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Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters: Preview

We're just beginning a crisis, so not right now; but, at some point, I'm going to flash back a decade to look at the Freedom Fighters in the DC Universe. For now, as a holiday treat this Independence Day, here's a little history of its leader, Uncle Sam.

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Until DC acquired its characters in the 1950s, Quality Comics, which began publishing in 1937, was a powerhouse during the Golden Age of Comic Books. Its cast of characters included names that remain familiar today, such as Blackhawk and Plastic Man, as well as future members of DC's Freedom Fighters: Black Condor, Doll Man, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, the Ray and... Uncle Sam. (During their Quality runs, these characters never appeared together as the Freedom Fighters.)

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Uncle Sam was introduced in the anthology series, National Comics #1, in July, 1940 (cover price, $.10.) He's described as a mystical or spiritual entity, "a superhero version of the personification of the United States." He appears in the world whenever his country needs him.

After a few years of headlining National Comics, Uncle Sam received his own series, Uncle Sam Quarterly. The first issue was dated Fall, 1941, with a cover price of $.10. National Comics ran for 45 issues, ending in December, 1944. Uncle Sam Quarterly ran for eight issues, ending in Fall, 1943.

The non-costumed boy you see on these covers is Uncle Sam's sidekick, Buddy Smith. Buddy became an orphan when his grandfather, Ezra Smith, was shot in the back for speaking out against a gangster, Andel Cobra, that was trying to recruit economic refugees for an anti-democracy army. Uncle Sam appeared at the migrant camp and adopted Buddy as his assistant.

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An obvious product of the World War II era, Uncle Sam is seen on various comic book covers punching the enemy (including Hitler himself), riding bombs, forging swords of victory, and rolling up his sleeves to get to work.

Return every Wednesday to keep reading about Crisis on Infinite Earths and watch for more about Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters in the near (?) future...