FiveThirtyEight, the ultimate Stat Nerd website lists the number of Americans who are currently serving or have served in the past at around 7.3% of the population. A tiny percentage when you think about everything that it takes to serve the biggest military superpower in history. There’s a very good chance that if you’re reading this, you know someone closely who has served in the military. For me, it’s my two oldest brothers, both of whom were medically retired from their respective branches, the Marine Corps and the Air Force. That’s to say nothing of countless people my age, like my friends Roman Diaz and Matthew Zurawski, who served with honor an integrity

Serving in the military is usually seen as a prestigious, selfless act. And indeed, it can be. For most of our new veterans, serving meant literally putting your life on the line. But it also meant a lot of hard work that may not have been so glamorous.

That, in essence, is the premise of Maximilian Uriarte’s webcomic Terminal Lance. Each strip presents the reader with the struggles of being a Lance Corporal or, if you prefer, grunt, in the Marine Corps. Specifically, being a Terminal Lance, meaning that before their stint is up, they will never be promoted higher than the third enlisted rank of seniority. Whether it is from lack of acknowledgement or, perhaps, one too many NJPs (non-judicial punishments) at the hands of “The Green Weenie”, which is what is Marine-speak for what the Corps uses to screw you over.

That’s not to say that it’s all gloom. Uriarte packs plenty of laughs and schadenfreude into three or four frames at a time. Whether it’s the struggle to pass a urine test with your Sergeant watching, “skating” (ditching grunt work by hiding or using a fake excuse, most likely going to Dental) or helplessly watching a buddy spend his first paycheck on a brand-new 48% APR Ford Mustang. This is all seen through the eyes of our protagonist, Abe, and his friend Garcia. While Abe voices his qualms with military life, Garcia goes with the flow, sometimes to the consternation of the former.

One of the most wonderful aspects that the webcomic has is the outlet it gives former Marines to laugh at once may have made their lives difficult. It’s something that is sorely needed and voraciously eaten up by Max’s followers, which recently edged over half a million readers on Facebook alone. It was this following that, in part, led Max to Kickstart his own project to fund a new graphic novel based on his webcomic.

After a couple of years of grinding and setbacks, the book made it’s way to backers. 284 pages of new material in a handsome hardcover. With the money raised Uriarte was also able to fund a first printing of the book. It sold out within the first week, which led to Little, Brown and Company scooping up the book and republishing it earlier this month. The book has since become a New York Times bestseller.

I have been following Max now for years, sharing his strips with my friends and family. Being in a position to promote his book, it was a no-brainer to reach out to him. With the coordination of the author and his publisher, we will be hosting a release party for his book this weekend, Saturday April 30 from 7 – 10 p.m., with a special VIP hour for his Kickstarter backers from 6-7 p.m. In addition to selling the book, we will be collecting money for the Semper Fi Fund. The Semper Fi Fund provides money to Marines in need and their families, with a Charity Navigator score of 97.71 out of 100, meaning that over 96 cents of every dollar donated makes it to Marines in need.

Join us this weekend for food, drinks and fun. Just don’t let the Green Weenie get you. And if anyone asks, you’re going to Dental.

-By Mauricio Machuca