Uncle Sam (Vertigo)
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Cover of the first issue
|Publisher||Vertigo (DC Comics)|
|Number of issues||2|
|Deluxe Edition||ISBN 1-4012-2348-6|
The story centers around Sam, an obviously distressed homeless man, who wanders the streets of an unnamed city speaking mostly in odd quotes and sound bites. As he wanders, he has disturbing visions of events of injustice in American history (dealing with Indian Wars, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and others). Throughout his wanderings, he occasionally encounters a woman named Bea, and has conversations with Britannia. Eventually, Sam has a profoundly disillusioning vision of him participating in the bloody crushing of Shays' Rebellion, which suggested to him that America's ideals were never seriously respected from the beginning.
Eventually, he comes to the remains of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, where he sees Bea once more, now recognizing her as Columbia. She helps Sam gain a more nuanced perspective of his visions of America's negative moments of its history, such as how Shay's Rebellion prompted the writing of the Constitution of the United States to help create a more stable government. He has further encounters with Britannia, Marianne and the Russian Bear, before he confronts a dark, corrupt, overtly capitalist shadow version of himself. He eventually defeats this figure by accepting all its blows, recognizing and accepting his mistakes, and learning from them.
Towards the end of the tale he thinks to himself: "It's a strange and frightening thing — to see yourself at your worst."
In the end we see him again as a homeless man, but instead of wildly hallucinating, he's now chipper and optimistic with his traditional hat, ready to face the future.
In 1998 the series was collected as a trade paperback (Vertigo ISBN 1-56389-482-3, Titan Books ISBN 1-84023-083-5). In late 2009 it was collected into a Deluxe Edition hardcover (Vertigo ISBN 1-4012-2348-6, Titan Books ISBN 1-84856-284-5).
The collected volume also includes an essay on the history of Uncle Sam as well as several pages of art by Ross.
- Official Vertigo Comics page (with downloadable sample of the first pages)
- Excerpt from Kirkus Reviews under "Editorial Reviews" on Amazon.com
- Michael Berry's review for the San Francisco Chronicle
- Quote from Alan Moore under "Editorial Reviews" on Amazon.com
- 1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees, Comic Book Awards Almanac
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