All Over Coffee
Introduction by Andrew Sean Greer
Reader comment | Mar 29, 2011, Nathan J. DiPerri
I stumbled upon Paul Madonna's first "All Over Coffee" compilation while pa-rousing a graphic novel bookshelf in search of publisher prospects. It was near closing time in the book store and since there weren't many customers left, I sat down in the middle of the aisle and started flipping through the pages. Seldom does art move me so that my eyes widen as much as they did in looking at Madonna's ink drawing landscapes and watercolor washes set to poignant lyrical prose. My eyes watered after reading one comic about a man who gets up the nerve to introduce himself to a woman in the coffee shop whom he had ignored the previous day. I immediately snapped the book shut and proceeded to the checkout to make the purchase. "All Over Coffee" is a beautifully crafted, charming, inspiring and lavishly illustrated aesthetic experience.
Reader comment | Feb 16, 2010, Shooshie
This book is unique. Don't let it pass buy it. Paul Madonna is an incredible master of the pen, and I mean that in both arts and letters, which he combines in an unusual manner to great effect in weekly "comic" strip, All Over Coffee. This book documents the evolution of that strip from a very raw origin, to a brief but ongoing melodrama with characters we begin to know, to a more abstract form, devoid of regular characters, and on to what it has become today.
Originally Madonna drew...more several strips per week. Gradually it became obvious that this was a pace too rapid for the evolution of what All Over Coffee was to become. He cut back to one strip per week, and now each drawing seems more comfortably composed, each text more carefully juxtaposed. The text relates to the drawings in ways that only Madonna can tell you precisely, if at all, but you learn to trust that it provides the impact the artist desires, and you go with that. That's not to say they're dissociated the work well together. It's just that the connection is not always easily visible, but it is always felt.
This is a continuation of the glory days of the comics page. Not a "funny," but something to give you repose, to make you think without whacking you over the head with an opinion. Something sometimes so beautiful it hurts inside. Sometimes almost vacant, just a suggestion of space, but always complete -- where incompleteness is a conscious part of our totality.
Am I making more of All Over Coffee than is there? I think not probably I'm being too brief if anything, but only you can decide that. Read it weekly for a year and see if you've changed because of it. Well, we all know it's impossible not to be changed by art. I suppose the real question then is "how?" And that, my friends, is for you to find out.
Reader comment | Aug 25, 2009, Amber
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