Night Nurse (comics)
Georgia Jenkins, Christine Palmer, and Linda Carter, the protagonists of Night Nurse. Art by Winslow Mortimer.
|Created by||Al Hartley (artist)
Stan Lee (writer)
|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 as the alter ego later taken on by one of its characters, Linda Carter. Carter was one of three central characters, created by writer Jean Thomas, who first appeared in Night Nurse #1 (cover-dated November 1972), though she was previously the lead of another Marvel series published in 1961. Carter later adopted the name "Night Nurse" for herself, and in this incarnation first appeared in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 (May 2004), written by Brian Michael Bendis, as a medical professional specializing in helping injured superheroes.
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 one of a trio of Marvel Comics of the time that were 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, who was at the time married to 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, expose incompetent surgeons, and confront 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 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. Issue #4 was also the last of the series. In a 2010 interview, Jean Thomas offered her theory on the series's early cancellation: "Night Nurse was an attempt to create a comics book for the same audience of young girls who read such book series as Cherry Ames, Sue Barton, and Nancy Drew. Maybe the comic-book format just didn't appeal to that group. It may also have been difficult to distribute or display: too serious to be with romance comics but not male-action oriented enough to be with superhero comics, so, regrettably, low sales led to cancellation."
While nothing depicted in Night Nurse connected it to the mainstream Marvel Universe, Christine Palmer reappeared 31 years later in Nightcrawler vol. 3, #1 (September 2004). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of Nightcrawler, said 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.
While the three roommates initially bicker amongst themselves, they soon bond over their shared loneliness, and become best friends. 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!"
Linda Carter is the daughter of a doctor in Allentown, New York. After moving to New York City and moving in with roommates Christine Palmer and Georgia Jenkins, she meets and falls in love with Marshall Michaels, a wealthy businessman. When he forces her to choose between marrying him or staying at Metro General as a nurse, she chooses her career. 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 prevents a hitman from murdering a patient. By the time the series was canceled, she had started a budding romance with Dr. Jack Tryon, a young resident doctor. Palmer is the protagonist of Night Nurse #4, with Carter making a one-panel cameo and Jenkins not appearing at all.
Carter reappears in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 (May 2004), takes care of the seriously injured hero following his defeat by the Yakuza. Having been rescued by a superhero and wanting to pay the superhuman community back by ministering to heroes' health, often pro bono, she becomes a character that superheroes—including Luke Cage and Iron Fist—seek out for off the record medical care. During the superhero "Civil War" over government registration, the Night Nurse takes Captain America's side against the registration act, and joins his resistance group. Though she is difficult to recognize in Civil War #2 (August 2006), editor Tom Brevoort stated that it was Carter welcoming the superhero team the Young Avengers at the new headquarters. Carter teams with Doctor Strange in the five-issue miniseries Doctor Strange: The Oath (December 2006-April 2007), By the end, Carter and Strange enter into a relationship, which later ends.
Carter is severely wounded after being abducted and tortured by the shapeshifting alien Skrulls during the Skrull Invasion. After a subsequent imprisonment by the newly formed H.A.M.M.E.R., she forms a bond with the ninja assassin Elektra.
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. 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.
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 that "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 ends up returning to Metropolitan General Hospital, where she first encounters Storm and Nightcrawler of the X-Men. It is revealed in the Nightcrawler series that her mother lives in Tucson, Arizona.
In other media
In the Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe web television series Daredevil, Rosario Dawson plays nurse Claire Temple, a character with composite attributes similar to Night Nurse and the comics version of Temple, a doctor primarily associated with Luke Cage. Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight noting that the character was originally "going to be the actual Night Nurse from the comics ... we had her name in a script and it came back that it was possible [the feature side] were going to use her" and "had plans for her down the road," necessitating the change to using the more obscure comics character Claire Temple as her name. He added, "we just switched to another character that was very much kind of the same realm of Night Nurse". Dawson reprised the role in the series Jessica Jones, and also appeared as Claire in the series Luke Cage. In Luke Cage, Claire is dismissively referred to as "Night Nurse" by the gangster Sugar, portrayed by Sean Ringgold. Dawson will reprise her role in the upcoming series Iron Fist and The Defenders.
Christine Palmer appears in the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange, portrayed by Rachel McAdams. In the film, she is a fellow surgeon and ex-lover of Stephen Strange instead of a nurse.
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