Uncle Sam (comics)

Uncle Sam (comics)


caption=Promotional artwork from "DCU Brave New World" #1 (Aug, 2006) by Daniel Acuña.
character_name=Uncle Sam
publisher=Quality Comics
(1940 - 1944)
DC Comics
(1973 - present)
debut="National Comics" #1
(July, 1940)
creators= Will Eisner
alliances=Freedom Fighters All-Star Squadron
aliases=Spirit of America, Minuteman, Brother Jonathan, Johnny Reb, Billy Yank, Patriot
powers=Vast super-strength, invulnerability, variable size; powers are proportionate to the country's faith in the ideals of liberty and freedom|

Uncle Sam is a fictional character, a DC Comics superhero based on national personification of the United States, Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam first appeared in "National Comics" #1 (July, 1940) and was created by Will Eisner.

Publication history

Quality Comics

Uncle Sam first appeared in "National Comics" #1 (July, 1940), which was published by Quality Comics during the Golden Age of Comic Books. He was depicted as a mystical being who was originally the spirit of a slain patriotic soldier from the American Revolutionary War, and who now appears in the world whenever his country needs him. The character was used for a few years from 1940 to 1944, briefly receiving its own series, "Uncle Sam Quarterly".

DC Comics

DC Comics acquired the character as part of its acquisition of the Quality characters in the 1950s, and he was used as a supporting character in "Justice League of America" in the 1970s. This established Uncle Sam as the leader of the Freedom Fighters, a team of former Quality characters that briefly received its own title. This team was initially based on a parallel world called Earth-X, where World War II had lasted into the 70s.

Uncle Sam's origin was rewritten somewhat in "The Spectre", where Uncle Sam is described as a spiritual entity created through an occult ritual by the Founding Fathers. This "Spirit of America" was initially bound to a powerful talisman and would take physical form by merging with a dying patriot. The new origin states that the Spirit of America had taken human form as the Minute-Man during the Revolutionary War, Brother Jonathan in later conflicts and, during the American Civil War, had been split in two as Johnny Reb and Billy Yank.

The Spirit first assumed its now familiar Uncle Sam incarnation in 1870, when it resurrected a political cartoonist who had been killed by Boss Tweed. The second host of Uncle Sam fought in World War I. A third (the character's Golden Age incarnation) was a superhero during World War II but vanished at the end of the war, erasing any subsequent appearances from the fictional history of the DC Universe (although most of them had already been erased by the Crisis on Infinite Earths). In "The Spectre", the Spirit is resurrected in a new costumed form called the Patriot, but later reverts to Uncle Sam in a "Superman" issue.

In "Infinite Crisis" #1, the Freedom Fighters are attacked by the Secret Society of Super Villains. Uncle Sam is shown easily standing up to Black Adam, even knocking him away with one punch. Three of the Freedom Fighters, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, and Black Condor are killed in the battle. Uncle Sam himself seemingly dies at the hands of Deathstroke. The other team members are brutally injured but survive. Uncle Sam is seen face down in rainwater.

However, when the dead heroes are found strung up on the Washington Monument in "Infinite Crisis" #2, Uncle Sam is missing.

The character's latest incarnation appeared in the first issue of "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters", and spends the first few issues of this new series attempting to form a new version of the Freedom Fighters. This new Uncle Sam emerges from the Mississippi River at the same time as Father Time is elsewhere planning the future of S.H.A.D.E. with new incarnations of the Freedom Fighters members. Uncle Sam, disturbed by the deadly force used by the new versions of Phantom Lady, The Human Bomb, Doll Man, and others, successfully recruits these metahumans into his new Freedom Fighters team, which results in Father Time ordering his remaining S.H.A.D.E. personnel to pursue and kill Uncle Sam and his team. Although Uncle Sam is shown to be against killing, particularly rebuking Doll Man for murdering a crime lord in front of the man's young grandson (in issue #1), Uncle Sam is not against using deadly force when necessary.

Powers and abilities

Uncle Sam has demonstrated various powers, including super strength, invulnerability, the ability to alter his size, enhanced speed, and some degree of clairvoyance. He is also shown to be able to transport himself and others to a pocket of an alternate dimension called The Heartland; he does this to Doll Man in issue #2 of "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters". His power is said to be in direct proportion of the belief people have in the idea of America, therefore his powers are presumably malleable to some degree. In "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters", Father Time states that tests indicate Sam is not a human, meta-, or magical being, and the results on what he is are inconclusive. In issue #3 of "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters", he states that he does not have the ability to fly.

Alternate versions


In 1998, DC published under its adult imprint Vertigo a two-issue prestige format comic simply titled "Uncle Sam", written by Steve Darnall with painted artwork by Alex Ross. The book is not set in the standard DC UniverseFact|date=August 2007, and depicts Uncle Sam as a ragged old man who is tormented by visions of historical episodes and modern aspects of the United States at its worst. The bloody crushing of Shays' Rebellion is considered a particularly disillusioning moment for the character, which suggested for him that the professed ideals of the United States have never been seriously respected. Uncle Sam is forced to battle a dark doppelganger of himself based on corruption, deceit, and oppression, with the identity of the United States at stake.


In an alternate DC timeline appearing in "Superman/Batman", Superman and Batman have been raised by Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen, the three original members of the Legion of Super-Villains, and have turned the Earth into a totalitarian state. Uncle Sam becomes Green Lantern when Wonder Woman gives him Abin Sur's ring, as Hal Jordan is dead in this reality. When Wonder Woman first encounters this Uncle Sam, he is visually very similar to the Uncle Sam from Alex Ross' miniseries; once she uses her magic lasso to reveal the truth to him, he reverts to his classic persona and costume.


In the final issue of "52", a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-10". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-X, including the Quality characters. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but a character visually similar to Uncle Sam appears. [Comic book reference | title=52 | issue=52 | date=May 2, 2007 | publisher=DC Comics | page=12 | panel=1 ]

Based on comments by Grant Morrison and the fact that a Nazi version of Superman is depicted in the scene, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-X. [cite web
url = http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=111900
accessdate = 2007-05-12
last = Brady
first = Matt
date = 2007-05-08
publisher = Newsarama

On Earth-11, a world of reversed genders, a female version of Sam called "Columbia" leads the Freedom Fighters.


External links

* [http://www.toonopedia.com/unclsam2.htm Toonopedia page]

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