In February 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle began printing an enigmatic feature called "All Over Coffee." Almost immediately, letters of love and hate, confusion and praise, poured in. Accustomed to the familiar formats of comic strips and cartoons, some readers struggled to understand a creation that seemed to live both within and beyond those boundaries.
All Over Coffee blends the timing of comics with the depth of poetry. Artist and writer Paul Madonna has fused art, literature, and comics by pairing timeless cityscapes with philosophical musings and poignant stories in masterfully rendered ink-wash drawings that surpass the art of Ben Katchor in elegance and architectural detail. His work has been compared to "a meeting of the tone of Edward Gorey, the uniqueness of Chris Ware, and the artfulness of Raymond Pettibon."
Quirky, whimsical, and often profound, All Over Coffee's stunning imagery and thoughtful writing combine to create a conceptual world, both dreamlike and familiar. This selection will delight anyone who has ever lived in or visited San Francisco – or dreamed of doing so – with its original, off-the-beaten path view of the city and its inhabitants.
Praise for All Over Coffee:
"A comic strip with no characters, plot or comedy – just exquisitely observed, fine-lined drawings of sunlit San Francicso, captioned with bittersweet fragments of dialogue. For fans of . . . Pekar's slice-of-life miniatures . . ." – Entertainment Weekly
"I can't believe how Paul Madonna can make you feel so mighty to be human at one moment, and then so completely humbled the next. This is my favorite poetry book of the year." – Beth Lisick, author of Everybody Into the Pool
"The architecture of residential San Francisco is about detail, willful eccentricity, an almost rococo approach to line, and a steadfast devotion to art for its own sake, beauty as its own reward. Paul Madonna's work gives itself fully to all of these notions, and to the city as a whole, and in doing so reminds us why, block by block and view by view, this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world." – Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and What is the What
“Paul Madonna does amazing work, very precise, but loose. He puts a lot of thought into waiting for just the right moment to stop looking around. These strips are a reminder to stop now and then and admire a corner of a room, a window or a rooftop. There are lovely details everywhere, at any time, no matter where you live.” – Tony Millionaire, author of Maakies
"Paul Madonna's collection All Over Coffee evocatively demonstrates the evolution of his eponymous San Francisco Chronicle strip. The juxtaposition of floating scraps of overheard, disconnected conversations, and masterful pen and ink drawings of San Francisco, the city he lovingly documents, reminds us of the serendipity of city life, its physicality and atmosphere, its unanticipated discoveries, its random intersections, its coincidences, and ironies. Madonna opens a window into the specificity of place, time and circumstance, providingan articulate perspective and critique of where and how we live." – Cathy Jensen Simon, Principal, SMWM Architects