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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.
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.
Terminal Lance contains examples of:
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Uriarte uses a lot of terms that leave non-Marines baffled.
- Author Appeal: Uriarte did a short zombie arc starting here
- Armed Farces
- 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.
- Believed to have been started as there was a rumor that Robert Wagner was gay. This is likely untrue, but no armed force has ever let the truth get in the way of a good story.
- Drunk with Power: Implied in one strip, which shows a Marine who turns into a giant douchebag (literally) upon being promoted to Corporal.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Attempts to avert this trope are constantly being made.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied in this strip.
- I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Subverted (?) in this strip: Abe is good at Call of Duty, but not because of his military training.
- 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).
- Interestingly, at one point, he mocks the grunts who think anyone who does technical/repair work is an immediate POG.
- 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).
- Irony: 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."
- No Name Given: Abe and Garcia are only ever known by their nickname (Abe) or their last name (Garcia).
- Noodle Implements: Abe's Necropocalypse Survival Kit: A bottle of wine, a can of kerosene, a rope, and condoms.
- Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Strip 153, "Old Corps".
- Obstructive Bureaucrat/Rules Lawyer: The Staff NCOs.
- Old Soldier: Parodied ruthlessly.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Abe is called "Abe" because no one can pronounce his last name (Belatzeko).
- 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.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: Here.
- Recruiters Always Lie/Join the Marines, They Said: Several strips deal with the fact that the advertisements always paint a much rosier picture of service than the reality.
- Semper Fi: The United States Marine Corps plays a important role in the comic.
- 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.
- Too Soon: Uriarte drew this strip before he realized that it would be put up right after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Uriarte notes that Marines will complain about anything and everything. Even Hawaii.
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.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: One guard does this twice, while his partner is sleeping.
- 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.