The best ideas seem to present themselves in fully coherent form in the shower or behind the wheel of the car.

The inherent level of isolation in both situations seems to allow the random sounds, clever quotables, and false pretenses to congeal into a somewhat manageable form. The human mind has a habit of attempting to process the myriad of stimuli thrown its way at once, and it could be days before our cognitions catch up to our perceptions. Even longer when one is surrounded by an infinite number of distractions competing for attention in the form of television, internet, comics, school, work, and music. How strange that in this assault on the senses lies what could very well be the next story. We only have to slow things down long enough to hear it.

……….

Okay, enough with the touchy stuff but you’ll have to excuse me…I’m talking about my passion here. Anyway, this is the Ambidextrous that I’ve wanted to write for weeks but haven’t. I’ve taken to this habit of making veiled and subtle references toward stories and ideas I’m working on, without further elaboration that would allow you to experience at least a marginal degree of the work’s effect.

This week the veil will be lifted as I’m pulled in eight different directions simultaneously. Infuriating and fascinating in its chaotic order. And I’m just trying to make sense of it all.

These are the things currently in development.

Ambidextrous continues to persist in the wake of my limited attention span. Progressing from the usual haze of confusion and encroaching panic at the beginning of the week due to topic deficiency to a full-fledged column by Saturday is exciting and daunting at the same time. The immediacy and permanence of the entire process effectively counter-acts my frequent fits of writer’s neurosis that prompts me to make persistent and uncontrollable changes to nearly anything committed to paper or word processor. Once the latest edition is deposited into the possession of my editor, it is preserved for posterity or infamy, and no amount of prodding will convince SBC to allow me to re-write my entire index of Ambidextrous articles.

So in most cases, I don’t even read ’em. I write it, proof it, and send it. Barring a quick cursory glance to ensure nothing has been edited (which it never has…thanks Craig) the creator of this sideshow can’t even bring himself to read most of his own work.

Completely nuts.

In spite of the ever-present paranoia that I may suck…work continues apace. Though I’m an admitted message board lurker, lying in wait for some asinine comment to set me off on some violent lyrical tangent, there are several column ideas that exist in various forms of completion that are planned for some time in the not-so distant future. (If only I’d stop complaining about everything long enough to write them.) There’s an Alan Moore column coming, updating you on the recent challenge perpetuated by a friend who was shocked by my heathenistic unfamiliarity with the work of Mr. Moore. Hopefully I’ll get to at least one convention this summer, and convince SBC to let me run this thing several days in a row like that other columnist over on that other site that’s done something similar. Then there’s that idea I have for the one year anniversary of Ambi. that involves re-writing my first column in some way. (Who knows how that’ll turn out?) And then there’s that article I’ve been nursing since the very beginning about why no one reads the Black Panther.

Now that I’ve unconvincingly suggested that these weekly proceedings aren’t nearly as random as they appear to be…let’s move on to the other things in some form of development.

The Syndicate continues to take over the world…though you haven’t even noticed. The concept has me trapped in that manic state of excitement where the ideas are coming hard and fast, threatening to overwhelm me if I don’t stop my life for periods of time to commit things on paper. Apparently, taking over the world involves more than a manifesto and a giant death ray…if the bastards want to stay out of jail.

This book is fostered by the idea that one can’t hit what one can’t see. No one takes over the world anymore, because “villains” spend more time fashioning their bright spandex costumes than developing a reliable game plan. It’s formula and I mean to shatter it. Our modern superheroes are a purely reactionary lot, and if not provided something substantial to react to…their effectiveness quickly decreases into negligible regions.

What happens when the “superheroes” are forced to face a group of individuals with a five-year plan? A conglomerate whose existence won’t even be confirmed until after they teleport the bombs into the Baxter Building, seal the Avengers within their own mansion, and march their clone army onto the White House lawn. The greatest conspiracy never known. World domination for the twenty-first century.

Anyway, I’m halfway through the detailed plotting of the third issue, and trying to decide what’s more relevant to my characters…taking over the world or keeping their personal lives from turning to crap? This is the new baby that should keep me somewhat occupied for at least the next few weeks…then I’ll file this away and be onto something else.

Here’s an excerpt from the first script that marks the meeting between industrialist Augustus March and Hollywood star Cameron Ricks:-

I’M A MUTANT MR. MARCH.
LOW GRADE TELEPATH ACTUALLY.
I MAKE SUGGESTIONS.
PEOPLE TEND TO AGREE WITH ME.
TWENTY-MILLION DOLLAR PAYCHECKS.
LENO APPEARANCES.
BLOW JOBS.
I ONLY MENTION THIS BECAUSE I’M TELLING YOU TO GO AWAY.
WHY ISN’T IT WORKING?
Then there are the league of Inventories I’m preparing to assault the Marvel offices with. I sent off an Exiles submission weeks ago that I just realized wasn’t about what I pretended it was about. But the germ contained within will appear in some future project I’m sure.

I was in the middle of plotting a Captain Marvel two-parter when the war of words broke out between Peter David and Marvel. I completed it because I started it, and was happily surprised when a 44-page dick joke turned into a 44-page character examination that shed a spotlight on the friendship between Rick Jones and his cosmically-bound alter ego. And I kept part of the dick joke anyway. The title changed from Wrongheadedness to The Unsaid Understanding. Proof positive that given enough time, I’ll realize that my initial inclination was shit and fix it. No greater feeling in the world than pushing through a concept or scene that isn’t working and fixing it. None greater. Well…maybe…nevermind.

There’s a Punisher story waiting to be transported from the notebook to the word processor but I keep placing it on the back burner for some reason. Have you ever done something that you regretted a split second after you did it? That happens to Frank Castle and it involves a bullet fired at point blank range. He blows some guy’s head off and realizes he’s seen him somewhere before. And something about the whole affair is making Frank guilty. Turns out the man was a former cop who looked the other way when Castle found himself caught in a SWAT raid several years ago. Frank could’ve been dead if it wasn’t for this guy. And he blew his head off with zero hesitation. And someone out there is very upset about this. Punisher never feels guilty about these bodies he leaves cluttering the streets of New York, but every death has consequences. This one is called Recoil for the time being.

Controversy abounds in the Spider-Man story Profiling that exposes Peter Parker to something he’s never encountered directly…racial profiling. Politics of race and hollow excuses in this story about terrible things happening for no good reason. Another controversial story is something that could never be told because it relies on bizarre changes to the status quo of the X-Universe, well…I guess it could be an Ultimate story…but how likely is that? It’s about a recently developed genetic test that can tell parents if they’re going to have mutant children…which leads to a drastic increase in abortion rates as people ditch these potentially mutant fetuses. And one of the X-women becomes…nevermind. This one is Trimester and will never see print.

Before moving on, have to comment on two short stories I’m trying to get straight. One is a small X-Men piece called Moment of Clarity that features the mutants in a bar, segregated into groupings of gender, when the question is posed to Scott of the moment he realized Jean was “the one”. By a matter of universal coincidence Jean is answering the same question on the other side of the bar surrounded by the female X-Men. The conversations build upon and feed off one another and allow me to tell a clever little story that stretches the dialogue muscles. I’ll be honest…I got this idea after a conversation in my Marriage and Family class. Still kinda cool though.

Day In The Life plays with the idea that there are people living in the Marvel Universe with powers that have no interest in saving the world and participating in these ridiculous games of dominance that heroes play with their colorful adversaries. The readers are left to decide what’s more admirable…grade school teacher Jaime Wallis saving a person from a burning building or helping young Chris Tyler through his difficulties in math class. Oh yeah, there’s also this chat room filled with people that have these “powers”. This leads into a new pitch that I’m keeping to myself for the time being.

Last but definitely not least is the one that I can never shake free, no matter what I’m working on, and no matter what class assignment I’m ignoring at the time.

The Adventures of Quint Black is the television series I intend to write some day. (Ambitious little cuss ain’t I?) Anyway, Quint is everything I revere about TV shows and their storytelling possibilities. Action. Drama. Humor. And a diverse cast of characters that shatter racial stereotypes. This is my intended magnum opus, and when I eventually find an outlet for it, I want you to tell people you heard it here first.

Whether it’s a conversation between characters, confounding plot twists, or even appropriate theme music, this one never leaves me alone. Seven seasons of madness and development tossed into a blender and processed by the mind out of sequence. And I’m just trying to keep up. Quint is going to touch the heart and the soul. Set the pulse fluttering with its suspense and action sequences, while bringing grown men to the point of tears over periods of emotional loss.

At least that’s what good television does to me.

The only downside is that I intentionally distance myself from material of an espionage nature which means I’ve never seen Alias, that I hear is quite good. Trying to prevent the unconscious biting of ideas. Once I get the master notes assembled, then maybe I’ll jump on the train. For the time being, if it ain’t Bond then I try to stay away from it. Though watching 24 and reading Queen and Country is cheating a bit.

Hopefully in ten years, I’ll appreciate this inherent drive to be original.

So that’s that. Don’t bite the style or I’ll hunt you down personally to dispense my unique brand of two-fisted justice. Take care and feel free to drop an e-mail or something.

Until next time people…

Peace,
Brandon Thomas

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