Saturday, January 9, 2010

Unlikely Romance - Night Nurse #2

Welcome to the second installment of Marvel's Night Nurse here on Sequential Crush! If you missed the first issue, check it out here! Hailing from January of 1973, this book has a cover penciled by John Romita and interiors penciled by the astounding Winslow Mortimer and written by Jean Thomas.

Now that our three heroines Linda, Christine and Georgia are finished with nursing school, the gripping drama really begins. For these three nurses, issue two really is, as the title states so eloquently, "Night of Tears...Night of Truth!"

It all starts with Linda on her way home from her swing shift at Metro General. As she tries to shake the memory of her lost love Marshall, Linda witness a young girl violently struck by a dark green Cadillac and left for dead.

Linda, being the calm and professional nurse that she was trained to be, rushes to the girls side and calls out for an ambulance.

She clearly impresses the attending police officer, who apologizes for not believing she could handle the situation. She confidently responds, "I just did what's second nature to any nurse." Well put, Night Nurse!

As the young victim is brought to the hospital it is discovered that she is Betsy Greeley, the police commissioner's daughter. Her father bursts onto the scene and demands that Betsy be transferred to a private hospital with a private surgeon, Dr. William Sutton. Fortuitously, Dr. Sutton is on Metro General's board and is available to operate.

Having been technically off duty, Linda goes home to rest. The story from here on out switches to focus on the flame-haired Christine, who is consequently wooed by Dr. Sutton.

The following week Christine begins her work as Dr. Sutton's special assistant, where she is given the job description: keep records of supply requisition, instrument counts and schedules, report information from interns and residents, act as primary scrub nurse, and oh yeah... go on dinner dates with the doctor.

You may remember from the first issue that Christine's family was not keen on her becoming a nurse, especially her wealthy father. One Saturday he travels to the city to pay her a visit and threaten her to come home. Mulling things over in a classic romance comic pose (reclined in bed), Christine realizes one of the reasons she may love work so much is because of Dr. Sutton. A close encounter of the doctor-operating-while-intoxicated kind may just change Christine's mind however.

Nope! Not quite. Christine continues to go on lavish dinners with Dr. Sutton. She lets him know though that she is aware of the fact that he is writing excessive amounts of prescriptions. Linda is also aware of it, and confronts Christine. Christine distracts Linda by introducing her to Dr. Sutton's handsome new resident, Dr. Jack Tryon. Coincidentally, Jack is missing his prescription pad.

Young Dr. Tryon has some insight into the going-ons of how Dr. Sutton's operating room is run. After comparing notes with Linda, the two decide to do a little detective work.

Meanwhile, on another date with Dr. Sutton, Christine notices that he is impaired. He drives anyway, and hits a parked car. Hey! Where's Lady Cop when you need her?!

The date is cut short when Dr. Sutton receives a radio page from the hospital. Betsy, the hit and run victim has taken a turn for the worse! In response to the tragic news, Dr. Sutton does what any irresponsible, car-hitting, drunk driving, cradle-robbing doctor about to operate on a friend's daughter would do... he hits the booze and downs a handful of pills.

Unaware of the Greeley girl's spiraling condition and the events transpiring at the hospital, Linda and Dr. Tryon go to confront Dr. Sutton at his home. Since he is away, they decide to "wait" for him. Snooping through his drawers, they discover that Dr. Sutton is not only stealing drugs from the hospital, but that he was the hit and run driver that struck Betsy Greeley that fateful night!

Linda and Dr. Tryon rush to the apartment to tell Christine the revelation of the evening. Before they can break the news the phone rings. For Christine the beginning of the end ensues -- Betsy Greeley has died and an immediate inquest is on the docket. Before Christine can go protect Dr. Sutton, Linda tries to fill her in on the startling discovery. Christine flees in disappointment and disbelief.

At the hospital, while the board of trustees wait for the inquest to begin, slimy Sutton tries to convince Christine to lie for him.

Christine tries to protect him, but before too long her conscience kicks in and she tells the truth. Phew!!!

Dr. Sutton tries to deny everything, but Linda pressures him into telling the whole story of how he not only stole drugs, but how he was the one driving the dark green Cadillac the night Betsy was hit.

With the truth on the table and Dr. Sutton in the back of a squad car, Christine disappears into the night. A somber Linda and Jack leave for a long walk, and thus concludes the second issue of Night Nurse!

Pretty heavy stuff for a comic book, that's for sure! It's a great story though, don't you agree? The art is amazing, and the pacing perfect. My one complaint though is that save like one panel, Georgia is pretty much absent from this issue. I would have liked to see her more, but don't fear! She will be back in the third issue! It is also apparent in this issue that a little romance may be on the verge of blooming between Linda and Dr. Tryon. Good thing too!


  1. Jacque: Amazing. Who knew from a romance comic? And here I spent my youth reading war comics and superhero stuff. Thanks for clueing me in. I love the splash on this - Mortimer (whom I love) puts our nurse in a superhero cape/wrap for good measure. I love the cop saying "sweetheart, who put you in charge!" She takes charge, flatfoot! -- Mykal

  2. I must confess that I, too, mull things over while reclining in bed (only NOT so sexy). Great twists at the end, with the Doctor being the driver and Christine (almost) testifying to protect him. My only beef: What kind of name is Tryon...? Ala: 'I'd like to Tryon this Man for size !' ?

  3. Mykal: I am guessing Marvel didn't do a very good job advertising Night Nurse, and perhaps that's the reason why you didn't read it sooner!

    I think I would like a t-shirt that says, "Night Nurse takes charge!" or something. Kinda seems like an expletive should follow!

    Lysdexicuss: Ohhh, dear. That made me spit my chai out when I read your comment about Dr. T's name. Too bad there wasn't a scene where they got new uniforms and someone said, "Dr. Tryon these new scrubs!" Haha!

  4. LINDA: 'Would you like to Tryon my scrubs ?'

    DR. TRYON: 'I'm a Doctor, not a Nurse.'

    MAX FISCHER: 'O R you ?'

  5. Too good, Lysdexicuss. Too good. :)

  6. yeah... i could hear Hawkeye Pierce going 'Booo. Hissss.' when i wrote that, though.

  7. I musta missed the post on "Lady Cop"! That sounds (and looks)FANTASTIC!! There's a special pleasure in the unintentional irony of early "women's lib"-era comics, that splendid mix of the empowering and condescending that never fails to entertain.

  8. It's ok Lysdexicuss. No booing and hissing here at Sequential Crush! :)

    Aaron: I wish Lady Cop had been an ongoing series. I think it would have been pretty good. Have you ever watched Life on Mars (U.S. version)... Lady Cop reminds me of Annie.

  9. Aaron, you are so right about the deliciously ironic condescension. I loved the tag line on MS. MARVEL: "THIS woman fights back!" Unlike all the other lame-ass women.


  10. Jaque: I Missed both the BBC and US versions of "Life ON Mars". I've only seen "Ashes to Ashes".

  11. Ohh, I will have to get that when I am done with both Life on Mars. I wasn't even aware of it!

  12. Jacque,

    You are probably correct that Marvel didn't give much attention to Night Nurse or their other "female" titles. I am not a big fan of Win Mortimer, but I think his work is much more suitable here than on the superhero or horror work I've seen by him. I also liked Lady Cop when it came out and would have liked to see more. re: the splash page, although its posible Mortimer pencilled the page, it is at least inked by Frank Giacoia and possibly drawn by someone other than Mortimer. Marvel did this from time to time if they didn't feel the page was dynamic enough.

    Nick C.

  13. Marshall:

    It doesn't seem like there is condescension in Night Nurse, which could be attributed to the fact it was written by a woman. Watch out though -- while Ms. Marvel might be a woman that fights back, Linda Carter, Night Nurse is a lady who can draw blood!


    Ah yes, actually, after I wrote this I realized that the splash page didn't really look like Mortimer, but I didn't know that having someone else draw them was something that Marvel would do. Good to know!

    Though Mortimer is known for his superhero work, I really believe it is his romance stuff that showcases his talents as an artist. It is something about the eyes...

  14. LOL. Good one, Jacque. BTW, I have the four issues of NIGHT NURSE, and while I have not taken them out of the Mylar recently, I cherish them. Have owned a few LINDA CARTERs over the years as well.


  15. Marshall:

    I felt kind of bad taking ours out of the bags and scanning them, but it is worth it to share with you all. :) My grandma used to always wear this pin to comic conventions that said, "If you buy 'em, read 'em!" So, I try to follow that! Plus, I figure since my day job is to touch priceless historical stuff that I can't do too much damage!

  16. I am afraid of my dangerous finger oils! Do dealers sometimes comment on how carefully you handle their books? I get that a lot.


  17. Hahaha! We better get you some white cotton gloves then! They do, though I don't often look at high grade books! I try not to torture myself!

  18. Yeah, get me some white gloves to match my pillbox hat!


  19. Jacque-
    Cool post! I enjoy your play-by-play analysis running throughout the posts. You were right about this being a fairly heavy topic for a 'romance' comic!
    That hit-and-run (and aftermath)looked painful! Good Lord indeed!

    Here's a bit of rejected script from the rough draft:
    Page Two, panel two-
    Linda: "It hit her -- hard! And the driver didn't even stop! Couldn't see his license number--
    but I'll remember that car --
    Cadillac --
    deep green --
    ...those are great cars! Solid! Dependable! Hit all kinds o' stuff without a scratch! Yeah! I want one of those!...a BIIIG green one! Yeah! Can't forget!"

  20. Yeah, it is a known fact that Night Nurse moonlighted as a used car saleswoman. :)

  21. Nick's right about the splash not being drawn by Win Mortimer. Good catch! Typical Marvel over-art directing.

    But it definitely isn't inked by Frank Giacoia. He did ink the cover, however. He uses much bolder brush strokes than the fine linework the splash bears. And I'm also not quite sold on Romita having drawn the cover. Still, it's possible. It could also be the work of Larry Lieber, who also did many of Marvel's covers of the era.

  22. Richard: Thanks for stopping by! I should have clarified that the GCD has the cover listed as Romita. I wasn't sure about this one, but Lieber could be possible. It isn't my favorite of the Night Nurse covers, I far prefer covers for issues 1 and 3, by Mortimer.

  23. Wow! I was unaware Marvel were capable of knocking out stuff like this - realistic social commentary, authentic paced drama. It was as good as an episode of Quincy - possibly more realistic!

    Who'd've thought Nurse Jackie had Marvel ancestry?

    The girls're also strong people without having six packs or fancy titles to confer on them the sort of artificial authority and gravitas that comes from being identified as, say, Chief surgeon, or Chief Hospital Administrator.

    The thing that shocked me most, though, was I've read of US cases where do-gooders've stopped to help people having heart attacks only to be sued for billions for reviving them - but apparently that was a danger back in the '70s, too!

  24. Correction,it was written by Roy Thomas