NEW PALTZ FUNNIES
New Paltz Funnies
Moods Publishing Empire (1973-77)
New Paltz Comix is an ambitious comic series launched by Michael T. Gilbert during his senior year at State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. The first issue was originally supposed to be published in early 1973 by the university student newspaper at New Paltz. They went so far as to shoot the film negatives for the printing, but then the newspaper’s staff blew the printing budget on an end-of-the-school-year party! Afterwards, the hung over staff promised Gilbert they’d print the book the next year, but since Gilbert was set to graduate before then, he split with the negatives, printed the book with his own money, and sold the book door to door around the New Paltz campus.
I’m guessing this unexpected adventure has afforded New Paltz Comix a soft spot in Gilbert’s heart, though I’m sure it felt like a pain in the ass at the time. The series took on different titles for its second and third issues (therefore also appearing in other sections of the underground library) to emphasize the different thematic content from issue to issue. There was also a fourth issue published in 1984, but I don’t have that one.
The series features over two dozen contributors and many collaborations between creators in the three issues I have. The weaker work hurts the overall review score, but I’m sure Gilbert would not do anything different if he could do it over again. Like some other independent publishers, his intent was to provide a showcase for unknown artists and writers, not to produce the most awesome professional books ever. As stated in his editorial in the second issue, “there’s a huge amount of untapped talent, ignored by straight and underground companies, that we will continue to actively search out.”