The Weird Horror of Paul Gattuso’s Red Seal Comics Covers, at Auction

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Along with Gus Riccadistinctive stylist Paul Gattuso is one of the key artists who gave harry chessler‘s comic books their distinctive look. Gattuso worked for Chesler beginning around 1944, on titles such as Dynamic Comics, Punch Comics and Scoop Comics among others. The character Black Dwarf who appeared in Spotlight Comics and Red Seal Comics is perhaps his best-remembered work, but his wildly creative covers on a range of titles were memorable due to his artistic style, and his usage of particular fantasy and horror elements. Because of this, Chesler comics such as the ones on the Red Seal Comics that feature Gattuso covers are often sought after by Pre-Code Horror collectors as well. Among the most distinctive comic artwork of the Golden Age, there are several issues of Red Seal Comicsmany of which feature Gattuso covers up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

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

Notably, in his book Seduction of the Innocent, Fredric Werthham singled out what was originally a Black Dwarf story by Gattuso, published as “Blue Monk” in St. John’s Crime Reporter #2saying, “Children told me what the man was going to do with the red-hot poker.”

Although they technically preceded the era that Pre-Code Horror collectors usually focus on (1947-1954), their covers and contents 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 feature Gattuso covers up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Red Seal Comics #20 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD. Black Dwarf / skeleton cover 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 issue of the title. Bondage, mad scientist, skull, hypodermic needle cover by Paul Gattuso. Black Dwarf begins. Nemo appearance. Robert McCay story and art. Gattuso and Joe Beck art. Cover splitting and detached at bottom staple; cover tears. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $116.

Red Seal Comics #19 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: FR. Zor and El Tigre appearances. The Black Dwarf appears on the cover only. Spine split at bottom, tear through cover. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $63.

Red Seal Comics #17 (Chesler, 1946) Condition: PR. Paul Gattuso cover and art. George Tuska, Gus Ricca, Ralph Mayo, and Joe Beck art. 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. Lady Satan, Yankee Girl, and Sky Chief appearances. Bondage splash page and panels. Paul Gattuso cover and art. Cover interior repaired with tape, spine reinforced with tape on the interior, staples replaced. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $65.

Red Seal Comics #21 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD/VG. Lady Satan and Black Dwarf appearance. George Tuska and Gus Ricca art. Centerfold detached. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39; GV 4.0 value = $78.

Red Seal Comics #22 (Chesler, 1947) Condition: GD. Black Dwarf and Rocketman appearances. Gus Rica cover. Paul Gattuso art. Top corner chewed, cover detached at bottom staple, tear to front cover, spine split at the bottom. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $39.

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

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