Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nurse Romance Stories: Great Lover Romances 13 - "No Remedy for Love"

Toby Press published Great Lover Romances, and in issue 13 we find this nurse romance story, which begins with a young girl Marge's admiration for her sister Wendy who is an army nurse in World War II. Marge's reaction to her sister's death is to consolidate the plans she had already been formulating to follow in her footsteps and become a nurse. It was a tough act to follow, however, because Wendy's reputation as a self-sacrificing angel of the highest caliber is widely dispersed, and is of course prominent in the local nursing school. Marge overcomes the assumption that she's trying to get by on her sister's merit, and begins her studies, living in the dorm. Here's where the usual handsome interns enter the story, Clyde Mitchell, with whom Marge conducts an ongoing clandestine love affair. Mrs. McKelty, the hospital battle-axe and matron, strikes fear into the hearts of the young couple, ensuring that their efforts to remain undiscovered are carefully enacted.

Conflict is introduced into the tale with the complicating entry of Phil, an older, single male patron of the hospital, who develops an attraction for Marge. Marge goes along with Phil's desires for her company, partly because she's also somewhat attracted to him, but also because she convinces herself that doing so might help Clyde advance in his career. The climax comes when all three - Marge, Clyde, and Phil - go for a ride in Phil's plane, which chooses that moment to malfunction. They all survive the impact, but Phil shows his true colors, pushing Marge aside so that he can escape the crashed plane. When Marge comes to, it is in Clyde's arms. Phil is dead, killed in the explosion that happened as he exited the plane. Marge completes nursing school and graduates as an RN. Now she and Clyde can be open about their relationship, and they'll soon be "doctor and nurse - man and wife".

This story illustrates many of the nurse stereotypes around in the mid-1950s. In the beginning the absent Wendy exemplifies the self-sacrificing angel. While Marge didn't initially enter nursing to find herself a husband, that's what happens in the end, and he's a doctor, although she could easily have snagged herself a rich patron. While the nursing school rules forbid nurses to fraternize with the interns, nurses have romance figuring prominently in their consciousness, and breaking this rule is inevitable. The older nurse is a bit of a battle-axe, determined to keep her younger charges in line, ultimately for their own good. This one isn't a 'Miss', but she is quite severe externally, although at the end we see that she is warm-hearted. Marge is young, pretty, and white, like the vast majority of nurses in 1950s popular culture (I have yet to find a comic book nurse prior to the mid-60s that wasn't white).

Finally here's a really suspect-looking method of losing weight, advertised on the back cover of this comic. I wonder what the chemical composition of Dropex was! I like the picture of the 1950s middle class housewife popping a couple of drops of Dropex into her afternoon Martini, in the break from housework provided by her modern labor-saving appliances!

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