The Lonely War of Captain Willy Schultz

This is basically a signal boost for a new Kickstarter project to collect and complete “The Lonely War of Captain Willy Schulz,” a serialized story that was first published in Charlton’s Fightin’ Army in the late 1960s.

The linked post explains everything, but I think it’s worth emphasizing that the art in the original series was done by the late, great Sam Glanzman, about whom various AJS contributors have written previously (including a shout-out for another Kickstarter campaign).

The story was considered controversial at the time, because the main character, the titular Capt. Willy Schultz, a an ethnic German US soldier in World War II, deserts to the German side to escape court martial and execution for a crime he didn’t commit. It deals with themes such as divided loyalties and the true costs of any war. Apparently the US military actually put some quiet pressure on Charlton to put a stop to the series, which they did (besides the above link, there’s more details at this blog post from 2012). It’s also noteworthy that the writer, Will Franz, was only 16 years old when he started writing the story.

One of the Fightin’ Army covers in which the story was originally serialized.

The story was actually never finished, so this new hardcover will finally have the story’s conclusion, written by original writer Franz, with the art on the newer material being done by Wayne Vansant. Vansant was approached to do this even before Glanzman passed away last year, as the latter told Franz that he wouldn’t be able to do the work due to advanced age and health problems.

The cover for the new hardcover edition.

If you’re a fan of war comics, or just cult comics from the past with some controversy swirling around them, this seems like a project well worth consideration for support.

3 Comments

  1. Jeff Nettleton

    I’ve chimed in about this one, with Drew Ford, on a few occasions. This is some of Sam’s best work, outside of his USS Stevens stories (you could debate Haunted Tank; but these are much deeper than your average HT story) and Will Franz had done his homework and wrote great stories. This is the real human side of war and it stacks up with the best of Rock & Easy and the EC war books.

    As for controversial; probably; but, not quite so much as Blazing combat and their story from the VC point of view, which got them kicked out of military PXs and killed the book.

    Maybe this means we might also see The Iron Corporal, the other series from Franz and Glanzman. It features an American soldier, with the Australian army, in the Asian theater. Not quite as good as Willy Schultz but good stories, nonetheless.

    Vansant is probably the perfect artist to step in for Sam, as his style is along a similar approach and he has the experience and does his research. His Battlegroup Peiper, from Caliber, was an excellent piece of work, along these lines, and he has done a lot of historical adaptations, as well as fictional war comics.

  2. Jeff Nettleton

    PS if there ii still a holy grail for Sam Glanzman’s work, it is the rest of Thief of Sherwood, that he did for Roger Broughton. Only one issue was published, though I believe Sam had turned in more work than that (not certain if Broughton had the whole series or just a couple of more issues of art and script).

  3. Edo Bosnar

    Just an update: the book is funded, as the campaign met its initial $20,000 goal. There’s still 20 days to go for anyone who’s interested, and I just received an e-mail notification today that a Stretch Goal will be announced soon.

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