Monday, September 16, 2013

A lost comic book gem: Sue and Sally Smith: Flying Nurses!

I've read a lot of comic books over the years and I've pretty much read every single genre that's been available on a regular newsstand. One of the more odder ones, at least to me, is the nurse comic. There's been a number of them over the years, usually rather short-lived. The notable exception is Timely/Marvel's Nellie the Nurse, more of a humor/teen-oriented book, that lasted 36 issues. Most nurse comics were variants on the romance genre, many being spawned from those selfsame titles.

Charlton Comics seemed to have a corner on this little market in the sixties. Cynthia Doyle Nurse in Love, Nurse Betsy Crane, Registered Nurse, Three Nurses (and the relationships in the corollary "doctor" titles, like Young Doctor Brent and The Young Doctors), along with the series I'm talking about today, Sue and Sally Smith: Flying Nurses.

Sally and Sue are nurses in the Emergency Corps, working out of Morse Medical Center in the United States. They're highly-trained individuals; besides being nurses, they are also expert parachutists, as most of the stories in the series seem to involve them parachuting in to some place fairly inaccessible by any other means. No reason is given why a doctor couldn't jump down to these places with them. Unfortunately, before I got this one, there were no issues of this series available on the internet, so I have no idea about our heroines' history or background. From this story, it's obvious that they have the general "Peace Corps" mentality of the era for those wanting to help the disadvantaged and underprivileged in other countries. Luckily, they don't try to bash you over the head with jingoism while carrying out their duties.

This series has become my new "holy grail" of comics, as I am now duty-bound to find all seven issues now. I just acquired the final issue of the series, #54, today off of eBay, and have scanned it up for your perusal.

I believe the cover is by Dick Giordano, inking himself.  The interior artwork is obviously inked by Vinnie Colletta.  "Joltin'" Joe Sinnott also provided pencils for this series earlier on, and he may have also done the pencils for this, but it's hard to tell with Colletta's inking. 

This one goes out to my pals, colleagues and general crazies over at the Charlton Arrow on Facebook! Enjoy!

Story #1: The penultimate tale of our two adventurous nurses: 


Someone who did this page was only working for the five bucks a page Charlton allegedly paid. I mean, couldn't those sound effects have been a bit more stylish?

 Story #2, the final tale of Sue and Sally Smith. 

I'm only posting the stories featuring the stars of the comic here. This issue also contained the requisite bits of filler: A four-page story about a girl who liked classical music but didn't care for "the Twist" her little brother enjoyed, the standard two-page text feature to meet postal requirements ("Planet Plague"), and a one-page examination of "Wilderness Scout" Kit Carson, which has been featured in a few Charlton issues over the years.