Brian Bolland and his Chicago real estate lawyer

This morning I found yet another email from comic book artist Brian Bolland concerning the whole issue surrounding my blog post over two months ago about a sketch he did at the 2007 New York City Comic Con. The email basically contradicts everything he has said about this matter up until now. He is now saying that the before mentioned Chicago real estate lawyer is his lawyer – even though he said prior that he was not.

This is what he originally told me about the lawyer:

The guy you refer to is A lawyer (apparently a Chicago lawyer) but he is not MY lawyer. I’m not employing anyone. He’s a friend and a comic fan.

Brian Bolland
3 May 2007

That seemed pretty clear to me. The Chicago real estate lawyer who represented himself as Mr. Bolland’s lawyer not only to me but to my hosting provider was in fact not his lawyer. Mr. Bolland even made the word “my” in uppercase letters. I took that to mean he was super serious about it.

Evidently not.

In his most recent email to me, he now sings a very different tune. He says this:

Mr. Caira was duly authorized to represent me in this matter. Although he is not my regular attorney, in this case and for this specific circumstance, he was acting as my representative.

Brian Bolland
4 May 2007

That just reeks of lawyer speak. As though a Chicago real estate lawyer wrote those words and told Bolland to send them. He also went on to state IN CAPITAL LETTERS that he wanted the entire letter posted anywhere on my blog where I wrote about this whole mess. That’s something I’m just not willing to do. Much of the letter contains facts that I know to be false and untrue.

I don’t put stuff on my blog that I know isn’t true.

My patience has run out.

The truth is I wrote a negative comment about a piece of art that Brian Bolland was paid $150 to do. The man is a professional artist. He ought to be willing to accept just a little bit of negative criticism every once in a while. He certainly seems more then willing to receive praise and admiration. If an artist is willing to be praised, he ought to be willing to be criticized as well. Especially if he deserves it. Otherwise said artist comes off looking like a thin skinned primadonna. He himself said that the art “was a pretty meagre drawing for the money“. He also admitted that he “shafted” the guy that commissioned the art. I’m then supposed to believe that I went too far when I wrote that he “ripped off” that same buyer? Not hardly.

I’m tired of getting lied to. Chicago real estate lawyer first told me that he was just a friend of Bolland’s and that Bollard didn’t ask him to do anything. He stated that he was not acting on Bolland’s direction. When I refused to post links to eight (8) images of better looking sketches Bolland did at the same 2007 New York City Comicon, he changed his story and claimed to be Bolland’s lawyer. He then sent me the secret confidential Cease and Desist letter that I supposedly cannot show anyone. He also sent an email to my hosting provider and demanded that my site be taken down.

Chicago real estate lawyer emailed my hosting provider and said:

It is critical that this site and the offending content be removed before my client is damaged and my privacy rights are violated any further.

The “privacy rights” he speaks of refers to things like his name, law office telephone number, and his law office fax machine number. Chicago real estate lawyer also went on to say:

Being that this is content in violation of the law I am notifying you of this situation before it moves to formal litigation in order to give you an opportunity to shut the site down before further damage is done to the name and reputation of Mr. Bolland by these scurrilous accusations.

Scurrilous accusations? They like to contend that by stating that Mr. Bolland “ripped off” the fan by drawing the “meagre” looking (his own description) sketch, people would immediately jump to the conclusion that Brian Bolland is some kind of wanted criminal. Give me a break. They were merely looking for any kind of excuse to silence negative criticism.

He threatened to sue my hosting provider unless my website was shutdown. Chicago real estate lawyer claims to have never said this. I think he was under the impression that my hosting provider wasn’t going to share the email with me. If that’s the case, he was wrong.

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that if Chicago real estate lawyer was indeed representing Bolland in these matters, Bolland cannot make the claim that he did not try to get my website shut down. I was more then willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when he told me that Chicago real estate lawyer was not his lawyer and that he didn’t ask him to do any of this.

Why would Bolland change his position on this? Most likely to protect Chicago real estate lawyer. Evidently Chicago real estate lawyer shows up at any comic book con in the United States that Bolland makes an appearance. He helps him by running the lines and managing the sketch list. He fetches food for him to eat and beverages for him to drink.

You know, real lawyer-type stuff.

Yesterday a couple of people in the comment section of my blog brought up the idea that Chicago real estate lawyer could be in trouble with the Illinois State Bar for claiming to represent a client when in fact he doesn’t.

I’m fairly certain Chicago real estate lawyer read those comments.

Not that I planned on perusing any type of complaint against Chicago real estate lawyer with the Illinois State Bar. I’m not a snitch.

I'm originally from southern California, but western Maryland is my home now. This is my blog. It's where I write about whatever I feel like writing about, when I feel like writing.

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37 thoughts on “Brian Bolland and his Chicago real estate lawyer”

  1. When I read the initial post, I just laughed it off as some jerk spending way too much for a simple little sketch. Now, thanks to his horrible handling of this situation, I have reason to believe Bolland is not a man of dignity. I won’t be supporting his endeavors in the future.

  2. DJ makes a very valid point. I’m not big on comics. I love those that I grew up on and love seeing them come to the big screen. Past that I don’t know much about them or the particular artists. The way this whole situation has been handled by Mr. Bolland and his on again off again lawyer has really soured me toward him and his work. The fact that they are making such an issue over one person’s opinion and a bit of negative criticism is just silly. I am also pretty damn sure that they don’t have a case. And as for a confidential C&D letter….there ain’t no such thing. He sends you a letter, that is your letter. He has no right to force you to keep is secret nor does he have any reasonable expectation that you will keep such a letter confidential. It is your property once you receive it.

    It seems to me the very thing they were trying to avoid with all of this is exactly what they have created. They have created a negative PR mess that I don’t see any way out of. One created by their actions rather than yours.

  3. Some lawyers have been known to assert that their communications, such as cease and desist letters, are copyrighted. While it doesn’t seem like it would hold up in court, I’m sure there’s some good intimidation value to the tactic.

  4. Rick

    One thing seems absolutely clear to me. It’s this: Either you’re terribly upset at the way you’ve been treated, so much so that you want to keep going on about it, in which case we can discuss it man to man and iron out the misunderstandings between us (by phone if you like) so neither you nor I are upset anymore OR you’re enjoying the controversy because it keeps people coming to your website. The latter seems likely to me partly because my email to you containing the whole story doesn’t seem to have showed up in the blog when I posted it. (Did someone mention free speech earlier?)

    My initial qualms about your site remain. Namely that the headlines in bold type, some of which contain untruths, predetermine the opinion of the debate even when, further down the page, others (when they’re allowed on) disagree.

    Let’s be grown up about this Rick. Drop me another email. Send me your phone number if you like and I’ll give you a call.

    –Brian

    ——————————————–

    PS Here again is my original email which I sent privately to Rick in response to one he sent me (out of which he took at least one comment and used it out of context):

    Hello Rick

    I’m glad you got in touch.

    I came across your “Bolland rips off fan etc.” link in Google while I was searching for the new website a local guy was making for me. I’m not used to derogatory remarks about myself so publically displayed so my feathers were a bit ruffled, but, I thought, people have the right to say what they want. I agree with you, It was a pretty meagre drawing for the money and I’m embarrassed to have it displayed so prominently. I vaguely remember doing it during that long day in New York. People ask for all kinds of strange things. Brian Cristman (was that his name) came with the reference for the Silver Age Batwoman. It was hard for me to do (not just a doodle) because I don’t normally draw in a Bob Kane style but I had a go – and failed. I’d been advised about the amounts I should charge for a head shot, a half figure and a full figure by artwork dealer Spencer Beck prior to San Diego Comicon 2006 and during that event and through the New York event everyone knew the rates before they lined up and asked for a drawing. There was a continuous flow of fans both times. If I was overcharging people would have stopped coming. As someone pointed out I didn’t hold a gun to Brian’s head to make him pay up. I suppose, though, it would have been awkward for him to say “Actually, it isn’t worth the money” – BUT, he was within his rights to do so and I would have respected his decision. In fact, if I see him again I’ll make it right with him. This isn’t, however, an opportunity for the floodgates to open.

    I’m curious how the drawing ended up on your blog and who, exactly was so keen to hold my nefarious deed up to the public spotlight. I used to go anonymously on a forum a couple of years back and it was common for people to respond to a point with “EAT SHIT AND DIE FUCKING COCKSUCKER!” so this was very mild by comparison. It was only the “Bolland RIPS OFF etc.” line, immediately under the first line there in Google that seemed to be set in stone and made me feel uncomfortable. But, what the heck, it’s free speech.

    Then Spencer Beck rang me and told me how upset he and Chris Caira were about what people were saying about me on the net. He gave the impression that the abuse was hotting up to the point of being libelous. I said: Aww, let it go. Chris Caira is a fan of mine. He’s bought some of my artwork and when I turn up at a US con he sits at my table and organizes the line and makes lists of sketches and so forth. Apparently he’s a lawyer. Over the phone Spencer said that Chris (with his legal skills) would like my permission to put pressure on you to tone down your rhetoric, especially with regards to the “Bolland RIPS OFF” line. I hadn’t looked at your blog since my first two replies but now I got the impression there was serious character assassination going on. I thought “what do I know about the way they do things in America?”. So I said “Okay”. That was a mistake. We should have dropped it. What happened after that seems to have been hysterically blown out of all proportion. Now there’s a new headline “BOLLAND IS TRYING TO CLOSE DOWN MY BLOG” and it’s assumed that a guy (me) who’s “wealthy enough to employ an expensive Chicago law firm” to try to close you down and “shamefully” stifle free speech is also taking a poor innocent fan for 150 bucks. Well, I don’t recognize myself in any of this.

    I’m not trying to close you down. Apparently Chris contacted your web server and that threat came from them. The “BOLLAND IS TRYING TO CLOSE DOWN MY BLOG” headline is untrue. Now I’ve told Chris to back off (he was heavy handed but he was acting in what he considered to be my best interests) I’d consider it a favor to me if you’d scrap it. I wouldn’t want to stifle free debate to the extent of asking you to scrap the “BOLLAND RIPS OFF FAN etc.” headline. My feathers aren’t as ruffled about it as they were. But I’d like it to naturally sink out of site from page 2 of the Google search.

    I think we’ve discussed this man to man. Thanks for the kind words you said about me at the end of your email. I may dive in on your blog and set somebody straight who’s got it completely wrong – or I may just drop it.

    All the best.

    –Brian

  5. Hmmm. My post seems to be on there. Maybe I failed to fill in the secret word or something in which case I apologise for my earlier comments about not putting it up.

  6. Brian –

    1. The reason I quoted the single line from your private email is because your lawyer was arguing that I had libeled and slandered you. He told this to the company (AQHost.com) that provides hosting services to my blog. He told them this when attempting to shut my blog down. You claim he never tried to do this, but I have a copy of the entire email he sent them. I assume you have a copy of this email too. He sent AQHost.com this email as your duly authorized legal representative.

    2. Your lawyer claimed that I committed both libel and slander – things that can only be true if what I said or wrote were untrue. When you wrote that the sketch was “a pretty meagre drawing for the money”, you were in a very real sense agreeing with my original comment. The same comment you authorized a lawyer to put pressure on me for.

    3. When you authorized a lawyer to “put pressure” on me, you are responsible for what he then goes out and does. That includes trying to get my website shut down. That includes any and all threats. What exactly did you think he would do when you authorized him to put pressure on me?

    4. I got the impression from your earlier email (the same one you posted this morning) that you considered his actions to be heavy handed and over the top. I believed that you regretted ever authorizing him to put pressure on me. I then read the email you sent to me the next day that seemed to contradict this. I realized much if not all of what I had been told earlier was moot.

    5. I’m not so much “upset” as I am pissed off. I feel as though I have been subjected to quite a bit of grief simply because I dared to criticize the commissioned art work of the great Brian Bolland. And I do mean great. As stated earlier, I have never had anything but the utmost admiration for your artwork in the past. That’s probably why I found the sketch so underwhelming in the first place.

    6. I have not been deleting comments that disagree with me. Some of the comments directed to me have been very negative, yet I never deleted them and they can be read by all. The only comments I deleted were ones made by your legal representative when he threatened me with legal action. I assure you that anyone wishing to disagree with me is allowed to do so. I have not or will not delete their comments.

    7. I now totally understand why the fan that commissioned you to do the Batwoman sketch did not speak up at the time he was presented the sketch. For the fan to point out that the 3 inch by 4 inch off-centered sketch was not worth $150, he would have to actually criticize you and your work. The one thing I have learned from all this is that you are not one to take criticism very well. I can only imagine the overreaction this fan would have received from not only you, but the individual that was managing your commissions at the con. He is after all the same person that has been your legal representation in this matter. The lawyer you authorized to put pressure on me. I honestly believe that he did the right thing by handing over the $150 and walking away with his “meagre” looking drawing.

  7. Rick

    Actually, I don’t have a copy of anything Chris wrote to you or anybody. I don’t remember the exact words of my conversation with Spencer Beck which led to my uttering of the word “okay”, thereby “authorizing” Chris to do what he did. I don’t specifically remember the words “put pressure”. It all came over the telephone in the form of what appeared to be genuine concern over what could be construed as libelous or defamatory headlines which I hadn’t read. My saying “okay” was my way of saying to Spencer and Chris “I’m not really interested. I have a deadline. You handle it.” From that point on Chris had every right to assume I had authorized him and was therefore acting in good faith.

    As for criticism of my work: I’d be the first to do it! I have no illusions about my abilities or lack of abilities as an artist. Normally I spend anything up to two weeks on one cover trying to get it right. No one really wants to hear someone say “your work is crap!” and very few people (including me) would ever say that to an artist. It’s fair play to criticise an artist’s abilities in text, though. I’ve never denied anybody that right. To say an artist “Ripped of” someone does imply a deliberate intention to get one over on somebody or even cheat them. I don’t know whether you can accidentally rip someone off. If you can it implies you’re innocent of everything but a mutual misunderstanding. I set out to give the fan precisely what he asked for and the only thing that came in the way was my limited ability to give it. I’m not flinching at your criticism of my work. I’m flinching at your criticism of my honesty.

    You’re PISSED OFF, Rick. Are you pissed off because you think I cheated a fan, or because you think I’m lying to you, or because you think Chris Caira has lied to you, or because of threats that have come down from your web provider (I don’t know how that works so I don’t know the correct terminology)? Well the “cheating a fan thing” is now discussed. I haven’t lied to you. I can’t imagine Chris has lied to you (for reasons I’ve covered). And, because I’m sick of all the shit that’s flying, I’ve asked all concerned to back off there’s no longer anything to aggravate you. All your aggravations are gone. Be happy.

    Meanwhile there’s still a headline saying BRIAN BOLLAND RIPS OF FAN etc., which (as I said) is not a criticism of my work but of my honesty. Another one that states BOLLAND IS TRYING TO CLOSE DOWN etc. which is untrue. Lacking legal expertise I don’t know precisely what the rules are on publishing defamatory and untrue remarks in the US. Meanwhile you’ll probably keep ’em there.

    To quote your email to me:
    “Look, if you want me to take down the post where I said you ripped off a fan, I will take it down.”
    I assume that offer has been withdrawn because you’re pissed off.

    In concluding: I think it’s kind of telling that you’re having this attention-grabbing discussion in public rather than in the civilised privacy of a phonecall. I hope your customers are enjoying it.

    –Brian

  8. Brian –

    You don’t have a copy of the email messages your own lawyer has sent acting as your representative? Before you insist that you never tried to get my website shut down, it might behoove you to actually read the email he sent to AQHost.com. In it you will see that he identified himself to them as your lawyer and demanded to have my site taken down. He threatened legal action against AQHost.com unless this happened.

    You telling your lawyer it was okay to put legal pressure on me is not the same thing as you saying “I’m not really interested. I have a deadline. You handle it”.

    For the record, my hosting provider never threatened to take down my website. Your lawyer claimed that he never asked them to remove my website. I have posted part of the email to my hosting provider where he in fact demanded just that. Since he sent that email to my hosting provider as your legal representative, it is within your rights to ask him to provide a copy of it.

    When I offered to remove the headline that reads, “Brian Bolland rips off a fan for $150” I did it in response to you stating that your lawyer was not your lawyer. You wrote and I quote, “The guy you refer to is A lawyer (apparently a Chicago lawyer) but he is not MY lawyer. I’m not employing anyone. He’s a friend and a comic fan. ”

    When I read that, I thought he was in fact not your lawyer. That is why I offered to remove the headline.

    I then read the email you sent to me on May 5. In it you state, “Mr. Caira was duly authorized to represent me in this matter. Although he is not my regular attorney, in this case and for this specific circumstance, he was acting as my representative.”

    You cannot have it both ways. Either he is or he isn’t. First he told me that he didn’t represent you. He then later claimed that he did. First you claimed that he didn’t represent you. You then later claimed that he did.

    I told your lawyer and I’m now telling you. I don’t wish to discuss this matter on the telephone. I would rather have all communication in writing where there can be some sort of record of what was said and not said. If this sounds too severe, I was not the one that threatened anyone with legal action.

  9. Apologies, Rick, for going out of turn in this little ping-pong game but I’ve just re-read the last paragraph of your last post. It suggests that if the fan had turned down my sketch or criticized it he would have received such an “exaggerated reaction” either from me or from Chris Caira (or, who knows, from a number of other people sitting nearby) that he thought it the safest way out was to retreat with his drawing. That in fact he would have been fearful of the reaction. Do you think he left with his drawing out of politeness or because he found us intimidating? Are you alleging that I or anyone around me INTIMIDATED him into buying the drawing. You’ll find that anyone who knows me is, on reading this, finding the idea very amusing.

    The words “hysterical” and “over-reaction” spring to mind.

    Your turn.

    –Brian

  10. Brain,

    I believe the person managing your sketch line would have overreacted if the fan refused to pay for the sketch. This is the same person while working as your representative threatened me and my hosting provider with legal action. Being that he was working as your representative the day the sketch was made, I ‘m convinced he would have overreacted in a similar fashion.

    That is only my opinion.

  11. Rick

    If he had overreacted I would have kicked him in the arse and told him to get the hell out of there. (I’ve got to be careful what I say in case I get quoted.) I would have politely asked him to leave the poor fellow alone.

    –Brian

  12. Maybe Rick is pissed off because Mr. Bolland’s legal counsel tried to have his ISP shut down his blog.

    The more I read of this debacle, the angrier I get. I have no stake in this, so it might seem a bit strange. But I see this as a “David and Goliath” situation. Mr. Bolland, a well-known and respected comic artist (Goliath,) along with his friend/attorney, tries to pressure Rick (David) to remove his criticisms from his blog.

    Mr. Bolland, how can you not see why Rick is so angry at this? Is there such a cultural difference between the U.S. and the U.K. that this isn’t clear to you? As a professional, shouldn’t you be immune to the criticism of others? Some people like some stuff, some people don’t. But not many people try to have their critics silenced.

    It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that this attorney has caused all of the problems here. Mr. Bolland, if you are upset at this situation, perhaps you should really be speaking with the attorney that caused this mess in the first place.

  13. SchoolyG, Rick, et al

    as you might guess by my name i am not U.S. born but i’ve lived here more than half of my long life and consider myself entirely familiar with
    cultural traits through the western world. given that, please allow the following opinion:
    1) if Mr. Bolland, like myself, is surprised at the level of anger displayed toward him in the BENT CORNER blog, i am certain the surprise is not due to cultural differences as much as to personal differences, such as one might find among various individuals in any given culture.
    2) my understanding, which seems to be shared by Rick, is that Mr. Bolland was gracious about acknowledging the apparent disparity between the artwork provided and the price paid in the originally cited situation. he also stated clearly his willingness to make amends to the purchaser of the art who might have felt injured by the transaction.
    3) Rick also seems to agree that this matter turned unpleasant only when Mr. Chris Caira got involved in the situation, threatening Rick with legal action.
    4) Mr. Bolland has stated that he was naive and careless (not his words) in authorizing Chris Caira, a lawyer, to speak on his behalf. i gather he is not entirely clear on the distinction or lack thereof between referring to Chris Caira as “my lawyer” or “not my layer” after authorizing Mr. Caira in an informal manner to pursue a course of action in this situation.
    5) Mr. Bolland has stated, at least once, that he does not wish to shut down the BENT CORNER blog.
    6) Mr. Bolland has, however, expressed distress at the statements connected to his name in the headlines of this blog.
    7) the statements are made very public by way of Google, and Mr. Bolland has made a case that they consitute an unfairly negative representation of who he is as a person.
    – his argument is that after he sicerely acknowledged the fairness of the initial comment about the sketch sale, and offered to make amends to the injured party, the blog headlines featuring his name that continue to appear are now less than fair.
    8) Having made an effort to take distance from Chris Caira’s actions, though perhaps not wanting to be disloyal to Chris Caira; Mr. Bolland might be wondering why the Blog Headlines don’t read “Asshole* Chicago Lawyer Overreacts and Bullies BENT CORNER” [*apolologies to Mr. Caira – the example does not represent a personal opinion and is stated only for illustrative purposes].
    9)before i conclude:
    a] original art is of course not subject to any legal price regulation, and the pricing of art is, notoriously, almost arbitrary as it depends not only on market demands but on highly personal factors for both sellers and
    buyers. while acknowledging the unsatisfactory quality of the illustration
    in context, Mr. Bolland has explained his rationale for pricing the small drawing at $150, and considering Mr. Bolland’s status it is feasible that even a mediocre drawing of small size might accrue a market value in excess of $150.
    b] The implication that a buyer might be induced into paying for an unsatisfactory illustration, not out of shyness or naivete, but out of a perceived concern that Mr. Bolland would be quite cross and intimidating if presented with a refusal to purchase a drawing at the agreed price, does not strike me as valid.
    Rick supported the implication by stating that Mr. Bolland has demonstrated a strong unwillingness to accept criticism about his art (Rick also questions Mr. Bolland’s willingness to prevent his supporters -specifically Chris Caira- from physically threatening someone who would so offend Mr. Bolland’s art).
    it seems beyond question to me that Mr. Bolland has in fact demonstrated a gracious willingness to accept such rejection in this situation. What does seem to noticeably distress Mr. Bolland, is the fact that on a forum such as Google, with its vast public, one of the most prominent links featuring his name connects to Rick’s blog where Mr. Bolland’s is represented in grossly negative fashion, playing up details in his behavior which he describes as resulting from minor issues of fatigue, confusion, inattentiveness. Mr. Bolland makes a case that Rick is blowing up some minor human failings into a dramatic case that portays Mr. Bollands entire character (the implication goes bejond single-incident) with words such as “Rip-off” and “Liar”.
    It seems clear that there is a crucial difference between the offense one might take for the rejection of one’s drawing, and the distress one might feel in witnessing one’s character portrayed in a large public forum in a manner that one perceived as unfairly negative.
    Therefore there is no cause to conclude that the dismissal of a drawing by Mr. Bolland would elicit in Mr. Bolland a harsh, aggressive reaction.

    Perhaps Mr. Bolland could formally apologize for precipitating this situation into the legal realm. and perhaps Chris Caira could apologize for threatening Rick and BENT CORNERS.
    perhaps it might be warranted for Mr. Caira and Mr. Bolland to not only renounce the legal effort against BENT CORNERS, but also to specifically reassure the blog’s hosting provider and any other relevant parties that no action will be taken on this specific matter.
    Perhaps then Rick might agree to alter the content of the blog to fairly reflect new developments, and take care in the process to distinguish in his reaction the statements and actions of Mr. Bolland from those of Chris Caira. Quite likely Mr. Bolland and Mr. Caira, regardless of their rapport, are two individuals with distinct personalities and distinct behavior. If for example, Mr. Bolland should succeed in reconciling with Rick; Mr. Caira might, for example, choose instead to continue some form of litigation or conflict.
    If Mr. Bolland made it also clear to both Rick and Mr. Caira that he himself would not be taking part, or endorsing the conflict pursued by Mr. Caira in this strictly hypothetical circumstance, one might hope then that Rick would not associate Mr. Bolland’s name in his reaction to the distress hypothetically caused by Chris Caira. And, as a stictly personal opinion, begging forgiveness for my expounding on matters which do not concern me (i’m getting right back to work, Warren, i promise), if things might be amicably resolved among any of the parties perhaps Rick might acknowledge and apologize for his own part in the precipitation of these events.
    Sincerely,

  14. Stefano, you make some good points. But I still disagree with a lot of your view of this. Especially this:

    “- his argument is that after he sicerely acknowledged the fairness of the initial comment about the sketch sale, and offered to make amends to the injured party, the blog headlines featuring his name that continue to appear are now less than fair.”

    An apology does not change what happened. And while I’m sure that all parties involved now regret what has happened, it doesn’t make any of the headlines untrue or inaccurate. If people, especially public figures or people in the public eye, don’t want irresponsible behavior pointed out, than they should think twice about how they behave in public.

    It was very irresponsible of Mr. Bolland’s attorney/friend to try and have Rick’s ISP shut down his blog. Whether Mr. Bolland knew this was the course of action that was going to be taken is irrelevant. The action was taken in his name, and therefore, he was responsible for it. Even if Mr. Bolland’s attorney was disingenuous when he spoke with his client, responsibility for this incident rests squarely on BOTH of their shoulders. I don’t know whether the attorney was disingenuous or not- Mr. Bolland’s comments are frequently contradictory and his attorney, while presumably reading these comments, has had nothing to say in his own defense thus far. And that seems pretty lame, for lack of a better term, but sensible, I suppose. If I had done something like this I would lie low for a while, too.

    You know, Paris Hilton recently publicly apologized for breaking the law. Are newspapers obligated to retract their stories about her illegal behavior now? I don’t think anyone would think so.

    Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way but I think apologies are shitty. It doesn’t fix things. It only tries to make an injured party feel better, but it usually doesn’t. And apologies have a way of misleading people- they are often insincere and even when they are genuine, they accomplish nothing. I don’t think it makes people look weak, but I do think it is a waste of breath.

    Instead of apologizing for a transgression, expend your energy thinking ahead and avoiding transgressions.

    And I just re-read your last statement- how can you believe that Rick needs to apologize about ANYTHING here? He’s the victim in this circumstance! Holy shit, that’s crazy.

  15. Regarding Mr. Bolland’s presence on Google:
    This is one of the lamest arguments going today. If you’re so worried about how “Google” (a search engine, mind you) is representing you, don’t go around doing things you’re ashamed of. It’s clear that you’re aware of how irresponsible and unplanned your actions were, and regret some of your actions. Rather than continually attempting to silence someone else’s opinion, just chalk it up to what it is: someone else’s opinion. I’ve been reading your work since the Judge Dredd strips you did in the 1980s. As a matter of fact, I recently purchased a second hand copy of your excellent Judge Death collection from Titan. I have enjoyed your work, and find your rendition of Judge Dredd to be the definitive depiction. Actions speak louder than words, and much louder than pictures. Your actions in this instance have pretty much left me cold to pursuing your future endeavors.

    Unless you hook Rick up with the cover to Killing Joke.

  16. Well, I thought stefano gaudiano’s entry was extremely thorough and fair. Thank you Stefano for the time and thought that went into it.

    I’m sorry I precipitating this situation into the legal realm. I did so without due care and attention. (I feel I was ill advised, actually, and I’m sorry about that too.) I offer that as much as a statement of fact as an apology. I’m not looking for an apology from Rick. We don’t have a situation. We have a former situation which has now gone away because everything has been explained and now we have a discussion about the former situation. Both parties feel wronged to some degree but each now understands why (because we’ve explained it). What I’m looking for from Rick (who, after all precipitated the thing in the first place) is for him not to feel so pissed off. I’m working on that myself.

    SchoolyG (another angry person) sees it as a David & Goliath situation. Well, I’m not a giant. I don’t have enormous clout or vast resources behind me. I don’t have a team of workers or a public relations departmant. I’m just a commercial artist. An individual. As is Rick. (I don’t know what he does for a living.) Although you could argue that Rick has got himself a public forum on which to promulgate his views which gives him a degree of (Goliath-like) power.

    I don’t really know how Weblogs work. I think that if I had one I would assume there are limits to what I could baldly state. If I were a Nazi or something or if I wanted to choose a public person and perform a prolonged character assassination on them or tell lies about them then I would expect someone might kick up a fuss and that the web provider might choose not to provide a web page for me. If (for the sake of argument) I were to post up in large letters RICK ROTTMAN IS BARKING MAD or BLOGGER RICK ROTTMAN IS LIKE A TERRIER. HE’S GOT HOLD OF MY TROUSER LEG AND HE’S SO PISSED OFF HE WONT LET GO then it would be reasonable for Rick or his friends to say “none of that’s true!” and reasonable for the web provider to say “Look, what you’ve said is defamatory and libelous. You’d better take it down!” (I don’t know how that would work. It’s not something I, personally, have ever done.) More probably I wouldn’t have said it in the first place. I might say, though, that RICK ROTTMAN AND I ARE INVOLVED IN A HEATED DEBATE ABOUT A CONVENTION SKETCH because that statement would be incontrovertibly true – except, of course, that it wouldn’t have the headline appeal that keeps people clicking in.

    Thanks again Stephano.

    –Brian

  17. Quick reply to DJ Sloofus:

    The curse of being an artist is that you cringe at the sight of almost every drawing you’ve ever done – so your advise to me would be pretty hard to follow.

    “Unless you hook Rick up with the cover to Killing Joke”

    Hey, I think that’s a great idea. I’ll see if I can talk DC into bringing out a new edition of the Killing Joke with a Rick cover. I’d buy one!

  18. Mr. Bolland:
    I’m angry because this is another case of the “little guy” getting pushed around again. While you do not see yourself as a “Goliath,” others would disagree. You have a degree of fame and celebrity and you used the power that you do have against someone who has no fame or celebrity.

    I have no fame or celebrity, either; like Rick, I’m just a “common man.” I do not have the power to have an attorney attempt to shut down someone’s blog.

    I agree with you that this is all in the past, and that there is no “situation” anymore. I agree with you to a point, anyway. The fact of the matter is that this “event” or “situation,” whatever you want to call it, will always exist. And, in my eyes, it is significant. The fact that there are several people on this blog still discussing this matter is evidence that supports my opinion.

    For the record, I am not trying to attack you, Mr. Bolland, or to prolong this incident. Maybe what transpired doesn’t sit well with you because you do not envision yourself as an oppressor or as “the man.” But that is what it looks like from down here. And that’s exactly why I’m still angry at this.

    There are a thousand small injustices like this that occur everyday. I’m not an idiot- I’m not trying to say that this is Earth-shattering or anything. But so many things like this happen to people everyday and slip “under the radar” without so much as a cursory glance. It’s infuriating. This is no different.

    Well, it’s almost no different. The difference here is that the “common man” can comment on this situation and voice an opinion about it here. The only power that Rick has as owner of a public blog/forum is just the right granted us by our Constitution. Maybe your view of that is different as there is somewhat of a cultural divide at work here- I’m not entirely sure of how freedom of expression works in the UK.

    Let me end my lengthy diatribe by saying that I’m glad justice was served here- Rick’s blog is still operating and he is still freely expressing his opinions. By the way Rick, kudos to you for standing up to this whole mess and not backing down. Sorry that I’m polluting your comments section with my (seemingly endless)ramblings.

  19. Thanks for your comments SchoolyG

    I won’t go on ‘cos I have a deadline looming. I’ve now read the text of Chris Caira’s email to AQHost (as of 5/10/07). I haven’t asked his permission to reproduce it here so I won’t but he does state that he has no interest in having the site shut down. (Where that idea came from is not clear to me.) His concern is purely about whether the headlines could be changed to something that wasn’t defamatory or libelous. I’m not sure how this all works but I assume that the web host can use closure as a sanction against people it considers are misusing its service in some way. I think Rick feels like the victim here – the victim of people trying to close him down. More accurately he could feel the victim of people who wanted to get him to change his headline. Well, one person actually, because, after reading it the first time, I wasn’t all that bothered.

    I’ll make a concession to your point here, SchoolyG, about “big” and “small”. At least I had a Chicago lawyer cum comic fan keen to leap to the defense of my honor.

    I think the headline “Bolland is trying to close down my blog” has gone now. (Has it gone? I haven’t looked lately). I hope so ‘cos it was never true.

    I think free speech is pretty much enshrined both sides of the pond (unless, of course, you’re drawing cartoons of Muhammad!). I’ve never been involved in a libel case but I assume that if I published something defamatory or libelous about someone (as opposed to merely critical of their work, which is fair enough,) their lawyer would probably jump on me pretty hard.

  20. Brian Bolland wrote:

    I think the headline “Bolland is trying to close down my blog” has gone now. (Has it gone? I haven’t looked lately). I hope so ‘cos it was never true.

    Oh, it was true. I removed it when you told me the lawyer didn’t represent you. That he wasn’t your lawyer. I later learned that he was your lawyer and you authorized him to “put pressure” on me about this.

    If I had known he was in fact your lawyer and that you had in fact authorized him to “put pressure” on me, I wouldn’t have removed it.

    I understand that you don’t want to be associated with the attempt at getting a comic book fan’s website shut down. I would contend that is the very reason most comic book professionals wouldn’t authorize a lawyer to go and “put pressure” on a comic book fan just because they wrote a blog headline they didn’t like.

    The good news (for you at least) is that there are now some arguing that I simply made all this crap up. They are arguing that you are in fact not really Brian Bolland and that I am merely posting messages as Brian Bolland to stir up attention. I have to admit that my first reaction to this was anger. The problem though is I really cannot blame them. If I were to be a third-party in all this, I too probably wouldn’t believe it either. I tend to naturally skew to the side of skepticism anyway. In fact it was this personal trait that caused me look into more about the sketch when I first saw it.

    I didn’t believe that Brian Bolland did it.

    So I probably wouldn’t believe you were doing any of this either. I would imagine that you could simply say that you know nothing about any of this and you never posted to some guy’s blog.

  21. Brian Bolland wrote:

    At least I had a Chicago lawyer cum comic fan keen to leap to the defense of my honor.

    Speaking of honor, have you tried to contact the fan that paid you the $150 for the sketch? If I remember correctly, you agreed that the sketch in question wasn’t worth the $150 you charged him and that you were agreeable to the notion of perhaps making it up to him. Something I believe you would agree would be the honorable thing to do.

    Though I do not have his email address, I now know he is one of the hosts of the Comic Geek Speak (CGS) podcast. It’s a very popular podcast with comic book fans. They have a lot more listeners then I do readers. When I first discovered the sketch and then read about the specifics, I thought he was only a listener of CGS. I didn’t know he was a host.

    I know that if you were to go the CGS website, you would be able to get in touch with him. I think perhaps part of the reason they suspect that I’ve simply made all this up is that you haven’t contacted the fan directly. He is after all the guy that paid you $150 for the 3 inch by 4 inch sketch.

    Comic Geek Speak Contact Page

  22. You also might want to listen to the episode of CGS where Deemer (the host and founder) said you had “raped” Pants by charging him that much money. They go on and on, dragging your name through the mud repeatedly. Compared to that, the Bent Corner piece seems like a pillow fight. They might deny it now, but some pretty awful things were said.

  23. Mr. Bolland-
    “More accurately he could feel the victim of people who wanted to get him to change his headline. Well, one person actually, because, after reading it the first time, I wasn’t all that bothered.”

    I’m pretty certain that you still don’t see this situation clearly. RICK IS A VICTIM HERE! JESUS CHRIST, WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO SEE THAT?

    The headline was neither libelous or defamatory. And YOU DID TRY TO HAVE HIS BLOG SHUT DOWN- YOUR LAWYER SENT A CEASE AND DESIST LETTER. Don’t you get that?

    Mr. Bolland, you do realize that this matter would have been destined to die off quietly on here had you not been so adamant that you did nothing wrong?

    I am glad that Comic Geek Speak had taken up your cause- especially considering that they said things that were far,far worse than Rick. Maybe you can sic your lawyer on them. That podcast single-handedly gives comic fans a bad name.

  24. I just went to the Comic Geek Speak forums. What a load of pretentious twats. Their earlier thread went on about how they thought the Bolland picture was bad, etc. And now they act as if they’re taking the high road now by not commenting on it.

    And of course the icing on the cake was when Pete Rios basically asserts that Rick is making all of this shit up.

    WHY WOULD ANYONE MAKE THIS UP? WHAT PURPOSE WOULD IT SERVE?

    This might be offensive to many, but I think that comic book fans might be the shittiest people on Earth.

    Need proof? Follow this link:
    http://www.cgspodcast.com/forum2//index.php?showtopic=107864&hl=bolland

    And then go to this one:
    http://www.cgspodcast.com/forum2//index.php?showtopic=111294&hl=bolland

    I’m glad the Comic Geek Speak crew is there to tell everyone what to think about this whole thing.

  25. Holy crap! You guys are still discussing this!?

    Well, I’ll say this – Rick, you’re a liar! You said if Brian asked you to change the Rip-Off headline, you would. Well, he asked you and he even apologized, and you basically said “F@%K YOU!”. (Oh, I know, those weren’t your exact words, but ask me if I care)

    Frankly, I think this whole thing is stupid. There’s a war going on and people are dying so the oil companies can rape us by making us pay more for gas, and you guys are bickering over who here is the victim.

    Brian – you should ignor this bullshit and start your own blog, so you can defend yourself against dumb asses like Rick, who is desperate for attention. I wouldn’t feel guilty for charging 150 bucks for the sketch. He was willing to pay it. If he didn’t like it, he should of grown some balls and said something instead of crying about it on his podcast. Sure, he’s got the balls to call you names there, where he knows you’re not listening and can’t defend yourself. But he doesn’t have the balls to say it to your face. What a loser!

    And yes, I am a dick and proud of it!

  26. Dangle wrote:

    Well, I’ll say this – Rick, you’re a liar! You said if Brian asked you to change the Rip-Off headline, you would.

    I said this because Bolland told me the lawyer wasn’t his lawyer. I actually did change the headline – I then changed it right back when I got the other email from Bolland written in legalese that stated in no uncertain terms that Chicago real estate lawyer was in fact his lawyer and that he had authorized him to work on this matter. It was a complete 180 of what he told me earlier.

  27. Wow. This is still going on? At what point do you just need to tell yourself to let it go?

    Brian didn’t do anything intentional to wrong anybody. I’m not sure what is so hard to understand about that. Get over yourself. If you feel you’ve been wronged, then propose a resolution. Endlessly complaining about it will solve nothing.

    SchoolyG,
    “RICK IS A VICTIM HERE!”
    Give me a break. Rick is a victim like the guy who breaks into your house and tries to sue you because he slipped on your kitchen floor is a victim. He took it upon himself to interject himself into a dispute that the Comic Geek Speak guy had with Bolland. Not only that, but he posted a headline that has lead people to believe that he was accusing Bolland of doing something to intentionally give the fan less that he paid for. Now he wants to play the word game to keep the argument going. Yeah, some victim.

    Brian,
    Keep doing what you’re doing. It looks like there are three people here that just refuse to let it go, but there are plenty of people that can see through the bull and figure out the important parts of this drama. Your offer to make it right with the fan, is very magnanimous of you, and I, for one, am proud to call myself a fan of your work.

    Ross

  28. Hey Ross- He is the victim in this. Everyone here who had a lawyer unjustly (and possibly fraudulently) attempt to shut down your blog, raise your hand. Just Rick? Okay.

    He did not interject himself into any dispute. He merely commented upon it. Similar to the way in which you are commenting on it here. Are you interjecting yourself here? No- you are simply commenting on a situation and voicing your opinion.

    Yeah, there’s so much bull to see through here, fanboy. Keep telling yourself that. If you can’t see the bullshit that’s going on here, you’re blind as hell. You’re like those patheitc Geek Speak Sheep who believe that the CGS podcast and Newsarama qualify as “reliable news sources.” Right- just like Fox News is fair and balanced.

    Ross, I’m assuming you’re a comic book fan. And if you truly believe Mr. Bolland is right here, holy shit. The industry runs on people like you. Without people like you, the industry would have no one to take advantage of and the whole shitpile would collapse upon itself even faster than it already is. So keep on truckin’.

  29. One more thing-
    “proud to call myself a fan of your work.”

    Give me a fucking break. What sycophantic horse shit!
    And it’s so magnanimous to offer to amend something that was fucked up to begin with.

    Are you sure you’re not actually Bolland using another name?

  30. Everyone here who took it upon themselves to make a (potentially) libelous claim and then complain when they were called on it raise your hand. Just Rick? Okay.

    Reading comprehension was never your strong suit was it, SchoolyG? Or is the word “intentional” somehow not in your vocabulary? Because at no time did I say Bolland did nothing wrong. I said he didn’t do anything intentionally wrong. The fact that he offered to make it up to the fan should have been enough, but you, Rick, and Sloofus are bent on continuing an argument that should have had nothing to do with you in the first place.

    And to answer your question, yes, I am interjecting myself here. The difference is that I’m making my comments directly to one of the parties involved, not broadcasting it in some other blog with no real intention of confronting those involved.

    I’m not really sure if there was a point to be made in the last half of your post or your second post, but I know I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight knowing that you don’t think very highly of me. I guess I’ll just have to comfort myself in the knowledge that people like you are out there championing the cause of free-speech and proving to the youngsters that you can replace intelligent debate with mindless profanity laden rambling and insults. It’s not the best of strategies, but you’ve got to work with what God gave you, right?

  31. Ross- You lament the prolonging of this, yet you are still posting here. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit hypocritical?

    Also, you might want to revisit the idea of wrong vs. intentionally wrong.

    The whole point of this argument is that Rick made no libelous statement. Just because you believe his statement is libelous does not change the laws concerning libel and slander.

    And up until you started being uncivil, I was quite civil. I’m going to ignore the personal attacks that you’re making against me as I truly do feel bad for any Comic Geek Sheeper who can’t think for himself.

    If i told you that I was a comic writer, would you change your mind and suck up to me? I desperately want your personal opinion of me to change.

  32. Ross, I wrote the initial post about this over two months ago and left it at that. Since then I have only responded to what others have either written or done. Even then, I have only responded to the words or actions of others when I felt I had to – like I’m doing now with your retarded comment.

    I “let it go” about two minutes after I initially wrote about it.

    You’re just plain wrong. Brian Bolland did something intentionally wrong. He authorized a lawyer to put pressure on me and didn’t even bother to find out what that pressure actually entailed. He didn’t even bother to ask what this lawyer planned to do. Who does that? The fact is that his lawyer sent a threatening email to my hosting provider to take my website down. I’ve got a copy of the email his lawyer sent my hosting provider. He obviously didn’t think they would share the email with me because he included one of his stupid secret/confidential warnings at the bottom that said they couldn’t show the email to anyone. He can argue all he wants. I have the proof. He initially claimed that the Chicago real estate wasn’t even his lawyer.

    Brian Bolland is the one that keeps this going. Not me. Believe me, I would like nothing more then to simply move on and concentrate my attention elsewhere. Just when I think it’s finally over, Brian Bolland gets on here and posts something else that simply isn’t true. I will stop responding to his crap when he stops spewing it. Same goes for you.

    So he didn’t like my post’s headline. Big deal. Too bad he couldn’t just say something about it at the time. I believe that is the same thing that’s been said about the person that paid him the $150 for the three inch by four inch sketch. If the fan didn’t like it, he should have said something at the time. Go back and read his initial two comments. This one and this one too. He wrote these two before he siced his Chicago real estate lawyer on me. If he had a problem with the title of the post, he should have just said so. If anything, he seemed to agree with it.

    Ross, what you refer to as injecting myself into someone’s dispute is called having an opinion. You will find many people with blogs have opinions. Blogs and opinions kind of go hand in hand. If you don’t want to read someone’s opinion, don’t spend so much time goofing off at work reading blogs.

    Speaking of opinions, you really ought to remove your lips from Brian Bolland’s lower colon. It’s embarrassing to witness. I understand that you’re probably only kissing up to him because you mistakenly think he may throw you some colorizing work one day. One creator to another if you will. Everyone has to have a dream, right? I didn’t even know that colorists were considered creators. Until you told me.

    Keep in mind, that’s only my opinion.

  33. 150 bucks for 3 by 4 inches ain’t so bad. What do you expect for a tiny fraction of the cost of what bolland would charge for a full on piece? It’s pocket money prices for a dude who’s been at the top of his game for 30 years. It’s definately no rip off. 20 years ago i saw the killing joke pages for sale at 700 british pounds, they’d be thousands now and some guy’s whining about a lousy one fifty for a cute little sketch? What’s he want next, Martin Scorsese to shoot his wedding video for twenty bucks? He got a bolland for the asked price, where’s the rip off? It ain’t one of the guy’s best but it’s exactly what the guy asked for. Oh and Brian, i went and bought Stalker on dvd cos you rated it in an interview. Not made up my mind on it but if i don’t like it i’ll blame you and slate you all over the web in front of at least 3 people.

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