- On 27 Oct | '2023
Greetings Loyal Airmen, as we creep ever closer to winter, the title of this week’s Flight Log seems appropriate, don’t you think? It actually refers to one of our favorite pulp heroes from the golden age of the pulps, Scientific Detective I.V.Frost.
Frost and his lovely blonde assistant, Jean Moray, first appeared in the pages of the pulp magazine, CLUES (upper left). They were created by writer Donald Wandrei (1908-1987). He would write 18 stories featuring them that appeared between Sept. 1934 and Sept. 1937. Now jump ahead in time to 2000 and the Air Chief is becoming familiar with pulps. Thus we discovered new anthology from publishers Fedogan & Bremer that collected first 8 of those adventures. Naturally we taken by the gorgeous cover (above right). We loved the stories and couldn’t wait for the publisher to publish the second volume that would supposedly reprint the remaining 10 stories. Sadly the outfit went out of business before that could happen. We would have to wait another 20 years until the good folks at Haffner Press brought us The Complete I.V. FROST (see above right) for which we are eternally grateful.
Then one night, we received a call from Moonstone Books publisher Joe Gentile asking if we knew of a pulp hero named I.V. Frost. What followed was a fun conversation in which Joe explained he had hopes of doing new stories featuring long forgotten characters and he wanted to assign each to one specific writer; i.e. that writer would be responsible for writing not only new prose adventures of their assigned hero, but also comic stories. We signed on instantly and got to work. With a few weeks we’d written a new Frost mystery story and the scripts for three short comic tales. Artist Jake Minor had signed on to do the comics. He actually penciled one completely. Sadly Joe’s hopes for this new venture simply didn’t pan out and in the end, he opted to cut his loses and go a different route. He decided he’d produce a full out prose anthology of new I.V. Frost stories and that’s where my story was eventually published. See cover above left. It’s really a terrific collection of stories. Sadly it seemed like no one would ever see the comic stories, even that one Jake finished.
After a few more years, the Air Chief approached artist Gary Kato with the idea of drawing the two comic scripts that had never been illustrated. Gary happily agreed. Then we approached pal Rob Davis about doing a one shot, full-color comic with them and Rob was on board. Above left is the cover to that one shot and to the right are the first pages of the two stories; “Runaway Robot” and “Speed Demons.” You can still buy copies at (www.IndyPlanet.com) Gary did such a fantastic job with the art and we thrilled to finally see those stories in print. I.V. Frost now had his own comic book.
All of us were thrilled with getting those two comic stories in print, but still bemoaned the fact that the third, “The Beast Master” had yet to see the light of day. Then a year or later, the Air Chief wrote a new Black Bat novella in which he teams up with the Purple Scar and we offered it to Joe and Moonstone Books. To our delight, Joe published. Then he had the idea of doing a hard cover edition which would come with a bonus feature. The Air Chief quickly reminded him he still had that third I.V. Frost strip by Jake Minor and it would make a great “bonus feature” for his hardcopy edition. Joe agreed and so it finally happened. Above left is the cover to that novella, and to the right are first two pages of “The Beast Master.”
Now after all that, the Air Chief figured that would be the end of our relationship with “Ivy” & Jean. But we were wrong again. We’d failed to take into account that Joe loved these characters as much as we did. So sure enough, in late 2020 we get another e-mail from him asking if we’d consider doing as yet another Frost story. This one would be the back up feature to a new series Moonstone would soon launched called MOONSTONE DOUBLE SHOT. Above left is the cover to that first issue, which featured a lead Green Hornet story by our friend Mel Odom. The back was “The Vanishing Train,” an I.V. Frost mystery by yours truly with artist Sergio Ibanez doing that wonderful spot illustration. The little book appeared in 2021.
In working with these truly wonderful characters, we’ve often imagined what actors we’d cast to portray them on the silver screen. Our image of the clinical, so serious Prof. I.V. Frost is a young Peter Cushing whereas his sexy, Phd. blonde bombshell none other the gorgeous imp, Jean Harlow. That’s how we see them when writing their new adventures. Doing so makes their dialogue flows effortlessly. Oh, and the purpose of this lengthy essay, guess who sent us an e-mail a few days ago? Yup, Joe came knocking again and we’ve signed on once again. How could we say no? Time to revisit 13 State St. Manhattan and see what the two of them have been up to. Stay tuned, Loyal Airmen, more as things develop.
BEYOND THE STARS
Artist Andrea Bormida wrapped up work on Pg # 15 of issue # 3. That only leaves 7 to go, then it is off to letterer Mike Belcher and on to Silverline Comics. Wahoo!
THE CRIMSON NUN
Artist Jesse Thomas continues to progress with issue # 1 of THE CRIMSON NUN. Above is Pg 10 from that issue, with inks and final coloring. We are really excited to see this issue come to life.
STEVE ERWIN R.I.P.
Years ago, the Air Chief met an artist from Oklahoma named Steve Erwin. He had this idea of us doing a Green Hornet comic book and urged us to write up a proposal. Meanwhile he did up several sketches of what the new Hornet and his new female Kato would look like. Then both of us went to San Diego to sell the idea. Thing is while there, Steve landed a job with DC comics where he would go on to draw Superman and Co-create Checkmate. Meanwhile, we managed to get Green Hornet picked up and Jeff Butler took over the art chores. Still we and remained pals and cheered each other on over the years. We just now learned that Steve passed away. Our heart goes out to his wife Brenda and kids, Paige & Danny. Steve was truly one of the good guys in this crazy business. Above are his original sketches. Rest in peace, amigo. And thanks.
Ron – Over & Out!