This year Craig Yoe, whom USA Today calls, “The comic book genre’s master archaeologist,” begins another chapter in “Making Comics History.” Yoe produced his first publication on comics history 50 years ago – a fanzine printed on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine. 2017 will be a year long Golden Anniversary Celebration of Craig Yoe’s sharing his comics findings with comics lovers!
Yoe says, “I never lost my passion for comics or publishing but, career-wise, I got distracted.” Those distractions included being a nightclub owner, a long-haired minister, a toy inventor, and a creative director for Disney and Nickelodeon. And Yoe was a Creative Director/Vice President General Manager for The Muppets, too. He drew the initial character sketches for the Dinosaurs TV show and created designs for the Muppet Disney World attraction. Jim Henson said, “Craig brings with him his valuable creativity and enthusiasm. He has a nice mix of business and creative talent!”
After Henson’s passing, Yoe began Yoe Studio. He took on a full creative and business partner in the studio—and a life partner—when he met his future wife Clizia Gussoni at the Lucca Comics convention in Italy, which included an exhibit from Yoe’s book The Art of Mickey Mouse. The book touted interpretations of Mickey by Peter Max, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and even Michael Jackson!
The New York Times exclaimed, “Yoe Studio has designed logos, toys, advertising, and websites for a list of clients that reads like the Fortune 500!” Those clients included Microsoft, Mattel, Marvel, DC Comics, Pepsi, Toys R Us, and the United Nations. For MTV, he created their heaviest rotated station ID that garnered a Mobius (Yoe’s storyboard was animated by the famed J.J. Sedelmaier Productions).
But Craig Yoe had a hankering to get back to his first love in popular culture, comics. He discovered unknown fetish artwork and edited a book, Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. It whipped up excitement around the world, even making the front page of USA Today. Yoe was interviewed on Fox News and on NPR’s Fresh Air. The revelation was breathless news in Time and Playboy. Vice Magazine proclaimed, “Craig Yoe is an Indiana Jones for perv/nerd artifacts!”
Secret Identity was introduced by the legendary Stan Lee and other Yoe books have sported introductions by John Updike, R. Crumb, Adam West, Bill Watterson, Jerry Only of the Misfits, and Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
One of the first moves of IDW Publishing’s COO and President Greg Goldstein after joining the company, along with CEO and Publisher Ted Adams, was to ink a deal with Yoe Studio to start the imprint Yoe Books. In six years the imprint has published over 60 books of classic comics highlighting artists like Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Walt Kelly, Joe Kubert, Milt Gross, Carl Barks, Dick Briefer, Bud Sagendorf, Frank Frazetta, and many more. The collections have featured horror, humor, kids comics, fantasy, and romance.
Yoe is a two-time Eisner Award winner, has received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, a Mobius, and the Jerry Bails Fandom Award. Of all of the recognition Yoe is proudest of the awards for The School of Five comic books, published in 26 countries, in 23 languages in over 40 million copies (a world record). These superhero comics, done in conjunction with Unilever and various social mission organizations, teach children in developing countries the importance of washing their hands to prevent deaths from diarrheal diseases. The comics are saving countless lives.
Craig Yoe and Yoe Books have garnered high praise:
ABC News called Craig Yoe ”America’s Foremost Comics Historian!”
MTV opined, ”If you’re a comic book lover and are looking for the perfect ‘coffee table’ tome for your rad crash pad, seek no further than Yoe Books and their swank collection of retro favorites—from the wacky to the bizarre! Yoe is an exceptional comics historian, unearthing fascinating comics!”
The Library Journal calls Yoe Books publications,” Wildly creative historical comic collections!” “Scale breaking!” and “Beautifully produced!”
Actor and pop culture icon Mark Hamill has tweeted, “I keep buying books from Yoe Books as gifts, then keeping them for myself! Check it out: http://YoeBooks.com”