Brian Bolland threatens me with legal action

This morning I found an email in my inbox from an attorney claiming to represent comic book artist Brain Bolland. The return email address along with his signature shows that he is from the Chicago law firm Klafter & Burke. Their website shows that they specialize in real estate and taxes.

Evidently they are expanding their legal scope into the lucrative world of comic book convention commissioned sketch law.

Yesterday this same person attempted to post two comments to my blog. He didn’t identify himself yesterday as a lawyer representing Brian Bolland. In fact, he claimed the complete opposite. He claimed to not speak for Brian Bolland.

His comments were automatically held for moderation because WordPress misidentified them as spam. He attempted to post numerous links within his comments. I have WordPress configured to identify any comment with two or more links to be spam.

This all stems from a post I made on my blog almost two months ago concerning a commissioned sketch Brian Bolland did for a fan at the 2007 New York Comicon. I found the image of the sketch while looking for photos from the convention. The fan (also named Brian) wrote that he paid $150 for it.

The sketch measured approximately 3 by 4 inches.

I believed Brian Bolland overcharged the fan for the sketch. In fact, I wrote that he “ripped off” the fan.

Evidently Brain Bolland Googled himself last week and found my post. He twice responded to what I wrote. His comments seemed good natured and not the least bit snarky. It seemed that he was admitting that he overcharged the fan for the commission. He wrote, “I feel particularly upset that I’ve shafted a fellow Brian.

How can he admit that he “shafted” the fan, but then have his lawyer send a threatening email to me demanding that I remove my post? Isn’t shafting someone worse then ripping them off? I’m no wordsmith, but it certainly seems so to me. Maybe it’s just me, but the expression shafted seems to have a pseudo-sexual connotation to it that the phrase “ripped off” just doesn’t have.

If Brian Bolland wanted me to remove my post, why didn’t he just ask me himself? Why engage the services of a lawyer? The truth is that if he had simply asked me nicely to remove the post when he first discovered it, I probably would have done so. I had no malice or ill will towards him.

All that changed though when he decided to threaten me with legal action. I don’t particularly like being threatened. Then again, who does? Not that I have any malice for him now.

I now don’t particularly feel like removing the post.

UPDATE: My hosting provider asked me to remove the Cease and Desist letter sent to me by Brian Bolland’s lawyer, Christopher M. Caira of the Klafter & Burke law firm. Caira threatened legal action against my hosting provider unless the C&D letter was removed. Caira claimed that the letter disclosed private information including personal contact information. Oddly enough, it’s the very same “personal contact information” published on the Klafter & Burke website. I thought it was important to include the C&D letter to show what steps Brian Bolland and his lawyer were taking to silence critical speech.

The day Superboy came to Hagerstown and received a 21 BB gun salute

I never liked Superboy. That was even before I knew he was a paid shill for the National Rifle Association. I wonder if he would feel all warm and fuzzy over BB guns if these kids were shooting BB’s made from kryptonite. Then they might put his eye out.

I somehow doubt it.

Brian Bolland rips off fan for $150

A guy goes to the recent New York City Comic-Con and commissions comic book artist Brian Bolland to do an old school Batwoman sketch. Brian Bolland charged his own fan $150 dollars.

The actual sketch only measures four by three inches.

Update #1: Brian Bolland and his lawyer Chris Caira threatened me with legal action over this post.

Update #2: Brian Bolland and his lawyer Chris Caira try to have my blog shutdown.

If your truck has fake bull testicles, stay out of Maryland

In Maryland, it may soon be illegal to hang fake bull genitalia from the back of your vehicle. That’s if my my state delegate gets his anti-genitals bill passed.  This from the local newspaper of record, the Herald-Mail:

Washington County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew Bragunier figures that he sees, at least once a day, fake bull genitals flopping from the hitches of pickup trucks.

They’re only a toy, but they’re also unpleasant to look at, said Bragunier, worried what his 2-year-old girl might think someday.

“My daughter’s going to see this,” he said. “She’s going to ask what this is. I don’t want to be put in that spot. I don’t think I ever want to be in that spot.”

Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, agreed.

This week, he filed a bill for Maryland to ban the toys and others like them.

The bill prohibits any “model, sign, sticker or other item” that shows uncovered human or animal genitals, as well as human buttocks or female breasts, from motor vehicles.

Fake bull genitals is free speech

I too saw a pickup truck with fake bull genitals flopping from a trailer hitch.  Once.

I thought it was stupid.  I didn’t think a special law needed to be passed.  What’s next?  What part of the redneck culture will be regulated with a special Maryland law? Rebel battle flags?  Dale Earnhardt tribute decals? Worn out 2000 Bush/Cheney stickers?

If you take away a redneck’s right to hang fake bull genitals from his trailer hitch, what will be taken from him next?

It’s a slippery slope, a slope comprised solely of slippery, rubber bull testicles.

Buy fake bull testicles on Amazon

Walmart is still selling Nazi SS skull t-shirts

I was surprised at the level of response I got from yesterday’s post about Walmart selling t-shirts with the Nazi SS Death’s Head logo on them. I knew some blogs got over 55,000 visits in a single day. I just never thought this blog would ever be one of them.

If I have learned anything over the last 24 hours its that people love a story involving Walmart and Nazis. Go figure.

I was contacted yesterday by someone from a PR firm that represents Wal-Mart:

Rick:

Good morning. My name is Marshall Manson. I work for Edelman doing online public affairs for Wal-Mart. I noticed your post about the t-shirts that Wal-Mart is selling. I wanted to make sure you saw the company’s statement about this and knew that Wal-Mart is now removing the t-shirts from its stores. Obviously, with a company as big as Wal-Mart, that may take a day or two.

The statement is just below. If you would like to discuss anything, feel free to respond to this e-mail.

Statement from Wal-Mart:

We were not aware of the origins of the image until this morning when we learned about it through the blog Bent Corner.

We are deeply sorry that this happened, and we are in the process of pulling all of these t-shirts from our stores.

Respect for the individual is a core value of our company and we would never have placed this t-shirt on our shelves had we known the origin and significance of this emblem.

We are reviewing our product review process in an effort to ensure this never happens again.

Sincerely,

Marshall Manson
Edelman

If you would like a copy of the above correspondence sent directly to you by Marshall Manson, simply post something on a blog about Nazi’s and Walmart and wait about 30 minutes. I doubt it will take even that long. The very same email sent to me was sent to just about every other blog that posted something about this. Word for word.

The New York Times published an article about Walmart and bloggers. In it they mention Marshall Manson quite frequently. It’s an interesting read.

Marshall Manson asked me if I would post an update to my original post about Walmart and the Nazi shirts. Something about how quickly they responded to the problem once they realized they were selling Nazi swag. I would have no problem doing that, if I felt they had indeed acted upon the information that they were selling Nazi clothing.

The problem is that they haven’t yet done anything about the Nazi shirts.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped at a Walmart on my way home for work and found a stack of the same shirts still for sale in the men’s department. My wife also stopped at a different Walmart on her way home from work yesterday. She too found a stack of these Nazi shirts still for sale.

In my opinion, quickly taking care of a problem involves actually taking care of the problem.

Instead of having someone from a PR firm contact bloggers, Walmart should have concentrated on simply removing the shirts from their stores. They could have worried about contacting bloggers after their stores were free of Nazi clothing.

Marshall Manson claimed that because of the size of Walmart, removing the shirts from all the stores might take a day or two. I don’t think so. Walmart could have removed these shirts from every store in a matter of minutes if they actually wanted to. Would they be this lethargically slow if they found out they were selling child porn?

I don’t think so.

I’m more than a little ticked off that because of my post, white supremacists and neo-Nazis are now goose stepping to Walmart to buy these shirts. For example, over at the Resistance Records official website, members of the forum linked to my post and wrote about going to Walmart to buy these shirts. Resistance Records produces white supremacist and neo-Nazi music. It is the same record company behind Prussian Blue, the Nazi version of the Olsen twins.

Prussian Blue

One member of that forum even posted a photo of herself wearing the shirt she bought at Walmart. The shirt she didn’t even know existed until I posted about it on my blog.

I wish Walmart had acted more responsibly and taken care of this situation as soon as it was brought to their attention. Instead they worried more about trying to control the blogosphere then stopping teenage wannabe Nazis from buying Nazi SS shirts in their stores.

The reality is these shirts are so ugly, I doubt anyone was even buying them. Until wannabe Nazis learned about them on my blog.

Great.

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts

I stopped at Walmart today after work. I had to pick up a few things. As I was walking past the men’s clothing area, something caught my eye. I noticed something weird over at a wall of t-shirts. One of the t-shirts had a design on it that looked remarkably like something related to Nazis. Specifically, the Totenkopf or “Death’s Head.”

I took a picture of it with my camera phone:

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts - Bent Corner

Totenkopf

The Death’s Head symbol was worn by the members of the German Nazi SS. The Totenkopf on the Walmart t-shirt looks very similar to the divisional insignia of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. As you can see, It’s almost an exact copy:

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts - Bent Corner
 

Neo-Nazis love the Totenkopf

Neo-Nazis sometimes use the Totenkopf image because it is not as easily identifiable as other Nazi symbols such as the swastika. You might see one of these tattooed on someone’s arm while standing in line at Burger King and think it’s just a poorly done pirate skull.

It’s not.

Is Walmart purposely trying to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it? I doubt it. They won’t even sell CDs with bad words on them. I doubt someone at Walmart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas decided to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it.

Whoever designed this shirt had to know the origin of the skull.