It’s time for Your Weekend Read. This one you’ll want to put on your list. Read up.
We all know Terminal Lance, the dark-humored comic about life in the Marine Corps in general and infantry terminal Lance Corporals in particular. Part of the draw of these comics, at least in my mind, is the ability of Maximilian Uriarte to create instantly relatable characters, even within the confines of a simple 3-panel comic strip.
Ever since The White Donkey was announced, a full-length piece from Max, I was looking forward to reading it. Earlier this week, this long labored work was finally made available. I’ve never been one for comic books, or “graphic novels” as the nerdiest nerds would scold me to say. That didn’t stop me from getting one shipped overnight as soon as I could, however.
And I admit, at least in this instance, it made for a compelling work. Once it was picked up, it wasn’t put down until it was completed. Unlike many books on my shelves, this one will absolutely be read again.
Your favorite characters from Terminal Lance, Abe, and Garcia, are here. Though there is military humor peppered throughout, it’s the dressing and not the meat. The White Donkey follows the pair as they move from being fresh boots to deploying to Iraq. This book isn’t a pulpy action piece but it is unquestionably about war, experiences ranging from the frustratingly mundane to the horrific, and the search for a higher meaning that led some of us to serve in the first place.
The White Donkey took so long to produce because Max was the only artist who worked on it. He wrote all the dialogue, penned all the panels, and performed all the coloration. All this while managing the empire that Terminal Lance has become, and still attending college. The effort and heart poured into this work shows.
If you told me I’d laugh out loud while reading one minute and then cry in the next, I’d have been skeptical at best. But lo, without shame, I’ll admit that happened. I don’t know if you have to be a Marine or an Iraq War veteran to fully absorb The White Donkey, but I know you’d absolutely have to be one to write it in the first place.
10/10- Highly Recommend.
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