IVAN VON GENT
Real Name: Ivan von Gent
Identity/Class: Human mutate (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Unidentified old man
Enemies: Monster, townspeople
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Used unrevealed "nom de plume" (pen name) while vacationing in unidentified town; "crackpot" (as later called by townspeople); "The One Who Watches" (in story title, and as later called by unidentified old man)
Base of Operations: Unidentified town (see comments)
First Appearance: Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1 (February, 1957)
Powers/Abilities: A world-famous scientist, von Gent was highly skilled in the field of biochemistry. He had an obsessive personality, and it was said that once a scientific theory occurred to him, he would insist on confirming it through experimentation, regardless of the cost to mankind.
Theorizing that there was an unspecified element in human eyes which canceled out visual impressions of monsters, von Gent synthesized a chemical fluid which counteracted that element--he applied the fluid to his own eyes with an eye-dropper, and thereby gave himself the power to perceive monsters (see comments).
Height: 5' 10" (by
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Ivan von Gent is largely unrevealed, but he attained great fame for his work in science.
Von Gent took a vacation to a small town near a lake--to avoid recognition, he anonymously registered at a hotel using a "nom de plume".
(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1) - Early one morning,
before the break of dawn, von Gent was awakened by the cries of an old
man warning of a monster. The scientist joined a group of townspeople as
they walked to the lake to investigate, and they demanded to know where
the monster was; but the old man claimed it had submerged as soon as he
cried out. Various townspeople complained that the old man had been
pulling them out of their sleep for years with his crazy shouts of some
monster, and the town's lawman was about to arrest the senior citizen
for disturbing the peace. But von Gent revealed his true identity to the
group, and told them he was intrigued by the old man and his visions.
The scientist requested that he be left alone with the old man, for a
most novel theory occurred to von Gent, one that could only be confirmed
by an examination of the old man.
When the townspeople left, von Gent explained his theory
to the old man--assuming that the monster was real, and since the old
man was the only one who could ever see it, the scientist theorized that
there was an element in human eyes which canceled out visual impressions
of monsters; he further speculated that the old man lacked that element,
which therefore explained how he was able to see the monster. After examining the old man's eyes and taking a sample of his
tears, von Gent walked away and told the old man to be prepared for a
great surprise when he returned.
Von Gent went back to his hotel room, and for three nights
and two days, the brilliant scientist studied the tear sample--he
finally isolated the element, then turned his attention to developing a
counter-agent for it.
By the early morning hours of the fifth day, von Gent had
developed the counter-agent, and he administered it to his own eyes with
an eye-dropper, then left his hotel room and walked to the lake.
Arriving at the mist-shrouded lake before sunrise, von Gent found the old man still keeping his lonely vigil--von Gent told him to be prepared for a surprise the next time the monster surfaced. As the two waited in the fog, von Gent grew impatient, for he was chilled and his bones ached from the dampness--the old man remarked that his own bones had been aching from the damp for as long as he could remember. Suddenly, the old man heard a noise...he turned to see the monster rising from the waters...and because of the counter-agent, von Gent was able to see it, too!
Now it was von Gent who cupped his hands around his mouth, and his strong voice shattered the dawn's stillness as he cried out to the townspeople, warning them of the monster.
Before long, a group of townspeople came walking to the
lake to investigate, and they demanded to know where the monster was;
but von Gent told them it had submerged as soon as he had cried
out--this elicited scornful remarks from the townspeople, who doubted
the scientist's sanity.
As the townspeople left the "crackpot" scientist in
disgust, the old man bid von Gent farewell and began to walk away; the
scientist questioned why the old man was leaving him alone, and the old
man replied that since von
Gent could see the monster, he
could now be the one to cry out so it would be sure to submerge...and
so, Ivan von Gent was left with the lonely task to be "The One Who
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Gene Colan (artist).
It was unrevealed
exactly where in the world that town was located, and Ivan von Gent was
the only character identified; but considering von Gent's European name,
and the fact that he mentioned to the townspeople that he was vacationing
in their town
rather than their country,
my guess is that these events took place somewhere in Europe (There
were some mountains near the lake--possibly the Swiss Alps?).
It was unrevealed if von Gent's uncanny power of "monster-vision" worked for all monsters, or just this one in particular--if it works for all monsters (....and assuming he's not stuck watching that lake), then maybe von Gent could be a good member for the Monster Hunters
That Monster was only depicted in the two panels seen in its sub-profile, where it was obscured by fog, but it kind of reminded me of the Frankenstein Monster (...not so much the Marvel version, but the original flat-headed 1931 movie version--maybe the Monster was a second lookalike alien robot, or maybe it had some connection to First Line member Frank).
Since it arose from the waters of the lake, the Monster also reminds me of the mythical Grendell--could the Monster perhaps have been another child of Big Mother (...and thus Grendell's sibling)?
This 4-page story--The One Who Watches!--would be reprinted in Monsters on the Prowl#25 (September, 1973).
"Gent" is the Dutch spelling for the city of "Ghent" in Belgium. Perhaps the scientist was Belgian?
--Dim I Nticoudis Or at least his family was originally from there.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Ivan von Gent/"The One Who Watches" has no known connections to:
The unidentified old man has no known connections to:
The Monster has no known connections to:
A resident of an unidentified town (see
comments), he apparently had an anomalous condition with his
eyes which allowed him to see monsters.
Having a vaguely humanoid shape,
and possibly amphibious, this creature apparently dwelt below the waters
of a lake near an unidentified town (see
The citizens of an unidentified town (see
comments), for years their sleep had been disturbed by the
cries of an old man who claimed to see a monster arising from a nearby
lake; but since the old man was the only one who ever saw the monster,
the townspeople thought him to be crazy.
images: (without ads)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan6 (Main Image - Ivan von Gent)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan8 (Ivan von Gent)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p3, pan5 (in his hotel room, Ivan von Gent makes scientific discovery)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p3, pan6 (Ivan von Gent administers counteracting fluid to his eyes with eye-dropper)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p4, pan7 (unidentified old man (off panel) tasks Ivan von Gent to be "The One Who Watches")
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan1 (unidentified old man cries out after seeing monster)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan2 (unidentified old man tells town's lawman (background) that Monster has submerged)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p1, pan1 (Monster rises from lake, seen by unidentified old man (left))
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p4, pan2 (Monster rises from lake, seen by unidentified old man (left) and Ivan von Gent (right))
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan3 (group of angry townspeople complains about unidentified old man's behavior)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p2, pan4 (two angry townsmen)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1, p4, pan4 (angry townspeople surround Ivan von Gent and unidentified old man)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/1 (February, 1957) - unidentified writer, Gene Colan (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 12/29/2019
Last updated: 12/29/2019
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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