Milton Griepp’s pre-New York Comic Con conferences are always filed with information and schmoozing, and next year’s looks to be good:

Pop culture publishing and consulting company ICv2 has announced that Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman will deliver the keynote address at the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, held in association with New York Comic Con. The fourth annual ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, “Success in a Time of Change,” will be held on Thursday, February 5th at the Javits Center in New York. Spiegelman’s address, “What the [email protected]##*! happened to comics?!,” will open the afternoon session.

“We’re very honored to have Art Spiegelman as our keynote speaker,” ICv2 President Milton Griepp said. “I sold Art’s work in my first comic distribution job in the late 70s, continued in the 80s with Raw and Maus, and at ICv2 we’ve covered his In the Shadow of No Towers, Breakdowns, and his work for Toon Books. Throughout that three decade period, he’s been an innovator and leader both in his work, and in the ways it reaches the public. I can’t think of a better speaker to keynote the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference.”

In addition to the Spiegelman keynote, a number of other new features keep this Conference on the cutting edge. A morning Web track has been added, where expert panelists will discuss “Comics on the Web” and “Comics and Social Networks.” In the afternoon, in addition to the keynote, ICv2 will present its annual White Paper, along with the results of a new survey of graphic novel buyers conducted in association with New York Comic Con; Publishers Weekly Senior News Editor Calvin Reid will moderate a panel on graphic novel literary adaptations; and some of the most important graphic novel buyers in the country will discuss industry trends.

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Griepp talked about the unique importance of this year’s Conference. “We believe that graphic novels can continue their growth into a dominant medium in American culture,” he said, “but at this time of unprecedented challenges, it’s more important than ever that the industry come together to talk about what’s working, what’s not, and how we can best meet those challenges as an industry.”

Ticket prices for retailers and librarians have been reduced for this year’s events, to make it more accessible to these critical segments of the industry.

Two sponsors, major graphic novel printer Transcontinental Printing and Publisher’s Weekly, the leading publication covering the book business, have signed on to support the Conference.

Transcontinental, in addition to sponsoring the event, will host its signature Transcontinental Printing Cocktail Party at 5 p.m., a time when attendees, speakers, and panelists can meet, mingle, network, and talk about the events of the day.