Meet I.V. Frost, science detective
Another pulp hero who has been largely overlooked by most pulp fans is I.V. Frost. A science detective created by Donald Wandrei, he appeared in Street & Smith’s Clues magazine in 1934.
S&S was frustrated that Clues, their newly-acquired dedicated mystery pulp, was being outsold by Black Mask. So they commissioned Wandrei to create a continuing character that would attract and keep readers.
Ivy Frost ran for 18 stories from September 1934 to September 1937. Several stories were cover featured. Was it successful? I don’t know, but Clues/Clues Detective Stories lasted until 1943 and appears to have ended due to the wartime paper shortages.
I’m not sure why the Frost series ended, but find it interesting that Wandrei created another science detective for Clues Detective Stories, Cyrus North, that ran six stories in 1938 and ’39. It had several cover features, and the first noted it was written by the creator of I.V. Frost.
Professor I.V. “Ivy” Frost was a scientist who solved crimes, billed as an “American Sherlock Holmes.” (I guess someone forgot to mention that title was already taken by Harry Dickson.) An eccentric character, he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty solving a crime. He was no armchair detective.
His assistant, Jean Moray, also broke the mold. Miss Moray was no dumb blonde secretary or damsel in distress. A sexy blonde with a genius IQ who packed a .25 derringer, she was the perfect counterpart to her boss.
Fedogan & Bremer planned to reprint the whole series in two volumes in 2000. The first volume came out with the first eight stories in 2000, with a second one planned. It never appeared. Haffner Press is coming out with a single-volume release of the whole series, The Complete Ivy Frost that as of this writing has yet to appear. I was able to get that F&B collection several years back and really enjoyed the stories. I have the Haffner book on pre-order and can’t wait to read the whole series.
Moonstone will be coming out soon with a collection of new Ivy Frost stories in a few months. It will be interesting to see if the Haffner book will come out before this.
I.V. Frost never appeared in the Street & Smith comic books, but New Pulp writer and editor Ron Fortier started working on new comic stories of Ivy Frost. I think the original plans were to have the stories appear in comics from Moonstone, but when that didn’t happen, he took them to Redbud Studio, which is associated with Fortier’s Airship 27. One issue of I.V. Frost, Scientific Detective, has come out so far with two original stories, in color. These can be ordered online. I think plans are for more stories, but no idea when.
Frost is an interesting pulp hero who maybe now will be better known. Get the Haffner collection and the upcoming Moonstone collection. I’d love to see a complete collection of Wandrei’s Cyrus North stories as well. The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box is working on that, but who knows when it will appear. I had only read the story that appeared in Pulp Vault #14.