In her latest novel aimed at the young-adult crowd, Maggs takes the quest story and condenses it into one day at the world’s biggest comic convention. A family needs to complete a number of difficult tasks, from finding obscure objects to capturing embarrassing displays on video, all on the convention room floor.
This book is a love letter to geekdom. In a year where we can’t have comic cons due to COVID-19, it reminds us that, at its best, fan culture is inclusive and non-judgmental. In fact, the book’s villain, an overzealous security guard named “James M.” is really just an amalgam of the white, male, old guard who hangs on as the crusty gatekeeper of all things pop culture. James M. is the person you recognize from the comic shop who complains that the lead in the new Star Wars is a woman. He’s the one who gripes about diversity in comic writing. He’s the one who complains that we don’t need new heroes who aren’t white or aren’t straight men. He’s the one who starts Twitter petitions to remove writers who don’t treat the pop-culture canon like it was still 1962.
Maggs’s book assures young readers that it’s OK to love your favourite book or TV series or movie that much. That it’s OK to be who you are. Take that, gatekeepers.