Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Late Great Neal Adams


The first comic book I can remember reading was Batman no. 234 (August 1971). The main story in that issue was "Half an Evil." Although I didn't know it at the time, it was historic as the first appearance of the villain Two-Face since 1954.  Both the cover of Batman no. 234 and the story "Half an Evil" were pencilled by Neal Adams. Over the next several years I would read several comic books featuring art by Neal Adams, everything from Batman to Green Lantern. He would ultimately become one of my favourite comic book artists, if not my favourite. Sadly, Neal Adams died yesterday, April 28 2022, at the age of 80. According to his wife Marilyn Adams, the cause was complications from sepsis.

Neal Adams was born on June 15 1941 in New York City. His father was in  the military, and so he spent much of his childhood on various U.S. Army bases. Neal Adams attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan and graduated in 1959. He submitted work to National Periodical Publications (the company then known informally and now known formally as DC Comics), but was continuously rejected). He found work at Archie Comics, drawing gag fillers for Archie's Joke Book Magazine. In the late Fifties he also worked as an assistant to cartoonist Howard Nostrand on the Bat Masterson newspaper strip for three months.

Neal Adams began the Sixties providing commercial art for the advertising industry. After freelancing for a time, he found work at the Johnstone and Cushing agency, an agency that specialized in comic strip style advertisements. In 1962 Mr. Adams went to work on the Ben Casey newspaper strip, remaining with the strip's 3 1/2 year run. For a few weeks in 1966 Neal Adams was a ghost artist on the hard boiled detective comic strip Peter Scratch. The following year he found work at Warren Publishing, providing art for their magazines Creepy and Eerie.

It was also in 1967 that Neal Adams finally found work at DC Comics. His first work was a penciller on the story "It's My Turn to Die" in the anthology title Our Army at War no. 182 (July 1967). That same year he also worked on DC's The Adventures of Bob Hope and The Adventures of Jerry Lewis. In 1967 he also did artwork for Star Spangled War Stories and a back-up story featuring the Elongated Man for Detective Comics no. 369 (November 1967). It was with Strange Adventures no. 206 (November 1967) that he began providing art for the "Deadman" feature. His cover for Strange Adventures no. 207 (December 1967) won the Alley Award for Best Cover. Neal Adams would continue drawing Deadman in Strange Adventures into 1969. In 1969, 1970, and 1971 he also did artwork for House of Mystery, Phantom Stranger, Teen Titans, Hot Wheels, Deadman back-up stories in Aquaman, Challengers of the Unknown, Witching Hour, and Justice League of America.

It was with The Brave and the Bold no. 79 (November 1968) that Neal Adams first worked on the character with whom he is most associated, Batman. He continued to work on The Brave and the Bold until issue no. 86 (September 1969). That issue featured the first appearance of Green Arrow's new costume, as well as the first time he wore a goatee. Neal Adams's work on The Brave and the Bold was the first step towards the revamp of the character that he would undertake with writer Denny O'Neil. In the stories Mr. Adams drew for The Brave and the Bold, scenes were often set at night and Batman was drawn more realistically and less cartoony than he had been before.

Neal Adams would again make history when he was teamed with Dennis O'Neil to write the "Batman" feature in Detective Comics no.395 (January 1970). Together Neal Adams and Dennis O'Neil took Batman away from the camp flavour that had developed with the TV show in 1966 and closer to the dark night avenger he had originally been. It was with Detective Comics no. 411 (May 1971) that they introduced Talia al Ghul. Her father, Ra's al Ghul, would be introduced in Batman no. 232 (June 1971). The two would soon number among Batman's most frequently featured foes. It was in "Half an Evil" in Batman no. 234 (August 1971) that they revived the Golden Age villain Two-Face after he had not appeared since 1954. With "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge!" in Batman #251 (Sept. 1973) they returned The Joker to the homicidal psychopath he had originally been.

Batman would not be the only character that Neal Adams and Dennis O'Neil revamped. Beginning with Green Lantern vol. 2 no. 76 (April 1970), they also revamped Green Lantern. The two of them teamed Green Lantern up with Green Arrow, the latter who would serve as the voice of the counter culture. Messrs. Adams and O'Neil's run on Green Lantern was characterised by stories that dealt with current issues. For example, Green Lantern no. 85-86 featured a two part story in which Green Arrow's former sidekick Speedy has become addicted to heroin. During their run they deal with such issues as racism, overpopulation, and pollution. Unfortunately, sales for Green Lantern were not particularly good and the series was cancelled with no. 88 (March 1972). The remaining stories of Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil's run on Green Lantern were published as backup stories in The Flash no. 217-219.

While Neal Adams was working at DC, he also did work for other companies. At Marvel, he provided artwork for X-Men no. 56-63 and no. 65 (February 1970). He also worked on Thor no. 180-181 (1970), Amazing Adventures no. 5-8 (1971), and The Avengers no. 93-96 (1971-1972). While working at DC he continued to occasionally work on Warren Publishing's Creepy and he worked on Vampirella no. 1 (September 1969).

It was while he was working for DC Comics that he also founded Continuity Associates with  Dick Giordano in 1971. Continuity Associates is an art and illustration studio originally based in New York City, but later expanding to Los Angeles, that originally produced advertising art and storyboards for motion pictures. While continuing to produce advertising art and storyboards for movies, Continuity Associates later became an art packager for such comic book publishers as Charlton and Marvel.

After the founding of Continuity Associates in 1971 and the cancellation of Green Lantern in 1972, Neal Adams's work for DC and comic books in general became more sporadic. /He continued work on Batman through 1974. He would do later work on the character, including the mini-series Batman Odyssey in 2010 and 2011, Batman Odyssey Vol 2 in 2011 and 2012, Batman Black and White, vol. 2, no. 1 in 2013, and the mini-series Batman vs. Ra's al Ghul from 2019 to 2021. In 1972 he illustrated El Diablo stories for Weird Western Tales and the artwork for the story "The Private Life of Clark Kent" in Superman no. 254. He did a Human Target back up story in Action Comics no. 425 in 1973. He worked on House of Mystery no. 228 in 1975. Neal Adams illustrated public service pages for Justice Includes All Children in 1976. He was the artist for Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali in 1978. He provided art for Detective Comics Vol. 2, no. 27 in 2014.  He did a story for Harley's Little Black Book in 2016 and that same year provided art for the miniseries Superman: The Coming of the Supermen. He provided art for The Kamandi Challenge no. 2 in 2017. From 2017 to 2018 he was the artist on the Deadman miniseries. He also did some more work for Marvel, including Amazing Adventures in 1973, Dracula Lives no. 2 in 1973, Monsters Unleashed no. 3 in 1973, Conan the Barbarian no. 37 in 1974, The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu in 1974, Savage Tales no. 4 in 1974, Savage Sword of Conan in 1976, Crazy no 2 in 1974, Kull and the Barbarians no. 2 in 1975, Epic Illustrated no. 7 in 1981, X-Men Giant-Size No. 3 in 2005, Young Avengers no. 3 in 2005, New Avengers, vol. 2, no. 16 in 2011, First X-Men no. 15 from 2012 to 2013, and Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1–4 in 2020. He also did some work for Charlton, including Emergency! and The Six Million Dollar Man in 1976. From the Seventies to the Teens he would do occasional work for publishers from Atlas/Seaboard to Dark Horse to DIW.

In addition to his work on comic books, he also did cover art for Ballantine Book's reprints of the Tarzan novels in the Seventies.

In 1984 Neal Adams formed Continuity Comics. Besides Neal Adams, the company also published work by such creators as Vincente Alazar, Dan Barry, Esteban Maroto, Bart Sears, and others. The company lasted until 1994.

Neal Adams was a vocal advocate for the rights of creators. As early as 1970 he attempted to unionize the industry. He was among the first to champion the return of original artwork to the artist, which would become an industry standard. In 1978 along with several others, he formed  the Comics Creators Guild, an attempt at a union for comic book creators. Ultimately, the Comics Creators Guild failed. Neal Adams was among those who lobbied for Superman creators to receive financial remuneration and credit as the creator of the character from DC Comics.

Neal Adams was among the most influential comic books artists of all time, if not the most influential He was a mentor to both Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, and influenced such artists as John Byrne, Howard Chaykin,  Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Jim Starlin. As to why Neal Adams influenced so many artists, it is simply that he was one of the artists to bring the realism to the pages of comic book. Neal Adams's work was a sharp break from the cartoony styles that had dominated comic books during the Golden Age and even into the Silver Age. His artwork was realistic and very detailed, from human anatomy to guns and vehicles. At the same time his work was infused with an energy rarely seen even in superhero comic books. More so than any other artist, Neal Adams's art was filled with drama.

Of course, Neal Adams's impact went beyond his talent as an artist. With writer Dennis O'Neil, he returned Batman to his roots as a dark night avenger, setting the stage for everything from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns to the "Dark Knight" film trilogy. Messrs. O'Neil and Adams also brought back Two-Face after a 17 year hiatus and took The Joker back to being the homicidal psychopath he had originally been. They also introduced such characters as Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia. With writer Frank Robbins, Neil Adams introduced the character of Man-Bat. While Dennis O'Neil revitalized Batman, they also brought relevance to the pages of Green Lantern, dealing with issues that had rarely, if ever, been addressed in comic books. It was in the pages of Green Lantern that Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams introduced DC's first Black superhero, the Green Lantern John Stewart. Neal Adam's achievements weren't limited to DC. When he was working on X-Men at Marvel, with Roy Thomas he introduced the character of Havok and brought back Magneto. While Neal Adams's run on X-Men would only last nine issues, it would have a lasting impact on the franchise.

Neal Adams revolutionized comic books to such a point that saying that comic books today would not be the same without him is not mere hyperbole. He brought realism to comic books, revitalized several characters, and introduced yet others. If both the comic book industry and comic book fans are mourning him so, it is because he was just that important.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Late Great James Bama

Today would have been legendary artist James Bama's 96th birthday. Mr. Bama was a large part of my childhood. He painted the covers of many of the covers of Bantam Books' reprints of the Doc Savage novels that I read voraciously as a kid. He also painted the box art for the first several Universal Monster model kits put out by Aurora Plastics Corporation. And while I didn't know at the time, he was even responsible for promotional artwork for the TV show Star Trek, a poster of which adorned my bedroom wall. Sadly, James Bama died April 24 2022 at the age of 95.

James Bama was born on April 28 1926 in Washington Heights, New York. He took an interest in art early, copying panels from Alex Raymond's comic strip Flash Gordon when he was growing up. He was only 15 when he made his first professional sale, a drawing of Yankee Stadium published in the New York Journal-American. He graduated from the High School of Music & Art in New York City. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He served as a mechanic and also painted murals while in the service.

After he was demobilized, James Bama went to study at the Art Students League in New York. Among his instructors was painter and illustrator Frank J. Reilly. His first illustration for a paperback was A Bullet for Billy the Kid in 1950. In the Fifties he also did covers for such men's adventure magazines as For Men Only, Man's World, Men, Stag and True Action. When he was 24 he went to work for Cooper Studios, an advertising studio that did artwork for advertisements for such companies as Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, and General Electric. He continued to work for Cooper Studios into the Sixties.

In the Sixties James Bama continued to do covers for paperbacks. It was in 1961 that he created the box art for Aurora's first Universal Monsters model kit Frankenstein. He would continue to create box art for the Universal Monsters model kits, doing the first 22. In 1964 Bantam Books began publishing reprints of the Doc Savage pulp novels, starting with the first novel, The Man of Bronze. James Bama did that cover, and would ultimately create 62 covers for Bantam's Doc Savage reprints. He also continued to work for magazines, creating art work for such diverse publications as Argosy, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Readers Digest, and The Saturday Evening Post. Mr. Bama also worked in television, creating promotional work for both Bonanza and Star Trek. He also created the movie post for Cool Hand Luke.

In 1968 James Bama and his wife moved to Wyoming. He began painting Western subjects, both historical and contemporary. It was in 1971 that Mr. Bama decided to leave the world of illustration so he could concentrate on easel painting. James Bama proved very successful as a Western artist, with books collecting his artwork published.

Arguably, James Bama is one of the most popular artists of the mid to late 20th Century. His illustrations for the Doc Savage novels and his box art for the Aurora Universal Monster model kits both have cult followings. He also proved very successful as a Western artist. As both an illustrator and a painter he was a realist. Some of his artwork appeared so realistic that it could at times be mistaken for a photographs. His command of lighting in his artwork was only matched by a few other artists, and the colours in his artwork could often be intense. He was an ideal artist for paperback covers, but at the same time he was capable of producing truly great Western artwork. He certainly was one of the most talented illustrators and artists of the 20th Century.


James Bama's cover art for Aurora's Dracula model kit.

The cover of Bantam's reprint of the Doc Savage novel The Man of Bronze.

James Bama's promotional artwork for Bonanza.

James Bama's promotional artwork for Star Trek.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Mothers in the Movies on Sundays on Turner Classic Movies

Ann Blyth and Joan Crawford as Veda and Mildred in Mildred Pierce

The second Sunday in May is Mother's Day. To this end Turner Classic Movies is showing movies about motherhood the first four Sunday nights of May and all day Sunday, May 8 (Mother's Day) under the heading "Mothers in the Movies." The movies are a varied lot, from the seductive Mrs. Robinson of The Graduate (1967) to the devoted, if underappreciated Mildred Pierce from the 1945 movie of that name. Below is a schedule of the movies being show. The ones that I don't think you should miss are in bold. All times are Central.

Sunday, May 1
7:00 PM Imitation of Life (1959)
9:15 PM Stella Dallas (1937)

Saturday, May 7
11:15 PM No Man of Her Own (1950) (Noir Alley)

Sunday, May 8
1:15 AM Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)
3:00 AM The Graduate (1967)
6:00 AM The Catered Affair (1956)
7:00 AM The Old Maid (1939)
9:00 AM No Man of Her Own (1950) (Noir Alley)
11:00 AM Imitation of Life (1934)
1:00 PM The Sun Comes Up (1949)
3:00 PM Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)
5:00 PM Madam X (1966)
7:00 PM I Remember Mama (1948)
9:30 PM Places in the Heart (1984)

Sunday, May 15
7:00 PM Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
9:30 PM So Big (1953)

Sunday, May 22
7:00 PM Mildred Pierce (1945)
9:00 PM Gypsy (1962)

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Wendy Goldman on ER

Vanessa Marquez as Nurse Wendy Goldman on ER
It was 25 years ago today that Vanessa Marquez last appeared as Nurse Wendy Goldman on ER. The episode was "Calling Dr. Hathaway." In the episode Wendy was helping the ER's desk clerk Jerry (Abraham Benrubi) and later physician assistant Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben) catch a genetically engineered mouse that had escaped from the lab. At the time I doubt anyone, except for possibly the cast and crew of ER, realized it would be Vanessa's last episode. There was no publicity about her departure and Wendy Goldman simply disappeared from the show with very little explanation. Well before I ever knew Vanessa Marquez, Wendy Goldman was my favourite character on ER and I had a huge crush on her at the time. I definitely noticed Wendy's absence, wondering a few episodes into the fourth season where she was. I know from various friends and also various individuals online that Wendy was missed by a good many ER  fans. Despite Wendy's popularity, I noticed that the write-up on Wendy on the list of ER characters on Wikipedia is a mere stub. So too is the entry on Wendy on the ER wiki. This isn't unusual for the supporting characters--Nurse Lydia Wright (Ellen Crawford) was on the show for ten seasons and her wiki is a stub too. I then thought I would write my own wiki on Wendy Goldman, containing as much information as could be gleaned from the episodes as possible. Here it is.


Nurse Wendy Goldman was a recurring character on ER in its first three seasons. At least in the first season Wendy was a student nurse. It seems likely that in the pilot, "24 Hours," she had only been working the hospital for a short time. At the very least, she seems unfamiliar with Dr. Ross (George Clooney). When Ross comes into the ER to be treated for drunkenness, she asks Dr. Greene (Anthony Edwards), "Does he always do this?" In "Make of Two Hearts," when Wendy complains to Jerry about decorating the ER for Valentine's Day, she says, "I'm not a nurse in training, I'm a nurse in decorating!"

The viewer is told nothing about Wendy's background or family. From Wendy Goldman's name, viewers might assume that she is part Jewish. At the same time, viewers would have good reason to assume that she was a Latina as well, aside from the fact that Vanessa Marquez was Mexican American. Wendy is fluent in Spanish and sometimes serves as a translator when needed. In "Into That Good Night" she comforts a Spanish speaking patient in her native language. In "Love Among the Ruins" she translates for a Spanish speaking father whose son has gotten a coat hanger caught in his throat. In "Days Like This" Jerry, who does not speak Spanish, asks Wendy to help with a Spanish speaking mother seeking information on her son, who is in the hospital. Wendy may have had a Jewish father (hence her name) and a Latina mother.

Wendy is single. In "Faith," when the nurses are negotiating a new contract with the hospital, Haleh (Yvonne Freeman) says that the nurses will stand firm as far as their demands for a new contract go. Wendy tells her, "That's easy for you to say. You've got a husband with a job." It seems likely that for much of the time Wendy is working in the ER that she does not have a boyfriend either, at least going by how aggressively she flirts with dance instructor Mickey (Brian Wimmer) in "Last Call."

Wendy is sweet and soft hearted in demeanour, and often comforts patients. In "Make of Two Hearts" she holds a train victim's hand. Unfortunately, the train victim goes into a seizure and crushes her hand. Later when she is told that the train victim has died, she is sad. In "Into that Good Night" she stroked the hair of the aforementioned Spanish speaking patient, who had been involved in a car accident. In "John Carter, M.D." it is Wendy who offers to call the parents of a little girl who was hit by car while riding her bicycle. In "The Healers" she admits to having cried when paramedics Shep (Ron Eldard) and Raul (Carlos Gómez) brought in a baby who died. Wendy's concern doesn't just extend to patients, but her co-workers in the ER as well. When Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) is hit on the head by a falling clock, Wendy's first reaction is to ask, "Are you alright?" Wendy seems to be good with children. In "Chicago Heat" she reads Horton Hears a Who? to Dr. Greene's daughter Rachel. In "Blizzard" she is helping Patrick (Kevin Michael Richardson) entertain a little girl in the ER.

While Wendy is sweet and soft hearted, she does have a temper. As mentioned above, in "Make of Two Hearts," she complains about having to decorate the ER. Later in "Make of Two Hearts," she snaps at medical student Deb Chen (Ming-Na Wen), who is high on acid, for not recognizing her when Deb is there to put a cast on her broken hand. In "House of Cards" she yells at medical student Deb Chen (Ming-Na Wen) when Deb attempts putting a central line into a patient's chest all by herself. In "No Brain, No Gain" Wendy shouts at Jerry and E-Ray (Charles Noland) when the two of them claim an MRI has somehow reversed E-Ray's polarity. 

While viewers are never told about any friends Wendy might have outside the ER, she appears to be close to many of her fellow employees in the ER. This is particularly true of her fellow nurses. In "Baby Shower" she brings a gigantic box containing a gift to a baby shower held at Doc Magoo's for Connie (Connie Oligaro). In "Welcome Back, Carter" Chuny (Laura Cerón) shows Wendy pictures of her riding a jet ski (presumably the photos were from Chuny's vacation). In  "Who's Appy Now?" Chuny and Wendy gossip about Dr. Greene in a mixture of English and Spanish. Wendy also appears to be particularly close to desk clerk Jerry, who sometimes involves her in his various schemes. In "Make of Two Hearts," when Wendy complains to Jerry about having to decorate the ER, he asks, "Can I help?" In "No Brain, No Gain," an anthropologist doing a comparison study on the mating rituals of birds and humans thinks Wendy and Jerry are flirting, although given she later yells at Jerry it seems likely the anthropologist mistook two friends joking around for flirting. At the very least, Wendy treats Jerry very differently from Mickey in "Last Call," in whom she was obviously interested. In "Calling Dr. Hathaway" Wendy helps Jerry put out live traps to catch the genetically engineered mouse and thus get a hefty financial reward.

For the  most part Wendy maintains a professional demeanour with the medical students and doctors in the ER. She often assists Carter (Noah Wylie) and the two seem genuinely fond of each other. In "Make of Two Hearts" when Dr. Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) snatches Carter's many Valentines away from him and starts reading them off, "Wendy" is among the names of women who gave Valentines to Carter. While Wendy isn't an exceedingly rare name, it isn't very common either, so viewers may have been safe in assuming it was Wendy Goldman who gave Carter a Valentine. Even so, given neither Wendy nor Carter mention the Valentine, it seems safe to assume that if it was Wendy Goldman who sent it, it was meant as a platonic gesture. Indeed, when Ross compliments her on volunteering to decorate the ER (to which she replies, "I didn't volunteer!"), she stuffs a little heart in the pocket of his lab coat.  Later in "Make of Two Hearts" even as Carter laughs at the cast Deb put on Wendy's hand, he tells her, "I'm sorry" and says he that he will fix it the next day. Wendy also often assists Ross and in "Luck of the Draw" Ross seems comfortable enough to tell her he has a son he has never seen  In "Night Shift" Wendy assists Weaver with a night shift study.

Wendy is intelligent, displaying a good deal of medical knowledge even when she was a student nurse. In "Luck of the Draw," when Dr. Lewis tells Wendy to give her patient 350 milligrams of dopamine, Wendy corrects her and says, "I think you mean micrograms." In "House of Cards" it is Wendy who determines that a junkie who was brought into the ER needs a central line, stating, "He hasn't any veins left." When Wendy goes to get Dr. Lewis to put the central line in, Deb attempts to do the procedure herself, entirely botching it. In "Men Plan, God Laughs," Dr. Greene asks if a patient has a peptic ulcer or a varices, Wendy correctly guesses he has a varices (although Haleh was correct in guessing he had a peptic ulcer--the patient had both). Wendy apparently enjoys learning new things. In "Whose Appy Now?" Wendy is reading info from a pamphlet on how often doctors wash their hands and even pick their noses. When she relays this information to Dr. Ross, he tells her that there is a limit to how informed he wants to be. While Wendy is very bright, in "Welcome Back, Carter," Carol (Julianna Margulies) tells Wendy that she has to get her ALCS certification. Wendy doesn't know what ACLS is (for the curious, it is short for "advanced cardiac life support"). Chuny tells her not to worry, that she will love it.

We only know a little about Wendy's pastimes and hobbies. In "Blizzard," during a very slow period at the ER, Wendy rollerblades through the ER. She apparently likes baking and cooking. In "Hell and High Water" Wendy bakes brownies for the ER staff, although they might not be very good. When Carter takes a bite out of one he makes a face. In "No Brain, No Gain" Wendy makes salt water taffy for the ER staff. Her taffy seems to be better than her brownies. At the very least, Jerry and patient Mr. Percy (William Sanderson) like it. It seems likely Wendy enjoys playing video games and may actually be good at them. In "Hell and High Water" she is among the staff who plays Doom on the ER's new computer and even suggests to Carol when she is playing the game that she use the rocket launcher. Wendy also plays the lottery. In "Luck of the Draw" it is shown that she coordinates the ER staff's purchase of Lotto tickets. It also seems likely that Wendy is a fan of classic movies. In "Last Call," when describing dance instructor Mickey to Jeannie, she compares Mickey to a combination of Dennis Quaid, Robert Redford, and James Dean. While Wendy may be a fan of classic films, she apparently is not a fan of the NBA. In  "Baby Shower" Jerry claims to have met Scotty Pippen, but no one believes him. When Scotty Pippen shows up in the ER, Jerry goes to alert the doctors. Unfortunately, Scotty Pippen leaves while Jerry is gone. When Jerry gets back to the front desk, he asks Wendy if she's seen him. Wendy simply asks, "Is he kind of a tall guy?"

Wendy's talents go beyond the ER. In "Do One, Teach One, Kill One," she is writing a cover story on Dr. Greene for the nursing newsletter. In "Whose Appy Now?" Wendy states that she has National Guard duty that weekend.

Wendy Goldman last appeared on ER in "Calling Dr. Hathaway." Viewers are never told why she left or what happened to her. In the fourth season episode "Freak Show," Dr. Weaver tells Jeannie Boulet that Yoshi Takata (Gedde Watanabe) was hired to replace two nurses who left. It would be safe to assume Wendy was one of those nurses.