The first Small Potatoes strip ran in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 1st, 2004, replacing my strip All Over Coffee for a day as an April Fool's joke. AOC had been running for only two months at the time, and it had made quite a stir. There had been a lot talk about the series, both good and bad, so I wanted to make something fun to show readers that what I was doing with AOC was intentional.

After that, I occasionally found myself scribbling Small Potatoes strips just to make my wife laugh. Each time, I considered making a series of it, but it wasn't until four years later, in December 2007, when I needed a break from All Over Coffee, that I took a couple weeks to live and work only in the land of Potatoes.

Small Potatoes were in direct opposition to All Over Coffee. They demanded to be crass, energetic, and playful. Which was refreshing for me after the subdued tone of AOC. In two weeks I made a dozen or so strips, then put this website together to see if they'd catch on with me or anyone else.

After that I forgot about the Potatoes until a couple of months later the impulse returned. I made another set of strips, posted them, then went back to other work. This time, though, I didn't forget about the Potatoes, but found myself consistently writing and scribbling new pieces. I would wake up with ideas running through my head and took to spending each morning in a cafe making new strips, which was exactly how I'd started All Over Coffee. That's when I knew the Potatoes could be a viable series and began to formalize the style, voice, and format.

I also began talking to the Chronicle about the Potatoes being a regular feature. Given the space limitations of print, though, the series would have been limited to three or four panels, which I found too constricting. The strips I was writing were random lengths, often ten to twenty panels, and it was more important for me to explore the storytelling power of the series than to fit it into a prescribed format. So I passed on having a second series in the paper, and continued to keep the Potatoes for myself.

In February 2009 I felt I'd hit a stride, so I talked to my friends at the Rumpus and began posting Small Potatoes there weekly. After about a year, though, I stopped enjoying the regimen of weekly work––I was still producing AOC weekly as well––and so, needing to lighten my load, I returned to making Small Potatoes cartoons only when the desire struck.

Come 2011, I was full on working on a novel, and so put the Potatoes completely aside. But to this day, my love for them continues to stay strong, which is why in 2016 I signed on to syndicate the series with GoComics . If readership is strong, and the public wants more, then I'll pick them up again as a regular feature. Long live the Potatoes!

-Paul Madonna


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Contact Paul at: studio AT paulmadonna DOT com