There exists in many military myths and legends an animal that is rarely seen by man. Its collar is adorned with a unique crimson shine seen in no other rank structure. They aren’t really officers, but they aren’t enlisted. They exist somewhere in a realm in between those two worlds, mysterious in their nature and powerful in their abilities.

I speak of course of Warrant Officers.

The Warrant Officers of the Marine Corps come and go as they please, often unseen and mostly unheard of. They are said to possess unnatural abilities and are often deterred by sunlight, silver, and bullshit.

It is said that the crimson on their rank represents the dark blood oath that Staff NCO’s have to pact in order to become one. Warrant Officers can be summoned through incantation, though it’s unwise to do so. It usually involves reading various passages of the Rituale Romanum in Latin and making a strong pot of coffee.

You will never see them at formations, the field, humps, offices or retirement ceremonies. No one knows what they actually do, but you can find them in the deepest corners of the Marine Corps. They exist in the darkness, in the shadows, manipulating the strings of their puppets.

They are Warrant Officers.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

Chemlights, otherwise known as glowsticks, are an integral part of training and field operations for Marines. Seriously, we use the damn things all the time. They’re handy for marking trails, cleared areas, Marines, and really just about anything else you can think of.

Random chemlight storytime:

When I was in Iraq in 2007, we were about 10 minutes from embarking on a night patrol into Zaidon. Another Marine in my platoon, and a good friend, walked up to me and sprayed chemlight juice all over me. Honestly I thought it was pretty funny, until my section leader came up to him and said “You realize we’re about go on a combat patrol at night, you fucking idiot.”

Of all the confusing and strange safety briefs Marines have to sit through prior to being unleashed on a typical long weekend, the course on “Fraud, Waste, and Abuse” is probably the most confusing and irrelevant to the average infantry Marine. You sit there, mouth agape at a bunch of DOD terminology that you don’t care about, learning about a concept over the course of 4 hours that could literally be described as shortly as “don’t let Marines waste resources.”

In all actuality, I don’t really have that much to add to this comic, I just thought it was a funny joke. I’m also kind of under the weather, as I ingested some angry spirit in my spaghetti last night. My gastrointestinal system is not fond of me at the moment.

I feel like lately I haven’t been getting too personal with things in the same way that I used to. Sometimes I also feel like every comic strip needs to be 10x funnier than the last one and provide some profound commentary satire on the state of being in the military.

Of course, that’s ridiculous.

Sometimes I just do comics because I think they’re funny.

I’ve often heard it said that a bitching Marine is a happy Marine.

To be frank, I’m not sure if I agree with that. However, there is truth in the sense that Marines definitely love to bitch. In the case of a MEU deployment, Marines are often finding themselves longing for the “action” of a proper combat deployment. While it is true that they might be spending some miserable hours on a big gray boat, at least they get to stop all over the world and check out all kinds of interesting foreign sights and sounds.

You know what foreign sights and sounds you see in Iraq? Women in burkas and gunshots. That’s basically it. Shit sucks bro. I would have rather been on the MEU.

Of course, the grass is always greener. You can’t blame Marines for wanting to experience the whole combat deployment thing, it’s what they’re brought up to do. When I enlisted back in 2006, I knew for sure that I would get sent to the middle east, one way or another. 10 years later? The prospects of such adventures aren’t as foretold as they once were. This is essentially peacetime, and combat is nowhere to be seen for most of the Corps.

This has been interesting for me, personally, as the creator of Terminal Lance. I started back in 2010 when most Marines were like me: two-pump chumps that were largely disillusioned and disgruntled. Today’s active duty Marine Corps is undoubtedly different than the one that I left behind, and the last of the Lance Corporal combat veterans are most likely out or soon to be.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it’s food for thought.

If you liked the art style in the 2nd panel here, you’ll love the 290 page Terminal Lance graphic novel “The White Donkey,” which chronicles Abe and Garcia on their 2007 deployment to Iraq.

Follow The White Donkey.

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The worst punishment for Marines isn’t paperwork or menial labor, it’s the stuff that truly gets under the skin. There are few offenses worse in the Corps than being a boot–in fact, I would argue that there are none. Boots are the lowest of the low, they have earned no respect and thus deserve none. Once you escape the proverbial event horizon of boot-hood, you are generally treated as a real person again. To be denigrated back to that lowly status is to be stripped away of all pride and purpose.

This is the worst punishment.

To be treated like a fucking boot.

I can recall shortly after my first deployment to Iraq, we arrived to find brand new boots, still smelling of third phase and Cobra 65 ready and waiting to take our packs up to our barracks rooms for us. They were small, afraid, and replied quickly with “yes, Lance Corporal” any time you said anything to them.

Being as salty as I was (naturally after my first deployment), I got a bit lazy about cleaning my room. I happened to get lazy on the wrong day, as the battalion Sergeant Major walked through the barracks while I was out at the armory or some such. He wasn’t as entertained with my lax cleaning standards as I was, and threw me on a working party with a bunch of boots at the battalion headquarters. Of course, I had it coming, and the best part was when senior Staff and Officers that knew me from Iraq would walk by and see me mopping the floor and ask “What did you do?” with a laugh.

You’d better believe my room was clean after that.

It’s an effective form of punishment.

Everyone is issued their first CAC (Combined Access Card) in boot camp, but unfortunately, that means your first official government photo is taken… in boot camp.

Boot camp you is probably the least flattering version of yourself throughout the history of your life.

Your head is sloppily shaved, you’re visibly tired, you smell like a strange mix of flatulence and Cobra 65 smell good, and you generally just don’t want to be there. Unfortunately, this ID is what you’ll carry around with you for most of your enlistment, should you choose not to reenlist and are particularly adept at gear accountability.

Of course, rarely is anyone particularly ecstatic about their identification photo, in nearly any scenario. There’s just something about a crappy webcam photo printing onto a 1″x2″ spot on a plastic card that is especially underwhelming.

Then again, it’s better to have your unfortunate first card than to lose it…

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The Armory is my trigger.

As I was frolicking about Disneyland yesterday with my family, I couldn’t help but notice an eerie feeling of deja vu as we waited for endless hours in the Southern California sun. It was a hark back to the many countless hours I spent waiting in line at the armory trying to turn my weapon in.

These were dark times in my life, and I prefer not to recount them. If I have a personal hell designed just for me, it would be standing in line at the armory, clean rifle in hand, and never reaching the window.

There is something undeniably abhorrent about the armory, as a general thing. Its gray cement walls, speckled with unnervingly small windows lend to a feeling of inadequacy and claustrophobia just at the mere sight of it. My memories of the armory are filled with standing, sandwiched between other Marines in the torrid Hawaiian sun–or even just cleaning.

Endless cleaning.

Your weapon is clean, but still not clean enough.

Go back and clean it some more.

The inside of the armory is equally loathsome, lit only by the sanitized buzz of florescent lighting. Metal cages decorate the interior; though it’s unclear whether they’re designed to keep intruders out, or keep the armory custodians in.

Lastly, if I might offer you a tip of sorts, don’t go to Disneyland during the summer. It’s crowded as fuck.

…Only she doesn’t dance on the stands, because she has encephalitis.

As I’m sure you all know, the 2016 Olympics begin today in Rio, and it’s been a nonstop shitshow leading up to it. This strip isn’t even particularly out of left field, as Marines (and others) actually were sent to the cesspool of drug-ridden favelas and disease to boost security operations with the local forces.

At the very least, those guys will probably see more action in Rio than anywhere else right now. That is, assuming they don’t fall victim to the Zika virus or any of the “super bacteria” floating around in the shitwater in which athletes have to swim.

Rio literally is a shitshow.

I’ll be cheering on our US athletes’ immune systems more than their physical prowess over the following weeks. Good luck Marines.

In other news, I’m pretty much set up here now, which is great. A lot has been going on behind the scenes here, and I’m excited to make some announcements pretty soon…

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This is an abusive relationship.

All Marines have a relationship with the Marine Corps, and for the most part it falls somewhere on the Love/Hate spectrum of things. The Corps is what it is. It can be really awesome sometimes and other times it can be really awful. It’s a lot like a broken marriage or a controlling significant other–a relationship wrought with suspicion, anger and contempt–but with occasionally really great sex.

You more keen observers of Terminal Lance might notice that this is a Marine Corps Times comic strip published a few issues ago. Not to be too apologetic, but my new place still isn’t really up and running. Lack of internet has severely impeded my ability get back to full speed (connecting via my phone right now). I’ll be back up and running hopefully by Friday! Internet gets installed tomorrow, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

On a totally unrelated note, Burbank is the fucking shit. Like moving usually is, it’s been exhausting getting settled (and moving/buying furniture), but we’re nearly there.

I say this a lot but there really is a lot of great behind-the-scenes stuff going on right now that I think fans of TL will be really excited to see come to fruition soon. Among them are a new website, new comics, and some really big things I can’t talk about right now. There’s a lot of new things happening, but they take time to develop and I don’t like to show my hand until the time is right.

Stay tuned, it’ll be worth it.

On a side note, if you haven’t bought a copy of The White Donkey, you should do it. I heard it’s good.

Finally we see the origin story of the Green Weenie. Who would have thought that such a powerful entity was once a man.

I can only imagine the twisted fate that Willie must have met to become such a powerful spirit, forever haunting the Marine Corps as a demonic presence. His lingering existence plaguing Marines for centuries.
The Green Weenie is forever.

Congratulations to Louie Earle for this winning comic submission! He won himself a signed 1st edition copy of The White Donkey and some other fun loot.

Here are some runner-up comics that I liked!

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26JUL16 Terminal Lance Entry- Manatee

 

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LCPL EFFECT pseudonym

So what’s been going on with Max lately? Well I just relocated to a new apartment in beautiful Burbank and don’t even have internet installed yet. I also need a refrigerator and a couch, but honestly the internet is more important. Look forward to a more normal schedule once I get settled in here!

If you want to buy a copy of The White Donkey for yourself because you didn’t win one here, click here. Now 12 weeks on the New York Times best seller list!

There’s a common term in the Marine Corps known as “The Suck.”

Much like the omnipresent Green Weenie, The Suck perpetually exists as a state of being in the Corps. Everything you do is part of The Suck, mostly because everything you do just kind of sucks for some reason.

There’s an inexplicable phenomenon in the military, where even when you’re doing the most awesome thing you can possibly think of, the powers that be find some way to make it a dragging, miserable experience. For instance, shooting guns with your friends all day sounds like a great time, except for the part where you have to go the armory at 5am, stand around in the sun for hours, go through safety briefs, brass call, check for saved rounds, return weapons to the armory, etc. It’s just a shitty day for something that sounds like it’s going to be awesome.

This is a common pattern though, layers of bureaucracy and the tact of your 52 year old father trying to be hip and cool permeate every activity of the Corps establishment.

You can never escape The Suck.

In other news, I’ve got some stuff going on this week that’ll make doing a comic for Friday rather difficult, so I’m holding a contest! You get to draw Friday’s new Terminal Lance!

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Click on the image above to download it.

The Rules:

  • Must be original artwork (no memes or copy/pasting others)
  • Must be an original joke
  • Must use template provided
  • Must have your name on it
  • DEADLINE: JULY 28th @ 1700 PST
  • Only open to Active Duty and Active Reserve Servicemembers and Veterans

The Prize:

Email your submission to me at maximilian.uriarte@terminallance.com, put the subject as “TERMINAL LANCE COMIC CONTEST.”

I will personally sift through and pick the winner, which will be featured as Friday’s comic! Personally chosen runner up comics will also most likely be posted. By entering the contest you agree to have your work displayed on www.terminallance.com

Good luck!