Linda getting melodramatic.

LINDA LARK, REGISTERED NURSE

Medium: Comic books
Published by: Dell Comics
First Appeared: 1961
Creators: John Stanley (writer) and unknown artist
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Dell Comics experienced an explosion of creativity in the early 1960s, with new titles, such as Naza, Stone Age Warrior; Johnny Jason, Teen Reporter; Millie the Lovable Monster etc. springing …

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… up right and left. Like a lot of creative effort in this world, it was driven by necessity — Dell and Western Printing & Publishing, which either owned or licensed many comic book properties and had been farming them out to Dell, were ending their long relationship (Western started its own imprint, Gold Key Comics, in 1962), which would leave Dell with nothing to publish unless it quickly generated some properties of its own. The best-remembered are Brain Boy, Space Man and the like — the fantasy/superhero ones.

Least-remembered (with the possible exception of Private Secretary) is probably Linda Lark, Student Nurse, which first hit the stands with the other releases dated December, 1961. It may seem as tho it would be recalled at least as well as Around the Block with Dunc & Loo or Thirteen Going on Eighteen, which had the same creator, the critically-acclaimed John Stanley (Little Lulu, Oona Goosepimple). But those two were wild humor, which is at least of marginal interest to fans, who even then were skewing toward adolescent males. Linda Lark was melodrama, with a female protagonist, and that made it entirely too girly to be noticed by the guys who grew up to write about it. Still, she's better remembered than her contemporary, Marvel's Linda Carter, Student Nurse.

Linda finished her student days by the second issue; and Linda Lark, Registered Nurse is the title people tend to recall (assuming they do recall her). The last few issues were titled Nurse Linda Lark. Through it all, she worked at General Hospital; maintained her friendship with the wild'n'crazy Nurse Charley; and was in love with the nearest heartthrob type, Dr. Joe Blasko.

The back pages contained biographical material about real-life nurses such as Florence Nightingale. There was also a series titled "Tramp Doctor", about a recovering alcoholic atoning for the damage he'd caused while still on the sauce, by working with primitive islanders in the South Pacific.

The main series tended toward soap opera storylines; and while soap operas are thought of as an exaggeration of daily life, nobody is particularly surprised if a world conqueror or somesuch happens to turn up in one. Linda was just an ordinary chick who happened to have a TV show for a little while, trained as an astronaut, and once traveled on a murder-plagued cargo ship.

She did all this and more in only eight issues, the last one dated October, 1963. As early '60s Dells go, this was longer than Kookie lasted, but not as long as Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle. Like all of them, she was never seen after Dell dropped her.

— DDM

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Text ©2008 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Dell Publishing Co.