Over at Chuck Dixon's message board, Gail Simone elaborates on Rick Onley's behavior regarding his non-payment of creators and subsequent threats to sue them for discussing it in public and allegedly violating non-disclosure agreements they signed:
That's his 'defense!'
Gail's been outspoken about a bad experience with Olney as a guest of one of his conventions. Her comments on that experience could place him as top contender for one of the more poisonous, self-deluded liars known in the comics community.
"I didn't pay you, I repeatedly lied to you, you should have sued me. That's what PROFESSIONALS do!"
It's worth it to be ringside for the meltdown.
While over at The Comics Journal message board, Steve Hogan asks:
Is it a sad commentary on the "Mainstream" that veterans like Chuck Dixon take these kind of gigs?
Chuck then makes an appearance to clarify the situation:
My taking on work from Tightlip shouldn't serve as a bellwether for the state of mainstream comic books or my career. I wasn’t slumming when I agreed to contribute to Tales of The Spooky. I was promised, promised, a page rate close to my DC rate and was allowed to work with three artists of my own choosing; guys I’m friends with and enjoy collaborating with. Creators on this project were promised full payment within 15 days of receipt of their finished work. That’s commensurate with a company like DC’s pay period. The stated plan of publication and distribution appealed to me as it was intended to reach casual or first-time comic readers in a venue outside of the comic shops. And the “publisher” was vouched for by a very good friend of mine. (we’re still very good friends despite that) The “publisher” also signed a contract allowing me participation in the stories and characters I created. I was never work-for-hire. I never signed an NDA and so am free to say anything I care about the project particularly since no one has been paid and any promised payment is nowhere on the horizon.
I actually have quite a bit of mainstream work available currently. I was a part of IDW’s aforementioned Transformers re-launch and have three series from DC and Wildstorm in stores now with two more on the way in the New Year. I’ve also been a semi-regular writing for Bongo and have done other work far from the lights of DC, Marvel and Wizard. Anyone familiar with Fantagraphics should know that there’s a whole big world of eager comic readers out there who are not served by the Big Two.
Just wanted to let you know I’m not out there with a “Will Write Comics For Food” sign around my neck.
Well, now we know not to heed any good recommendations for Olney. It's unfortunate that we learn of it through the difficult experiences of good creators like Gail Simone, Chuck Dixon and Val Staples. Ronee Garcia Bourgeois was also apparently led astray last July, when she joined TightLip as Retail Communications and Customer Service Manager. Let's hope she gets out of there soon without too much damage.
The statement by Chuck, (mentioned before by Rich Johnston but refuted by Olney) that he never signed a non-disclosure agreement with TLE, sheds light on Olney's near psychotic behavior - feeding from and wallowing in the publicity generated by complaints against him and his threatening top creators with lawsuits. According to Dixon, however, he's not aware of any basis for legal action against him, yet Olney states on his blog that "A legal matter exists between myself and these two individuals [Dixon & Staples] and it will only be resolved via litigation.", while in a Superhero News mailer, responding to my more light-hearted preceding item here, he reiterates: " How presumptuous of Mr. Michael Netzer to assume that he could hold the key to solving a matter that TightLip Entertainment and Mr. Chuck Dixon have decided to allow attornies to handle."
While back on Dixonverse, Olney is all over the place, stalking the board and talking it up as if he's a loved family member, as Chuck Dixon, his moderator and others are handling him with kid gloves, bantering about with him as if they're old buddies enjoying a chat at a bar.
Perhaps an overly tolerant policy for Chuck Dixon, who openly charges Olney with stiffing him and other creators - and lying about signing a non-disclosure agreement which Dixon claims he never signed. A tolerant and open message board policy towards a man who's spreading poison and plastering the comics press with statements about the two of them agreeing to an apparently non-existant legal standoff, while insulting and defaming creators and reporters across the comics web.
A psychotic Rick Olney is playing with fire at the expense of good comics creators and has already burnt a few with his games. Chuck Dixon is carrying on with him, business as usual, apparently in an effort to maintain a measure of civility on his board and refrain from banning posters there.
The tolerance is understandable but it shouldn't come at the expense of a sense of justice while appearing to condone Olney's behavior by allowing him to carry on as if nothing's amiss. The tolerance must be accompanied by a measure of firm judgement or it won't help anyone. Not Chuck Dixon nor Val Staples and the other creators who await payment for their work... and certainly not Rick Olney.
Turning the other cheek is laudable. But it would help to also look Olney straight in the eyes while he slaps everyone around like that.