With all of the comics that are out there about superheroes, aliens, and creatures from a mystical realm, this Kickstarter project is — without a doubt — something completely different. Terminal Lance: The White Donkey is not only a 150 page story about a U.S. Marine and his journey to Iraq, it is also written and illustrated by a Marine.
Terminal Lance: The White Donkey is a webcomic that is written and illustrated by Maximilian Uriarte, a prior-enlisted Marine with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Animation from the California College of the Arts. Max tells us that he has been writing this story for the past three years. “It is a fictional story of a Marine, Abe, and his existential journey through the Marine Corps, Iraq, and his return home. Within the story, Abe enlists in the United States Marine Corps in the hopes of finding that missing something in his life that he can’t explain,” Max related.
Upon enlisting in the corps, Abe discovers that it’s not quite what he expected, plus he gets more than he bargained for when his journey takes him to the Middle East, landing him in war-torn Iraq. The White Donkey explores the experience of being a Marine, as well as the challenges that veterans face upon their return home. Battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression is a very real story that many veterans must deal with, but never really gets told. The White Donkey seeks to illustrate the surreal journey of these subjects in the form of a graphic novel. Needless to say, the story is heavily inspired by Max’s own experiences in Iraq.
Max has been writing the story for the last three years. Fans of the Terminal Lance webcomic will recognize Abe and Garcia, the central characters of the strip. However, Max says that these characters at the heart of this story were created because of The White Donkey, and not vice versa. He introduced the characters into the webcomic because he knew that he wanted to write this book. In many ways, The White Donkey is the ultimate realization of the Terminal Lance name. It tells the story of the Marine Corps through the eyes of a Marine.
To Max, this book isn’t just a graphic novel; it is a visual experience that tells a story. The White Donkey is a vision that has been a long time in the making, and he wants nothing more than to make it become a reality.
Max is raising the money so that he will be able to create the pages of the book. This is a very personal project and he says that he would like to be the only artist working on it. As such, it’s going to take him some six months to illustrate the pages of this book — this is with him working full time 8-12 hours a day on it. He feels that he can realistically work on and finish a page or two per day while still maintaining the integrity and quality of his vision. As it stands now, the book is completely written, but the pages need to be illustrated. Max is prepared to devote his full attention to this project.
The money will also cover the cost of printing a limited edition version of the book, as well as pay for all of these awesome Kickstarter rewards that Max has in store for his supporters as well as some miscellaneous Kickstarter fees. Once the book is completed and in print Max will seek out a publisher. His goal is to self-publish a special Kickstarter limited edition version, and later roll out a national printing should the opportunity arise. He also has built in a ton of great stretch goals in mind if he exceeds the funding amount. First and foremost, he would like to expand this project to create a digital motion graphic comic app for iPad and Android tablets.
Max served in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 to 2010 with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment based out of Hawaii. He went to Iraq twice in this time between 2007 and 2009 as a 0351 Infantry Assaultman. Upon exiting the Marine Corps in 2010 with an Honorable Discharge, Max moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to study animation using his GI Bill.
Max received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation from the California College of the Arts in Oakland in 2013. Max has worked on multiple productions as a storyboard artist (including an Arnold Schwarzenegger film) and is currently freelancing in the field of animation. Max created the webcomic Terminal Lance in 2010 while still active duty. The comic strip is lauded as a definitive source of capturing the culture of the lower enlisted experience. Terminal Lance has seen two books published and is published weekly in the Marine Corps Times newspaper.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.