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For May 14, 2007: Exactly How Odd Is REGISTERED NURSE’s “First Edition”?
TWO ODDBALLS (Sick, sick, sick!)
THREE ODDBALLS (It’s not generally known, but this comic’s cover was the original inspiration for Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”!)
FOUR ODDBALLS (REGISTERED NURSE is perfect reading material -- for hospitalized patients!)
FIVE ODDBALLS (As Stooge supreme Curly Howard once squealed with delight, “Noices, noices, beautiful noices!”)
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Registered Nurse


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May, 14, 2007

Issue #1156 of 1156


splash panel

the splash panel of the preceding story

a public service page

Title: Registered Nurse
Issue: "First Edition"
Date: Summer, 1963
Publisher: Charlton Comics Group
Cover Artist(s): Unknown

Nine out of ten Oddballs agree that nurses usually give shots rather than receive ‘em! But here’s a one-shot (literally!) – Charlton’s REGISTERED NURSE – that turns this medical tradition on its ear! Meet “Cynthia Doyle, Nurse In Love” as she solves the mystery of a blind wife-murderer, in “Second Sight”! Plus, “Nurse Betsy Crane”, a history of “The American Doctor”, and lots more – so be patient!

C’mon, admit it, the first thing you thought when you saw this hilarious cover-image is that that doctor has just given his nurse a shot in the arm…and it really, really hurts! Maybe he needs to go back to medical school for a refresher course in vaccination! What’s even funnier is that only one issue of REGISTERED NURSE ever saw publication – making it a “one-shot”! (Since the cover of this comic mentions “The Best Of…”, it’s assumed that all of the stories within are reprints from other Charlton nurse comics, but the sources of all of them are uncertain.)

A sub-genre of the romance comic, nurse (and doctor) comics enjoyed a brief popularity in the early 1960s that was sparked by two then-current prime-time television series: BEN CASEY (10/2/1961 – 3/21/1966, ABC), starring hairy-armed Vince Edwards as neurosurgeon “Dr. Ben Casey” and hairy-headed Sam Jaffe as his mentor “Dr. David Zorba”; and DR. KILDARE (9/28/1961 – 8/30/1966, NBC), starring Richard Chamberlain as “Dr. James Kildare” and Raymond Massey as his mentor, “Dr. Leonard Gillespie”. In response to the trend, Dell, Archie and Charlton all published various funnybooks starring nurses and doctors around this time; oddly, Marvel and DC didn’t jump on this publishing bandwagon. However, a decade later, Marvel Comics briefly resurrected the genre of nurse comics with four issues of NIGHT NURSE (1972 – 1973).

Joe Sinnott was born on October 16, 1926 in Saugerties, New York to Edward and Catherine McGraw Sinnott. One of seven siblings, Joe’s love of drawing was nurtured while a child growing up in a boarding house, in which many teachers resided. In high school, he studied whatever art courses were available to him, and edited the school newspaper and yearbook. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II – he was stationed in Okinawa as a Seebee – Joe was discharged in 1946 at age nineteen. Returning to civilian life, Joe worked for a few years in the rock quarry of a cement plant. That was enough to convince Joe that he should pursue his dream, so in 1948, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill to begin studying at New York City’s Cartoonists and Illustrators School (which is now known as the prestigious School Of Visual Arts). He was encouraged to pursue a career in comic books by the school’s co-founder, Burne (TARZAN) Hogarth, and soon, Joe was assisting Tom (THE LONE RANGER) Gill on his freelance comic book gigs, mostly Western material for Dell and Timely/Atlas. Joe’s first solo job in comic books was “Trudy”, appearing as a back-up feature in St. John’s MOPSY No. 12 (September, 1950). Joe’s first gig for Timely/Atlas/Marvel was a three-page Western “filler”, "The Man Who Wouldn't Die", written and edited by Stan Lee. This led to assignments from the publisher, in a wide variety of genres. In 1957, during a temporary six-month lull at the company, Joe expanded his freelance horizons, designing billboards and record covers, “ghosting” for some DC Comics artists, a job for Gilberton’s CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED and even illustrations for former EC cartoonist Jack Kamen, art director of Harwyn Publishing’s twelve-volume HARWYN PICTURE ENCYCLOPEDIA FOR CHILDREN (1958). (Other EC artists on this project included Reed Crandall, Bill Elder, George Evans, Angelo Torres and Wallace Wood. Joe also began a long association with publisher George Pflaum’s TREASURE CHEST OF FUN AND FACT, a Catholic-oriented comic book that was primarily distributed in parochial schools. And in 1964, Joe drew Dell’s bio-comic, THE BEATLES, for Dell. During this time, he also worked on two different unsold comic strips: one was about Navy frogmen; the other, JOHNNY HAWK, ALL-AMERICAN, starred a Native American college athlete. When Timely/Atlas, now Marvel, finally ran out of inventory material, they began to specialize in a new line of superheroes. In FANTASTIC FOUR No. 5 (July, 1962) – which introduced the team arch-foe, “Dr. Victor Von Doom” – Joe inked the pencil art of Jack Kirby for the second time. (The first time was when Joe inked Kirby’s “The Two-Headed Thing!“ in STRANGE TALES No. 95, April, 1962.) A few years later, Joe returned to the FANTASTIC FOUR with issue No. 44 (November. 1965) and remaining the title’s primary inker for nearly two decades. Going from valued freelancer to salaried artist, Joe worked on nearly every one of Marvel’s top characters, lending his slick and immensely appealing style to the pencils of a long list of some of comics’ greatest superhero cartoonists. Joe went into semi-retirement in the early 1990s but continues to ink the Sunday installments of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN syndicated newspaper comic strip. Joe also draws recreations of his comic covers and specially-commissioned artwork. Joe is a lifelong history buff, focusing on American history, as well as a major fan of singer/actor Bing Crosby. He and his wife's progeny are children Joe Jr., Linda (deceased), Kathy, and Mark; grandchildren Chris, Malissa, Erin, and Trevor; and great-grandson Bernard Vincent. Joe won the 1967 and 1968 Alley Awards for “Best Inking Artist”. He was also nominated for the Shazam Award for “Best Inker, Dramatic Division” in 1974. During a two-week school vacation in 1950, Joe married his fiancée Betty, with whom he celebrated their 55th anniversary in 2005.

VincentVinceJoseph Colletta was born on October 15, 1923 in Casteldaccia, Italy. Not much is known about Colletta’s early life or when he immigrated to the United States, but his first work in comics – inking his own pencil art -- appeared in 1952 for Better Comics. Within a year, he was freelancing for Atlas Comics -- eventually, Marvel, with which Colletta would have a long working relationship. Specializing in drawing and/or inking romance stories, he worked on various Atlas titles in that genre, including LOVE ROMANCES, LOVERS, MY OWN ROMANCE, STORIES OF ROMANCE and THE ROMANCES OF NURSE HELEN GRANT, as well as such non-romance titles as JUNGLE ACTION, JAN OF THE JUNGLE, LORNA THE JUNGLE GIRL and UNCANNY TALES. As his reputation grew, Colletta also began to work for Atlas’s competition, National Periodical Publications, AKA DC Comics and Charlton Comics, both in the late 1950s. His art appeared in DC’s FALLING IN LOVE, GIRLS’ LOVE STORIES and HEART THROBS, and Charlton’s LOVE DIARY and TEEN CONFESSIONS. Colletta began to work outside the romance genre in the late 1950s, primarily as an inker; by 1960, he was no longer drawing any pencil art for comic books. Instead, Colletta was inking other cartoonists’ pencils, on such “pre-hero” Marvel titles as JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, TALES TO ASTONISH and WORLD OF FANTASY. Most significantly, he began receive assignments to ink Jack Kirby; the first instances of this were published in Marvel’s KID COLT, OUTLAW No. 100 (September, 1961) and LOVE ROMANCES No. 98 (March, 1962). When Marvel began to phase out their line of romance comics, Colletta, teamed with penciler Joe Sinnott, drew continued to work on funnybook love stories, this time for Charlton, as in this issue of REGISTERED NURSE. But when Vince Colletta began to ink many of Marvel’s superheroes, his work received widespread exposure that he’d never previously enjoyed. Beginning with the “Tales Of Asgard” back-up feature in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, plotted and penciled by Jack Kirby, Colletta went on to ink many of Marvel’s Silver Age superhero comics of the 1960s, including “The Mighty Thor” in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, FANTASTIC FOUR, DAREDEVIL and “Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner” in TALES TO ASTONISH, among many others. He also continued to work for Charlton as well as Dell, on Western and war comics as well as more romance work. In that final genre, Colletta had also been freelancing for DC on FALLING IN LOVE, GIRLS’ ROMANCE STORIES, SECRET HEARTS and YOUNG ROMANCE. When Jack Kirby moved over to DC to weave his tales of “The Fourth World” in SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN, THE FOREVER PEOPLE, THE NEW GODS and MISTER MIRACLE, Colletta was enlisted to ink Jack’s early issues of these “cosmic” series. He also inked Kirby's two black-and-white magazine one-shots, IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB and THE SPIRIT WORLD (both Oct. 1971), as well as an unpublished romance magazine for the urban market, SOUL LOVE. A controversial figure even now, Vince Colletta – who maintained an art studio in Manhattan and often employed a background assistant, Art Capello – was known for working at a phenomenal speed, never missing a deadline, but at the expense of taking shortcuts that often wasted the time, care and detail a conscientious penciler would put into a job. This practice lost him his gig inking Kirby’s books at DC, but the publisher had plenty of other work for Colletta on many of their flagship characters and titles, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. This led to him being appointed DC’s Art Director in May, 1976; Colletta resigned the post in May, 1979. Following this, he continued to work as an inker for DC, Marvel and Skywald; his last known print-credit is for inking Marvel’s one-shot, FRED HEMBECK DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE (1989). Vince Colletta, who died in 1991, remains the favorite inker of many funnybook aficionados…and the least favorite of many others; one thing is for certain – very few people have neutral feelings about the work of the notorious “Vinnie The C”.

This issue’s 5-page lead story features “Cynthia Doyle, Nurse In Love” in “Second Sight”; it was penciled by Joe Sinnott and inked by Vince Colletta. (There is no documentation regarding who wrote this – or any – of the stories in this issue of REGISTERED NURSE, but it’s very likely that Joe Gill wrote some or all of them!) It begins as Nurse Cynthia Doyle and Dr. Edward Benson arrive at a raging house-fire:

Fix him up, Doc! We’ve a confession! He murdered his wife…burned down their home with her in it…

Doctor, this man isn’t just burned…he’s blind!

Now look, doc, all we want you to do is treat the burns! I’ve got an open and shut case and I want him out of here fast to stand trial!

I’m afraid you’re not going to get him…fast!

What do you mean? He signed a confession…said he murdered his wife by setting fire to their home when he knew she was asleep! Said they’d quarreled…

I don’t care what he signed or said, this man is blind…and I don’t think it’s from being burned!

Look, Doc, my job is catching and convicting criminals! This man has confessed to murder…

I understand! But my job is healing the sick no mater who or what they are and this man is now my patient! I’ll let you know when he’s fit to be removed!

Later, Dr. Benson and Cynthia visit their new patient, Howard Blair, at the police hospital, where they treat the burns and examine the strangely silent accused arsonist/murderer.

His eyes show no sign of damage, and certain not from smoke or flames! I’ll make more extensive tests! Meanwhile, you keep a close watch on him!

I wish he’d just once, give me as much attention, if even for a minute, as he gives his patients!

Cynthia attempts to communicate with Blair, but to no avail. According to Dr. Benson, their new patient’s medical history includes no evidence of blindness – his eyes are perfectly normal! Frustrated, Dr. Benson admits that if they can’t determine the cause of his blindness, they’ll have to turn him over to the District Attorney in a few days. But his faithful nurse has a hunch:

Ed, you can’t let them take him…not yet! Call it intuition…whatever you want. But I have a strong feeling there’s something more to this! Why should he be blind? It’s got to be psychological! And if so…why?

That night, with Cynthia by his bedside, Howard Blair has a vivid nightmare:

Jane! Jane…you’re burning…burning! I can see you…like a torch! I did it, I killed you, Jane! Let me go! Let me go, she’s burning…

Cynthia summons Dr. Benson to the room:

What is it?

Shhhhh, he’s waking up! I think I know why he refuses to see…because he saw his wife burning!

A mental block! His brain tells his eyes he mustn’t see anymore because of what they saw…and so he’s blind, even though there’s nothing really wrong with his eyes!

Exactly! But doesn’t it mean any more than that to you? If he deliberately killed his wife he wouldn’t have been so shocked! Don’t you see, he must have been madly in love with her to become blind because he saw her! He couldn’t have murdered her!


As their patent awakens, Dr. Benson drops a sexist bomb on his nurse:

Love! Ridiculous! That’s not a diagnosis, it’s a woman talking! You must remember that you’re a nurse, Cynthia!

I’m also a woman, if you’d notice! And love isn’t ridiculous…unless perhaps it’s one-sided, like mine!

Dr. Benson questions Howard Blair, who once again admits to quarreling with his wife, Jane, then setting the house on fire to kill her. When the doctor gives up, ready to call the D.A.’s office, Cynthia resorts to asking a direct question of her own, unaware that the police detective they dealt with earlier at the fire has entered the room to check up on his suspect:

Wait! It could be a lot plainer! Mr. Blair, you loved your wife very much, didn’t you? How did you set the fire?

We had a spat! She went to her room! I fell asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette! When I awoke everything was smoke and flames! Neighbors…dragged me out! And…and I saw her, in the window burning! And they held me and wouldn’t let me get to her! I don’t want to see, I don’t want to live! It was my fault…oh, Jane…Jane…darling!

Mr. Blair, you’re going to live and you’re going to see again!

When the police detective congratulates Dr. Benson on some “nice detecting”, the doctor gives his nurse the credit…then once again, insults her:

It was Nurse Doyle who had the hunch! His blindness is the result of his guilt because he blames himself for his wife’s death!

Strange what love will do to a man! It almost got this one convicted of murder…and it made him blind!

We’ll cure his blindness! But it is caused by an emotional upheaval…not what you call…love! There is no such word in the medical dictionary!

Dr. Benson, report to surgery immediately!

But unknown to Dr. Benson, Cynthia get in a zinger of her own, albeit a silent one:

I think you should get another dictionary, Dr. Edward Benson! And look up “heart”, too!

Also included in this one and only issue of REGISTERED NURSE are the following stories, features and advertisements:

  • Look Slimmer…Feel Better…With Amazing New Tummy Slim Featuring Interlocking Hands Of Firm Support”, a black-and-white, inside-front-cover ad for women’s girdles, available via mail-order from the “Ward Green Co.
  • 2000 Movie & TV Stars Pictures”, an ad for photos of “all your favorite stars”, available through mail-order from “All-Star Pix”.
  • Cynthia Doyle, Nurse in Love” in “The Eyes of Love”, penciled by Joe Sinnott and inked by Vince Colletta. – When Carl Malley violently forces his way into the hospital’s maternity ward to see his estranged wife and their baby, Dr. Edward Benson orders him to go home and rest before he upsets every patient in the ward. And when the doctor -- accompanied by his nurse, Cynthia -- pays a visit to Mrs. Malley, she not only refuses to let him see her or their baby, she wishes she had died in labor! Dr. Benson ponders, “That woman’s teetering on the edge of complete insanity…withdrawal from the world and everyone in it…Even though she’s thrown up a barrier between herself and the world, cant a woman see when a man loves her? That should break the barrier down!” (Responding to this, lovelorn Cynthia thinks, “Can’t a man see when a woman loves him?”) The following day, Mrs. Malley is given a mild sedative, so that Dr. Benson can delve into what caused her “deep seated phobia”. As if in a trance, Mrs. Malley responds, “A long time ago…Yes, a long time ago! A long time ago! I don’t remember, I was told how it was! But I lived with it all the years since! But I lived with it all the years since! I was my mother’s first child! They said she was so happy! But she was ill, weak…before she ever saw me something happened…She went insane…She was taken to an asylum and died two days later, her husband…my father, was so besides himself he…he didn’t know what he was doing, where he was going…He was hit by a car and…and killed…” Realizing that Mrs. Malley is afraid that the same chain of events will repeat themselves, Dr. Benson is at a loss as to how to treat his patient. He firmly issues orders that neither her husband nor her baby is to be mentioned in Mrs. Malley’s presence. But when the doctor is called into surgery, Cynthia directly ignores his orders, taking the Malley baby in to see her mother. Later, Dr. Benson learns that his nurse has disobeyed his orders, but when he enters her room to find Mrs. Malley cuddling with her baby girl and asking for her husband to join them, he realizes that whatever Cynthia did, it was the right thing. The red-haired nurse explains how she knew what to do: “Woman’s intuition! Once she set eyes on her baby they filled with love…mother love! And that love is overflowing to touch everything around her!” Usually skeptical, Dr. Benson is uncharacteristically sentimental, “I never thought of it before but medicine doesn’t list love as a cure! But, as proven ion this case, love’s a wonderful thing!” Icily, Cynthia replies, “How would you know, Dr. Edward Benson?” (Similar to those infamous “Robin-in-the-corner” covers, please note that the rear view of the doctor’s head in this story’s splash panel is nearly identical to that in the splash panel of the preceding story, “Second Sight”! Also not that this story is reprinted from Charlton’s CYNTHIA DOYLE, NURSE IN LOVE No. 66, 1962).
  • Nurse Betsy Crane” in “Go On, My Love!”. – Wealthy, obnoxious and sleep-deprived Ron Makay crashes his sports car into a tree on his way home from a high society party. After police arrive on the scene, the battered socialite is sent to Dale General Hospital and directly into surgery with a concussion and two broken ribs. Nurse Betsy Crane is present in the operating room, where she develops “an odd fascination” with the unconscious patient. Hours later, Betsy even volunteers to take over the attending nurse’s shift, but when Ron awakens and begins to thrash around (“Whew! This character thinks he owns the world!”), she has second thoughts. Coaxing her wealthy patient back into bed by calling him an “egotistical…spoiled…useless child” (boy, that’s some bedside manner!), Betsy asserts herself: “…Every minute of our time you waste could be used to comfort someone who needs us!...Money does not make you special here…You have never done a thing except make headlines and trouble…Now take these pills!” The next day, Ron’s father pays a visit to the hospital, but instead of demanding that Betsy apologize to his son, he congratulates her for having the nerve to tell the spoiled boy the truth about himself. Two weeks later, a few days before he’s scheduled to be released from the hospital, Ron makes a move on Betsy, but a disapproving supervising nurse catches them mid-smooch. After Ron is sent home to heal, he and Betsy start dating and “become nearly inseparable”. Attempting to ditch his life as a playboy, Ron takes a job “at the bottom” at his father’s chemical factory and asks Betsy to marry him. When they inform Ron’s parents about their plans, his mother lets Betsy know that “Now you can give up that job, Betsy…No Makay woman works, you know!” The young nurse balks at this, telling Ron she needs some time to think things over -- which she does for over two months – but eventually, she agrees to Ron’s mother’s demand, and even moves into the Makay mansion until the wedding. But one day, while Ron shows up at his father’s chemical plant to pick up some papers, he finds the place enveloped in flames. Spotting someone inside, Ron ignores his co-workers’ warnings and enters the factory to save the life of a night watchman. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Makay are contacted; soon, Ron’s father and Betsy show up just as Ron is brought from the chemical plant. Fading fast, Ron gasps, “Is...is that you Betsy? I…I finally did something useful…promise you’ll never change…You’ll go on being what you are!” That said, Ron dies before Betsy’s eyes. Mr. Makay gives the heartbroken nurse a pep talk, reminding her of her promise to Ron, then returns home to comfort his wife. And as for Ron’s grieving fiancée? “Some people never know the importance of doing for others…the happiness of giving help…Love was taken from her…but she did what she had to do…and she always will…Nurse Betsy Crane!
  • Draw Any Person In One Minute! No Talent! No Lessons!”, an ad for a “Magic Art Reproducer”, available via mail-order from “Norton Products”.
  • A page consisting of two advertisements: “Top 6 Dance Hits”, for a 45 rpm record featuring “Fly Me To The Moon” (Bossa Nova tempo), “Limbo Rock”, “Slow Twistin’”, “Hully Gully Baby”, “The Madison” and “Mashed Potato Time”, available through mail-order from “Dance Records”; and “Free Genuine Color Photos…Just For You”, for a variety of celebrity photos, available via mail-order from “Real Color”.
  • Il Medico from Medina”, a two-page text-story.
  •  “Fair Lady!”, a strip that manages to encapsulate the arc of an entire romance – all in a single, six-panel page.
  • The American Doctor”, a three-page educational strip tracing the development of medical practitioners from colonial to modern times.
  • Record Riot”, an ad for “96 smash hits” for “only $3.98”, available through mail-order from “Hit Records”.
  • Symbol of Freedom”, a public service page (that appeared in various Charlton comics at the time) drawn by Jack (KID COLT) Keller.
  • Insure Your Future With An I.C.S. High School Diploma”, an ad for mail-order vocational courses from the “International Correspondence Schools”.
  • Fill Out The Coupon Above And I Will Rush To You…Free Nurses Booklet And Lesson Samples”, a black-and-white, inside-back-cover ad for mail-order nursing courses from the “Post Graduate School Of Nursing”.
  • Boys, Girls, Men, Women – If You Know Just 20 People…You Can Make At Least $50.00 – More Likely $100.00 To $200.00 In Your Spare Time!”, a back-cover ad soliciting for door-to-door greeting card salespeople to represent “Wallace Brown, Inc.

ODDBALL FACTOID – Cartoonist Joe Sinnott – much better known for his prolific inking for Marvel Comics (especially over the pencil art of Jack Kirby) -- also drew many issues of the giant movie monster series, GORGO, for Charlton…inked by Vince Colletta!

Bonus ODDBALL FACTOID – Famed cartoonist Wallace Wood was among those who assisted or “ghosted” for Vince Colletta!

New Next Week: ODDBALL COMIC #1,174: MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007 – Lotsa famous comedians have been featured in their own funnybooks, but here’s the one-and-only ODDBALL COMIC to co-star none other than Woody Allen! But what are the Wood-man and DC’s mad, mod rock ’n’ roll “Maniaks” doing in a musical performance inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan? Only this issue of SHOWCASE – brought to you by THE INFERIOR FIVE’s creative team, E. Nelson Bridwell, Mike Sekowsky and Mike Esposito – can provide all the answers!

For more from Scott Shaw!, visit his Web site at http://www.shawcartoons.com/.

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