For Immediate Release

March 26, 2005


Theo the Dinosaur Original Art Exhibit by Phil Yeh opens at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

in April, 2006.

Artist and literacy advocate Phil Yeh will be at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the museum bookstore from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 15, 2006 for a book-signing in conjunction with a five-month exhibition of his original oil paintings from his classic children's book, Theo the Dinosaur. The art exhibit will continue through August 2006, and Yeh returns to Cleveland the weekend of June 24 and 25 to paint a huge mural with the general public.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive, University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-1767
Phone: +1 (216) 231-4600
or toll free +1 (800) 317-9155

In 1970, Yeh started publishing comics professionally at age 16 in Southern California. In 1973 in Long Beach, CA, he founded one of the great free newspapers, Uncle Jam, which lasted 19 years and interviewed many noted people from all fields. In 1977, Yeh became one of the very first American cartoonists to write, draw, and publish a graphic novel of all-new material . His work as the Godfather of the Graphic Novel would inspire many other artists throughout the country. Yeh founded Cartoonists Across America and the World in 1985, after meeting Wally Famous Amos , who is a national spokesperson for literacy, as well as a cookie king. Yeh believed that he saw a way of using cartoons and humor to call attention to important issues throughout the world. The band of artists have since painted more than 1500 colorful cartoon murals in 49 states, 3 Canadian provinces and a dozen countries, in their all-out effort to call attention, not only to the serious problems of the day but also to the real solutions at hand for solving these issues.

Yeh first met Theo the Dinosaur (and his friends Dinah, Dewey and Dallas) in 1986 on his first cross-country tour, while driving to speaking events in the desert of New Mexico. The dinosaurs had two important slogans for Yeh and his merry band of cartoonists: "Read. Avoid Extinction." and "Recycle. Avoid Extinction." After meeting the dinosaurs, Yeh agreed to paint their images and draw them into many of his comic books on his 25-year world tour, which ends in 2010.

Yeh painted a special red, white & blue version of his dinosaurs on the mall in Washington, D. C. for the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, while President Reagan spoke to the 100,000 people who had come out for the 1987 celebration. Yeh and his partner Leigh Rubin had created a best-selling comic book for this event about the making of the Constitution, called We The Penguins by turning all the founding fathers into pun-named penguin characters (i.e. Ben Frankguin). In 1988, Archie comic book writer and the creator of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch , George Gladir heard Yeh speak at a literacy conference in San Diego, California. He was so inspired that he wrote a story featuring Yeh's band painting a mural in Riverdale with Archie for the 200th anniversary issue of Archie’s Pals 'n' Gals. In 1989, First Lady Barbara Bush painted Theo the Dinosaur with Phil Yeh on a mural at the Library of Congress. She later honored the artists for their work at a ceremony in the White House.

In 1990, the dinosaurs and Yeh went international as guests of the first Hungarian Cartoon Festival in Budapest, with world-famous cartoonists from over 40 nations. The week-long celebration of the cartoon art form was capped by a giant mural, painted in one of Budapest's main squares. At the closing ceremonies, held in the former palace on the Danube, the Hungarian government asked Yeh to design an official Theo the Dinosaur postage stamp in honor of the United Nations Year of Literacy . The following year, Yeh finally released his classic children's' book Theo the Dinosaur, with financial support from his friend Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles . The book featured introductions by First Lady Barbara Bush and Earth Day International's chairperson Nigel Seale, demonstrating that education and environmental issues are, in fact, non-partisan issues. The book made its debut at the National Archives, where Yeh signed books and entertained the dinosaurs of Washington, D.C.

The dinosaurs continued to rise in popularity since that time, with thousands of posters, t-shirts, toys, mugs, bumper stickers, and billboards appearing all over the world. They were sponsored by fine companies and organizations as Levi's Strauss, IBM, Nissan, and The American Library Association, The International Reading Association, Newspapers Association of America, and many others. In 1995, Panasonic published the first of a series of Theo the Dinosaur CD-ROMs from animation work done by Interactive Ink, a Columbus, Ohio-based software company.

Yeh continues to feature these dinosaurs in his comic book series and will have a special printing of his classic Dinosaurs Across America comic book available at the June mural event in Cleveland. That issue also introduces the slogan, "Read, Rock and Recycle. Avoid Extinction" since Cleveland is the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll. The 8th printing of this bestselling book (170,000 sold) will feature a brand-new story with many of the principal cartoonists from around the world who work with Yeh, including; Emily creator He Shuxin from Singapore, Germany's Klaus Leven, who created Joey & Gonz, Jon J. Murakami 's The Dragons of Hawaii, Chicago's Geoff Bevington , creator of Steve the Dog and co-creator of Tekkie Toys, Belgium's lacemaker Lieve Jerger and the Lace Princess, and Brenda Murphy, AKA The Candy Queen and her husband Keith Murphy , who was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame a few years ago.

Yeh has a special relationship with Cleveland which began when he was a 21-year-old journalist and publisher in 1975. As documented in the 2004 book, Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones , Yeh was the first person to bring to light the tragic story of how the creators of Superman were cheated out of the millions owed them for their creation. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were both Cleveland high school students in 1939 when they created one of the world's most popular characters of fiction. Thanks to Yeh's Uncle Jam newspaper piece in 1975, the story made national news, and justice was finally served. In 1989, Yeh was invited to paint a mural, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Superman, at a comic book convention in Cleveland. Phil continues to speak to students all around the world about his meetings with creators from all fields and how often they are very young and from poor backgrounds. Yeh believes that if more people heard the true stories of these creators, they would begin to understand how this creative process works. In several stories of Phil Yeh’s comics, very well-known international guests artists actually draw themselves and share their very personal advice for the benefit of young, aspiring-cartoonist readers.

Yeh believes that as a society, we have to encourage all young people to cut down on the mind-dulling electronic entertainment and to pick up a pen, a guitar, and a book to really use our imagination to express our personal passions and interests. That is the core message and theme of this exciting Theo the Dinosaur art show in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

For more information about having Phil Yeh speak at your library, school or conference, please contact him by email at or go to

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