By David Krogh
Who would have known while looking at a new joke book about Portland that the author is well known in the comic book and children’s television industries?
Designer and director Craig Yoe is the author of not only this joke book, but others about seven cities and one state. All are published by Arcadia Children’s Books. Yoe has been a creative director for Nickelodeon, Disney and Jim Henson at the Muppets.
He has done work for many publications and productions with his own company, Yoe! Studio, including Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon, IMAX, Kellogg’s and Big Boy Magazine.
Currently he is publishing under his own imprint, Yoe Books, which will be expanding through a patronship with Dark Horse Comics, located in neighboring Milwaukie.
Yoe got his start as a toy designer before being hired by Jim Henson as a creative director for the Muppets. After Henson passed away, he started his own company.
One of his first projects was to produce a book The Art of Mickey Mouse. Mickey was always one of his favorite cartoon characters and after completing this book, he became more interested in book publishing, leading to his own publishing history.
LOL Jokes: Portland is 96 pages filled with art, photos and jokes and factoids specifically attuned to Portland and the vicinity. Geared for ages 7+, the jokes are family-friendly.
For those who are into farming, many of the jokes may seem “corny,” but given Portland’s mantra to “Keep Portland Weird,” the jokes are certainly appropriate here and is both an easy and pleasant read for the young at heart.
Here are a couple examples of the jokes within this book.
“Gardener: ‘Hurry up and grow!’ A Rose: ‘I’m PETAL-ing as fast as I can!’”
“Did you hear about the kid who was raised by a garlic clove? Yeah, she was garlic bred!”
Describing how he wrote LOL Jokes: Portland Yoe said, “Before starting the joke writing process, I did a deep internet dive researching Portland’s history, culture, unique aspects and not-to-miss places. My books never laugh AT the cities, but WITH ‘em! Having had six kids makes the ‘dad jokes’ aspect of looking at a place like Portland come easy to me.”
He has visited all of the cities and state he’s written joke books for and mentioned he had actually considered moving to Portland in the past. So he does write with knowledge of place.
“Also,” he said, “my oldest friend has been a decades-long resident of the Rose City and he vetted my manuscript to make sure I didn’t miss anything important and got the right tone.”
Yoe’s great sense of humor, is needed for writing joke books.
When asked how he first got started in them, he said, “I think the first book I made was a joke book. A friend of my dad used to tell me jokes when I was eight years old and encouraged me to write my own and put them in a notebook he bought me. It remains unpublished, though. I must alert my agent!”
Asked how he would describe his work experience, he responded in both professional and personal terms. Professionally, he mentioned having done a large variety of work types including running a nightclub, preaching, illustrating and design, toy inventing, directing and writing. “Now I’m focusing on being a cartoonist, a fine artist and children’s book creator.”
“Personally,” he said, “I’m a grateful husband, a giving-it-my-best dad and definitely an unrepentant hippie.”
LOL Jokes: Portland is available at Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St., multiple locations of Powell’s and Barnes & Noble and online at Amazon.com. Additional information about this and the LOL series available at arcadiapublishing.com.