AUSA graphic novel honors Harlem Hellfighter, Medal of Honor recipient Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson
Photo credit AUSA

Henry Johnson served on the Western Front of World War I as a member of what would later become known as the Harlem Hellfighters. While on sentry duty, Johnson fought off a German raiding party in hand-to-hand combat, despite being seriously injured. And now, thanks to the Association of the United States Army, you can read his story in graphic novel form.

Henry Johnson AUSA

Out of the more than 3,500 service members who have received the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, only 90 have been African Americans — one of them is then Pvt. Henry Johnson. 

African Americans make up 2 percent of all Medal of Honor recipients — here are their names

AUSA Johnson

While on night sentry duty, May 15, 1918, Johnson and a fellow soldier, Pvt. Needham Roberts, were suddenly attacked by a German raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers.

While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties. When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces.

AUSA Johnson

Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Wielding only a knife and being seriously wounded, Johnson continued fighting, took his Bolo knife and stabbed it through an enemy soldier's head.

To read Johnson's story click here. The novel's creative team includes:

  • Script: Chuck Dixon (Batman, The Punisher, The ‘Nam)
  • Pencils, Inks, Cover: PJ Holden (Judge Dredd, Battlefields, World of Tanks)
  • Colors: Peter Pantazis (Justice League, Superman, Wolverine)
  • Lettering: Troy Peteri (Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men)

AUSA is a non-profit organization devoted to the U.S. Army and its soldiers. This newest graphic novel released on June 30 is the first issue in the second volume of the Medal of Honor series, which launched October 2018 with Medal of Honor: Alvin York and continued with profiles of Roy Benavidez, Audie Murphy and Sal Giunta. These graphic novels are available on the Medal of Honor series page at

Sen. Daniel Inouye, Dr. Mary Walker, and Cpl. Tibor Rubin will all join Johnson as graphic novel features this year.  


Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.
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