The Wild Worlds of Harry A. Chesler's Dynamic Comics, Up for Auction

In recent times, we've talked about the amazing and often fantastically strange artwork of Gus Ricca on the likes of Dynamic Comics #8, and Dynamic Comics #11,  among others.  Ricca was an accomplished magazine and book cover artist and newspaper illustrator before he came to work in comics for Harry A. Chesler, and he was also Chesler's art director for a period in the mid-1940s.  He 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 — and made his mark on Chesler's comics in general and on Dynamic Comics in specific as both artist and art director.  Paul Gattuso was another stand-out artist at Chesler, and his Dynamic Comics #20 cover is another classic.  Mac Raboy's cover on issue #9 is an overlooked example of his work.  There are 17 issues of the important Chesler series Dynamic Comics in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Dynamic Comics #20, #21. Photo of Harry A. Chesler courtesy the Chesler family, used with permission.
Dynamic Comics #20, #21. Photo of Harry A. Chesler in the 1930s courtesy of the Chesler family, used with permission.

The combination of horror, superheroics, and fantasy elements in Dynamic Comics #1 set the tone for this series. The villain of the Dynamic Man story of this issue was called the Yellow Spot, even though he wears a dark blue costume with a skull symbol on his chest. In reality, he's more like a supernatural, evil version of Batman, who can turn into a bat at will, has a cave headquarters, and has "ancient witchcraft and black magic at his command."  This evil Bat-man intends to plunge humanity back to the dark ages by stealing the brains of the world's top scientists.  On the other hand, the patriotic character Major Victory's origin moment is sparked by a character called Father Patriot, "a spirit born in 1776."   Artists like Ricca and Gattuso were a perfect complement to this range of stories.

We'd like to single out Dynamic Comics #12 here to again correct a matter for the historical record.  When Bleeding Cool ran a post about this issue in 2021, Chesler's granddaughter Kelly reached out to note that although many believe that Harry Chesler resembles the figure on this cover, and it's possible that Gus Ricca meant this as a caricature, Chesler did not resemble this figure.

Whatever Ricca's inspiration for this cover actually was, it's yet another example of the range of covers used on this series overall.  There are 17 issues of the important Chesler series Dynamic Comics in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.  An important Golden Age series from a foundational publisher, there are 17 issues of the important Chesler series Dynamic Comics in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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