Uncle Sam (Vertigo)

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Uncle Sam
Cover of the first issue
Publication information
PublisherVertigo (DC Comics)
Publication date1997
No. of issues2
Main character(s)Sam
Creative team
Created bySteve Darnall
Alex Ross
Written bySteve Darnall
Alex Ross
Artist(s)Alex Ross
Letterer(s)Todd Klein
Colorist(s)Alex Ross
Collected editions
Deluxe EditionISBN 1-4012-2348-6

Uncle Sam is a two-part prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint in 1997. It was written by Steve Darnall with art by Alex Ross.


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 himself 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 World's 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.

Collected editions[edit]

In 1998 the series was collected as a trade paperback (Vertigo ISBN 1-56389-482-3,[1] 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.


The series was very well received by critics, earning praise from Kirkus Reviews,[2] The San Francisco Chronicle[3] and Alan Moore,[4] among others.


The comics were nominated for an Eisner Award.[5]



External links[edit]