You’d be surprised how unemployment could expand one’s horizons.

I’m cycling through periods of blind panic, balanced only by uncomfortable ambivalence and the foregone conclusion that soon sleeping until eleven in the morning will no longer be a possibility. The bank account appears to be shrinking exponentially in relation to the bills that my calendar says are due next week, and the potential ramifications of this whole sordid affair are growing in scope. (Check last week’s Enemy of the State if this is making absolutely no sense to you.) But, for the most part I’m doing fine and certainly appreciative of the well wishes and advice you guys have been sending my way.

Now onto the bright side of things.

The multimedia extravaganza known as Wizard World is quickly approaching. For the last several years, I’ve attended the convention in some capacity, mainly due to the relative proximity of Rosemont that can have me on the show floor in a little under an hour, depending on toll way traffic and how many speeding regulations I choose to ignore. Over the years my level of seriousness and dedication to the pursuit of breaking into the comics industry has only increased, reaching dangerous proportions.

Wizard World is about a week away…and I’m not playing games anymore.

Chuck Dixon started this several years back with his “Ten Commandants of Comic-Book Writing” panel that slightly altered the focus by which I intended to deliver my words to the world at large. Until walking into this hour-long presentation, I was working on pieces of my first novel (still around here somewhere in all its juvenile splendor) but after Chuck broke it down for me, a new path had been illuminated. And everything since then has been a collection of situations and pep talks that have conditioned one into believing that there’s no such thing as ‘impossible’, and that ‘nearly impossible’ isn’t nearly enough to stop me.

Last year, Joe Quesada hosted a panel that I attended called “What Marvel Wants” and he commented that the Chosen One, the undiscovered jewel to take things to the next level, could be sitting in the very room. This year, I’m back to prove that he was and that it’s time to get it done.

If I’m spotted on the con floor, chances are I’ll be trying to chat with editors, established pros, or any fine women lacking large male escorts. Should be fun, and only aided by the fact that I’ve been utilizing all my extra free time to construct a script that’s been resting on the edge of my consciousness. The detailed plot was finished a couple months ago, and trust me when I say that this is the perfect first story for any newcomer to any industry. It channels the feelings of disappointment and restlessness that grips anyone waiting for that important phone call that will begin the rest of your life.

Pieces of the final product, a few relevant dialogue bits, and specific images have been bouncing through my mind and notebook for awhile now, but it wasn’t until my little part-time gig evaporated into a mushroom cloud that I actually had enough time to sit down and put everything all together. Fate? Only Wizard World can tell.

The most encouraging aspect of the script is that it’s something that should (I’m still drafting it at the moment) appeal to the tastes of a wide-range of editors. Though it features some aspects of superheroes in an ancillary fashion, handing it to an editor at Oni or Dark Horse should elicit the same effect it will to someone from Marvel or DC. Provided I can convince them to read it of course. But one thing at a time. Anyway, the script is coming together quite nicely and I’ve enlisted the aid of a panel of experts and critics to proof things beforehand and prevent me from sucking too badly. My own personal ‘last line of defense’ includes a very established pro writer whose work I’ve admired for a while. I’ll be polite and not divulge his identity, but it’s someone that definitely has a solid idea of what makes a good story.

When not hawking the wares, there are a few panels I’m planning on attending and hopefully I’ll make it to at least half of them. Here’s the Ambidextrous schedule, with a little assistance from

BREAKING INTO COMICS (2:30-3:30 p.m.)
CrossGen head writer Barbara Kesel (The First, Meridian) serves up some how-to tips on how to break into comics as a writer, artist, or editor.

Buddy Scalera hosts this panel, where fans get to meet talented artists, writers, and inkers and get tips to create your own comics!

Learn what it takes to be a Marvel creator directly from Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada!

10 WORST MISTAKES YOU CAN MAKE (2:30- 4:00 p.m.)
Instructor Mark Waid (Fantastic Four, Ruse) shows you what pitfalls to avoid if you wanna be a writer or an editor.

There’s changes on the horizon for the Marvel U! Get the lowdown from editors like Tom Brevoort and Mike Raicht, and creators Bruce Jones, Sean Chen, Georges Jeanty, Guy Davis, Geoff Johns, and Mark Waid.

BREAKING INTO COMICS (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
DC Universe Group Editor Bob Schreck, Ale Garza, Paul Storrie, Robert Rodi, Terry Moore, Amanda Connor and others share their stories of breaking into comics!

There are probably a few more things I’ll check out, but those are the definites…or near-definites at least. If you happen to be in attendance, catch up with me in the above panels and say ‘what’s up’ or something. I’ll be the guy in the cool t-shirts.

Bring your editors. Hide your women. Ambidextrous hits Chicago in just five days.

Brandon Thomas

Next: I’m assuming I won’t have my con reports ready to go by next Saturday but you never know. In the event that I’m just not that good, there should be an interesting piece in this space regarding the recently announced The Truth mini-series from Marvel. I somehow feel stereotypically obligated to at least comment on what is being called the “Black Cap” mini-series. Should be interesting…wish me luck on the script…

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