In retrospect it seems only a natural. It appears Will Eisner stole a march on his fellow comic book creators by grabbing an American icon, Uncle Sam, to be the star of a new comic book. War was going on in Europe, and the threat of involvement was reaching across the Atlantic to America. National Comics #1 (1940) presented Eisner’s version of an origin. Uncle Sam is a symbol so Eisner chose to make Uncle Sam a supernatural being, paired up with a human youngster. They fight enemies of America, internal and external. It is a tall order. This Uncle Sam did not even last out the end of World War II. My feeling is Eisner should have put him in cape and domino mask, which would have made him look more like a comic book hero. But, no. That would be blasphemy to some, wouldn’t it?
Life had a 2 1/2 page article, shown below, in its July 2, 1956 issue that shows us a different origin of Sam. According to Life, Sam had once been a “country bumpkin,” Brother Jonathan. Not a bad secret identity! Maybe Eisner could have used it.