There are a lot of great patriotic moments in comics, from Captain America punching Hitler in the face, to Superman teaching kids about being accepting of immigrants while posing with a bald eagle in front of the flag. Heck, the superhero comic book itself is one of the few true American forms of art. But perhaps one of the greatest, most American comic books of all time has to be Steve Darnall and Alex Ross’s “Uncle Sam”.
Ross’s legendary art speaks for itself, but it’s Darnell’s writing that really shines. The book is comprised of an astounding collection of inspiring quotes about American history. The story is about the embodiment of a living metaphor: Uncle Sam. Sam has fallen on hard times, he’s confused and torn between what America was, what it is and what it could be.
“It’s a strange and frightening thing — to see yourself at your worst.”
It’s a story about America itself, the ideals we strive for and how we’ve fallen short. From the American Revolution to the Civil Rights movement. It’s a harsh examination of our modern world and a fantastic critique of unchecked capitalistic greed, but it’s also a reminder that for all its faults, the United States is still a beacon of hope. It’s deep, it’s heart wrenching but most of all its an important message for all who value liberty.
“I tried my best to make people take pride in facing problems. You’re telling them to take pride in ignoring problems. What you’ve got here, son — it’s all vanity…”
This isn’t just an inspiring work of art, it’s literature. Every student of American history should read it. “Uncle Sam” is the Great American Graphic Novel.
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Erik Slader is a blogger, barista, web tech, digital artist, gamer, comic book aficionado, history buff, part-time nerd, and full-time husband. Creator of “Epik Fails of History” (@EpikFails.com) and writer for SuperheroBeach.com, MovementMagazine.com and ComicZombie.net – check out his digital design portfolio at ErikSlader.com