Thursday, May 12, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 12: Happy birthday, Florence Nightingale!

Born on this day in 1820: Florence Nightingale, charter member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who could change into a bird and...oh, excuse me, I've made another one of my silly mistakes.

from Amazing Man Comics #12 (Centaur, May 1940); script, pencils, and inks by by Joseph A. Kaliff

Florence Nightingale is the inventor of candles and a glass of water, and is often accompanied by her best pal, a big Red Cross.

from "Historical Almanac" in Real Fact Comics #21 (DC, July 1949), pencils and inks by Joe Kubert

Many comic books tell her story, such as this one, which makes her part Boudicea and part Statue of Liberty.

from"Florence Nightingale: Angel of Crimea" in Wonder Woman #1 (DC, Summer 1942), script by Alice Marble, pencils and inks by Sheldon Moldoff

Wait, how did the Amazons know about her?!?

Her story begins in the same manner as that of many famous personages: with abject animal cruelty.

Later, she invented the first non-Republican hospital.

Before Florence Nightingale came along, nurses would often just display their own shield of intent as they turned their backs on the wounded.

from "The Story of the Red Cross" in True Comics #2 (Parents' Magazine Press, June 1941), pencils and uinks by Bill Everett

As she grew up, she exposed her dolls and stuffed animals to scarlet fever, so they all had to be destroyed by fire.

Her mother vomited continuously at the thought of her entering the medical field. Really, she just wouldn't stop. Florence moved out just to get away from all the vomit.

from "The Lady with a Lamp" in Polly Pigtails #19 (Parents' Magazine Press, August 1947), creators uncredited and unknown

Then — CRIMEA!

Her story provides a lesson for us all: get into nursing for the cold, hard, cash.

from (top) Polly Pigtails #19;
(bottom) from "The Story of the Red Cross" in True Comics #2 (Parents' Magazine, April 1941), pencils and inks by Bill Everett

Oh, come on now, though! Medicine wasn't that bad during those..oh. Oh.

from "The Fight for Life" in M.D. #1 (EC, April 1955), pencils and inks by Graham Ingels, colors by Marie Severin, letters by Jim Wroten

Much later, her head ascended into heaven.

from Wonder Woman #1

Of course, even after her death, she remained on 24/7 call for helpless men to summon her at the drop of a hat to ask her what to do, and then claim credit. Lookin' at you, Kid Eternity.

from "Baron Roxx" in Kid Eternity (1946 series) #17 (Quality, September 1949), pencils and inks by Pete Riss

Can you guess the startling secret ending to "The Observer?" Match wits with Stan Lee and see!

cover of Battleground (1954 series) #5 (Marvel/Atlas, May 1955), pencils and inks b Russ Heath, colors by Stan Goldberg

This bushy-hatted bro doesn't like girls hanging around his war. What do you think the startling O. Henry-esque twist ending will be?

from "The Observer" in Battleground #5; pencils and inks by Jay Scott Pike

That’s right: she was a VAMPIRE! Er, I mean, she was Florence Nightingale all along! Bet you didn't see that one coming, kids! Bully didn't see that one coming, and he was looking really closely.

Recent scholarship has revealed a startling new fact about Florence Nightingale previously unknown: she was, in fact, Lois Lane.

cover of Action Comics #198 (DC, November 1954), pencils by Wayne Boring, inks by Stan Kaye, letters by Ira Schnapp

This plot development was pretty par for the course in 1950s Lois Lane stories. In this one, she also believed she was Betsy Ross, Annie Oakley, and Queen Isabella. Luckily Superman conked her on the head before she thought she was Jimmy Olsen.

from "The Six Lives of Lois Lane!" in Action Comics #198; script by Bill Woolfolk, pencils by Wayne Boring, inks by Stan Kaye

Turns out Lois's brain shut down when she saw visible proof that Clark Kent was Superman. Geez, Lois, doesn't this happen every week for you?

The ultimately in Superjerkery: Clark gaslights Lois into thinking his mirror is operating incorrectly. Better get that thing into the shop, Clarkie!

Truly, this was The Greatest Lois Lane Story Ever.

Well, I'm sure this next comic book story will be more nuanced and subtle...oh, wait, no, it's a 1970s Supergirl comic.

from "The Rejected Supergirl!" in Adventure Comics #395 (DC, July 1970), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils by Win Mortimer, inks by Jack Abel

The young men of America have voted on the Most Admired Man of 1970! Let's see...mmm hmm, the first seven are fine...let me take a biggggg drink of my fine beverage here before I move on to #8...

Anyway, when the vote for woman comes in, Supergirl is upset to tears that she came in ninth. On the one hand, yeah, it's awful to come in after two fictional characters at #1-2.

On the other hand: Streisand, Kara. You can't beat Streisand.

Wonder why today's birthday girl was written as "F. Nightingale?" Why, to make this extremely bizarre acrostic that wouldn't have worked if you spelled out her first name. What, nobody voted for Lorelei Gilmore ?

Anyway, you now know everything there is to know about Florence Nightingale, except that she was Millie the Model.

from "Thru History With Millie" in Millie the Model Annual #1 (September 1962); script by Stan Lee; pencils, inks, and colors by Stan Goldberg; letters by Artie Simek

Weren't paying attention? Eh, just read this summary. I ain't gonna quiz ya.

"A Gentle Hand" from The World Around Us #11 (Gilberton, July 1959), creators uncredited and unknown

Happy birthday, Florence Nightingale!

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