Does anyone else think Marines get kind of a raw deal when they die? It’s like you spend your entire enlistment putting up with bullshit, then god forbid you end up at St. Peter’s door, where he sends you to CIF to get your new gear.

What the fuck, man? How come none of the other branches have to deal with this shit when they die? Also, do you think maybe Marines have to do like one enlistment in heaven? Like there’s Marines that keep re-upping in heaven and then there’s also short-timer Lance Corporals that don’t give a fuck. I only ask because if I died and (presumably) went to heaven, I wonder if I’d see Marines wearing MARPAT and plate carriers or if I’d see dudes standing post looking like this:

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More importantly though, why does heaven need Marines to guard it? Do you think there’s insurgent demons regularly trying to attack from Hell?

I really hope Marines only have to do singular enlistments once they get up to heaven though, cause really, it’s kind of a dick move to make them stand post for the rest of eternity. I bet there’s a ton of dick drawings on the walls in heaven too.

Anyway, these are random musings. I’m not particularly religious in the first place.

And they lived happily ever after… For a few months, then he went on deployment so she started shooting low-budget Craigslist pornos out of his house and then left him for another Marine while taking all of his money.

The whole Dependapotamus thing is a weird and common phenomenon in the military. I personally think it’s driven mostly by the ludicrously generous system in which the military will essentially pay you exponentially more money in the form of BAH (Base Allowance for Housing) if you happen to drag a woman along with you. It’s kind of strange, I can’t think of any other job where you’re literally paid to be married.

Let’s be real though, being married in the military is a lot better than being single. You get to move out of the barracks–avoiding field day and general fuckery; you also get a lot more money added on to your paycheck if you choose to live off base (especially in expensive areas like Hawaii, where an E-1 with dependents can net a whopping $2922/month). These benefits unfortunately lead to Marines getting married at unreasonably young ages, before they’ve even figured themselves out at the age of 19 or 20. Most of the people I know who got married while active duty are now divorced a few years post-EAS.

But hey, that’s not to say that every military wife is a morbidly obese money-sponge out for the bennies. To their credit, the wives that do care go through a lot of stress in the whole situation–constantly moving around to different bases, worrying about you while you’re deployed, often raising children without the physical support of a husband. I want to make it clear that these are not the wives I am making fun of here.

But I must digress, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! There’s never been a better time to ask that stripper you just met to be yours for the rest of your lives. To help you in your endeavors this weekend, I’ve created some Valentine’s Day cards for you! Feel free to print them out and use them!

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For the salty Marine, there is nothing more degrading and humiliating than being forced to walk somewhere on base in formation with the rest of your squad or platoon and actually having to use drill maneuvers you’ve gradually forgotten over the years.

After boot camp, there generally isn’t any real reason to use all of that drill you learned. As it generally goes, once you’re in the fleet, drill is reduced to a shadow of its former presence in your life, consisting mostly of clusterfuck groupings with people shuffling around however they please. Of course, this is to be expected, you’re an adult after all and why not be treated like one? The only time you use drill in the fleet is when your platoon has fucked up somehow, or you’re in some lame shit like Corporal’s Course. Having to use it to traverse the base is the ultimate punishment, as it puts you in plain sight of all of the other Marines aboard the base, unable to even look at them (not that you’d want to, since you know they’re all laughing at you anyway).

In any case, I’d like to apologize to the lower enlisted Marines today, as I think I just gave your Staff NCO’s an idea to humiliate you all.

In other news, I was going to do a strip about the whole Brian Williams thing but I think the moment for that has kind of passed. Either way, there’s a huge collection of awesome memes to laugh at over at the Terminal Lance Facebook page. Don’t forget, the one and only official Terminal Lance Twitter account is here. (Even though Twitter has stated they won’t verify me because I’m an “artist,” whatever that means… Seriously.)

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Today I thought we’d have a little fun and do a neat connect-the-dots puzzle!

Don’t you remember how awesome those old activity books were when you were a kid? For someone who grew up to be an artist I actually was always terrible at coloring inside the lines. It’s unfortunate that once you become older the world stops being so fun. How come no one makes stuff like this for adults? It’s not like once you get older you start hating things that are fun.

Maybe I should make an entire book of this stuff for Marines…

Anyway, obviously I don’t have an pointed commentary to add to this strip, but it’s the weekend and you should have fun. Since the strip is kind of small resolution, I’m including a higher resolution version that you can print out and complete yourself!

Click here.

The “Greeting of the Day” as its known has always been profoundly annoying to me. I’ve talked about this a few times before, but there’s something just frustrating about being a lower enlisted Marine walking around the base and constantly being on guard, ready to greet anyone that pops around the corner with the correct time of day and rank, lest you be accosted for ignoring their glorious presence. The worst is when you do everything you’re supposed to–you see their rank and you remember correctly what time of day it is and you send it their way–and then they just ignore you because they hear it 10,000 times a day.

I’ve always wondered if it’s even more annoying from the Staff NCO/Officer point of view, considering they are constantly barraged with greetings from random peons they’ve never even met before. Then again, it must not be, because god help you for the epic ass rending you’ll receive if you forget to.

Here are some useful tips for approaching Staff NCO’s and preparing to greet them.

Oh, but don’t mess up the rank.

I feel like over the years of Terminal Lance there have been trends in how I do the comic strips. Sometimes I focus more on pop culture, others I pick apart the little things; but I feel like this comic really harkens back to the old days of Terminal Lance. As things have gone on, I often feel like I’m always supposed to make some grand overarching statement with everything I do, when in reality sometimes I just like to make jokes about little things that bug me. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as things are funny.

Things will be changing up a bit in the Terminal Lance world soon, but the goal will always be the same: entertain Marines. Life in the Corps can suck, that’s no secret, but I like to think that reading or watching something funny can make it suck just a little bit less.

Lastly, I just want to say: who throws a pass from the 1 yard line?

Also, six more weeks of winter? Charlie, at this beautiful day at the beach the other day, disagrees. He also says that groundhog is a dumb fucking boot.

There’s a strange paradox in the Corps when it comes to regaling stories of the one and only thing that literally all Marines have in common: Recruit Training (otherwise known as boot camp). On the one hand, everyone has been there and can share common ground regardless of their further experiences in the Corps; on the other, there’s nothing more boot than a boot telling boot camp stories. The average Senior Lance Corporal would rather be literally anywhere else than listening to a fresh-faced 18 year old tell him about that one time when the Drill Instructor got so mad.

This could just be because everybody hates boots anyway, but it is strange considering we’ve all been there. Once you go on a combat deployment though, boot camp becomes a distant memory, and likely one of the least interesting things you’ve done through your experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, even senior Marines tell boot camp stories, but they almost qualify it first with:

“I know this is boot as fuck to talk about, but this one time at boot camp…”

Still, boot camp is a universally shitty experience for everyone. Actually, last night I was throwing this comic strip idea at a Marine I went on both deployments to Iraq with, and we concurred that we would both rather go back to Iraq than boot camp again. It’s not that you fear for your life in boot camp, it’s just that it really fucking sucks. That’s really the only way to describe it.

I’d like to take a moment to apologize for the issues with the ads we’ve been having. I’ve gotten complaints of people being redirected and such, which shouldn’t be happening. Also, auto playing ads shouldn’t be happening either. Both issues are being looked into and hopefully will be fixed soon. In the meantime, have a great weekend and remember what my First Sergeant used to say:

If it looks like shit and smells like shit, it probably is shit. Don’t be the one to step in it.

MajiMonsters Kickstarter Image

(The following was written by Stewart McLean)

What would be the most logical career step after the US Marine Corps?  We’re doubtful that creating a monster-catching role-playing game would be your first guess, but Stewart McLean is doing just that.

After proudly serving his country, this outstanding Marine is devoting his free time to helping the world reminisce about a simpler time when the most important thing was finding and catching all of the Monsters. Stewart grew up playing videogames with his brother, and eventually graduated to Magic the Gathering, which got him hooked. In college, Stew joined a gaming group where he met lifelong friends that would eventually become the members of Late Knight Games, LLC.

As one of the owners of Late Knight Games, LLC, Stewart is embarking on a new adventure that plans to bring a new and creative spin on the monster-catching genre made popular by such series as Pokemon, Monster Rancher, and Digimon with their debut product MajiMonsters.  Stew’s vision will bring monster-catching to new heights in the form of a tabletop role-playing game.  This game has gone through more than two years of development, beta-testing, and revision.  Late Knight Games recently launched their Kickstarter campaign.

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The premise of the game is simple.  In a world ruled by Monsters, humans have been driven to the brink of extinction. All that remains of the great empire are ruins and memories. In the game you take on the role of a binder, a unique human that can bind Monsters to themselves, and use them as both weapons and companions. You choose from one of six unique binder classes, each of which uses different approaches to binding, fighting, and training the Monsters of this world. Then, you can explore a savage landscape and encounter a variety of Monsters with combinations of 10 affinities such as fire, mystic, or wind. Binders roam the land for their own reasons, to make a name for themselves, to search out ancient treasures, or possibly just to find a way to survive this harsh world.  This survivalist, adventure game is easy enough for novice role-players, and features a depth of customization that will impress the most veteran of gamers.

Binder lineup

If you’ve ever loved the monster-catching genre, table-top RPGs, fun, or know someone who likes any of these things, we hope you will check out the MajiMonsters website and their Kickstarter campaign.  This is a new and unique spin on an old favorite that will entice fans both young and old.

And if you think you can be caught unaware and unprepared, just remember one simple and ominous truth:

“Monsters are coming.”

Don’t be a Blue Falcon, visit our Kickstarter page today and pledge!

Launch Image

-Stewart McLean

I imagine that getting coffee at a Starbucks is always a really strange feeling for Staff NCO’s used to having people at their disposal pretty much all the time. There’s an added flavor to “bitch labor” that none of the syrups and blends can really provide. Some say it’s simply a psychological thing that makes the coffee taste better, others suggest that maybe disgruntled Lance Corporals add various bodily fluids to each pot… but no one can say for sure.

As you might have guessed, this is a comic that was previously published in the Marine Corps Times newspaper. Did you know I’ve done over 200 comic strips for the paper alone? This, combined with the roughly 400 comic strips I’ve done for the website, add up to a staggering amount of drawings and jokes. I don’t sleep much, and like most Staff NCO’s I’m a big fan of coffee. Anyway, I’m putting this up today instead of drawing a new one because I’m just kind of exhausted at the moment and I have a staggering amount of work to do on the book still as I try to get it out the door.

Bear with me for the next couple of months, I’ve got a lot of big things in the works and I am but one ruggedly good-looking man.

Remember, comic updates are Tuesday and Friday (plus weekly Marine Times strips in the print edition)! Look forward to a new strip on Friday.

You cannot deny the Return of the Peacetime, Steward.

Okay so I’m sort of mixing Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones references here, but whatever.

I put up Tuesday’s comic and had this two part series planned despite President Obama’s State of the Union address later that night; where he mentioned that he is still seeking Authorized Use of Military Force against the Islamic State. Of course, only the future will tell if that actually comes to fruition, but regardless, there is a generational shift occurring both literally and more abstractly. While conflict still rages on in the middle east, it doesn’t appear that the Marine Corps is preparing for another 14 year war when you consider the current draw down trend. The Corps is shifting back into expeditionary mode, and away from regular deployment cycles.

However, with the President seeking AUMF against ISIL, one wonders if peacetime will ever really mean the same thing it did prior to 9/11. I remember growing up in the 90’s and seeing films with military backdrops, Marines standing around with little more than one or two ribbons to show for their service. The height of the war on terror was a great time to be enlisted, with up to $80,000 re-up bonuses and plenty of deployment opportunities to choose from. Those wonderful Bush years, where the funding flowed like wine, are gone.

This week we also got to see official confirmation of the next Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj Ronald Green.

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Naturally, the Facebooks and the Twitters exploded with questions about why a Marine with no combat experience was fit to lead the Marine Corps over anyone else. To me, this move made the Return of the Peacetime all the more clear. The hard men and women who fought and survived the brutality of Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer needed. As combat deployments disappear, the dichotomy of experience levels will continue to blur, with combat or no combat no longer being a relevant measure of potential or success.

Keep in mind, these are just jovial musings and observations on my part. I have no opinion on the man, I’m sure he’s a great leader.

Regardless, there is a cultural shift afoot, and short of starting World War III, there’s not much you can do to stop it. Garrison Marine Corps will come back in full force (if it hasn’t already), and without the looming shadow of combat overhead, things will just be stupid.

Welcome to the suck.

The garrison suck.

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Brace yourselves, shit is about to get stupid.

No but really, this has been a long time coming. I think all of us have been staving it off in our heads, denying the Return of the Peacetime. We keep telling ourselves that maybe this Iraq thing will blow up, maybe the events in Paris will reinvigorate the war on terror, maybe there’s still one or two real deployments left.

It seems counterintuitive to think that we want to be at war, but as a Marine, that’s really all you’re here for. I can’t imagine being enlisted during peacetime, but I hear it’s awful, especially for the infantry. But let’s face facts, guys… it couldn’t last forever. This has been the longest war in American history, and because of it we have accepted war as a state of normality. Deployment rotations and training for the middle east have been part of the Marine Corps lexicon for the last 13 years. This is actually really unusual, the nation isn’t really supposed to be in a perpetual state of war. I think a lot of Marines really forget that fact. America was only involved in World War II for about 4 years.

The war culture is shifting, and it is fading.

Brace yourselves, Marines… Peacetime Marine Corps is coming.

You might have noticed that this strip is “Part I,” I’ll be revisiting the subject on Friday with another comic. (I was originally only going to do one, but I thought of two good ones, and I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to do more)

Most of the fun of making this comic strip for me is creative problem solving. I don’t talk about the process of making the comic much, though I probably should. While I was drawing this, I was trying to figure out ways to turn the outfit of Eddard Stark into Marine Corps idioms. I considered giving Abe an NCO sword, but then I was like “he’s a Lance Corporal, that wouldn’t make any sense.” Then I considered making the cape one of those weird bullfighter capes that go with the dress blues for senior enlisted, but then I was like, “Abe is a Lance Corporal, there’s no way he would have that.”

So then I just gave him a fur cape and a sword, because it wasn’t going to make sense anyway.

Before I forget, I want to leave you with this image of Gunny R. Lee Ermey and George R. Grifford. Gunny knows.

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