True Believers is a full-length novel by Thom Dunn, based on his play of the same name. It’s a satirical tale of star-crossed lovers, aspiring comic book creators, crazed fanboys, cybernetically enhanced humans, women in refrigerators, real-life superheroes, and girls who dress like Slave Leia as their lives intertwine over a whirlwind weekend at a comic book convention in the early 2010s.
The book will be serialized on Medium throughout the month of April 2020. Here is the first chapter. Check back every day for more chapters!
It’s almost noon by the time that Chad gets to the Javits, having overslept the 9:30 train in his hungover state. He can’t tell if the scratching in his dry and sticky throat was caused by those awful faux-absinthe shots at the Omni bar last night and the dehydration that followed, or if he’s already getting a taste of this year’s Con Flu — that wretched epidemic of Magic the Gathering malaria that spreads like a contagion every single year, each time evolving into some new unstoppable strain passed on by toilet handles, handshakes, and autograph Sharpies. It’s a wonder that the CDC doesn’t quarantine the entire Hudson seaport for two weeks before and after the convention.
Either way, it’s a good reminder to Chad that he’s pushing 40, and that even aside from his professional failures, his body doesn’t work the way it used to.
Chad gulps down the last gritty dregs of his third coffee as he as he navigates through the costumed crowd clambering down 34th. They’re all out-of-towners, of course, as indicated by their slow and clumsy steps: always two people taking up the center of the sidewalk and leaving no way around them without stepping in the street, the accouterments and embellishments of their elaborate anime costumes only making it worse. Chad might not live in the city himself anymore, but at least he knows how to walk a block without clogging the concrete arteries of America’s cultural capital.
The lumbering crowds aren’t any better inside, all staring wide-eyed and dumb at the flashing lights of pre-release displays and stopping in the center of the aisles with the same lack of self-awareness as they snap photos of scantily-clad super-heroines and jacked-up dudes dressed like Thundercats who bear…