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'Terminal Lance' creator releases new book of exclusive strips

Uriarte's new work, 'Head Call,' features Marine Corps Times strips

Jul. 14, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Maximilian Uriarte, a former infantry Marine, launched Terminal Lance in 2010.
Maximilian Uriarte, a former infantry Marine, launched Terminal Lance in 2010. (Courtesy of Maximilian Uriarte)
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Maximilian Uriarte, a former infantry Marine, launched Terminal Lance in 2010. (Courtesy of Maximilian Uriarte)

The creator of the virally popular “Terminal Lance” comic strip has a new treat for his fan base: a compilation of more than 100 comic strips created for Marine Corps Times and never seen on his site.

The new e-book, “Head Call,” is the second for Maximilian Uriarte, a former infantry Marine who became a hero for grunts in the junior ranks when he launched his frank and unfiltered online comic strip in 2010. In 2011, Marine Corps Times signed a deal with Uriarte to create additional strips each week exclusively for the Times print edition.

Uriarte, who embraces the crude humor and rough language of Marine life in his comic strip, said writing for a family publication like the Times presented unique challenges.

“With the Web comic, I can say anything I want,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to write something when you have no restrictions than when you have specific guidelines. It’s harder to write comedy that is appealing to everybody but still edgy; I think it strengthens me as a writer.”

The new book includes the first hundred strips published in Marine Corps Times, plus a few extra comics that were deemed a little too racy for print. Readers will also get “blog posts” from Uriarte explaining the story behind each comic and the Marine lore that inspired it.

Uriarte said his partnership with the Marine Corps Times has helped expand his audience beyond the “lance corporal underground.”

“I think when “Terminal Lance” first started, some people, especially staff noncommissioned officers, were afraid of it,” he said. “I think that putting it in Marine Corps Times, a corpswide newspaper, gave it more legitimacy.”

In a forward to “Head Call,” Marine Corps Times Managing Editor Andrew deGrandpré said “Terminal Lance” was a boon for the Times, too.

“While I can’t say I’ve enjoyed having to ask my boss whether contemporary turns of phrase such as “ass-hat” are acceptable for publication in a family newspaper, I have marveled at listening to personnel in the commandant’s office discuss the meaning of that particular strip as it related to their lives,” he said. “And it’s with such context I can state confidently that Max has helped Marine Corps Times to evolve and remain the premier source of information that engages, educates and entertains terminal lances everywhere.”

Since its release in mid-June, “Head Call” has already climbed into the Top 10 in Amazon’s Cartoons category.

Uriarte recently graduated from California College of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and is pursuing a career in animation at a major studio. He publishes “Terminal Lance” online twice a week and works as a collaborator on another comic strip, “Into the Mangrove.”

“Head Call,” at 154 pages, is available for $9.95 in the Amazon Kindle edition.

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