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The Strange Horror of Paul Gattuso’s Red Seal Comic Book Covers, Up for Auction

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In the same way Gus Ricadistinctive stylist Paul Gattoso is one of the key artists who gave Harry Chesler‘s comics their distinctive look. Gattuso worked for Chesler from around 1944, on titles such as Dynamic comics, comic punch and Scoop comics among others. The Black Dwarf character who appeared in Spotlight on Comics and Red Seal Comics is perhaps his most remembered work, but his extremely creative covers on a range of titles were memorable due to his art style and his use of particular elements of fantasy and horror. For this reason, Chesler comics such as those on the Red Seal Comics that feature Gattuso covers are also often sought after by Pre-Code Horror collectors. Among the most distinctive comedic works of art from the Golden Age are several numbers from Red Seal Comicsmany of which are featuring Gattuso covers up for auction at Heritage Auctions’ Sunday & Monday July 3-4, 2022 Selective Comics Auction #122227.

Red Seal Comics with covers by Paul Gattuso (Chesler, 1946).

In particular, in his book Seduction of the innocent, Frederic Wertham singled out what was originally a Black Dwarf story by Gattuso, published as “Blue Monk” in St. John’s Crime Reporter #2saying, “The kids told me what the man was going to do with the red-hot poker.”

Although they technically predated the era that Pre-Code Horror collectors usually focus on (1947-1954), their covers and content make them impossible to ignore in this context. Paul Gattuso was an artist whose work comfortably straddled horror, fantasy and superheroes, there are several issues of Red Seal Comicsmany of which are featuring Gattuso covers up for auction at Heritage Auctions’ Sunday & Monday July 3-4, 2022 Selective Comics Auction #122227.

Red Seal Comics #20 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD. Cover of Black Dwarf / Skeleton by Paul Gattuso and story art by George Tuska and Ralph Mayo. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $65.

Red Seal Comics #14 (Chesler, 1945) Condition: FR. First number of the title. Bondage, Mad Scientist, Skull, Hypodermic Needle Cover by Paul Gattuso. The black dwarf begins. Appearance of Nemo. History and Art by Robert McCay. Art Gattuso and Joe Beck. Cover split and detached at bottom of staple; cover the tears. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $116.

Red Seal Comics #19 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: FR. Appearances of Zor and El Tigre. The black dwarf only appears on the cover. Spine split at bottom, cover torn. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $63.

Red Seal Comics #17 (Chesler, 1946) Condition: PR. Cover and illustrations by Paul Gattuso. Art by George Tuska, Gus Ricca, Ralph Mayo and Joe Beck. Spine and pages split, staples removed and replaced, front cover repaired with tape. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $65.

Red Seal Comics #18 (Chesler, 1946) Condition: FR. Appearances of Lady Satan, Yankee Girl and Sky Chief. Homepage and bondage signs. Cover and illustrations by Paul Gattuso. Inside cover repaired with tape, spine reinforced with tape inside, staples replaced. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $65.

Red Seal Comics #21 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD/VG. Appearance of Lady Satan and Black Dwarf. Art by George Tuska and Gus Ricca. Detached center pleat. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39; Value VG 4.0 = $78.

Red Seal Comics #22 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD. Appearances by Black Dwarf and Rocketman. Cover of Gus Rica. Paul Gattuso art. Upper corner chewed, cover detached at the bottom clip, tear on the front cover, spine split at the bottom. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39.

Sponsored by Heritage
Posted in: Comics, Sponsored by Heritage, Vintage Paper | Tagged: Chesler, golden age, Paul Gattuso, pre-code horror

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