Jeff Smith at C2E2

Organizers of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) have today announced that Jeff Smith will appear as a Guest of Honor at the new pop culture convention which is being launched April 16 – 18, 2010 at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center.  This will be Mr. Smith’s first appearance in Chicago in ten years and C2E2 officials are pleased to confirm his participation just as the annual American Library Association (ALA) Conference, which is also taking place in Chicago, is set to begin on July 9th.  Mr. Smith is highly regarded by the librarian community as graphic novels are an important and growing category for librarians as well as bookstores throughout the country.  His BONE series, which has won 41 awards worldwide, including numerous Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards, was recognized by the ALA and Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in 2002.  The new color editions of BONE, which have recently been published by Scholastic, Inc., have sold more than 3 millions copies.

Mr. Smith is the second Guest of Honor to be announced by C2E2.  Celebrated comic book painter and Chicago area resident Alex Ross will also appear at the show as its Keystone Guest of Honor.  Show officials note that many more guests will be announced in the near future.

“We are incredibly happy that Jeff Smith has agreed to be a Guest of Honor at our show and this is a perfect moment to make this announcement,” notes Lance Fensterman, Vice President and Show Manager for C2E2.  “One of our major objectives at ALA this year is to point out the significance of graphic novels in the world of books as well as the pop culture community.  Jeff Smith is a standout in this regard.  He is an American cartoonist who represents the quality and substance of the graphic novel medium.  He has had an enormous influence in encouraging kids and teens to read books and we are very grateful that he’ll be joining us as a Guest of Honor in April.”

“I always have a great time whenever I visit Chicago,” said Smith.  I’ve been away for a while, so I look forward to seeing old comics friends and readers, as well as the new generation that’s currently reading the color Scholastic edition of the stories.”

C2E2 is operated by the organizers of BookExpo America (BEA) and both events are sharing a booth (#2030) at ALA.  Convention officials recently announced (July 2, 2009) that they are joining with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) to organize a high profile panel and a “meet and greet” brewery party at this year’s ALA Conference.  The activities are designed to call attention to free speech and to celebrate graphic novels and their importance in developing young readers.  The panel, Ban those @#$*%! Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Censorship, will take place on Monday, July 13, 1:30pm – 3:30pm (McCormick Convention Center, W-184).  The brewery party, open to librarians and ALA attendees, will take place at the Piece Brewery (1927 W. North Ave.) on Monday, July 13, from 6pm – 8pm and will be directly followed by a fan meet up from 8pm – 9pm.