This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting not only Washington D.C. for the first time, but the Marine barracks at 8th & I as well. It was kind of a surprise visit, I didn’t even know we were in the neighborhood until it was pointed out to me what street we were on, but the Marines there were gracious enough to invite us in and show us around a bit.

Before anyone in charge at 8th & I gets their panties in a bunch, I’m just gonna mention that none of the Marines secretly asked me to take them with me.

This is a cartoon.

In my head (which is a scary place) I just imagine it’s nerve wracking to be around the Commandant all day, every day. Being a regular Lance Corporal in a line platoon out in the fleet, you spend about 90% of your day avoiding higher-ups, and they’re not even literally in charge of the entire Marine Corps.

I did actually ask if I could meet the Commandant, since he was on deck, but they wouldn’t let me knock on his door. Understandably it was a surprise visit and I didn’t really expect much, I was just happy to even be able to get a tour by the adorable Lance Corporal Garrison.

Getting stationed at 8th & I was his destiny.

Getting stationed at 8th & I was his destiny.

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For those of you wondering where I’ve been the last few days, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Student Veterans of America’s first student vet art competition! They asked me to be an official judge and flew me out to D.C. for the weekend so that I could attend the gallery opening. I have to give the biggest shout out in the world to the SVA for not only their incredible hospitality toward me, but all of the veterans that came out to the gallery show as well (free beer!).

I also just want to say congratulations to the competition winner Jonathan Gherkin for his amazing work.

It was really awesome being able to meet so many veterans and active duty Marines (and other service members) over the weekend and I had a ton of fun talking to all of you–even though I was severely jet lagged for the whole weekend.

On Friday I actually got the chance to meet the Marine Corps Times for the first time–even though I’ve been working with them for the last 4 years or so. While I was there, they filmed a brief interview with me that you can check out here.

Myself and the Military Times newsroom.

It was a pretty crazy and awesome weekend and I’m happy I got the chance to check out D.C. and 8th & I. If I had more time I might have tried to visit more places, but my trip was pretty short and I needed to get home to finish this monster of a book. Comic updates might slow down a bit over the next month or so while I try to focus on the primary task at hand, but I assure you that I am still alive and things are moving.

 

I mean, realistically, this would be a way cooler toy than the current officially licensed USMC offerings.

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Like come on, we’ve been fighting the war on terror for like 14 years and this is some weird, pseudo Desert Storm shit. What am I supposed to do? Use my imagination?

I miss the barracks sometimes.

I know that’s a weird sentence, but I love how full of life it is on any given night of the week. By life, I mean drunken, shirtless Marines shouting obscenities at each other and getting into random brawls. This isn’t just a Friday night routine, this is an every night routine.

Terminal Lance has always been a place for Marines to talk about actual Marine shit. Not just the war stories, but the every day life of being a Marine. Something that always bothers me about Hollywood depictions of the Marine Corps or otherwise is that it’s always about the deployment. Don’t get me wrong, that’s generally where all of the stories worth making a movie about happen–I went on two of them to Iraq myself. However, lets be realistic for a second: I spent a total of one year in Iraq between two deployments. That’s one year out of a standard four year enlistment. Three quarters of my time in the Marine Corps was spent back in the rear, like most Marines, doing every day shit like standing by in the barracks and cleaning weapons at the armory.

I’m not saying we need a movie about drunken barracks brawls, but I do feel like the prolific war porn we’ve come to expect from every movie about the military creates false expectations and representation of the military lifestyle.

Anyway, that’s a long way of saying I want a Marine Corps toy that accurately represents the drunk barracks Marine. Maybe it could even come with an OOD that he pisses on from the 2nd story catwalk.

On a completely unrelated note, I watched Starship Troopers again for the first time in a long time. I think it came out when I was in 4th grade or so. I just want to say that this guy is a POG, Jodie, blue falcon motherfucker.

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One more thing…

I’ll be at the Student Veterans of America “Warpaint” gallery unveiling in Washington DC on Friday. I think you have to RSVP, it might be too late, but if you’re going I guess I’ll see you there! Click here for details. I’ll be in the area until Sunday.

This is a joke about “Barney Style.”

Do you understand?

No?

Do you need me to break it down for you “Barney Style?”

Anyone who’s been in the Marine Corps for more than 3 months knows all about Barney Style. There’s not a whole lot to say about it, it’s simply one of many Marine Corps idioms that gets passed around within the culture.

I’ve always found the use of language in the Corps to be of interest. Marines separated by generations, will use the same inflections, terminologies and phrases across the globe. Good to go? These aren’t things you enter the Corps saying, either, they’re things you pick up once you’re inside. You can immediately tell if someone is a Marine the way they talk. I remember swearing to myself I would never use these sayings on the outside, but the next thing I knew I was telling someone “Fuck me, right? Don’t worry, I’m here for you.” with a knife-hand in their face.

Of course, over the course of many years, this culture of language will eventually take its toll on just about anyone.

Don’t forget, we got a new shirt in the official Terminal Lance store this week! Send your Message to Garcia today.

You know what the problem is with these Stolen Valor guys? They try to steal too much valor.

If you’re the kind of piece of shit that likes to go around pretending to be in the military so you can get discounts or whatever, just say you’re some total POG MOS, because most grunts will have no idea if it’s true or not anyway. When you start talking about how you know guys from SEAL Team 6 and graduated top of your class at Ranger School while killing 73 enemy insurgents alongside Chris Kyle, bullshit flags start going up immediately.

Those are the kind of stories that can be easily proven wrong by just about anyone with a lick of common sense and only a marginal knowledge of the military culture.

Of course, the point of stealing “valor” is actually to steal the “valor.” Being a Marine, soldier or otherwise is usually seen as kind of badass compared to the normal population. I mostly feel sorry for these pathetic people, pretending to be the super hero in their adulthood–as a child would put on a towel and pretend to be Batman.

Either way, I love watching these stolen valor videos. So please, if you’re reading this and you’re a giant piece of shit that likes to pretend to be a war hero, keep doing it. You’ll eventually find yourself on a shaky, vertically shot smartphone video on YouTube with some pissed off guys making fun of you–and I will laugh as I watch it on the internet.

On another note, I’ve added another T-shirt to the official Terminal Lance Store. Don’t ask questions, just follow orders and purchase your Message to Garcia shirt today. Available in civvy and skivvy variety.

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The Marine Corps doesn’t issue you anything it doesn’t want you to have. At least, this is phrase that is commonly known throughout the Marine Corps–specifically as it applies to wives.

If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one.

Unfortunately, issued gear is usually pretty hit or miss. During those glorious Bush Years–where money flowed like breadsticks at an Olive Garden–the Corps updated a lot of its aging gear to meet the demands of the modern war environment. I remember going through SOI and being one of the first classes to train with brand new M16-A4 rifles and brand new coyote brown flak jackets. Prior to the ongoing middle east conflict, however, issued gear was not so kind. Being handed worn, aged Army handmedowns is never fun… and you can imagine what an issued wife might entail.

Remember, never think about how many Marines had the gear before you, and always keep in mind that it’s a product of the lowest bidder.

This is actually why you see so many Marines with very… unsavory wives.

These are the ones that got issued a wife.

On a side note, thanks to everyone for responding to my call for writers. The response was huge, and I’ve already made my first run of selections. Still, you’re welcome to shoot me an email; I might make room for you if I like you enough. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m hoping to make some (good) changes to Terminal Lance in the near future. I’ll go into this in more depth later, right now everything is being held up by me finishing my book, The White Donkey. If Terminal Lance is a body of work, The White Donkey is my thesis. I know everyone wants to know the status of it, and unfortunately it’s hard for me to really say, but I’m chipping away at it as fast as I can and it will be finished. I’m even bringing on another artist to help me speed things up a bit.

The wait will be worth it.

I don’t think anyone will be expecting what this book is going to throw at them.

Oh hey, on another note, we got a brand new Terminal Lance Store! Check it out here.

Always knock before you barge into a barracks room, come on!

I can’t be the only one watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, even if you won’t admit it. It’s okay, you can tell people you’re watching Asian fetish porn; other Marines won’t judge you for that at least.

Binge watching shows is nothing new for Marines. If anything, Marines have more experience watching copious amounts of television shows on their laptops than anyone else in the world. While on deployment, entertainment is consumed by the season and box collection rather than weekly. This is perfect for the modern way in which shows are distributed on places like Netflix, as it allows bored Marines to indulge in their second favorite pastime (the first obviously being actual porn).

But come on, Ellie Kemper is totally fap-worthy anyway. This is what you can tell people when they ask why you’re watching it.

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On a side note, a while back I mentioned I was looking for active duty writer-types. I got distracted for a bit but I’m looking again. If you’re a writer, have a sense of humor, and are preferably infantry, shoot me an email.

An additional note, I’m trying to update the Terminal Lance blog more, which you can get to by clicking the blog at the top of the page. Also, the RSS feed should be working again!

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At the moment I’m currently balls deep in “The White Donkey,” the full-length Terminal Lance graphic novel. I thought it would be fun to show you guys the process I generally go through in creating each page.

Going off of the 144 page script that I wrote, I plod through and block out pages (usually on my iPad lately). I then draw two layers of pencil and then ink. There’s another step not shown involving the watercolor tone and adding the speech bubbles.

In this scene, Abe and Garcia have just flown into Portland on pre-deployment leave. Abe talks about texting his sister to pick them up at the airport, Garcia asks if she’s hot. Abe tells him that, out of anyone in the world, he would let him fuck his sister. Garcia bursts into the Full House theme since it’s such a touching moment.

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Like some kind of motivated werewolf of sorts, there’s a transformation that occurs when someone pins on Staff Sergeant. No one is sure why, but it’s believed that the “rocker” at the bottom of their new rank has some kind of supernatural effect on their body… and their soul.

The totally chill Sergeant you used to love talking to now only speaks in strange Marine Corps idioms that you were pretty sure he used to hate. He doesn’t talk to you anymore–he talks at you–sometimes with a sharpened knife-hand to your nose. His hair is strangely higher and tighter than it used to be.

This is the Staff NCO, and there is no stopping the transformation. Once you pin that rocker on, you officially belong to the Marine Corps. I mean, sure, you could get out… but you’ve already done 8 years, you may as well just do the next 12, right?

You are no longer the guy against the system, you are the green weenie.

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All jokes aside, I actually did overhear a conversation between a recently pinned Staff Sergeant and some other Staff NCO’s. The new Staff NCO jovially told them, “I heard the rocker cuts off the circulation to the brain.” It was a joke, but he actually ended up getting out shortly after that. He was one of those guys that kept it so real that being a Staff NCO just wasn’t for him. I have met and still know many Staff NCO’s that are awesome guys as well. It’s amazing how the tides shift when you’re on the other side of the coin.

Let’s be realistic here: Staff NCO’s might seem like total douchebags, but Lance Corporals can be a huge pain in the ass as well. Coming back from a relaxing weekend to find out 3 of your Marines got DUI’s and 4 of them are now married to a stripper they just met will give anyone a headache.

Edit:

On a side note, I’m still trying to track down the faulty ad that redirects. If you get redirected to the app store or some bullshit, please let me know and let me know all of the info you can so I can deal with. This is an issue with the ad networks, not with Terminal Lance.

Those of you that haven’t served in the military might not be familiar with the term “motivation.” Well, I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard the word itself, but it takes on a very specific context within the Marine Corps. I shall provide you with the Marine Corps definition of motivation:

mo·ti·va·tion
ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. The amount of fucks a Marine gives, specifically as it relates to Marine Corps activities and lifestyle.

To be labeled as “moto” is generally a grave insult to the Lance Corporal crowd, as it insinuates that you give a fuck. Things that would be considered moto:

  • A high and tight haircut
  • An Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoo or decoration
  • Wearing a Camelbak
  • The English Bulldog

When a Marine enters the Corps, he has profoundly high levels of motivation coursing through his boot veins. He tears up at the sight of bald eagles, wears a Camelbak in civilian attire to “stay hydrated,” buys 7.62 T-shirts at the PX, and randomly hums “left, right, layo” to himself. He won’t see this level of motivation again for quite some time.

As the young Marine matures into his MOS and unit assignment, he starts to question things. Was this really what he was looking for? Is cleaning your rifle 4 times a week without firing it really necessary? He starts to see the character of the environment around him, maybe even tossed an NJP or two for something that might not have been his fault.

Legend has it that this begins as soon as he is pinned with the rank of “Lance Corporal,” but no one knows for sure. Motivation levels here are at an all-time low, and will stay this way for the majority of his short enlistment.

Once the Marine exits the Corps, however, you’ll see motivation levels rise to near-boot status. He’ll show up to his new college, utilizing the GI Bill, telling war stories to anyone that will hear them. He’ll start using Marine jargon again and maybe even a knife hand or two–he might even consider talking to a prior-service recruiter.

Yes, a recruiter.

Assuming he doesn’t succumb to the extremely high levels of motivation during these vulnerable college years, he might make it out the other side as a relatively normal civilian again. Yes, with time, the motivation starts to fade. It doesn’t ever fall back into negative, as it did while you were a Lance Corporal, but it rather floats back down to a nice neutral–the experience now a positive part of your past and development. Looking back with a warm fondness for the people you met and the strange things you saw, you find yourself back where you started…

…just another civilian in a big, big world… and with most of your life left to live.

This is science, I didn’t make this up.

Anyway… Miss me?

Sorry for my brief leave of absence, but I assure you it certainly wasn’t a vacation for me. Long story short: the servers totally shit the bed two Fridays ago and it took about 5 days for them to come back up to any kind of normal operating level. In that time (and with a lot of panicking) I made the decision to switch to a new hosting provider, which was a handful and a half of working round the clock all last week getting the new site set up on the new servers. Things are now fully operational, on this end as well as our brand new forum.

Hopefully we won’t have any hiccups, but some things are still a little wonky after the move. The random button in particular has been giving me a lot of grief. On an admin note, I’m trying out the sidebar ad again, so if you experience any redirects or pop-ups please let me know. I’m trying to provide a hassle-free experience here, and while ads are a necessary evil to keep things running, I like them to be non-intrusive.

Stay tuned, we’re back in business and Terminal Lance isn’t going anywhere any time soon.