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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
New Paltz Comix #3
Iron-Soul Stories
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Only Printing / December, 1977 / 60 pages / Moods Publishing Empire
New Paltz Comix #3 is widely known as Iron-Soul Stories, which publisher Michael T. Gilbert indicates is because the issue's "basic theme is Sci-Fi and the supernatural." There are more contributors and even more pages (60) this issue than the previous two, which leads to a variety of quality.

The book features a relatively new comic creator, Jeff Bonivert, whose work Gilbert declares is "far and away the most powerful, graphically." That's saying a lot for a book that also includes Larry Todd, Tim Boxell, and Steve Leialoha, and I can't say I agree with Gilbert. Bonivert's drawings utilize a lot of pure geographic shapes (ovals, rectangles, parallelograms and especially circles), which makes for a striking and unique style but not an especially warm or flexible one. That said, I think Bonivert's writing is pretty good, so if you like his artwork (and it's not like a hate it), you will really like his contributions.

Bonivert's opening story, "Madhouse," is fairly representative of his work. It features a patient (or is it a doctor?) in an asylum who takes a drug that gives him insights into mental illness, but because he is (falsely?) confined as a patient, his great discovery will never be taken seriously. A couple of Bonivert's art panels are effective from a design perspective, sort of like Yellow Submarine meets A Clockwork Orange, but to me the style overwhelms the story, which applies to all of Bonivert's work in this book. Bonivert went on to a fairly successful career in comics, gradually moving away from his original style but using certain elements from it to make his work more flexible but still unique.

There are several solid comics scattered through the comic, including "Food" by Raoul Vezina and Bob Kessel, Tim Boxell's "Old Fruit" (despite the goofy ending), and "There's No Race Like Home" by Mark Roland, an astronaut adventure which, at the end, seems like the first chapter in an epic story, but apparently not. Beyond those stories, Clifford Neal, Steve Leialoha and Nestor Redondo contribute terrific pin-up art pages. Leialoha’s page features a pin-up of the mythical character Pan reading Marvel's Warlock, a comic that Leialoha inked.

Iron-Soul Stories delivers some decent stories, but none of them are great. What is great is Larry Todd's oil painting on the front cover, a resplendent portrait of a divine seductress lounging in a well-appointed space vessel, which earns a Comixjoint Top Twenty Underground Covers award.
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted.
Larry S. Todd - 1
Mark Roland - 2, 21 (inks), 42-50
Jeff Bonivert - 3-10, 25-27, 53-55
Raoul Vezina - 11-13 (collaboration), 18 (inks), 24 (art)
Bob Kessel - 11-13 (collaboration)
Kevin Meek - 14-15 (pencils, script)
Alan Gordon - 15 (inks), 39-41 (pencils, inks)
Mary McAllister - 14-15 (lettering), 39-41 (lettering)
Michael T. Gilbert - 14 (inks), 17-21 (pencils), 22 (art), 24 (art, script), 28-30 (editorial, art), 39-41 (script, layout), 51-52 (inks), 56-60
Clifford Neal (aka Oisif Eguax) - 16
Harvey Sobel - 17-22 (script)
Tim Boxell (aka Grisly) - 17 (inks), 31-37
Brian Buniak - 20 (inks), 51-52 (pencils, script)
Steve Leialoha - 23
Larry Rippee - 19 (inks), 28(art)
Nestor Redondo - 38