Terminal Lance is a bi-weekly webcomic by Terminal Lance Corporal Maximilian Uriarte, USMC. It draws on Uriarte's experiences as a Lance Corporal in the infantry. Think a Work Com, but set in the military.Uriarte has also produced an animated short called Post, which bears the Terminal Lance brand but does not feature the same characters (or rather, if it does, it's hard to tell.)Most of the humor is related to life in the Corps. Non-Marines are advised to have a reference (or a Marine friend to act as translator) handy for all the acronyms and expressions that appear.
Bathroom Stall Graffiti: "Wagner Loves The Cock". According to Uriarte, this particular saying is Real Life bit of Memetic Mutation in the Marine Corps. Nobody seems to know where or when it got started. In fact, according to the comic, it is impossible for a Marine to sit in a bathroom stall with a marker without either writing this message, or drawing a penis on the stall.
Butt Monkey: Boots and PO Gs are frequent targets, as well as "water dogs"—1171 water technicians.
Important Haircut: The "high and tight" is treated as a subversion, especially after the pleasantness of the "medium reg" is discovered.
Interservice Rivalry: Within the Corps, between POGs and grunts. Uriarte naturally takes the side of the grunts. He especially doesn't like the "Water Dogs" (Marine plumbers), though at one point he also mocks the grunts who think anyone who does technical/repair work is an immediate POG.
"Join the Army," They Said: #28: "False Advertising". First panel: Marine grunt in combat. Second panel: Three Marines in dress uniform with ceremonial rifles, with the "The Few. The Proud." recruiting slogan across it. Third panel: Guy in fatigues standing in front of a recruiting poster with a mop. The Rant even says that "making fun of the cheesy recruiting commercials is one of the favorite pass times [sic] of Marines."
Mop guy: Well anything seems cool if you say it like that...
Lethal Chef: Naturally, military food and the ever-popular MRE get a few jokes at their expense.
Limited Advancement Opportunities: The name Terminal Lance refers to Marines whose climb up the rank ladder has stalled at Lance Corporal (just below NCO status), often because the score required for promotion in their career specialty is ridiculously high (or the Corps just plain refuses to accept any new Corporals in that specialty). Ironically, Uriarte was ultimately promoted to Corporal, but didn't find out about it until three months after he left the Corps. In keeping with the tradition of referring to oneself by rank, he calls himself "Terminal Lance Corporal Maximilian Uriarte, USMC".
Uriarte: "This mouth-breathing idiocy completely fails to acknowledge the fact that Marines of today have been engaged in war for over 10 years straight now. My Marine Corps was a culture of war. Your Marine Corps was a culture of drill maneuvers and liberty risks."
Obstructive Bureaucrat / Rules Lawyer: The Staff NCOs are frequently shown to be impairing the work of the grunts, not infrequently at the expense of getting things done.
Serious Business: Uriarte notes in the blog post for this strip that Marines will argue about pretty much anything to get away from the boredom of everyday life in the Corps, and they'll stick to their guns no matter how pointless the argument is.
Shout-Out: Most of the titles of the comics. The subtitle of the website itself is a line from one of The Killers' most popular songs.
Splash of Color: The comic is done in black and white, with the exception generally being reflective belts (always very bright yellow, regardless of it being relevant or not). Other one-off splashes of color include service ribbons in some strips, a candy wrapper, and a green Clone-A-Willy.
Thirsty Desert: The Marine base at Twentynine Palms is in the middle of the desert, a good two to three hour drive from any off-base amusements, and generally an unpleasant place to be (even worse if one is permanently stationed there). Uriarte calls it one of the most miserable permanent duty stations in the Corps. In one of the blog posts, he even calls the base Satan's Asshole in jest.
Too Soon: Uriarte drew this strip making a racism joke before he realized that it would be put up right after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Discusses it in the accompanying rant.invoked