Night Nurse (comics)
Cover for Night Nurse #1 (Nov. 1972).
Art by Win Mortimer.
|Publication date||November 1972 – May 1973|
Linda Fite (issue 4)
Night Nurse is 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 who first appeared in Night Nurse #1 (cover-dated Nov. 1972), though she was previously the lead of another Marvel series, Linda Carter, Student Nurse, published in 1961. Carter later adopted the name "Night Nurse" for herself, and in this incarnation, first appeared in Daredevil #58 (May 2004), as a medical professional specializing in helping injured superheroes.
Night Nurse was a Marvel Comics title that lasted four issues (cover-dated Nov. 1972 – 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 writer Jean Thomas, who was at the time married to Roy Thomas, and artist 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 #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."
Linda Carter reappeared as a medical professional specializing in helping injured superheroes in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 (May 2004), written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev. Matt Murdock / Daredevil refers to her then as "the night nurse ... [who is] sympathetic to ... costumed persons who get a little nicked up in ... the call of duty."
Night Nurse co-star Christine Palmer reappeared in Nightcrawler vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 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.
Prior to Night Nurse, writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Al Hartley created the series Linda Carter, Student Nurse for Atlas Comics, Marvel's 1950s precursor. It ran nine issues (Sept. 1961 – Jan. 1963).
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!"
Stan Lee |
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 then treated the ninja assassin Elektra, who had been severely wounded after being abducted and tortured by the shapeshifting alien Skrulls during the Skrull Invasion. After Elektra's subsequent imprisonment by the newly formed H.A.M.M.E.R., Carter and Elektra form a bond.
|First appearance||Night Nurse #1 (Nov. 1972)|
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 to the fact that powerful mob criminals walk around freely.
|First appearance||Night Nurse #1 (Nov. 1972)|
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
Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Christine Palmer first appears in Doctor Strange (2016), portrayed by Rachel McAdams. In the film she is depicted as a fellow surgeon, ex-girlfriend, and ally of Stephen Strange. Palmer initially tries to help Strange move on with life following his car accident which permanently damaged his hands and later leaves him after he accuses her for pitying him. She later performs emergency medical procedures on Strange, following a critical injury he attains in battling Kaecilius and his Zealots at the New York Sanctum. Later on she tries to help save the Ancient One, but it was too late since she was stabbed and kicked out of a portal falling to the ground.
- In the Netflix exclusive Marvel Cinematic Universe web television series Daredevil, Rosario Dawson plays a nurse named Claire Temple, a character with composite attributes of Night Nurse and the comic book character with the same name, a doctor primarily associated with Luke Cage. Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight noted 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 film side of the MCU] 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, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. In Luke Cage, Claire is dismissively referred to as "Night Nurse" by a gangster named Sugar, who is portrayed by Sean Ringgold.
- Linda Carter is referenced in The Defenders episode "The Defenders." She is on the whiteboard of Misty Knight's hospital room at the time when Colleen Wing was visiting her.
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