Monday, January 11, 2010

Nurse Romance Stories: Love Stories 152 - A Nurse Joins DC's Pity Party

After Jaque Nodell's terrific post on wheelchair-bound characters in DC love comics ( ) I kind of half remembered seeing something similar in my collection somewhere. Then the other day it turned up as I was looking for the next nurse romance story to scan for a project I'm working on. This story from November 1973, "Love Ran Away (but I was tied to a wheel chair)" combines nurse romance with the disability awareness, and is featured on the cover of the comic.

"Love Ran Away" is a simple story with an unusual setting. Tina and Jimmy are wheelchair bound lovers who race each other in the corridors of the hospital. They have never formally expressed their love for each other, but it is evident, at least to Tina, in other ways. When they race, Tina always 'throws' the race by braking and letting Jimmy win. This almost ceremonial interaction finishes with a kiss, and a fairly intense one at that. Tina also dreams of the two of them running together, unfettered by the wheelchairs they must of necessity be bound to in the real world.

Enter Nurse Ellen Hanson into the mix. She takes an instant liking to Jimmy, and Jimmy seems taken with her. At least, he's engrossed in his interactions with Ellen to the exclusion of Tina. Tina regrets that she now only races and kisses Jimmy in her dreams. As Nurse Ellen becomes more involved with Jimmy, and against all hope, tries to encourage him to walk, Tina is left out in the cold to lament the loss of her love and even to doubt it ever existed from Jimmy's side. Now her dreams have Jimmy running with his nurse.

But it all comes to a climax, and resolution in Tina's favor, without any action on her part. When he falls, Ellen suddenly comes to the realization that Jimmy isn't going to walk, as she had known all along really. Furthermore she goes on to acknowledge that she had seen the opportunity to help Jimmy walk as a way to compensate for the time she had paralyzed her own brother in a car accident in which she was the driver. Ellen also intuitively knows that there was love between Tina and Jimmy, and that she had interposed herself between the two of them. She apologizes, and leaves in a distressed state. What is unusual about this nurse depiction is that the psychologically troubled individual is more a stereotype of social workers than nurses - I don't think I've come across it before as an image of nurses. The mixed up individual deriving self therapy from their work in a helping profession is, however, a media stereotype of social workers.

So Tina and Jimmy are back as they were, racing and kissing. Does Jimmy even realize Tina is in love with him, or that he is in love with Tina? Those men! Is there anything between their ears? But does Tina care? Not one bit! She's got her man and right where she wants him. Mwah!


  1. This whole topic weirds me out... It can be brutal at times, the same way kids in 3rd grade can be cruel. Thankfully, there is usually a 'Happy Ending' ! Great post, KB !

  2. You know I was thinking the same (weird topic) regarding disabilities in romance comics. I wonder how somebody who is wheelchair bound would view this story. Is there anything they would consider to be offensive or demeaning? I should be able to identify those kinds of things (social work education) but it isn't easy to do I think unless you've got experience working with people with disabilities and are tuned in to their realities.

  3. Your social work perspective on this is very interesting, you definitely brought up things I would have never thought of. I do find it a little strange they didn't explain how the two wound up in wheelchairs to begin with... usually they are sure to mention it was from an accident. I haven't come across one yet where the character is congenitally disabled.

  4. Jacque: yes the history of the disability of each character would have been interesting. Something else that slaps me in the face with this story - the way Tina throws the race and lets Jimmy win without him realizing it. What does this say about the psychology going on in male-female relationships (bearing in mind the date of this story - in the middle of Second Wave Feminism? Men have to feel they're superior to placate their egos. Women, when they want a man, despite their own actual superiority will act in a way that gives the man the illusion that he's superior. Secure in that illusion of superiority, the man will supply the emotional and sexual components of the relationship as desired by the woman. I wonder who wrote this story - a man or a woman?