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CHARACTER
UncleSam001

Origin

Uncle Sam is the national personification of the United States and, more specifically, of the US government. The first usage of the term dates from the War of 1812, and the first drawing dates from 1852. Common depiction is of a serious, elderly white man with white hair, a beard, and patriotic clothing. He first appeared in comics in 1940 when Will Eisner introduced him as a superhero in National Comics #1 (See below). Uncle Sam also appeared in many other Golden Age comics, usually as a guest star.

Quality Comics

In Uncle Sam Quarterly #2, the Will Eisner version of Uncle Sam described his origin. He explained that he was originally Sam, a young man from what was then colonial America. When the colonies declared independence, he volunteered to fight in the burgeoning American army. He was killed in battle, but before he could pass on, a mysterious entity declared that he would become a spiritual embodiment of the new nation. Since then, Sam appeared whenever America needed him, lending his hands in the many conflicts it was involved with.

In his debut appearance, Uncle Sam came upon a young boy named Buddy Smith, who was crying because his father was murdered by a crypto-Nazi gang known as the Purple Shirts. Moved by the boy's plight, Uncle Sam took on and defeated the Purple Shirts. From that point on, Uncle Sam effectively adopted Buddy and took him along on his adventures.

This version of Uncle Sam had super-human strength and durability, the ability to appear anywhere he's needed, and whatever other powers he may need to resolve the plot.

Uncle Sam's enemies included Blackout, King Killer, the Pied Piper and the Witch Queen.

Harry 'A' Chesler

Uncle Sam approached the recently created Yankee Doodle Jones and his sidekick, Dandy, ordering them to solve the supernatural murders of American officials.

Novelty Press

After president Franklin Roosevelt announced that the United States would provide weapons and supplies for it's allies, becoming an "arsenal for democracy," Uncle Sam summoned the Chameleon, Skipper (leader of Boystate), Karen Drake (an actress working for Fantastic Features studio), Lucky Byrd, Bull's-Eye Bill, Manowar the White Streak, Spacehawk, and the Target - in other words, all of the characters that appeared in Target Comics at the time. Explaining that the United States needed them more then ever, he charged each character with a certain task:

  • Bull's-Eye Bill was ordered to provide horses for the U.S. Cavalry Remount Service.
  • Chameleon was ordered to assist the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Lucky Byrd was told to keep doing what he was already doing - fighting the Nazis as the member of the G2 intelligence service.
  • Karen Drake, and, by extension, all other Fantastic Features actors, were ordered to "use their talents for entertainment and propaganda purposes."
  • Skipper was ordered to make weapons for the Defense Department.
  • Spacehawk was ordered to protect the Earth from alien invasions.
  • Target was ordered to "unearth foreign plots against the U.S. government."
  • White Streak was ordered to hunt down industrial saboteurs.

Although this was Uncle Sam's only actual appearance, it affected Target Comics storylines for several following issues.

Golden Age Appearances

  • National Comics #1-45
  • Uncle Sam Quarterly #1-8
  • Target Comics Vol 2, #1
  • Yankee Comics #1, 2, 4

Notes

  • DC Comics modified version of the Quality comics Uncle Sam is not in public domain. The look of the original drawings and the concept are public domain, and anyone can create their own version of Uncle Sam.

See Also

Toonopedia

Wikipedia

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