Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Red haired Betsy Crane first appeared in Charlton Comic's Teen Secret Diary #11.  The next issue was renamed Nurse Betsy Crane and Betsy became a brunette who would carry the comic book for 16 issues.  Ostensibly, Nurse Betsy Crane was a romance comic book, but Betsy would solve a few mysteries or meet some challenging cases along the way.  Betsy appears to be a super-nurse, well liked by doctors, nurses, and patients.  In this issue, Betsy serves as a duty nurse, an emergency room nurse, and a surgical nurse and the staff neurologist is also a brain surgeon, making me wonder what kind of hospital this is.

The lead story in this issue, "Wall of Fear," focuses on Betsy's relationship with Rusty Corwin, an up and coming boxer who needs brain surgery:

"It is difficult for a man to change his life overnight, especially when the change is forced upon him without choice!  Sometimes the people who are near and dear to him innocently tend only to irritate an already irritating situation!  At times, it takes a stranger with the ability and understanding of a miracle worker to forge a path through this intense wall of fear!  Such a person is Nurse Betsy Crane!"

All well and good, but the story doesn't really deliver on its introduction.  Rusty Corwin enters the ring for a match that will send the victor to challenge the champion.  Both boxers swap light taps, feeling each other out, and suddenly Rusty collapses and cannot be revived.  Taken to the hospital, Rusty cannot be revived that night, although in the morning he is bright, alert, feeling fine, and wanting to go home.  Soon, we find out that Rusty has a "slight pressure on a nerve leading leading directly from the medulla and the rear center of the brain."  A simple fix, as brain surgery goes.  Rusty does not like the idea of an operation that would end his boxing career.  Betsy tells Rusty, "If you walk out, you have less chance of living than if you stay."  Rusty replies, "Okay...I'll Stay."  The operation is a success.  The end.  No muss, no fuss, no drama.  And we close the book on another not very thrilling adventure of Super Nurse!

The back-up story is even worse.  College student Lita Miller is a bubble-headed girl who seems only to exist to please her boyfriend Mell.   Mell offers to take her to a school football game.  The opposing team whose star player is Ted Cole.  Lita, of course, don't know nuttin' 'bout birthin' no babies doesn't know the first thing about football but...anything to please Mell.  At the game Lita sees Ted Cole in action as a far-off figure running and moving with extreme grace.  Although Mell is "the sun and moon and stars" to Lita, she falls instantly in love with Ted and spends days dreaming about him.  When she finally meets Ted and discovers that he is not handsome, the bubble pops and she's ready to spend her life in subservience to Mell.  Ptah!

I guess I just don't understand the teen romance comics.

This one is a fast read.  See if you fell as I do.

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