December 23, 2011

I'm in love

with a book I discovered in the graphic novels section of Elliott Bay Books today. It's called Everything Is Its Own Reward by Paul Madonna.

Beautiful detailed pen and inkwash full page city illustrations, a collection of All Over Coffee strips published in book form.  First page: "In hard times, beauty can seem frivolous - but take it away, and all you're left with is hard times." Another: "Leave a little emptiness, a space for when what you're waiting for arrives." Strong geometrical and yet inviting architectural scenes and details on each page with a short spot-on narrative. Surprise at the back cover - a full poster size drawing of many windows and balconies of a high rise or apartment building, with descriptive annotations regarding the occupant within each dwelling. Amazing find. How have I not heard of this before?!  Be sure to read the Afterword. "My intent was to explore the power of text and image by reassigning their roles in nontraditional ways...I thought of All Over Coffee as a comic strip without the comic, whose main and only character was setting. I would bring forward what were generally innocuous backgrounds and give them a leading role...In place of cartoon characters, stories would be told through dialogue or snippets of stories that floated around these scenes."

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