I’ll admit that this strip definitely won’t apply to everyone that reads it. Very few Marines end up in the predicament of being the designated art-guy of the battalion, which can mean basically anything depending on what needs to get done. Need a mural painted? A T-shirt? A company logo?

Go get the art-guy, he’ll do it. I saw him drawing some sick tattoos for people one time. He can do anything. Who cares if he’s never painted before?

Regardless, if you take anything away from this strip, it’s this: if you’re good at something, don’t tell anyone.

For the most part I actually didn’t mind doing that stuff, it was always cool to see my sketchbook drawings end up as the company logo or something on the back of the T-shirts of other Marines. Additionally, I have to admit that “Artist Recruit” is actually the single best billet you can snag in boot camp. If you can scrape together artwork on a cover block or a range flag, definitely raise your hand when they ask if anyone in the squad bay can do art.

After boot camp though? Never tell anyone.

This strip is pretty random, but lately I have to remind myself that it’s okay to just do a funny random strip and not worry about inserting some grand message into it. Sometimes you just want to draw a dick in the third panel.

On a sidenote, I’ll be back in Santa Monica at Hi De Ho Comics for a signing TOMORROW! Come on by and say what’s up! It should be a lot of fun. Have I mentioned that The White Donkey has been on the New York Times best seller list for 4 weeks in a row now? If you haven’t gotten it yet, you should.

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Growing up as a millennial, it was common to have grandparents or elderly that had served in Korea or even World War II. “The Greatest Generation,” as they’re known, are lauded with a natural aura of respect (and rightly so). There’s no question in their heroism and deeds of the time, answering the nation’s call to arms in a war with great purpose.

Our generation is not them. Our war is not their war.

That is of course not to say that we are also not a great generation. I think there is a lot to be said of the fact that we are a wartime generation of all-volunteer service members, answering the call of the nation on our own accord. Much like the millennial generation itself, our war was apathetic and meandering, and often without purpose. The honor and prestige of our grandfathers were often not to be found in the mess of our 13 year war in the middle east, the ripples of which likely to subsist in the region for another generation or two.

But we still went.

History will ultimately tell the tale of the valor of longest war in American history, but I often wonder how the veterans will tell it 30 or 40 years from now. When we are the old men in the big, pinned hats, will we have the same respect for our own experience as those that look up to us.

Anyway, this is actually a previously published Marine Corps Times strip. Today has been a hassle and a half, but the good news is we might have another book signing event coming up this weekend on Saturday! Stand by for the details.

How do I reach these keeds?

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All over the Marine Corps, Company Commanders and leaders everywhere are trying to figure out how they can reach their Marines and improve the morale of their units. The answer is usually pretty straightforward, but seems to always elude the command.

This is how you end up with Family Fun Day. Instead of respecting your personal space, the command will continue to shove its overlording presence into your 48 hours of liberty for no apparent reason. The only saving grace is finally getting to see what your Company Commander’s wife looks like. (She’ll never be what you expected, she’s always either way out of his league or the exact opposite)

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It’s not all bad though, sometimes it’s easy to just blame the parents. The command is put into an extraordinary circumstance of being responsible for the wellbeing and happiness of hundreds of young men (and now women). Unfortunately there’s no easy way to make everyone happy, on either side.

On a side note, thank you to everyone for your massive outpouring of support for The White Donkey. It is now on week #3 of being #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list for hard cover graphic novels. It is making waves, and it’s because of you guys. We have some events and signings coming up next month, so if you haven’t picked up a book yet you can here:

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For how much you read and hear about “bloated” military spending, the life of the average Marine certainly doesn’t reflect that. Especially during training.

“Notional” is another word commonly used to describe “pretend.” I’m assuming they use this word because it doesn’t make it feel like you’re 5 years old, but the result is still the same. Pretend patrols around pretend enemies with pretend weapons, pretend events and pretend gear. You have to have an imagination to be an effective Marine. The only thing financially bloated about the average day in the infantry is how much Marines spend of their own paychecks on alcohol after hours in their run-down barracks.

Some of the best training you could have gotten was during evolutions like Mojave Viper, where they actually had Iraqi (or Afghani) role-players that spoke real Arabic and made you feel immersed in the environment. These events were few and far between, but they really prepared you for realistic encounters abroad and beyond.

Of course, with the way everyone talks about cutting the military and reducing its size, you’d think Marines were living it up in lavish hotels and smashing tax-payer funded hookers on the regular (this is actually how the Air Force is).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need more money in the military, so Marines can smash tax-payer funded hookers in lavish hotels.

To be honest it’s kind of a tossup between these two. Some days you need that spicy, conceptually horrible jalapeño cheese spread and other times you need some delicious chocolate peanut butter. Though, I would happily substitute the chocolate peanut butter for a pack of Peanut Butter M&M’s, cause those shits is dank as fuck.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Captain America fan, and naturally I went and saw the Thursday premiere of Captain America: Civil War last night. My loyalty to the good Captain can be measured in the amount of Captain America T-shirts I own (7) and the amount of Captain America posters I have hanging in my house (4). I’d side with Steve Rogers over Tony Stark any day of the week, and if you’re team Iron Man you need to get the fuck out of my face.

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I’m going to start off by saying that I think Captain America: Winter Soldier is legitimately the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I might be biased, but it was absolutely the most interesting, serious and intelligent film out of the whole bunch.

Civil War did not change that opinion.

With that said, it was immensely entertaining to watch. With the exception of a missing Hulk and Thor, this was basically an Avengers movie more than it was Captain America. More specifically, you could even argue that it was a 4th Iron Man movie just as much as it was a Captain America film. Either way, I felt like it was somewhat unfortunate that the film didn’t get as personal into Steve Rogers’ world as I would have liked. The narrative often leaves him and focuses on what Tony Stark is doing, or Black Widow, or the Vision, or even Spider-Man.

As a massive Captain fan I did admittedly feel a little cheated out of a real Captain America story, but I enjoyed the ride nonetheless. The spectacle of watching 10 different super heroes go at it (somewhat playfully) was brilliant, and I have to admit that Peter Parker kind of stole the show (in the best possible way).

Overall I’d give Captain America: Civil War 8.5 out of 10 fucks. Should you spend your hard-earned libo money on a ticket this weekend? Yeah, probably.

I find a lot of things frustrating, but one of the most annoying things I come across while managing this monstrosity of a comic strip and social media page are the “old Corps” guys who just can’t stand all of the shenanigans coming from these “New Corps” Marines. Back in their Corps, they were too busy getting into fist fights with body-building hookers, hiking over 700 miles each week, and just generally being real Marines (during peacetime no less) to engage in such degrading behavior to their beloved Corps.

Unfortunately for them, it’s not their Corps anymore.

Culture changes, even the Marine Corps. With that said, I would argue the culture actually hasn’t changed much at all. The only thing that has changed is the advent of portable cameras connected to a near limitless social media environment. The silliness of the every day military life is no longer relegated to the dark corners of the smoke pit or the back of the squad bay. It is on full display, instantly accessible to the public and the world.

Though, to be honest, what I find even more annoying are the people (generally the same people) that send me photos of Marines being normal fucking people and expecting me to “put them on blast” in front of hundreds of thousands. Who gives a shit if some 19 year old kid takes a selfie in his uniform in front of a mirror? I know I don’t, and there’s literally zero precedence to suggest that kid should be shamed in front of the entire Marine Corps.

If anything, we should be encouraging stupid behavior amongst Marines.

War is awful. These silly, fleeting moments are the only thing that keep us going most of the time. They’re the only thing that keep us human.

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On a lighter note, I want to send a huge thank you to everyone that came out to see me on Saturday over at Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica over the weekend! It was so great to meet so many of you, and even some familiar faces I recognized from the internet over the years. Your support means so much to me and it was extremely humbling to talk to the over 300 people that came out. I also want to send a huge thank you to Moris over at Hi De Ho Comics for all the hospitality and making it such a great night for everyone!

We’re currently trying to put together some more signings all over the place, so if you run a store and would like to host us please let me know.

The White Donkey is officially a New York Times best seller. If you haven’t gotten it yet, you probably should…

Lastly, you can listen to a pretty rad podcast from We Are The Mighty starring yours truly, talking about all kinds of cool stuff here.

Is it weird that the omelets I had in the Marine Corps were the best omelets I’ve ever had? Seriously, I’ve been out for a while now and I have yet to find anywhere that makes omelets as well as those Marines in the chow hall. If nothing else (which is usually the case), chow hall Marines make the best damn omelets you’ll ever have.

Breakfast food in general at the chow hall is usually quite good. Even as far back as boot camp, breakfast will be–by far–the best meal you’ll get out of the day. Whether it’s fresh pancakes, perfect waffles, thick French toast, or a loaded omelet, you won’t be disappointed…

…Until lunch comes around. Your adoration of the perfect breakfast is quickly washed away by the garbage food that replaces it not only a few hours later. Fit for a prison, you’ll find yourself barely able to stomach that pale Taco Tuesday concoction that was lopped onto your plastic tray in a hurry. Dinner doesn’t fair any better, with spaghetti noodles labeled as “chow mein” and god knows what labeled as “food.”

At least there’s always tomorrow morning.

Speaking of tomorrow, don’t forget that I’ll be at Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica for our official The White Donkey launch event! Come say hi!

It’s not his fault, Staff NCO’s actually naturally communicate at higher decibel levels.

They say the loudest weapon organic to the infantry is the SMAW rocket launcher, but that’s only sort of true. The standard issue Staff NCO actually has a natural speaking voice louder than the Assaultman MOS classic, but he’s not classified as a “weapon” technically (though his knife-hands actually are). If there’s one thing to be said about the Marine Corps in general, it’s that yelling in general is some pretty common shit. In boot camp, you actually get so used to people just screaming in your face for no apparent reason that you become pretty desensitized to it by the time you leave the Depot.

I apologize for the recycled comic (if you read the Marine Corps Times, anyway), it’s just been a crazy busy last couple of weeks with the book launch and everything going on around here. Hopefully things will calm down after this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I will be at Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica on Saturday at 7pm! There’s a special VIP hour for Kickstarter backers only starting at 6pm, so come by and say hi!

The Marine Corps is an organization of many customs and traditions. It values and reveres the courtesies and rich history of those that came and served before them. Some traditions take the form of dress uniforms and various greetings of the day. Others are just confusing, like the one that says that the trucks always have to be comically late to pick you up from the armory prior to a field op.

There’s plenty of other traditions too, such as the motivated new lieutenant that thinks he can change the platoon and improve morale, or the one guy that will always lose at least one piece of serialized gear during your 3 day field op, forcing your platoon to stay for another 7 hours later than you were supposed to.

These traditions form the foundation of the Marine Corps, and your senior enlisted hold them dear to their hearts. This can lead to frustration amongst the junior enlisted Marines, but the ones that stick around and reenlist will eventually carry on the torch. They will rise to the occasion and make sure things stay exactly as they are.

It is tradition.

On a personal note, I feel like this comic strip goes back to a kind of classic Terminal Lance form. A comic about the little things and the absurdity. I’m trying to get back into that mode, as I feel like with the strip’s massive success, there’s a lot of pressure to make every strip the most profound and meaningful literary masterpiece of cultural critique that is impossible to live up to. Terminal Lance is about the life of the grunt, which is a life ripe with the littlest of things.

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HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS ITS HERE!

Today is April 19th, the official release date of The White Donkey (again)! You can find it in stores everywhere starting today!

This book was a long and arduous journey to see to completion, and I’m immensely happy to be working with Little, Brown & Co. in putting the book out to a broader audience. I have no one else to thank other than the fans of Terminal Lance that have kept coming around here twice a week and reading my rambling, and especially those that backed the Kickstarter campaign back in 2013. The book wouldn’t be where it is today (everywhere) if it weren’t for you guys, so from the bottom of my heart I thank you all for your support over the years, even when things were dragging on substantially.

No one has ever made a graphic novel like this.

This is the first and only graphic novel about Iraq and the personal journey of going to war, written and illustrated by an Iraq veteran.

My experience in Iraq wasn’t the kinetic action experience that so many Marines hope to live up to before they get there. The tales of Phantom Fury permeated the backdrop of arriving in Fallujah in 2007, and while the buildings carried the haunting ghosts of war in their tattered remains, actually being there was nothing like I was expecting. In The White Donkey I don’t seek to tell an action story, because that wasn’t an accurate reflection of my experience in the middle east. Instead, I wanted to explore the personal journey and the existential crisis of the experience of the Marine Corps itself. The White Donkey is the culmination of not only my short, single-term enlistment, but my observations as the creator of Terminal Lance itself–a rather privileged position at this point.

The White Donkey is the story of the Marine grunt. It is not heroic, action-packed or glamorous. It is the mundane, the funny, the horrifying, the beautiful, and the torturous.

I hope you enjoy it.

Buy The White Donkey here:

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