REMEMBERING RICHARD L. OLNEY II (aka RICK OLNEY)
One of my New Years Resolutions was to make use of this blog more often, by posting here on a semi-regular basis, at least. I certainly picked a Hell of a topic to begin with when I wrote about the death of Rick Olney, which has, to date, gotten approximately one bajillion hits since it’s been posted, thanks to it being linked to on other sites by myself and others. Overall, the news of Olney’s death has been ignored by the major comics sites, which I find ironic considering how Olney continuosly claimed to be a really important figure in the industry, through ORCA (Organized Readers of Comics Associated…later Association) and Tightlip Entertainment. ComicBookResources covered it in Rick Olney Passes Away, but still being relatively neutral about him. A few other sites have posted on his death without being shy about whom he really was. Instead of just calling him a “controversial comics publisher/convention organizer” we get Rick Olney, Comics Douche, 58 or Comics Scam Artist Rick Olney Deceased, which @ least describe him more accurately. I also enjoyed this notice 12.28.12: Shiesty Comic Book Convention Promoter Rick Olney – DEAD!
In the CBR piece, a couple of Olney’s actual victims, Wil Radcliffe and Val Staples, came forward to express sympathy for Olney’s family, and that’s admirable of them. But I’m getting a bit fed-up with all these moralizers who think that I and everyone else needs to take the so-called HIGH ROAD. Whatever. In the comicsbeat piece RIP Rick Olney, the administrator posted I’m going to ask that people keep their thoughts here respectful out of regard for his family. I am sure they are not going through an easy time of it. There are many places to talk about Rick’s misdeeds, but I don’t want this to be the place to vent these thoughts. Fine, she doesn’t want venting there, but on Millarworld the response to a link of this blog was That was classless. Don’t do that again
Gotta love it when MARK MILLAR fans get on their High Horse. I’ll remember that the next time they’re defending the latest rape and murder scenes in a Mark Millar comic.
But I thought I’d address some complaints. I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel that death should wipe someone’s slate clean, so to speak. If you’re a rotten person while you’re alive, then that’s how you deserve to be remembered after you die. And all of these “let’s be respectful of the family” posts send the wrong message in my opinion. Especially in a case like Rick Olney. As one of the posters in one of those threads said, Olney was a special kind of asshole… someone who got devastating cancer news, and decided to UP his douchery going forward. No self-reflective reconcilation for that guy, no sirree, no way joe bob.
To which I say A-FUCKING-MEN!
And if any of his family or loved ones are now paying attention to what’s being said about Olney on the internet, I’d say to them, where have you been the past six years?!? His misdeeds have been wildly covered, you should have tried to get him to change if you didn’t like what you were seeing. If Olney had shown even ONE instances of genuine remorse, I might not feel the need to jump on him now. But that was his choice. And if his loved ones, and any of you other bystanders who are just following the story, feel bad reading my joy at his death, I’ll give you something else to read. Here are just a small fraction of some of the things other people who dealt with Rick Olney said about how he treated them. I posted more than enough links in my last blog, but here are a few small cases, for those who didn’t want to read through all that, just some of Olney’s “greatest hits”, so to speak. All of these posts have been taking from various message board threads, mostly the Gail Simone forums on CBR and the Bendis Board, and Bleeding cool (all typos and grammar mistakes are as originally posted):
My name is Cesar Feliciano and I am part of that dubious list of Rick Olney’s work for hire artist. I have been waiting for almost two years to recieive my fist penny from Mr. olney and I thank God that I did not hold my breath for that (I’d be one dead artist by this time). I have been wieghing my options and am thankful that there is comraderie and commonality that we all share. I look forward to posting more info and friendly post as I get to know more and more people on this site. While working with Rick Olney and his now defunct TightLip Entertainment comics company, I was responsible for the pencils on Monster Squad and did many pin-ups and character designs for Mr. Olney. I to like many here was made many promises and assurances that were never met or followed through with. This has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a certain level of displeasure with this man. Throughout my whole experience with Mr. Olney I was told how important and vital I was to the project that I was working on and how there were many great plans that included me. I bought into many of these stories only to be left with nothing but empty and vain words. I gave up much while I was working with Mr. Olney and really felt that this would be my opportunity to finally see my dream of making it in the comics business come to fruition. I lost my job during the time that I was working with Rick Olney and TightLip Entertainment.
To give you an example of what this man does and is about let me share this story with you. When I lost my job I was down to a few dollars in my bank account. I told Mr. olney about my situation and he told me that he would like to help me out. I wanted to thank him because I have 5 kids and I needed to buy them some groceries so that they could eat. He proposed that I do a couple of pin-ups for him and told me that he would pay me a cetain amount for them. I was thankful for this opportunity and told him that I would get right on it. I proceeded to get 2 fully penciled and inked done, foregoing sleep to get these to him so that I could get the money for my families needs. Needless to say I did the work and was assured that payment was sent out. Three days go by and still no check. I called him and he told me that his bookeeper never wrote the check but that he would get it taken care of post haste. Another three days goes by and when I asked him about the money he told me that he had to get rid of the bookeeper and hire a new one, keep in mind that I still had no work and no income and our food was running out quickly. He told me that the check was sent out. four days go by and still no check. I called him again and he told me he apologized and said he would write the check from his own checking account, I was very wary at this time but told myself that I did what he asked and he would pay me. Big, big, and wrong assumption. After a week I called him back and he told me that had not yet mailed that check. I reminded him that HE had offered to help me and my family out. HE was the one that requested these images from me. also that HE was the one was had not kept the agreement. He said that he was sorry and that HE would make it up to me. There is a little more to this story but you get the point. This is NOT a nice man. He has shown that he is cold hearted and uncaring and not someone that can be trusted. I thank God that my family pitched in and helped out with my need.
Here are the images prepared for Mr. Olney:
Needless to say I am not pleased with Mr. Olney or his practices and I know that people like him get what they deserve in the end. This man is nothing but a wrecker of dreams and a scourge to the honest hard working people involved in this industry who do things above board and desire to make comics because they LOVE it. My name is Cesar Feliciano and this is one of my stories
I was led to believe my artists and I would be paid in August. September 1st came & went with no payment and we sat by and waited patiently. When October 1st hit, with still no signs of payment, I began asking about it. I was told we’d be paid a week or so later. A week or so later came & went and I sent off another email that got no response. A few days after that I fired off another one that was met with “we’ll have your payment schedule set next week.” Regardless of the fact that the payment schedule had already been set and was now blown, I sat idly by and figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. The other publishers I’ve been working with were paying on time, so I wasn’t in much of a financial tough spot. This is hard business for both creators and publishers, so I figured I’d extend to him the courtesy of a little more time to settle his debt. “Next week” came & went with no payment, aforementioned payment schedule or even a courtesy email stating that we hadn’t been forgotten. When I sent in the next inquiry, it was met with an auto response stating Rick was going on a “much deserved vacation” and would be back in about a month. At this point, my consideration for Rick began to ebb and my concern for my artists began to rise.
I then sent an email to Ronee, who was kind enough to tell me she’d forward my concerns to Rick. At this point, I believe Rich picked up the story in LITG. I emailed the link to Rick asking what was going on and was met with a rather hostile email threatening me with litigation for discussing his trade secrets with Rich Johnston. I assured him I’d not spoken with Rich about this (and Rich can verify that), and wasn’t really concerned with all the jibber-jabber, but only in being paid for services rendered. A few more days went by with no answer and I fired off another email. This time, I was told no one was going to be paid until Rick’s “attorney” figured out who had violated their NDA and spoken with Rich. I again assured him it wasn’t me, nor did I care about all that and pointed out that someone else violating an NDA had no bearing on me or my artists. I supplied him with the contact information for the Runemaster Studios’ attorney and told him if he felt the need to have his attorney get involved, to feel free to contact Andy (our attorney). That was the last I heard from Rick, until his nervous breakdowns in this (and other) threads.
At this stage, I feel I’ve been more patient, understanding, sympathetic and considerate in the face of outright insulting, accusatory, disrespectful, deceitful behavior than should be expected.
So, while I also am numbered among those who wish no ill-will on Mr. Olney, I won’t let this go until we see our money and if nothing else, I will do my part to make sure no other hard working comic professional EVER gets involved with him on any level from this day forward.There are so many hard working, struggling comic creators out there who have a huge uphill battle on their hands when everything goes right. The last thing this industry needs is some one like this making things even harder for honest folks.
I honestly thought that Rick was just misunderstood and a little easily distracted but with the best of intentions, and i said that to the few very good friends that tried to warn me (sorry Gail) but honestly, he seemed harmless if not a little over zealous at the time. he plays the sympathy card well, as the deaths in his family evoked my motherly instinct to help fix things and protect him as much as possible. But soon it became clear that he was manipulative and controlling and had no intention of paying even his closest “friends” who were still standing by him. I don’t just cut bait on people, I stick around… try to help. I want to fix the world pretty much. After weeks of fielding emails from unhappy creators, being told it was essentially Chuck’s fault I was not being paid, then watching him act the fool on message boards no matter how many times i told him not to even go back…
But the kicker… the thing that did it for me was when I had to call him up literally crying from my moms house in Florida, begging him to pay me something… ANYTHING, I had just found out about my husbands indiscretion and he was moving out, I had to have something to help with the kids and such in the painful transistion ahead and he assured me he was sending two checks.. one 2nd day air to my mothers house, one to my house. 4 days later I left Florida with no check, and my mother pretty much knowing my “boss” was an asshole. For days I called asking if they got mail for me to no avail, all this time Rick swearing it was there and even offered me the tracking number. But when I asked for that number he seemed to have lost it somewhere in his office. Niether check came, and of course it was not his fault. Damn post office… then it was his courier, or some young boy he had helping him at his haunted attraction in october.
I was selfish for asking for what I was rightfully owed if you asked Rick at the time, after all, HIS life was hard.
I can vouch for this type of thing happening and I completely believe every word Ronee said, because I got the same treatment when I was looking for my owed money (after a year of false promises) to help pay my dying father’s medical bills, and being called a bully (and other choice things I won’t say in front of mixed company) for dare thinking I had any claim on “tragedy” —
I remember trying originally to get money after my mother had a minor stroke/heart problem again, promises which became threats later. So basically I can vouch for the fact that there’s a pattern to Ronee’s story.
So I had to throw my hat into this mess…stew….sludge…whatever we want to call it. I too have been/am being burned by Ric. I waited and hoped but its been about 4 months ( maybe more ) …and at this point I realize I’m being screwed….
I was asked to flat 6 pages for a whopping grand total of 90 dollars. Let me repeat that…..90 bucks. The colorist made sure Ric was cool with it, and he was ( I have the e-mails ) …and I have the e-mail where Ric guarantees me payment. No contracts, no NDA’s nothing…So…..I flatted, invoiced Ric on 08.09.06, and waited….
THEN contact after months of nothing…..He FINALLY responds…. I have the e-mail from November 12th that says nobodies gonna’ screw me out of money and that I’ll be paid my measily 90 bucks before December. And now…..its gonna be a whole new year…..and STILL….this guy cant/wont pay me ….my 90 bucks. Its not even enough to buy an absolute edition….lol.
I havent said anything online because I was hoping I might get paid….but ….that sure dosent seem to be happening. I have no idea why this guy is being like this…but that I could vent here is AWESOME. I felt the need to share, just so people understand that this guy isnt just screwing people out of serious money, money that will pay rent and bills….but hes also screwing someone like me out of 90 bucks….lol…So petty, and so sad.
As I said before it was a small amount of money, but here’s my story….
In 2001 ( I can’t narrow it down anymore than that) Rick frequented the “Launchpad” section of the message boards at http://www.figma.com. He’d been around for a few months and was tolerated and hadn’t really had a big flame up with anyone. I knew nothing of him other than his posts there. He contacted me by email stating that he wanted to buy a couple of pin-ups I had listed for sale on my personal web site. The two pics together might have cost about $40. He said he also wanted to commision a picture from me as a gift for a friend. He told me he wanted something specific involving a female superhero in the nude. I didn’t then and still don’t normally do those type pics (and didn’t really want to do it), so I quoted him a price of $100, which I figured he’d balk at. With me being a complete unknown at the time (now I’m a semi-unknown) I thought he’d never agree to it. Well, he did, so I went ahead and did the work since he agreed to the price I quoted him. I don’t recall any NDA’s being involved. I completed the pic and sent him a low rez scan for approval and he said it was fine and he’d send payment. Altogether for the three it might have been $130 to $150. I don’t recall exactly. I went out and bought the packaging and packed it all up and waited for the check. After a couple of months, Rick told me that he had the check and would get it right out. A couple more months go by and he then gives me the old “the check is in the mail” excuse. It was a blatant lie. The check never arrived.
After more months go by, I get the excuses about how he changed email addresses and didn’t get my mailings and either he or his son had been sick, so I should be forgiving and understanding etc. Rick, made a return to the figma.com forum and did clearly state that he had been untruthful and should have paid myself (and a couple others money for stuff he asked for from them, but that’s their story to tell) and he did offer to make good. At that point, I’d been out right lied to and jerked around, so I refused to provide him my mailing address. I told him I did not want his money anymore. Trying to make amends well after a year past the point that the work had been completed was unacceptable. In his eyes, this made me the asshole I’m sure. I’ll live with that.
Glenn Barbis Jr.
Well, I’ve been directed here by friends, and tho’ I never “lost” any money to Rick, I can show a pattern of what he does to people. Now I really should have known better than to deal with him, since I had been privy to his various meltdowns on Comicon, and even after meeting him in person, I was a little leery, but I like to believe in the good in everyone, and I was doing this for a charitable organization, and not Rick himself. A few years ago, Rick wanted to buy some comics off of me for ORCA. I gathered a long box of various titles/publishers, and gave him a price of $100 and the shipping costs. He contacted me thru one of his many emails with a mailing address, and I shipped it off. And I waited.
(Now one thing I was smart about, since knowing of his online reputation, I sent the box C.O.D. with a confirmation, meaning he had to sign for it.)
I sent the box C.O.D. to the address he gave me via email. After two weeks, I was told by Rick the box never arrived. I contacted the Post Office and they said they tried to deliver it, but nobody would answer the door, the second time nobody had any money, the third time they were told to hold it for a later pick-up, which I then okayed. After contacting Rick, I was told they never tried tried to deliver as far as he knew, and maybe they were at the wrong house. Or maybe a neighbor dealt with the postman when he wasn’t home. Over a month had gone by, then Rick said I sent it to the wrong address, and it was in a Post Office a few towns over, that he couldn’t get to regularly, but he still wanted the box. I sent him the email with the address he gave me, and I never heard back from him on that. After another month went by, I then could not get Rick to return my emails. So now it’s over 3 months, and I finally contact Rick and tell him he has one week to get to the Post Office and pick it up, or they have been instructed to send it back to me. Rick tells me he will get it the next day. I had told the Post Office to contact me when it was picked up, or when they were sending it back, and 4 days later, no word from them yet. I call Rick and again he tells me about sending it to the wrong address, and that it’s a major inconvenience for him to get there, but he will definately get it in the next 2 days. I call the Post Office to have it returned in 3 days from now. Rick emails me again about the wrong address, blames me, and says that they never tried to contact him or deliver it. 3 days later, the Post Office calls me and tells me they are sending the box box, that nobody came for it
When I get the box back, it is stamped with 7 or 8 delivery notices with the dates, a few of which were refused for lack of payment. They also sent me copies of the dated notices that were left on his door for him to pick up the box. When Rick finally got back to me a few weeks later, he said he was mad because he drove all the way in to get it but they sent it back. He also says he went the next day, which by the postmarks, proved he was lying. Rick was also sticking by his story that they never tried to deliver it, and that it was all major mix up at that Post Office, and how they were all inept there. I told him what all they sent me, and that I felt they went above and beyond what was expected in trying to deliver that package. And after that, my friendship with Rick dissolved even further, until he resorted to threats against me and my family.
Those are just few testimonies of people Rick Olney cheated, or tried to cheat. Barbis was smart to send his comics COD. And there’s no doubt, based on everything else I’ve seen of Olney in the past 6 years, that if Stahnke had taken Olney up on his apology, he would have still never gotten paid, so at least those two got out unscathed. Now I know there are two sides to every story, but when there are this many people all telling similar stories about ONE person, how logical is it to believe that ALL the accusers are lying? One of Olney’s very few defenders was a man named Albert Restaino aka Ares_0926 (who would later be appointed to help promote Olney’s fake business on Twitter as ORCAFRESH, defending him on About Heroes: I have questioned Rick personally, via Email, over the years about his multiple issues with “bad press”. He has always had a reasonable, rational explanation as to what actually transpired.
Yes, he always has an answer for each accusation. Usually that the other person is lying, or that it was someone else’s fault for things that went wrong. It may sound “reasonable”, but only if you listen to them one at a time. But when you take all his explanations as a whole, they just don’t add up. You have to assume that dozens of people have chosen to malign poor innocent Rick Olney for no damn reason. How does that make sense? Bottom line, the man was scum. His father died in 2007 and that didn’t stop him from lying and cheating and stealing. He got diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and that still didn’t stop him from lying and cheating and stealing. At the time of this death he was still spitefully holding on to Matt Busch’s inventory of Indiana Jones Maps. Just for THAT alone, his death deserves to be mocked. If his family or loved onse are reading this, or anyone knows how to get in touch with them, tell them if they want to redeem Rick Olney’s memory, they can start by returning those maps to their rightful owner so they could be sold to charity to benefit disable veterans, like they were supposed to be done over a year ago. Do that, I’ll be happy to write another blog post, stating that fact.
Now I think I’m done beating this dead horse (pun intended).