is closed and he’s not going to get more than fifty-eight grand, well, suddenly it’s a sentimental thing and he can’t part with it.

Even better, he shows up on Comic Book Men a few weeks later, carrying both the 'sentimental animation cel' and an offer made by Metropolis Collectibles, trying to sell it to Jay Mewes' shop.

Just how sentimental is this damned thing, anyway?

The odd thing is that Liga (his wife, also known as rectangular piece of art covering her up when he’s asking if he should sell his Superman cel) says flat out at the start of the Buried Treasure episode they need money to move into a bigger place. He probably convinced her they could retire on what they sold his collection of stuff for beforehand.

But hey, if you want help out a guy who’s down on his luck, buy a signed copy (or more than ten, anyway) of Gekido versus Code Name Justice (even though it sold out at San Diego Comic Con….wait, what? It sold out but there are more than ten copies….my head hurts), by going here. Just so long as you don’t mind spending eight bucks on the comic and twice that on shipping (what the ever loving fuck? How is it being shipped?).

Then again, I can ask what kind of schizophrenia is involved when the seller (rdactyl1, which is clearly Graig) is writing in the comments


I am selling my friend's Art work for him, Here is what he said:

Tip for you, Graig: use a different selling alias. Something not identifiable with one of your characters. Gives you a bit more credibility.

Look, I’m a writer. I deal with people for whom bullshit flows freely. I was born in Brooklyn. I grew up with bullshit artists. I can spot it a mile away.

Telling an interviewer

I began working out overtime; I lost 24 pounds for the role actually

when you’re an extra?

Yeah, I don’t think so.

I feel genuinely bad for some of these guys that interview him that don’t realize they’re being spun.

If he’d come out proclaiming “Hey, this is so cool, I was an extra in Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises, and I made it into the final cut”, sure, that is definitely cool.

Shit, I was an extra in an ultra low budget direct-to-DVD flick called Quarter Life Crisis and I’m not pitching it as anything other than sixteen seconds of screen time.

Nor am I carrying on about being a ‘featured lead actor’ in a documentary on the New York Rangers winning the ’94 Stanley Cup because yeah it’s kind of cool, but at the end of the day it’s just a cool little thing. It’s not the end-all be-all.

And I'm sure as shit not editing these videos together and manipulating entertainment news videos to portray myself as the lead in a movie where I have five seconds of screen time.

But maybe that’s the problem. When your life is one big tall tale pile of bullshit stories about non-disclosure contracts and not-so-skillfully avoiding an honest answer to a question, like this:

GPX: I also hear that filming is taking place all over the world. How far did you have to travel for these parts?

GW: A lot of people did have to travel in but since I am a 5th generation native New Yorker, I thought I didn't hace to travel to far

You didn’t travel far because you were an extra called for a shoot in New York. Instead of saying that, it’s got to be a big production to protect the lie. Ugh.

Maybe this is really as good as life gets for him. Maybe all of the delusions, all of the regressed mentality stuff have made something snap.  

Oh well. Enough of this. The pigeon is in checkmate. I eagerly await his counter move* while I go off and have a life.

cooo cooo cooo <knock over bishop to rooks three, plop plop plop>


* Many years ago, in the web 1.0 days, I posted a few less-than-flattering stories about Graig from our days in college. A year later, I got a cease and desist letter demanding the comments be removed. I was planning on fighting it until the site owner told me he was planning on closing the site down anyway due to lack of traffic, so I let it go.

Just a heads up, Graig: this is never coming down. Ever.