Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nurses At War: Young Romance 78 - "Army Nurse"

It took me some time to get this book. These Simon and Kirby post code issues are fairly tough to find. The cover is directly related to the nurse romance story that I am interested in here, set in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea. The art is by Argentinian artist Jo Albistur (signed).

In "Army Nurse", the nurses all love Doctor Roy, but the Doc only has eyes for one of them, and that's Joyce. He's been preparing to pop the question, and does so after a hard day's work. Joyce is over the moon to be engaged to her dream boat.
For some reason Roy keeps quiet about why he seems to always be giving Ruth Duryea assignments to work with him. Sure, he gives some plausible explanations - she's new and needs the training - but it doesn't quite all add up. Suddenly Joyce is snapped out of her jealous fog by the news that Roy's aircraft has gone down, and he's hurt. Joyce immediately volunteers to be the nurse to travel to the crash site. On the way the flak from the North Koreans almost makes her wish she'd stayed back at the camp, but she gets there to find Ruth tending to her intended. This is a bit much for her to take, and she removes her engagement ring from her finger and slips it into Roy's pocket, her dream perhaps over. Setting aside her jealousy, Joyce does the needful. Back at the M.A.S.H. Roy is operated on. However, afterward Ruth flies in and is assigned to the care of the wounded. It is then that Joyce discovers something that changes the whole picture.
Ruth has no romantic inclinations towards Roy. She's already married to the injured sergeant, secretly, because it's against regulations. Doctor Roy Nelson knew and has been covering for them. Joyce realizes what a chump she's been and fumbles in Roy's pocket to get her ring back. He's already ahead of her though, having found the ring there himself. He sees that his position, surrounded by a flock of marriageable, lovely nurses makes life difficult for Joyce, and so he prescribes the only reasonable cure - a wedding.
I like this artwork by Jo Albistur. I think I have another example of his work somewhere. He's mentioned on the Simon & Kirby Museum blog. It reminds me somewhat of Al Williamson's work. The image of nurses presented by this piece include the usual - aspiring for romantic involvement with a doctor, bitchy rivalry, they're all pretty in their nicely starched white uniforms and caps. These are nurses at war so there's bravery and willingness for self-sacrifice. Nice switch to the blue uniform for going out into the battlefield. Ruth Duryea is a redhead for the cover but blond in the story. Panel 7 on page 5 looks like it was intentionally drawn to match the cover, and is a little out of Albistur's natural style as a result (the cover looks Kirby or Simon/Kirby to me).


  1. KB: I am completely unfamiliar with Albistur's work, but I think it fantastic. His women look so alive and natural in their postures, their expressions so vibrant. Not a moment of stiffness to be found anywhere. That 4th panel on 2nd displayed page (doctor and nurse with hand entwined) is just a wonderful drawing. I'd love to see more.

  2. Mykal: I agree with you on all points - beautiful work. I'll see if I can find that other one in my collection that I think is by him.