Terminal Lance #466 “Half Truths II”

March 24, 2017

Recruiters are a weird animal.

They’re one of the only groups of adult men that can prowl high schools for kids and not get put on some kind of watch list. Much like I’ve mentioned that I could never be a drill instructor, I don’t think I could ever be a recruiter either.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of recruiters are totally normal people. However, there’s something uniquely nefarious about convincing young men and women to sign up for something that makes me uniquely miserable. They’re an easy target for a comic strip because literally everyone in the Marine Corps has had to deal with a recruiter at least once.

For the record, my recruiter was pretty chill and normal. He told me specifically that the Marine Corps was shit, and I would probably hate my life.

Because I’m an idiot, I thought that sounded really awesome, so I enlisted as an 0300 open-contract infantryman.

To each their own, I suppose.

On a side note, I want to mention that there’s a new shirt available in the Terminal Lance Store! Show everyone you belong to a totally rad battalion with our new “Unit Skivvy” available now.

All of our shirts are printed on real Soffe standard issue, OD Green skivvy shirts right here in Southern California by a Marine owned-and-operated print shop.

Unit Shirt




Terminal Lance #465 “Fashion Fascist”

March 21, 2017

You won’t find a group of more aesthetically concerned straight men on the planet than you will in the United States Marine Corps.

Appearance is everything, and Marines make it known every day by berating and correcting others on their appearance and adherence to the standards of the Corps. Everything from haircuts to shoe-shine is free game when it comes to policing each other on their outward display. Admittedly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as everyone knows that Marines by far have the best uniforms.

I like to think that there’s a board of extremely gay men somewhere at the Pentagon deciding how to make Marines look the most fuckable of all of the branches of service. This will probably be a strip of its own by the end of the month.

Though, really, a group of extremely gay men describes most of the Marine Corps.

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Terminal Lance “Shamrock Sloshed II”

March 17, 2017

I’m going to assume that by the time this comic goes up, most of you will already be drunk*. That’s okay, because today is Saint Patrick’s Day, and it is an international day of alcohol consumption unlike the world has ever known.

*But really, it’s a serious problem and you should get help.

Being a hispanic Jew, I don’t have a lot of valuable insight on Irish holidays, but alcohol and the Marine Corps go together like peas and carrots. That is, peas and carrots that were vomited up due to indulgent binge drinking the night before. Of course, as often pointed out, the Marine Corps was founded in a tavern (Tun Tavern oorah Semper Fi devil dogs), and naturally, Marines love to drink.

As an aside, it’s always interesting for me to do these comics about binge drinking when I know full-well the consequences and issues surrounding the problems that veterans and active service members have with alcohol. Alcohol is actually a serious vice in both the active duty military and veteran community, abused in all of its forms as a coping mechanism for trauma and depression (coincidentally leading to more trauma and depression).

It’s not like we don’t all know this–and I’m certainly not about to tell you not to enjoy your Guinness tonight.

Though, I’m more of a Moscow Mule guy, myself.

Still, drink responsibly and send me awesome videos from the barracks.



Terminal Lance #464 “LOL Boots V”

March 14, 2017

Traverse around any schoolhouse, smoke pit, working party or barracks balcony and you’re near guaranteed to find some skinny, nineteen year-old boot with a high and tight doing the signature frog voice with his hands on his hips, mimicking the Drill Instructors they just left behind months prior.

It’s a strange phenomenon, akin to some kind of Stockholm syndrome, wherein the new Marines feel inclined and take great entertainment in pretending to be drill instructors. You’ll see them with their knife-hands and their intensity, and every single one of them will find it funny every single time. This usually lasts for a few months to a year after leaving boot camp, and for some that never deploy, it could last their entire enlistment.

Boot camp is, more than anything else, the most commonly shared experience of all Marines, regardless of MOS or gender. No matter where you hail from, all recruits are treated equally as shit. As such, any Marine you talk to will have a boot camp story that you can identify with, no matter where your enlisted careers take you after the fact.

I’m sure someone more psychologically enlightened than myself could detail the mental intricacies involved with mimicking these authority figures, I feel as if it’s a reclamation of the 3 months of freedom lost.

Whatever the case may be, it’s annoying as fuck.

But then again, boots usually are.



Terminal Lance #463 “Repent”

March 10, 2017

Lance Corporals are my people, but let’s be realistic, they’re a fucking headache.

But that’s why we love them, right? It’s like owning a cat. The cat doesn’t give a shit about you. The cat most likely actively despises you. But still, you feed it, clean up its shit, and give it a warm place to sleep at night because their antics are entertaining. Plus, I mean, someone has to do menial labor around the Corps, and it sure as hell aint gonna be Staff Sergeant.


As the fallout from this whole female Marine nude scandal continues to simmer over the week, I find myself sympathizing with the top having to deal with this shit storm. At a press conference earlier today, General Neller, a 63 year old man, had to field questions from reporters and the highest levels of government because some shit heads decided to share nude photos of women on Facebook. Abstractly, that concept alone is both hilarious and sad, but it makes the comic strip today ring even more true.

Dealing with Lance Corporals is indeed punishment to senior leadership for their sins, in this life and possibly the past.

Repent while you can.

In Abe’s defense though, there could be valuable scientific information gleaned from sleeping inside of a cow like Luke Skywalker in a Hoth snow storm. I’m sure when his paper is published in journals across the nation, he’ll be the last one laughing.

And showering.




Terminal Lance “Wookieegate”

March 7, 2017

Another day, another scandal shaking the entire Marine Corps. I’m sure if you are reading this, you are more than aware of the situation regarding the mostly-fucktarded military Facebook pages cyber-stalking, sexually harassing, threatening, and collecting and putting up nude photos of female Marines. If you’re not familiar, feel free to brush up here.

I’m not sure what’s more sad: that this even happened to begin with or that there’s actually people trying to defend it. Arguments range anywhere from “they shouldn’t be sending nude photos in the first place” to “stop being such a pussy, the Marine Corps is going downhill.”

To the first point, everyone sends nudes in 2017. There are so many photos of my modestly large penis out there that you could fill a 7-ton if you printed them out. The argument that women are asking for it is rapey as hell and straight up victim-blaming. Nude photos sent or received, unless otherwise specified, have a pretty clear implication of privacy involved in it. To be clear, adult women (and men) are doing absolutely nothing morally reprehensible by taking and sending nude photos to their significant other. For whatever reason, these dumbass Facebook pages feel this obligation to be the judge, jury and executioner of moral superiority, as if it is some kind of duty. This is nothing new, it goes all the way back to JTTOTS and F’N Boot. It’s just as logically inept as it’s ever been.

Bouncing off of that, I commonly hear that this is common barracks behavior for Marines (sharing nude photos of women, talking about women, etc). This is true, but there is a clear difference between “hey bro, check out this girl” and “hey 30,000 people, let’s cyber-stalk and harass this woman because she exists.”

To the point of the comic, the argument that somehow the Marine Corps is going “downhill” because women don’t want to be harassed and stalked by men is quite possibly the most idiotic of them all. The idea here is that, back in the Old Corps, people weren’t offended by mean words and language, and therefore, the Marine Corps is going downhill for women demanding they stop being sexually exploited by their peers.

There is no logical correlation between this and that.

I hate to break it to you, but Facebook has only been around since 2006. Yes, the Marine Corps is a tough place, but it’s not because you need to defend yourself against sexual predators. I’ve seen people say that if women want to be treated as equals, they need to grow a thicker skin. This is ridiculous, because I don’t see any Facebook pages putting up photos of young men and talking about how much they want to rape them, or creating a database of nudes of PFC Schmuckateli.

There’s an underlying reality that needs to be addressed, and that male Marines need to really internalize here.

Female Marines are female.

We can talk about one team, one fight and all of that, but at the end of the day they are still women. A real man does not sexually harass a woman. A real man does not sexually assault a woman. A real man doesn’t cyber-stalk women.

Another point worth noting is that female Marines make up just over 7% of the enlisted Marine Corps.


That’s not just a minority population, that’s like jumping into a fucking shark tank.

Men, you need to understand that women in the Marine Corps do not have the numbers to fight against a culture of misogyny. It is up to you to change the culture, not them.

There are legitimate problems in the Marine Corps relating to female Marines. As a male infantryman, I’ve had my share of gripes with women getting fast-tracked to promotions, special treatment, etc. But this isn’t the way to address it. I think this whole thing is going to cause the top to think long and hard about its own culture, and if the Marine Corps is going to be truly equal, it needs to start now.

On a lighter note, if you missed my review on George W. Bush’s new book Portraits of Courage, check it out here.



Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush Review

March 6, 2017

I was skeptical at first when I heard of former President George W. Bush’s newfound love of the arts. Immediately, my inner-cynic took over and I derided his attempt at fine art through the whimsical paintings of his pets and his own nude body. When his new book, Portraits of Courage, was announced, I was intrigued not only as a professional artist, but as a veteran of the Iraq war who had served under the polarizing 43rd President of the United States. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but what I found was a collection of work both genuinely touching in sentiment and yet somehow delightfully unaware of itself.

Art is an interesting field in that it is measured almost exclusively by concept. To grade someone’s art purely on a technical level is ignoring what is actually the most important aspect of the work. Meaning and intent define art. Brush strokes can be improved, color can be used better, and framing is rarely perfect, but it is the context that ultimately determines whether a piece is objectively good or bad; or even as far as the monetary value of the work.

A great example of this is someone like Rothko, one of my favorite artists, who paints little more than massive swatches of color on large canvases. To explain a Rothko piece is a futile exercise, for it is only in person that the value of the concept is appreciated. Rothko paintings elicit an emotional impact almost immediately as you stand before them, some relaxing and some more intense. To see a Rothko piece in person is to feel it to your very core.

On a technical level, Mr. Bush’s paintings are perfectly adequate. In fact, I rather admire some of his bold color choices and intentional use of impasto. On a purely aesthetic level, his work reminds me a lot of Matisse and other expressionists. The tightly cropped portraits, I believe, are an attempt to illustrate an emotional honesty of the subjects—which are 98 wounded warriors of the Post 9/11 conflicts. Accompanying each piece is a story and a biography, designed to draw attention to and illustrate the trials and tribulations of Post Traumatic Stress and physical turmoil of each man and woman.

Paintings by George W. Bush

It is here, however, that the concept breaks down.

There is a glaring and maddeningly obvious sense of irony surrounding this body of work, as illustrated by the very man that sent these subjects into the pain he is trying to illuminate through his paintings. I would almost call it even a subconscious, passive admission of guilt on the part of the 43rd President to feel an intense need to help these veterans get their stories out, whether he realizes it or not.

It is this looming reality of narrative that makes appreciating this book difficult. The concept survives at face value, but dig past the surface and it becomes challenging to ignore the context in which this book exists.

I do not believe there is any ill-intent on the part of the former President. Far from it. I believe, to this day and to my core, that George W. Bush is a genuine man of good intention. A cynic would admonish this book as an attempt at redemption for sins past, but I actually don’t think this is the case. I think he firmly believes in the cause of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and  I think Mr. Bush genuinely just wants to help veterans because he loves them. It is simply unfortunate that this book is devoid of much of any self-awareness that would make what otherwise is a nice tribute into something more uniquely transcendent.

However, the veterans here have stories that should be heard. If you have a chance, it is worth checking out if only for the recognition to these brave men and women that have endured the worst days of their lives.



Terminal Lance #462 “It All Rolls Downhill”

March 3, 2017

For years, scientists such as Albert Einstein have been looking for a unified theory of everything; something that reconciles quantum physics and relativity. In the Marine Corps, I have developed my own unified theory of everything:


Shit is the overarching theory of everything in the Marine Corps.

Field ops are shit.

The food is shit.

Working parties are shit.

Duty is shit.

It’s all shit.

The most important facet of this law is also the physics involved with the direction in which the shit moves.

Shit only moves one way: Down.

Most of your time as a junior enlisted Marine will either be spent doing literally nothing, something, or being yelled at for something, or nothing. Understanding the laws of the Marine Corps, if you can’t figure out why you’re being yelled at, you can deduce, through scientific method, that the shit must have come from above–as shit can only move one way.

Perhaps your Team Leader caught shit for something you did, which was received by his Squad Leader, who in turn received a shitting from his Platoon Sergeant, who got shat on from the Platoon Commander, who took massive shit from the Company Commander; etc.

Never forget, shit only moves one way.

Don’t be at the bottom when it lands.



Terminal Lance #461 “Drill Instructor Academy”

February 28, 2017

Did you know that Drill Instructors have to go to Drill Instructor School? We’re led to believe it’s 12 weeks of grueling physical training designed to produce the sharpest, most physically perfected Marines to put in front of recruits. That’s what the brochure says, I’m sure; but my gut tells me there’s at least 2 weeks dedicated to learning colorful insults via improv classes in order to fully be able to verbally denigrate and dehumanize shaved 18 year olds.

I say this because Drill Instructors possess a unique and somewhat supernatural ability to come up with amazing insults on the fly. Some of the most brilliant strokes of verbal takedowns I ever witnessed were at the hands of my Drill Instructors, who always seemed to have some amazing amalgam of horrendous shit to scream into someone’s face on a whim.

As a comedy writer, I can tell you that this stuff doesn’t just happen. Someone, somewhere, is sitting in the duty hut writing down good insults and waiting for the right moment to use them. After all, nothing is more rewarding to a Drill Instructor than the perfect moment a recruit fucks up, allowing the profanities to flow from their mouths like vomit from a hungover Lance Corporal during morning PT.

I’ve always admired this about Drill Instructors. If nothing else, I think the quick wit involved with colorful insults and the ability to keep a straight face in the process would prevent me from every being able to professionally scream at people. To each their own, I suppose.

On a side note, I’m super excited to announce that The White Donkey was selected by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to receive their James Webb award for 2017 for fiction.

If you’re unfamiliar with The White Donkey, it is my 250 page graphic novel about Abe and Garcia and their deployment to Iraq. It’s an easy read, I recommend it.




Terminal Lance #460 “Addicted to Fail II”

February 24, 2017

Not even Jalapeño Cheese Spread matches the exchange value of a can of dip in the eyes of a tobacco addict, or rather, most of the Marine Corps. I never partook, but damn near everyone I know took up smoking at some point after enlisting. This, in turn, led them to consume copious amounts of dip (chewing tobacco) and leave their foul saliva bottles in the wake of their cravings.

My personal vice was caffeine–and largely still is. However, you’ve probably never seen a Marine in the field giving handies in the bushes for a sip of some dark roast. I was always smart about my addiction, and I knew if I was going to be in the field for more than a few days I would bring a small stash of energy drinks to avoid a headache.

Generally not the case when it comes to dip users, as not a single one of these motherfuckers has enough foresight to bring their own dip to the field. As an impartial observer, I was always amused at the endless bumming of tobacco out in the wilderness, a scarce substance that only a few were prepared enough to bring. These Marines become suppliers, rationing their pinches and hiding their cans from the vulture-like squad around them.

It surprises me that there weren’t more enterprising Marines like Abe here to take advantage of such a situation.