It's indisputable that a cover has a tremendous impact on the value of a vintage comic book. But the stories behind some of comics history's most famous covers are sometimes surprisingly little-known. We've discussed examples here recently such as Frank Frazetta's cover of Creepy #4 and the captivating cover of Horrific #1. Gus Ricca's fascinating cover for Dynamic Comics #11 is another stand-out example. What exactly is happening on this highly sought-after cover? There's a clue to what this is all about in the stories of Dynamic Comics #11, and in Gus Ricca's history. There's a Dynamic Comics #11 (Chesler, 1944) CGC Apparent GD/VG 3.0 Slight (C-1) Off-white to white pages up for auction at the 2021 June 17 – 19 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction coming up from Heritage Auctions.
Gus Ricca, born Gaspano Ignazio Ricca in 1906, was an accomplished magazine and book cover artist and newspaper illustrator long before he came to work in comics for Harry A. Chesler, Marvel, and Fawcett among others. Ricca also became Chesler's art director in 1944. Ricca often took a symbolic, interpretive approach to the subjects of his cover work, as can be seen on his covers for the likes of Liberty Magazine, The Century Co., What's on the Air, and Colliers among others.
It appears likely that Ricca's now-famous Dynamic Comics #11 cover is based on the interior story for "The Echo" from this issue. It is known that Ricca drew the Echo story from Dynamic Comics #10. While the artist of the Echo story in #11 is unknown, it bears a resemblance to Ricca's work, and the story itself contains the chemistry elements and characters that correspond to this spectacular cover.
The Echo featured the crime-fighting exploits of a family of two brothers and their sister who were urged into a mission of fighting the underworld by the ghost of their murdered father. The Echo himself was a ventriloquist who wore an invisibility belt created by his super-scientist brother, who goes by the name of Dr. Doom (after the family's ancestral home, Doom Hall). It's clear from the title page of the first appearance and origin of this team in Yankee Comics #1 that the scientist figure on the cover of Dynamic Comics #11 is indeed Dr. Doom. The figure in the test tube on the far right is likely sister Cora, and the sleuth with the spyglass in the center test tube is likely the Echo himself. The team has foiled the plot of a clever thief who stole a valuable chemical formula in the story.
An incredible cover with a fascinating story behind it, there's a Dynamic Comics #11 (Chesler, 1944) CGC Apparent GD/VG 3.0 Slight (C-1) Off-white to white pages up for auction at the 2021 June 17 – 19 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction coming up from Heritage Auctions.
Dynamic Comics #11 (Chesler, 1944) CGC Apparent GD/VG 3.0 Slight (C-1) Off-white to white pages. Gus Ricca classic mad scientist cover. George Tuska art. CGC notes, "Restoration includes: spine split sealed to spine of cover." and "From the Collection of Jon Berk." Overstreet 2020 GD 2.0 value = $297.