Thursday, July 22, 2010

The De-Evolution of Nellie the Nurse: Part VI of VI

In this final post looking at the way Nellie the Nurse morphed over two decades, we're going to take a look at writer John Stanley's version in Dell's Four Color 1304, with cover and interior art by king of medical cartoons, Kaz (Lawrence Katzman).

John Stanley's work is covered in detail on the blog 'Stanley's Stories', and I know only what I've read on there, so I'm referring you over there. Kaz is a world-renowned cartoonist, who had been drawing Nellie the Nurse cartoons that have appeared in newspapers since the early 50s before he produced this 1962 Dell one-off. There were numerous compilations of his Nellie cartoons in the 50s and 60s, and you can read all about it on his website, the Kaz Cartoonstore. Here I'm including a couple of stories from Nellie the Nurse 1304. In this first one we see that this Nellie is also a red-head like the original Marvel character, but she's not the sizzling hot babe of the Marvel 'good girl' days. If I can draw your attention to page 5 of this story, you'll see that this Nellie has more than a hint of desperation in her pursuit of the handsome doctor who, despite having Nellie's full attention, let's his eyes and mind wander onto the form of a passing buxom blond. The older, gray-haired, bespectacled nurse in the story is a Miss, again conforming to the stereotype of the battleaxe - the spinster who sacrificed marriage and family for a career - the warning to those young nurses to remember that nursing is just a fill-in between school and marriage. If you can find your husband while you're working in the hospital, so much the better!

This next one shows the Dell Nellie's ability to muddle her way through to eventual success.

Finally, here's the back cover with a few more nice color Kaz Nellie cartoons.

Personally I think it's seriously time for Marvel to put together some high quality reprint volumes of their 1940s and 50s career girl books. The Nellie the Nurse or Tessie the Typist Omnibus, or the Marvel Masterworks Millie the Model Volume 1 would be top of my Christmas list the second they were published!


  1. I think that Stanley's Nellie the Nurse series for Dell based on the comic strip of the same name and NOT on the Marvel character.

  2. Yes for sure you are right. I'm wondering how two characters with the same name could have been used simultaneously by two different entities. But this is the only comic book version of the Kaz Nellie, although the compilations of Nellie newspaper strips are comic books in the classic sense.

  3. I think Nellie was hot both ways. But then...I'm a little off.

  4. I'm dubioius about the description of Kaz's "Nellie the Nurse" as a "syndicated comic strip." I have a couple of the paperback collections, and apart from the fact that its contents are all single-panel cartoons rather than comic strips, the jokes are surely too racy to have run in American newspapers in the '50s and '60s (example: Nellie, on a date, watches a line of cancan dancers and remarks, "That remind's me, I'm working GYN next week."

  5. Thanks for bringing up that point Anonymous. I re-read the source of my information (the backs of some Nellie books) and it does say the CARTOONS appeared in newspapers, but not strips. So I will edit the post and make that change.

  6. Great post! Your scans are much better (brighter and crispier) than others I found online. Any chance of posting the remaining stories of this comic book? It would be great!