Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, February 17, 2018


First off, I had never heard of Cynthia Doyle until I read this comic book but I was interested in this woman who has been in love for 71 (!) issues.  Does this mean she has been in love with 71 different men, or, perhaps she's been in love with one man all this time and has not been able to land him?  Usually in the romance comic books all it takes is eight to twelve pages for the girl to end up with the right man and live happily ever after.

(And why is it that romance stories are always told from the woman's point of view?  Gender stereotyping at its worst, I say.)

Anyway, it's 1963 (which would be a few years after my sister stopped reading romance comics, perhaps explaining why I had never heard of Cynthia Doyle) and our heroine has evidently been in love with Dr. Doofus Mcjerk Edward Benson for the past 70 issues.  Benson is a dedicated doctor who is oblivious to women.  Cynthia is a knock-dead gorgeous redhead who is Benson's favorite nurse necause of the nurse thing and not because of the gorgeous thing.  This issue contains two stories of her unrequited love for the handsome doofus doctor.

In the first, famous ballerina Malina Talova has been experiencing weakness in her leg, but is it real or imagined?  Tests the next morning will determine this but, alas, she is in a devastating car wreck.  Will Benson have to amputate her leg, or can he save it?  She would rather die than lose her leg, but Cynthia's lightning quick reactions managed to grab a bottle of pills from her.  (And what, pray tell, is a bottle of pills doing at her hospital bedside?)  Also, there's a new doctor of pediatrics at the hospital, the super beautiful Iris Carter.  Iris keeps paging Benson to help her in pediatrics.  Benson seems to be totally smitten with her.  Will Cynthia now lose the man who ignored her romantic advances for 70 issues?  Fear not, valiant reader, for all will prevail (of sorts) by the last panel.

In the second story, a beautiful, rich society woman is about to have a baby she doesn't want.  At least, that's what she says.  And her millionaire husband doesn't want a kid either.  Cynthia and Benson go outside the hospital so Benson can have a cigarette (it's 1963, remember?) and talk over the case.  (Why had no one found about the woman's attitude in the previous nine months? I wonder.  And --get this -- her husband didn't know she was pregnant because he was out of the country and she didn't tell him!)  Anyway, back to the action.  Walking nearby is a woman and her young son.  A dog appears and rushes to attack the child.  Benson leaps to save him and is bitten himself.  Benson leaped a little too slowly because the child is also bitten.  The dog runs off.  Does the dog's behavior mean it was rabid?  Dunno.  Can't find the dog.  The boy will be okay because there is rabies medicine, but Benson will not be okay because it turns out he is allergic to the rabies vaccine and almost died from it as a child.  Worry, worry, fret, fret, stew.  Will Benson survive?  He's leaning on Cynthia for emotional support, so will he realize her love for him?  Will the socialite want her baby?  Again we are kept hanging to the very end.

Sandwiched in between these two stories is a tale of Dr. Tom  Brent, Young Intern, whom, we are told by a slashing banner across the first panel, now stars in his own comic book.  Brent has been assigned to help Dr. Charles Henry by collating data Henry obtained from eight years in the jungle to develop an anti-virus serum.  Those eight years have paid a toll on Henry's health -- his ticker is getting sicker.  Brent discovers an error on a tally sheet and, bringing to Henry's attention, asks to look at the doctor's raw data.  Dr. Henry goes ballistic, saying that the data is his personal property and nobody is going to look at it.  Turns out the data isn't there; it had been destroyed in a fire in the jungle and Henry has been relying on his memory to reconstruct it.  This is unscientific, unprofessional, dangerous, and blows any chance of Henry's anti-virus.  Tormented by his ethics, Brent realizes he must inform the head of the hospital, even though it may destroy Henry's career and reputation.  Brent is seconds away from doing this when **SPOILER ALERT** Dr. Henry conveniently dies from a heart attack so Brent doesn't have to squeal on his colleague after all.  Dumb story.

And then there are the ads.  Two different outfits are offering nurse correspondence training.  One says that the nurse's training can be completed in a couple of months, or even in a few weeks, allowing their students to earn $65 dollars a week and up as a nurse.  The other says it takes ten weeks to graduate and the student can earn $70 and up.  If neither of those appeal, you can purchase a real doctor's stethoscope (army surplus, from the U.S. Army Medical Corps) for just $2.95 ppd.  The ad says you can use it to play doctor (!) or as a spying device -- because it has "a SPECIAL SECRET USE that will enable you to listen in on conversations in the next room by placing the sensitive rubber disc on the wall of any room (just like the FBI and private detectives)."

Put a little love in your heart and enjoy the romantic angst of Cynthia Doyle.  (And check out the linking male and female symbols on the cover!)

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