Terminal Lance is a bi-weekly webcomic by Terminal Lance Corporal Maximilian Uriarte, USMC (retired). 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.
In 2016, The White Donkey, a more serious graphic novel based on his experiences in Iraq, was published, funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
Compare/contrast to its more or less Japanese Distaff Counterpart, Marine Corps Yumi.
Terminal Lance contains examples of:
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Uriarte uses a lot of terms that leave non-Marines baffled. The title of this strip refers to the trope.
- Always a Bigger Fish: In this strip, a bunch of lower-level enlisted personnel get to enjoy seeing their Gunnery Sergeant being chewed out by a more senior NCO instead of being the one giving the chewing-out to the lower-level enlisted. The title for that page is, to make the point of the strip obvious, "The Bigger Fish", with the blog post even citing the Trope Namer.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Discussed in #302, Pirate Sword.
- Armchair Military: Mocked with the recurring "Angry Facebook Veteran" character, who's so far removed from day-to-day life in the Corps that he may as well count as this.
- Armed Farces: One of the purposes of the comic as a whole is to make fun of the silly stuff one regularly finds in the Marine Corps.
- Armored Closet Gay: The Drill Instructor in this strip seems to be one.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: The civilian in this strip thinks the military is a place for people too poor for college. Abe is not pleased.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Uriarte will say that out of what he dislikes of the movie The Hurt Locker from "...the shallow characters, the worthless storyline, the poorly researched military aspects and the tepid underlying themes...", what he really hated about it was a scene of one of the soldiers playing Gears of War on an Xbox 360 2 years and a year respectively before they were released to the film's 2004 setting.
- Art Evolution: Compare, say, an early strip drawn while Uriarte was still on active duty to a strip made after he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts involving the same three characters (Abe, glasses guy, and the Master Gunnery Sergeant). The characters appear much more lifelike with implied motion and depth in the second strip.
- Artifact of Doom: Sergeants suddenly turn into jerkasses when they get promoted to Staff Sergeant. Some Marines believe it's the extra chevron that does it.
- Ass Shove: The "oil check".
- Author Appeal: Uriarte did a short zombie arc starting here
- Author Avatar: The initially nameless brunet Marine grunt, later identified as "Abe" during the Zombie Apocalypse arc, looks an awful lot like Uriarte. Pretty much confirmed in "Paranoid Book Signing" when Uriarte draws himself: he's indistinguishable from Abe, Permastubble notwithstanding.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The "tacticool" equipment is mocked in "Issued", as some of the equipment has limited usability when actually out on deployment in real-life conditions.
- 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, whether that Marine is male or female.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: The common "The Taliban and people nearby them fucks goats" joke appears fairly frequently should these people be mentioned in a comic. Once though, the goat turned the tide.
- Prior to this, the relationship between handler and military dog was made fun of, with Abe asking if a "relationship" between them would be considered bestiality or fraternization.
- Bizarro Universe: Max considers the Air Force to be this to the Marine Corps.
- Bling of War: Not as extravagant as other examples of this trope, but Uriarter occasionally notes that Marine Dress Blues used to be fighting uniforms but that he can't ever imagine what it must have been like to be in combat while wearing them. He also speculates what future Marines might think of the current Marine Combat Uniform if it ever became a ceremonial uniform.
- Boomerang Bigot: Abe tries to invoke this on an MP that pulled him over.MP: Is that supposed to make me feel bad? Of course I hate Marines. You guys make my life a living hell.
- Boxed Crook: Subverted Trope - the guy was given the choice to join the Marines or go to jail, but the judge sent the fellow to the Corps for sleeping with his daughter rather than permitting the guy's choice of going to jail.
- Butt-Monkey: Boots and POGs are frequent targets, as well as "water dogs"—1171 water technicians.
- The comic in general shows that, in the Marine Corps, EVERYONE is in The Suck. A few comics have Marines from different units attempt to argue about which of their units are worse, making them the bigger Butt-Monkey - perhaps there are no real winners of such arguments.
- Catapult Nightmare: Abe has one about standing in line at the armory.
- The Staff NCO under Disaster Dominoes also suffered one.
- The Chain of Harm: As this strip illustrates, "Shit only moves one way: Down."
- Chest of Medals: A more subdued example than most, though still impressive given that the person in question (Senior Chief Petty Officer Edward Byers, a Combat Medic serving with the Navy SEALs) earned the Medal of Honor—as well as FOUR Bronze Stars. Abe catches a boot Marine masturbating to pictures of the ribbon stack.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The Marine Corps as a whole, apparently.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Shown here. Very Truth in Television among the Marines, as The Rant (and video within it) accompanying the comic attests.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Abe is depicted as a feral animal when working with POG's, and the commentary below compares life in the Infantry vs. life in the shop section to "an abused wife that just found out that not everyone beats their wife.”
- Confess to a Lesser Crime: Abe claims to have been watching porn instead of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Being put on a working party...with a bunch of boots!
- Cooldown Hug: This strip advocates for giving an angry SNCO one if they get angry.
- "Dear John" Letter: Unable to deal with spending so much time apart from him, Abe's girlfriend evidently wrote him a break-up letter a few hours after he left.
- A 2020 strip has him get an inversion - his girlfriend had meant to text John telling him she couldn't keep cheating on Abe.
- Disaster Dominoes: An Staff NCO has a nightmare about how all the minor stuff (hands in pockets, white socks, unkempt appearance, etc.) led to a crisis on deployment, thus explaining why they're so anal about it.
- Dislikes the New Guy: Abuse and mockery of the graduated-from-boot-camp-within-a-year-ago marines "boots", even from the protagonists themselves despite The Rant giving them sympathy for the terribleness they endure in their existence, is a reoccuring theme. The two "Demographics" strips make it clear that they will always be irrationally hated and distinctly on the bottom of the Marine Corps totem pole no matter what.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Averted. Each strip has an accompanying rant at the bottom explaining the context of the joke, especially helpful for non-marine folks. It's often as funny as the strip itself.
- Drunken Master: Cone. According to Uriarte, every platoon has at least one person who is like this, who only gets better when drunk.
- Drunk with Power: Implied in one strip, which shows a Marine who turns into a giant douchebag (literally) upon being promoted to Corporal.
- Ensign Newbie:
- 2nd Lieutenants are considered to be little more than Boots with a rank. There's even an old joke thrown in that the only difference between a boot and a "butterbar" is that the boot has been promoted once. This strip even has Abe order one down to police call.
- As this strip shows, not even Corporals are above this trope with Abe finding himself on duty with one Duty NCO with only the bare minimum ribbons on his uniform and the accompanying rant explaining that comms Marines in particular tend to Rank Up quicker than others, often making Corporal before they even deploy overseas.
- Eye Scream: Abe and a fellow Marine are engaged in unarmed combat practice. Abe does the MCMAP eye gouge move, not expecting it to do anything because it looked so stupid. Needless to say, it goes horribly right. Uriarte states in the accompanying blog that he thinks an MRE spoon is more likely to be useful as an eye-gouging device than the eye gouge move.
- Faux Horrific: Abe is less than impressed with the costumes at a Halloween party, declaring that no one's really that scary - until someone approaches him dressed as re-enlistment papers.
- The 2014 party had a Gunny show up and, after Abe criticized his lack of costume, he loudly informs Abe that everyone at the party had to be in formation in 3 minutes.Gunny: I'm just fucking with you... but I bet that scared the shit out of you, didn't it?
- The 2014 party had a Gunny show up and, after Abe criticized his lack of costume, he loudly informs Abe that everyone at the party had to be in formation in 3 minutes.
- Fetish Retardant: In-Universe example. One strip, and The Rant that accompanies it, comments that it's a big turn-off to be watching porn and see a Marine tattoo on one of the actors, as the Marines are a Family of Choice, and you wouldn't jerk off to a family member.
- Fourth-Date Marriage: Attempts to avert this trope are constantly being made.
- From a Certain Point of View: Abe complains that his recruiter lied to him about how often he'd be getting laid. His Exact Words were "You'll be getting fucked so much you'll wish you'd never enlisted."
- Gag Penis: Along with much discussion of Marines being apparently psychological wired to graffiti penises in toilet stalls, many of them include humorous depictions of large and elaborate penises. And then a Navy pilot got in on the fun...
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied in this strip.
- Good-Looking Privates: The dress blues can make any man into this, apparently... to the point where a joke is made about a Marine dying because he wore them home and he "drowns in pussy".
- And the majestic boatcloak is enough to bring tears to Abe's eyes.
- Gonk: One strip has this be the reason for the Staff Sgt. preferring to stay at the barracks making recruits clean it rather than going home to his wife.
- Gossip Evolution: The comic gives readers the Marine version of the grapevine, "Lance Corporal Underground", complete with warping the actual message between its origin and final destination as a nod to the Norman Rockwell painting, and its sequel, "Lance Corporal Underground II", which references reporter Wolf Blitzer's coverage of the tunnels from Gaza to Israel.
- Got Volunteered: Using the "Voluntold" variant.
- Groin Attack: Usually self-inflected out of sheer boredom while standing guard.
- Hello, Sailor!: The punchline for this strip's rant.
- Homoerotic Subtext: As Uriarte notes in his strips with the title "It's Already Gay", with its (very nearly) single-gender composition, macho posturing, and occasional Gay Bravado, the Marine Corps is already pretty loaded with some homo-erotic imagery.
- A later strip shows a Marine spooning Abe for warmth while on deployment - but he also was cupping Abe's balls.
- Hypocritical Humor: When one Marine complains about how someone could use the repeal of DADT to just marry another guy for the benefits, and how it'd rob marriage of respectability, Abe points out that the complainer's in a contract-marriage with a hooker he met on Craigslist.Complainer: ...what's your point?
- Iconic Outfit: Nearly all post 9-11 vets wear the same outfits. Here's why.
- I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Inverted and subverted in this strip: Abe is good at Call of Duty, thanks to the military, but not because of his military training - it's because they often had nothing to do on duty but play Call of Duty.
- Important Haircut: The "high and tight" is treated as a subversion, especially after the pleasantness of the "medium reg" is discovered.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Abe complains about how he's not being treated like a responsible adult by having to fill out a checklist before he got married. And in walks another Marine with Porsche, a woman he'd just met last night and is hot as fuck so they're going to get married. Abe quickly concedes the point.
- Instant Turn-Off: The #141: "Where You Least Expect It". Marine is jerking off to porn on his laptop. Marine sees an EGAnote tattoo on the male actor's arm. Marine loses boner. (The author explains in The Rant that this is essentially because it feels like jerking off to a family member.)
- 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.
- Of course, being a Marine, he'll take potshots at the Army and the Air Force as well.
- Irony: Shortly after he left the military, Max was finally promoted to Corporal. Long after he had become the creator of Terminal Lance. He believes it's more of the military screwing with him.
- Part of this is on account of high tenure, wherein you get a small separation bonus when forced out of service for not making rank. Max made rank, and therefor lost the bonus.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Garcia slings a volley of vulgar insults at Abe that the latter takes in stride - until he's called "Boot".
- I Will Only Slow You Down: Garcia invokes this, but expected Abe to put up more of a fight on the issue.
- Laborious Laziness: Many strips, such as this cover just how far a marine will go to avoid work.
- Lethal Chef: Naturally, military food and the ever-popular MRE get a few jokes at their expense....WHY THE FUCK DOES THIS THING EXIST???
- Oddly it's completely inverted for breakfast, where you'll have the best first meals of the day in the military. But only for breakfast. Be prepared for everything else.
- Not even Gordon Ramsay was able to help, giving up after just a half-hour.
- 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".
- Literal-Minded: Here,here, and here. Also, as noted in the blog post for this one:"...90% of the time Marines tend to take the term “sound Reveille” a bit more literally than they should. They do, quite literally, yell the word “Reveille” repeatedly until everyone is awake."
- Made Myself Sad: Abe gets the Lance Corporal insignia tattooed onto his back. Garcia asks him what he'll do if he gets promoted. Abe starts laughing since he knows he won't get promoted due to Limited Advancement Opportunities—which is why he got the tattoo to begin with, in order to mock the cutting score system—then tears up a little.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In a strip about how webcams have helped close the gap for long-distance relationships, the couple is engaged in mutual masturbation while the Grunt is using a computer in the rec tent.Abe: ...we can leave... all you have to do is ask.
Grunt: Naw, it's cool, Bro, she doesn't mind.
Sarah: Hi, Abe!
Abe: ...hi, Sarah...
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The Terminal Lance hand sign, but more endearing is "Knife Hands"—the height of which is directly in proportion to the anger of the one doing it. A later strip has them utilize Cartoon Physics to show just how goofy and over-the-top they are in hindsight.
- Misery Poker: Abe and another grunt get into this over whose unit is more fucked up, with Abe "winning" after rebutting that while the other grunt's Lieutenant was fired for sleeping with a 14-year-old girl, his Captain had been fired for sleeping with a 14-year-old boy.Abe: To be fair, I think we both actually lose.
- A recurring one between West Coast (Pendleton) and East Coast (Lejeune), as the West has mountainous terrain used for training, while the East has sand fleas.
- Mook Horror Show: In this strip, Abe comments that, despite the fact that everyone wants to be Solid Snake, the Marines on guard are closer to the guards who get killed.
- Murder Simulators: Inverted in strip #185: "Experience" when Abe plays Call of Duty with a civilian friend. Abe says he's good at COD because of the Marine Corps, which his friend takes to mean that he uses his real-life military experience to play the game better.Abe: Haha! No. That's ridiculous. We're on stand-by all the time. Practically all we do is play Call of Duty.
- National Stereotypes: Uriarte occasionally uses stereotypes for humor. A common one is his claim that all Mexicans can cut hair. Another is that Ugandans are enthusiastically friendly almost to the point of aggressiveness.
- Negative Continuity:Uriarte: Continuity really has no place in this comic strip, so if you’re expecting it you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
- Lampshaded in "5th Year Anniversary" where Abe mentions that after five years, he and Garcia should have reached their EAS by now. Garcia, on the other hand, somehow manages to Rank Up from Lance Corporal to Staff Sergeant between the first and second panels.
- New Ability Addiction: #302: "Pirate Sword" has a Marine NCO on a combat mission brandish the ceremonial saber NCOs are required to buy for their dress uniform when they're promoted. He had to buy the thing, so he's darn well gonna use it! The author's remarks:LCPL. (ret.) Max Uriarte: Back to the sword though, it's one of those things that I don't even know what the fuck it's really for. Obviously you can't go around racking up confirmed sword kills in Afghanistan, so it's really just a useless ceremonial item that no one would ever willingly pay for.
- New Game Plus: Discussed in this rant, and that it wouldn't work in real life.
- Nobody Poops: They do, but only when the MRE's decide they can.
- No Indoor Voice: Staff NCO's have a naturally-higher decibel voice, even when giving compliments.
- "No. Just… No" Reaction: In some strips, such as this one, senior marines become so astounded by the antics of marines they're responsible for that they can only sputter and make noise about how the marines should stop what they're doing.
- No Name Given: Abe and Garcia are only ever known by their nickname (Abe) or their last name (Garcia). Their full names are given in the "Revenge of the Dependapotamus" PDF comics: Abe's last name is Belatzeko, and Garcia's first name is Jesus. At least in Abe's case it seems to be that no one can pronounce his last name right, which is based on Uriarte's own experience of people mispronouncing his last name while he was in active service.
- Noodle Implements: Abe's Necropocalypse Survival Kit: A bottle of wine, a can of kerosene, a rope, and condoms. Garcia calls him on it, referring to it as a "rape kit."
- Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used To Be:
- Strip 153, "Old Corps" talks about the subject of hazing new recruits, featuring people from today's USMC back to one from World War II.
- A sequel strip showcases that the vets were just as dumb as the new group, but just lacked the means to showcase it like Millenials do.
- Nostalgia is ruthlessly mocked in most strips, especially what Uriarte sees as a romanticization of seriously unpleasant aspects of "old" Marine culture, like beating gay recruits. More generally, he hates people talking about a mythical "old corps" that was so much tougher than the modern wusses.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."
- Strip 153, "Old Corps" talks about the subject of hazing new recruits, featuring people from today's USMC back to one from World War II.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: The Rant for this strip has Max insist he really does recall at least three occasions of Marines' lighting their own pubic hair on fire to stave off boredom from his first Iraq deployment.
- 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.
- Old Soldier: Parodied ruthlessly, making fun of how life in the Corps seems to age people far more quickly than the calendar. Yes, even the women.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Abe is called "Abe" because no one can pronounce his last name (Belatzeko).
- This is based on the author's own experience, since nobody could pronounce Uriarte.
- Only Sane Man: A lot of the strips give the impression that anyone above the rank of Corporal is stupid, evil, or just plain nuts. They give the same impression of anyone at or below that rank as well, of course.
- Personal Raincloud: Marine units apparently have these when going out on field ops, where it rains out of the heavens on while the sun is shining around then. Another strip shows that God makes it rain on Marines on earth as punishment when Marines in Heaven fall asleep on post.
- Phony Veteran:
- Parodied in this strip, where a Marine screams at a child for dressing up as a Marine for Halloween.
- Also in "Stealing The Valor", where the guy is an obvious parody of an infamous phony veteran, except he claims that his MOS is a shitty job that nobody would brag about doing. Garcia seems to buy it on those grounds.
- Place Worse Than Death: The sheer awfulness of deployment at Twentynine Palms is practically a Running Gag in the strip. And apparently, Camp Lejeune is even worse than that.
- Political Overcorrectness: One strip had the Staff Sergeant inform the troops that Assaultmen and Mortarmen were going gender-neutral as "people". Cue one grunt saying they identify as a "gender-fluid, non-binary, pansexual horsekin" and objecting to Assault as being needlessly violent. The final panel is the Staff Sgt. sitting in a dark room nursing a beer.
- Potty Failure: Have you ever yelled so hard you shit your pants?
- Professional Slacker: Abe, apparently. It's the principle of the matter!
- Racist Ghost of Marine Corps Hero: The Ghost of Chesty Puller's advice for memorial day: "If I were you, I'd go and find a nice fat-bottomed negro woman to romp with."Garcia: Wow...that was really racist.
Abe: His time was a different time.
- The Rant: Every comic is accompanied by an entry explaining the background behind the joke for anyone who wasn't a Grunt, as well as giving the author's feelings about it.
- Rapid Aging: Due to the idiocy of those under their command and the stresses of the job, Marines age very swiftly.
- Recruiters Always Lie: Several strips deal with the fact that the advertisements always paint a much rosier picture of service than the reality.
Mop guy: Well anything seems cool if you say it like that...
- #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."
- Max repeatedly revisits his hatred of recruiters, with one comic declaring them "Agents of the Green Weenie" and explicitly comparing the recruitment office to the Casting Couch.
- Uriarte himself, however, says that his recruiter was a complete aversion, and never once concealed how difficult and unpleasant enlisted military training can be.
- Retool: In 2020, Uriarte shifted from black-and-white strips (with occasional bits of color) to full-color single-panel comics.
- Semper Fi: The United States Marine Corps plays a important role in the comic.
- Sequelitis: Mocked in this strip due to the Actionized Sequels to Jarhead, which were both Dramatically Missing the Point of the first movie's slow, deliberate pacing.
- 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.
- "Throwback Thursday" features two elderly men wearing caps saying that they're Korean War or WWII veterans, are named Willie and Joe, and their designs retain the defining large vs. small noses that set the two apart.
- This strip serves as one to Half Baked's famous Take This Job and Shove It scene.
- In a moment of self-reference, the Metal Gear Solid parody storyline featured a reference to Garcia's gruesome demise in The White Donkey.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Boots and the newly promoted often have much motivation and the belief that they can change the Corps and have a good time. Such "moto" dies out in time.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Exaggerated and parodied here. And only very slightly exaggerated, too, if the video in the accompanying rant is any indication.
- Snipe Hunt: The source of comedy for a guest-comic, in which Abe managed to actually find the mythical items (e.g. 50 feet of shore line, ID10T forms, Chem Light batteries, and even Schmuckatelli himself).
- Sound Off: When tasked for someone else to call cadence, Abe volunteers. Cue Visible Silence.Platoon Leader: ...I don't hear anything!
Abe: I know! Isn't this so much better?
- 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.
- Squee: Abe goes completely fanboy over the thought of being shown the inside of a tank.
- Stating the Simple Solution: After a robotic mule was developed, a grunt asks why they don't use ACTUAL mules instead, since they cost far less money to start with and don't require specialized upkeep, with the strip depicting some... ulterior motives to the shift.
- Strangely Arousing: Abe's reaction to a female marine wearing the Dress Blues, who—in a push for equality among marines—also has a medium-reg haircut.
- Also, the Blue Angels will give anyone a Raging Stiffie. Anyone.
- Abe is uncomfortable with the erection he got when watching Allison Williams perform as Peter Pan in Peter Pan Live!
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Within three days of his returning home on leave, Abe finds he is bored as hell of civilian life and misses the barracks. Uriarte describes the more dramatic version of this trope in his accompanying blog post.
- An earlier strip pointed out just how weird the Marine Corps is compared to civilian life.
- Take That, Audience!:
- A photo of a boot corporal holding an umbrella for the President while he gave a speech was met with derision and declarations to tell him to hold his own umbrella...from Talking Heads to other servicefolknote The strip has the corporal complain, whereupon the President about tears his head off.Uriarte: “I would have told him to fuck off and hold his own umbrella.” No you wouldn’t. Shut up. We’re Marines, if the President of the fucking United States asks you to hold a fucking umbrella, you hold a fucking umbrella. [...] He’s the President, he rates an umbrella. Get over it.
- After the Capital Hill riot in 2021, Uriarte posted a strip that found some dark humor in the situation and accompanied it with a commentary preemptively calling out members of his audience who might sympthize with the rioters.Uriarte: Terminal Lance has always been apolitical and I enjoy keeping it that way, but we’re so far past the point of what it even means to be “political.” If you supported this egregious nonsense against my beautiful nation, I don’t want your business anyway.
- A photo of a boot corporal holding an umbrella for the President while he gave a speech was met with derision and declarations to tell him to hold his own umbrella...from Talking Heads to other servicefolknote The strip has the corporal complain, whereupon the President about tears his head off.
- 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.
- And then in July 2017, it actually rained on the base.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: This image of Sgt. Dakota Meyer receiving the Medal of Honor, described by Uriarte as a man who "bears more burden than [he] can fathom."
- A later strip refers to this as "going internal", in which Garcia can see the poor boot's soul leaving his body. The Rant below, however, advocates giving support to someone in this mindset, rather than Abe's advice of Taught by Experience.
- Took a Level in Cynic: The strip generally portrays the boot, the newbies, as a Butt-Monkey Naïve Newcomer. Over time, he'll slowly get more cynical, with the worst being a Lance Corporal. Eventually, once he leaves the military, he'll be back to normal.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As Marines progress up the ranks, they are shown in the strip becoming assholes temporarily upon promotion to Corporal and more permanently at Staff Sergeant.
- Too Much Information: In one instance of Abe being on barracks duty, he is told to "keep track of everything" in the logbook. Taking this at face value, he entered, in concise but excruciating detail, an account of his trip to the bathroom to perform some bodily functions. The Officer On Duty notes that this account "is a bit unnecessary".
- Traumatic Haircut: A marine forces his son to get a high-and-tight haircut, and the kid is very much distraught over it. Abe, regarding it as child abuse, reports it to PMO...who move quickly.
- Trauma Button: Abe calmly asks another marine if he wanted to go shopping with him on black Friday (i.e. the day after Thanksgiving that's a huge boon for shoppers). The other marine immediately thinks of the Marine version, in which you meet Drill Sergeant Nasty during boot camp.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Uriarte notes that Marines will complain about anything and everything. Even Hawaii.
- Visual Pun: To express the tendency for constipation from eating nothing but MREs, one strip has Abe apparently literally shitting bricks due to eating them.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Garcia's interpretation of God is that "he's one of those mean friends that likes to do terrible things to people out of love," immediately before giving Abe a Nut Tap to demonstrate.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: That Guy, who immediately tells Abe he plans on killing a stray dog that reminds Abe of home.The Rant: While That Guy doesn’t necessarily have to be about FOB dogs, there’s always some douchemaster that wants to shoot the animals aboard the FOB. You know them, we all do. They’re the fucking asshole that grew up with an abusive father or something so they feel the need to shoot animals that are otherwise harmless so they can ruin shit for everyone.
- They're also the ones who spur the various Safety Talks due to some stupid bullshit they pulled - though they theorize that may be an Unishment situation.
- Worth It: Yes, some Marines are willing to get their teeth pulled if it means getting out of something particularly grueling.
- Younger Than They Look: A couple of strips touch upon how the stress of being in charge of young marines who get into all sorts of trouble even stateside make a young officer in their twenties look decrepit and on the verge of death.
Post contains examples of:
- Animated Adaptation: Uriarte was required to produce an animated short for a class, and decided to base it on the same experiences that the online comics draw from.
- Art Shift: From Uriarte's normal style. This one features much more simplified, Super-Deformed characters, presumably to make animating much easier.
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti: One of the Marines draws a penis on the wall, while giggling uncontrollably.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends the same way: With a shift change, a Marine tapping the butt of the machine gun, and sighing.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Primary theme of the short. They appear to spend all of ten seconds actually standing watch, and the rest of their shift finding various ways to pass the time.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Or at least, very bored sentries love any distraction from the monotony of their day, which would include stray dogs passing nearby.
- Shout-Out: To a Youtube video about a Marine standing watch, called "Momma Dog"
- Splash of Color: The entire film is in a gray-scale color palette, except for a bottle of urine.
- Super-Deformed: All of the Marines appear to be about three feet tall with huge heads. Effectively a step up from being stick figures.
- Toilet Humour: At one point, one of the Marines is shown pissing into an empty bottle. Shortly after, they decide to see how far they can throw it.
- Truth in Television: According to some of the YouTube comments on the film, quite a bit of this stuff happens in Real Life, if not all in one shift.