Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nurse Romance Stories: Boy Meets Girl 12 - "Prescription for a Broken Heart"

Lev Gleason only published two romance titles. This one, Boy Meets Girl, which became Boy Loves Girl in July 1952, and Lover's Lane. The examples I have from each series suggest that the rest are worth seeking out - they are nice books, with decent artwork and not too shabby stories. Issue 12, the original cover painting of which should be hanging in the Met, IMO, has a great painted cover, and a nurse romance story that initially looked to me like it was maybe drawn by a young Gil Kane. Following Spectergirl's observation that it was signed 'Kid', a little research on the Grand comics Database indicates that the art is probably by Fred Kida, also known as 'The Kid', and who did sign some of his work 'Kid'. Lydexicuss did a feature on Kida's work on Ringo Kid for Atlas in the 1950s, so it's possible to compare this piece with those stories. Admittedly these westerns are from a different genre and possibly a little later, but what do you think?

It's also one of those romance stories where you really get your money's worth in terms of reading. "Prescription for a Broken Heart" quickly sets the scene, with Staff Nurse Marcia fending off marriage proposals and a job offer as his office nurse from Dr. Eric Anders. It seems Marcia's hesitancy to pursue marriage with Eric, or with older doctor, Frank Graham, revolves around her being able to feel that she would be needed by her husband in his climb "up the ladder". Marcia's friend Nora thinks Graham would be Marcia's better option, because he's already established.
Dates with Frank are apparently typically interrupted by emergency calls. But Marcia's okay with that, because Frank's psychological dependence on Marcia gives her the feeling of being useful. I guess we have co-dependency here, but of a slightly unhealthy kind. Frank's been overdoing it, though, and not getting enough sleep. As a result, he has a breakdown during an operation, and has to ask Anders, who is assisting, to take over. Frank is so out of it that he even accidentally calls Anders 'Andrews'. Dr. Anders completes the operation successfully. Frank, however, is now hospitalized himself, with Marcia nursing at his bedside. He pops the question he's been waiting to ask her, but Marcia wants to wait until he's recovered before she answers. Eric, however, acts as if the wedding between Frank and Marcia is now a foregone conclusion, and wishes them luck.
Then comes a twist of fate that will lay everybody's cards on the table. Marcia contracts a serious, contagious disease, and has to go into isolation. Frank declines the opportunity to attend, fearing that he will contract the disease himself. Marcia, shocked, realizes Frank was not the man she had assumed he was. Eric, on the other hand, jumps at the chance to treat Marcia, and guides her recovery. Nora revises the advice she gave Marcia previously, and now advocates for Eric. When flowers arrive from Frank, Marcia's only inclination is to reject them, and Eric agrees as they might cause an allergic reaction. It turns out that Eric is gentle as well as tough and determined, and now Marcia gets to see this other side of his personality. I love panels 3 and 4 on the last page, with Nora walking past and commenting as the two lovers kiss.
Nurses, according to this story: they're pretty, young, white women who work in hospitals at the patient's bedside. While they are invested in their work, a component of their being a nurse is the opportunity the job presents for romance with doctors, and ultimately marriage with one.


  1. KB: Am I right that this art is signed "KID" on that first panel? I'm not familiar with an artist named Kid but, admittedly I have found it extremely difficult to find books as old as this one.

    Wonderful story. Seems to me that romance as a career perk was still prevalent even into the seventies as the romance comic faded away.

    Thanks a ton for posting this!

  2. Spectergirl: Thanks for pointing out that signature - I hadn't noticed it!. I've not heard of that signature either, and maybe it puts the kibosh on my theory that this is an early example of Gil Kane's work. Have to do some research on that one. I agree it's getting harder and harder to find these older romance books. I bought a couple of big lots a few years ago that basically form the bulk of my pre-code romance collection, and they have been added to very slowly.

    I think romance is still a career perk in real life, just that the romance comics did fade away. Maybe they'll enjoy a revival at some point soon. Romantic comedy movies and chick flicks are popular, so is romance manga. It just needs someone with the vision and the drive to make romance comics rise phoenix-like from their ashes!

  3. Spectergirl: After checking the GCD for an artist named 'Kid', I came up with Fred Kida, who did apparently some of his work just 'Kid'. A new artist for me - not heard of him before. But he's no slouch, and I think he's still alive and 90 years old!

    I've added a link in the post so a comparison can be made between this story and some of Kida's Atlas western work a few years later - it's a post on Lysdexicuss's blog from late last year. See what you think.

  4. KB: Good research. I was vaguely familiar with the name Fred Kida but, for what ever reason, never made the mental jump.

    Looking at the Ten Cent Dreams post I am thinking it quite possibly his work.

    Thanks KB!