The romance genre is one which has had its day in comics, and while comics goes through various phases, it is unlikely that comic fans will ever see the massive proliferation of romance titles as there were in the 1960s and 1970s. The modern treatment of romance comics differs greatly between the big two publishers, among whom the trend was the most popular (primarily because they were the only mass market publishers at the time.) DC still occasionally puts out a title which perpetuates the naming rights for their romance titles, such as the recent Young Romance superhero tie-in, but they mostly ignore its own past in the genre. While the genre is equally long since dead at Marvel, they have incorporated the romance characters into their universe in a more comprehensive way. Patsy Walker has become the Hellcat, Millie the Model shows up occasionally as one of the Marvel universe’s actual supermodels and the Night Nurse has played an important enough role in the history of superheroes, notably Daredevil.
The recent Daredevil television series thrust the Night Nurse back into the spotlight. As played by Rosario Dawson, she was a combination of two nurse characters in Daredevil’s past. With a bit of interest and curiosity about her past, it seemed a natural fit for Marvel to put out an anthology focusing on the character’s early history. This anthology features a collection of the original series for the character, which lasted only 4 issues back in 1872, as well as her introduction into the superhero community in the pages of Daredevil. There are in fact numerous Night Nurses to start with, although the series focuses on Linda Carter. She is young and perhaps a bit naive as she endeavors not only to treat the sick but also true to the genre, often ends up falling in love.
This anthology makes for an interesting read, especially for those interested in comic history. While the romance genre influences are a bit over-the-top at times (such as how many of her romantic interests turn out to be criminals) it was still more progressive at the time to put a female character at the front of her own series, especially one that was not solely a romantic heroine. Compared to today’s quality, this anthology will obviously feel a bit dated, even the more recent Daredevil selection, but this still stands as good representation of a forgotten era of comic history.
Story: Jean Thomas, Linda Fite and Brian Michael Bendis Art: Winslow Mortimer and Alex Maleev
Story: 7.7 Art: 7.7 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read