Night Nurse (comics)
|First appearance||Night Nurse # 1 (November, 1972)|
|Alter ego||Linda Carter|
|Supporting character of||Doctor Strange
The New Avengers
Night Nurse is the name of a Marvel Comics comic-book series published in the early 1970s, as well the alter ego of a fictional character, Linda Carter, known for her willingness to help injured superheroes. Carter was one of three central characters created by writer Jean Thomas, who first appeared in Night Nurse #1 (November 1972), though she was later identified as the lead of another Marvel series published in 1961.
Carter later adopted the name "Night Nurse" for herself, and in this incarnation, first appeared as Night Nurse in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 (May 2004), written by writer Brian Michael Bendis. Although she uses the word "nurse" as part of her codename, she has since claimed to be a medical doctor.
Night Nurse was a Marvel Comics title that lasted four issues cover-dated November 1972 to May 1973. The medical drama / romance series focused on the adventures of three female roommates who worked the night shift at the fictional Metropolitan General Hospital in New York City: Linda Carter, Georgia Jenkins, and Christine Palmer.
Night Nurse was introduced in one of a trio of Marvel Comics aimed at a female audience, alongside Claws of the Cat and Shanna the She-Devil. Marvel writer-editor Roy Thomas recalled in 2007 that editor-in-chief Stan Lee "had the idea, and I think the names, for all three. He wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for way to expand our franchise. My idea...was to try to get women to write them".
The series was written by Jean Thomas, then the wife of comics writer and editor Roy Thomas, and drawn by Winslow Mortimer. The stories, unlike most of Marvel's offerings at the time, contain no superheroes or fantastic elements. However, the night nurses encounter "danger, drama and death", as the cover tag proclaims, as they work to foil bomb plots, malpracticing surgeons, and mob hitmen. Night Nurse, like the "relevant comics" of the early 1970s, also attempted to address real-world social issues; Night Nurse #1 features a character asking why his poor neighborhood is the one always experiencing power outages. "Why not Park Avenue for a change?".
Night Nurse #4 is the only issue of the series that takes place away from Metro General and New York City. This story shifts away from the urban drama of the first three issues and instead features Christine embroiled in a gothic adventure, complete with a foreboding mansion, dusty secret passageways, and mysterious lights.
While it was unclear during the original publication of Night Nurse whether it took place in the mainstream Marvel Universe, Christine Palmer reappeared in Nightcrawler vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2004 – 31 years after her last appearance, in Night Nurse #4). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of Nightcrawler, said in an interview that he was "a huge fan" of Night Nurse, and wanted to bring back the character when he realized that his first Nightcrawler story would take place in a hospital. Linda Carter also reappeared in 2004, this time sporting Night Nurse as an actual codename.
Prior to Night Nurse, the series Linda Carter, Student Nurse was published by Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics. It ran nine issues, cover-dated September 1961 to January 1963. These two series starred the same Linda Carter, though this was only specified years later.
The night nurses
While the three roommates initially bicker amongst themselves, they soon bond over their shared loneliness, and become best friends.
Linda Carter is the daughter of a doctor in Allentown, New York. In Night Nurse #1, she meets and falls in love with Marshall Michaels, a wealthy businessman. However, he forces her to choose between marrying him or staying at Metro General as a nurse. She makes her decision and tearfully watches him walk away. In the following two issues of the series, Linda demonstrates that her skills are not limited to nursing practice, as she performs detective work to help expose an incompetent surgeon and also prevents a hitman from murdering one of her patients. By the time the series was canceled, she had started a budding romance with Dr. Jack Tryon, a young resident doctor.
Georgia Jenkins is an African-American nurse who comes from an inner-city neighborhood, blocks away from Metro General Hospital. On her days off from work, she provides free medical care to the people on her old block. In Night Nurse #1, she discovers that her older brother Ben was conned into nearly blowing up the hospital generator. Even though Ben has a change of heart, and is shot while trying to protect the nurses, Georgia finds out in issue #3 that Ben has been sentenced to 10-to-20 years in prison. She angrily compares the harshness of his sentence with the fact that powerful mob criminals walk around free.
In Night Nurse #1, Christine Palmer leaves her home in "an exclusive Midwestern suburb" against her father's wishes, intending to "make a new life without her father's money". In issue #2, her father comes to New York to try to convince her to return to her life as a debutante, threatening "if you don't come home by Thanksgiving, then don't come home at all!" Though she considers his offer, she elects to stay in New York and becomes a surgical nurse for Dr. William Sutton. When Dr. Sutton's career ends in disaster, she leaves New York City and her friends behind, and travels the country, finding a job as a private nurse for a paraplegic at a spooky mansion. However, this particular position is short-lived.
Palmer ended up returning to Metropolitan General Hospital, where she first encountered Storm and Nightcrawler of the X-Men. It is revealed in the Nightcrawler series that her mother lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Carter is often considered to be the main character of the series, as she is portrayed prominently on three of the covers, and hers is the sole head shot featured in the "corner circle" on the cover design. However, Palmer is the protagonist of Night Nurse #4, with Linda only making a one-panel cameo, and Jenkins not appearing at all in the issue.
Originally, none of the three nurses then used "night nurse" as a label, though the "Next Issue" box in Night Nurse #1 promises, "More true-to-life adventures of Linda Carter, Night Nurse!"
Night Nurse (Linda Carter)
At some point after the conclusion of the original Night Nurse series, Carter was rescued by a superhero and afterward began to pay the superhuman community back by ministering to heroes' health, often pro bono for those without any means of payment, such as Spider-Man. When she first reappeared, she took care of a seriously injured Daredevil following his defeat by the Yakuza. Later, she took care of a badly injured Luke Cage, whose nearly-impenetrable skin required special treatment and who later called on her to help Iron Fist following his unsuccessful encounter with the terrorist group HYDRA. During this time, the Night Nurse became known for her catch phrase "go to the room on the right". During the superhero "Civil War" over government registration, the Night Nurse took Captain America's side against the registration act, and joined his resistance group. She assisted operations from SHIELD safe-house number 23. Though hard to recognize in Civil War #2 (Aug. 2006), editor Tom Brevoort stated that it was her welcoming the superhero team the Young Avengers at the new headquarters.
Carter teamed with Doctor Strange in the five-issue miniseries Doctor Strange: The Oath (Dec. 2006 - April 2007), in an effort to help him recover the cure for cancer, which Doctor Strange had brought back from another dimension to help cure Wong, and which had been stolen from him. By the end of The Oath Carter and Strange have entered into a relationship, which later ended.
The New Avengers #34 (Nov. 2007) reveals that the Night Nurse is, in fact, Linda Carter from the 1970s series.
- Don Markstein's Toonopedia" Night Nurse
- Alter Ego #70 (July 1970): Roy Thomas interview, pp. 49-50
- Dave Richards. "The Winding Way Back: Sacasa Talks "Nightcrawler"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- "The Cherry Ames Page: Linda Carter, Student Nurse". Retrieved 2006-09-02.
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators: Linda Carter, Student Nurse (1961-1963)
- Amazing Spider-Man #656 (2011)
- "Hellion for Hire #2: A Tale of Two Cities", Newsarama.com] (dead link)
- Richards, Dave. "Strange Medicine: Vaughan Talks 'Dr. Strange: The Oath'", ComicBookResources.com, August 14, 2006
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators: Doctor Strange: The Oath (2006-2007)
- The New Avengers #57 (Nov. 2009)