Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance “Dog House”

September 23, 2016

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Well, more specifically, Marines are why we can’t have nice things. They let devil dogs in the barracks, why not dog dogs? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

This is actually a problem I’ve run into a lot in the civilian world as well, as I’ve bounced around over the years since I left Hawaii. I have a dog, a real dog, and it’s always a hassle to find a place that allows pets his size. Ironically, there’s usually no restriction on children and babies, which are going to destroy a place worse than even the drunkest of Marines on a Friday night. But alas, it is the burden I carry for living with my furry friend.

Anyway, I don’t have anything too important to add here. Today has just been one of those days and some things that were planned for TL fell through and left me saying fuck.

This strip was previously published in the Marine Corps Times newspaper, don’t forget you can catch new Terminal Lance comics in every issue! As well, keep up with TL on Facebook and Instagram for funny shit from around the Corps daily.

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Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance “The New Guy”

September 20, 2016

New Lieutenants are great. They’re basically exactly like the boots you get straight from SOI, except you have to respect them. I’m pretty sure that, going in, each one of them thinks they’re going to be the one that changes the Corps and brings high and tights and EGA tattoos on every chest back. They’re bright-eyed and come full of brand new moto cadences that they picked up at TBS, and they’re extremely eager to pass on what little knowledge they have onto you.

Of course, like all boots, they love it because they haven’t been around long enough to hate it. Eventually it wears on them, and by the time they reach 1st Lieutenant, they’ll certainly know better.

Still, Lieutenants are great once they get broken in. When they first show up they’re annoying as hell, but give him a few months and a deployment and he could end up being a real friend in the future once he’s calmed down a bit. Until then, just try not to be too hard on him, please.

Late post today, just flew in from NYC last night and am still just overall messed up from the travel.

On a side note, I want to thank the Brooklyn Book Festival for inviting me out! I got to see New York for the first time and it was really a lot of fun. I also want to thank all the supporters that came out to see my dumb ass speak on a panel and let me sign their books. We’re currently working on some more events, the next one potentially in London! I’ll keep you posted as they come up and hopefully I’ll get to meet a lot more of you.

On that note, you should totally buy my book. It’s a New York Times best seller and I heard it’s pretty good.

Got some new newness coming up pretty soon being worked on this week, so stay tuned!

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #440 “Period of Instruction”

September 16, 2016

Okay this is a joke, this class isn’t actually taught in TAPS/SEPS, but it should be.

The transition from active duty to civilian is tough. It really is. I’ve lived it, and I know how it can be.

Probably the hardest part that no one tells you though?

Letting go.

I’m not ready to draw a conclusive correlation between veteran suicide rates and acceptance of your new civilian life (if that were even possible), but I would anecdotally argue that the veterans that tend to do the best on the outside are the ones that really leave their former active duty life behind completely. This means not wearing moto hats and veteran-branded T-shirts from any one of over 9000 veteran apparel companies; this means not lamenting civilians from your bearded mouth and your Facebook statuses; this means avoiding toxic mentalities and memes that permeate much of online veteran culture.

It means truely integrating back into the culture you left years ago.

Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get together with veterans you served with and enjoy some good stories and memories over a few drinks. These are normal, healthy activities that I think anyone would encourage.

What I’m referring to with this comic is the insistent need to identify as a veteran before your individuality as a person. Veterans have a unique skill set, experience and a capacity to the be the best leaders in American history. Unfortunately, many are bogged down in the poisonous subcultures that so easily infect the recently separated.

Odd I’m sure, coming from a guy that draws comics about the Marine Corps. Illustration and art is my profession, and I keep a healthy mental distance. I’ve mentioned before that I consider Terminal Lance to be an “Active Duty” brand, and I stand by that despite my distance from my own service. Perhaps maintaining this mentality has been why Terminal Lance is not often bogged down by many of the pitfalls of other “military” brands and pages.

My allegiance is, and has always been, to the Lance Corporal. I feel this way because I remember distinctly just how much it fucking sucks to be in the suck. I like to think that Terminal Lance offers some respite to the monotony of the barracks life in the form of an illustrated 3-panel comic that understands.

Of course, I love veterans as well, being one myself. I just find the “veteran” isolationist subculture to be more frustrating than the average Lance Coolie wishing he was somewhere else.

It doesn’t take a scholar to notice that every single time there’s some outrage over a “military” issue in the news media, it is never the active duty guys that actually care. The most vocal outbursts of anger and malice come solely from the Angry Facebook Veteran. One could argue that overarching censorship of active duty individuals keeps them from being more vocal, but I would disagree. I think most Lance Corporals just have too much to worry about to care, and are good at rolling with the punches anyway.

On a side note, if you noticed this comic looks a little different, it’s because I did the entire thing from start-to-finish (including this blog post) on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. This is different than how I normally do it using my desktop and a Cintiq, but I wanted to see if I could make this work. It has actually been a success! A convoluted success, but a success nonetheless. I want to do a more indepth review of the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil (a year late) from the perspective of a professional artist and how it can actually work in a realistic workflow.

Turns out it’s more difficult than you’d think.

Lastly, I just want to mention again that I will be in Brooklyn this weekend at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday! Come by and hear the panel, say hi, and get something signed.

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance “Founded in a Tavern”

September 13, 2016

You drink, I drink, we all drink!

Lest we forget, the Corps was founded in a tavern back in 1775, the day my Marine Corps came alive.

Marines love to drink, ranks low and high, but for as many different reasons as there are snowflakes in a blizzard. Okay, there aren’t actually that many reasons, most of them just come down to getting turnt. From PFC’s (illegally) to First Sergeant drinking his miseries away in the darkness of his kitchen counter at 11pm, you’ll find alcohol and Marines nearly synonymous with each other. You could say the barracks is a lot like a frat house, except with men.

Okay I don’t have a lot to add to this strip, which was previously featured in the Marine Corps Times. Terminal Lance and the Marine Times have been great allies for nearly 6 years now, and you can find new comic strips every other week in the print edition of the Marine Corps Times.

Also, don’t forget that I’ll be in New York City this weekend at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday. I’ll be on a panel called “The Art of War” at 5pm with some other awesome writers and artists drawing from wartime experience in graphic novels. It should be a good time!

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #439 “Prize Inside”

September 9, 2016

Why is this not a thing?

MRE’s are like happy meals for Marines, except they make you incredibly sad. I propose that we turn that frown upside-down, and start including awesome prizes inside of each of these beige packages of depression. These will boost troop morale by even just slightly reducing the amount of misery involved with living on MRE’s. Sure, it won’t stop them from backing up your colon like I-405 during rush hour, but will bring even just a tiny bit of joy to a miserable meal.

If I might abruptly change the subject, I of course realize this weekend is the 15th year anniversary of September 11th. I debated doing a strip on the subject and adding some profound words to the bottom, but I ultimately decided against it in favor of offering a bit of joy to what is sure to be a depressing weekend.

September 11th defined a generation. For many of us, it was the reason we enlisted. It gave our enlistment a purpose, a common enemy (Islamic extremism), and a sense of duty as we reeled from the horror in New York City.

Something that I think many veterans of my age are having trouble wrapping their heads around is that this generation is not the same one as who is currently enlisting at this moment.

As I approach my 30th year of life on this earth, I realized today that exactly half of my life was spent before 9/11 and the other half after. I was old enough when it happened to know the world before it, and young enough to experience the world after.

Marines enlisting today at the age of 18 were no older than 3 years old at the time of the attacks in 2001. To them it is abstract, or rather a history lesson like Pearl Harbor, Vietnam or Desert Storm was to me growing up. I don’t say this as a means to drag them down, but as a reflection of my own generation. We, as veterans, more or less defined the modern landscape of online military culture, but many of the major players in this scene have little ties to the active duty world.

For my part, I consider Terminal Lance to be an “active duty” brand more than I do a “veteran” brand, if that even makes sense. Despite the fact that I have been out of the Corps for some time, I write in the headspace of the active duty Lance Corporal. For me personally, I feel a kinship with that mindset–the ever-sucking suck–more than I do the bearded, velcro-American-flag baseball cap wearing crowd.

Veterans and active duty are two distinctly different cultures, and it is mostly the veteran community that defines its outward appearance online. In other words, the many veteran-run pages full of “dark” and “irreverent” humor you often see dominating this space do not accurately represent or even reflect the modern active duty military community.

Anyway, I’m rambling at this point. These are just thoughts that have crossed my mind as we approach the 15 year anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history… One that I vividly remember.

In other news, I will be in Brooklyn next weekend for the Brooklyn Book Festival! This will be my first time in the Big Apple, so I’m excited about it. Stay tuned to the Terminal Lance official Twitter and Instagram for more details as it approaches.

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance “Offended III”

September 2, 2016

A big deal on the national stage this week has been 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Veteran Outrage Machine™ has been in full gear after Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem as his own dumb way of protesting some unrelated issues.

Of course, this story technically has nothing to do with veterans or the military.

This is a story about the flag, America, patriotism, traditions, racial inequalities in America, football, etc. A better story on this would probably be about the shallow commercialization of American traditions by massive multibillion dollar conglomerates such as the NFL and the force-fed social obligations of fans and players in the name of “patriotism.”

In actuality, not a single one of these is exclusive to the military community, active or otherwise. And yet, the veteran community has taken ownership of this “controversy” due to the usual undying obligation to turn irrelevant issues into something about them. Everywhere I look, I’m seeing yet another veteran offer their “unique” opinion on why Kaepernick should or shouldn’t stand for the National Anthem.

I would argue that very few veterans check enough boxes to even come close to offering anything remotely insightful on the subject, and to that extent I would give credit to Nate Boyer for his levelheaded and understanding take as both an NFL player and multi decorated combat veteran.

However, for every one Nate Boyer, there’s ten Angry Facebook Veterans offering shallow perspective and grossly misusing the term “fought” as it relates to Kaepernick’s constitutional rights.

(Pro-Tip: if you were a POG [or grunt] that never even deployed, you probably didn’t “fight” for anyone’s rights)

My opinion on Kaepernick?

Who the fuck cares what I have to say about it?

In other news, there’s some fresh new skivvies up on the official Terminal Lance store! Show some love for the firing line.

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Available Now!

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #438 “Swipe Left”

August 30, 2016

I’ll admit, I’ve never used Tinder on a Marine Corps base, but I can imagine this is basically what it’s like. There’s not a whole lot of dating opportunities aboard the base, you’ll have to travel far and away… As far and away as you can… To find a woman (or man) worth your interest. As a straight male, that isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with female Marines, it’s just that… I dunno… It’s weird.

Of course, romantic life while active duty is always rather tumultuous, whether you’re in a relationship or not. When you’re with someone you genuinely care about, being separated for months at a time is extremely difficult. When you’re in an unhealthy relationship, cheating is always on the horizon (you may as well be a ram trusting his sheep with a pack of lions for 7 months). When you’re single, well, you have to use Tinder.

I was on Tinder last year for a couple of weeks before I deleted the app. It was occasionally fun but mostly a huge time waster.

I don’t recommend it.

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #437 “Warranted”

August 26, 2016

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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Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #436 “Fraud, Waste and Abuse”

August 23, 2016

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.

Maximilian

Creator

Terminal Lance #435 “Traveling Abroad”

August 19, 2016

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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