Journey Into Unknown Worlds #17
"The Ice Monster Cometh!"
Art: Gene Colan
Fred Hammer had come to enjoy Wintersville's gay carnival atmosphere. He
finds the place to be little more than a city-sized morgue. Mr. Hammer
is now less than impressed by the travel advertisements. THUMP THUMP
His knocking ran up and down the street, until finally a face peered out
to him from an open window above. When he asks for a room for the
evening, the owner tells him that they do not take in guests that they
Fred Hammer can't help but notice the "tourists welcome" sign, and is
given the advice that he should get off the street as soon as possible.
If no one lets him in, then how can he hope to do so. When Hammer knocks
on another door, the frightened face peers out, and tells him about the
Ice Monster. After pounding on more doors, each person tells him the
same story, and recommends that he leave town before the Ice Monster
comes. When he asks what he's supposed to do about a room, Fred Hammer
is directed to Tobin's Inn on Glacier Mountain. Not wanting to stay on
the streets any longer, Hammer walks up the lonely mountainside.
Despite the bright lights of Tobin's Inn, the large chalet was silent.
After Fred knocks, the oak door opens, and the woman listens to his story
about skiing. Lucille Tobin introduces her husband, who invites the
out-of-towner to join them for dinner. When Fred starts to mention the
Ice Monster, Jeffrey cuts him off, and insists that he doesn't want to
hear about such a thing. His wife tells them that half the town has seen
the Ice Monster, but Jeffrey Tobin just wants to run a business. It's
gotten so that there's been talk of the innkeeper being the Ice Monster
When Lucille tells him that they are down to their last log, Jeffrey
Tobin goes to chop more wood. The guest offers to help the innkeeper's
wife with the fire, and learns that she hopes to share more than some
heat. Fred Hammer sees that Lucille is afraid of her husband, but she is
more interested in their lone guest. He knows that the wife is a lonely
woman and is not in love with Jeffrey. Lucille has only got eyes for
Fred, and she knows that it won't be difficult to get her husband out of
the triangle. The guest isn't so sure that they'll get away with it, but
the innkeeper's wife tells him that they will place the blame on The Ice
Monster. As the wife prepares to hurl a large chunk of ice from the
roof, Fred Hammer asks Jeffrey Tobin about the ski run.
The innkeeper hears the hiss when the ice slides down the roof and the
couple hear the crunch when it falls upon him. Fred Hammer knows that no
human being could have survived such a impact. Lucille tells him to get
his coat, while she does something outside before they go. After getting
his coat, Fred stops dead, and sees the large footprints freshly made in
the snow. The late innkeeper's wife has made them as "proof" that the
Ice Monster was the killer. Lucille Tobin laughs as she heads for the
stable for the horse and sleigh. She is now free of her husband forever.
Fred Hammer can only ponder how Jeffrey Tobin had treated his wife to
merit such treatment. He waits alone in the cold, dark night, and the
crack of a whip breaks the silence. Fred offers to drive, with Lucille
telling him that they must head to Wintersville, and inform the police
about her husband's death at the hands of the Ice Monster.
CRACK The authorities will believe their story, having heard of the Ice
Monster before. Fred Hammer wonders if Lucille Tobin believes in it,
too. The late innkeeper's wife knows that many people in town have seen
the creature, but she doesn't like to think about it. Lucille is more
concerned about her future with Fred, the man she loves, and hopes to
marry in town. The whip continues to crack, with the horse racing
faster, and the sleigh's runners made hissing sounds through the snow.
She waits for his answer, and hears that he wants her. The sleigh picks
up speed, then swerves away from the road leading to Wintersville.
Lucille Tobin sees this and hears that Fred Hammer's voice has changed.
Now, it is the wind which screams around them, as its moans are heard
through the frozen woods. The innkeeper's wife wonders why they've come
here, and if Fred wants her, he should take her back to town. She turns
to him and sees that Fred Hammer did want her... but so did the Ice
This story was reprinted in Chamber Of Chills #12 (September, 1974).
On the cover of Chamber Of Chills #12, we see a woman who is enjoying how
the snow has made everything beautiful. She notices the sudden drop in
temperature, but does not see that her male companion has been frozen in
place by the Ice Monster towering behind them.
I'm struck by the lettering for the title of this story, and wonder if
Gene Colan had lettered it himself.
Today, the gay carnival atmosphere of a town could have quite a different
meaning today than it had in 1953.
"Keep A'Knockin' But You Can't Come In" was sung by Little Richard.
The quest for a hotel room at night is continued annually in San Diego
Fred Hammer is wearing snowshoes, which leave a large trail in the snow,
and foreshadowing later developments in the story.
The innkeeper goes outside for more wood, but gets more ice than he can
Although Lucille had lit the fire, it was Fred who mis-sled her about his
The wife who had killed her husband in cold blood was the perfect mate
for an Ice Monster.
"The Ice Monster Revieweth!"