The White Donkey: Terminal Lance

The White Donkey: Terminal Lance is a 288-page, hardcover, spot color, graphic novel written and illustrated by Maximilian Uriarte. Published by Little, Brown and Company

The White Donkey is a story about a young man named Abe who enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps while the country is at war. We follow Abe as he and his fellow Marines go through training, deal with the monotony of military life, deal with family and friends outside of the military, deploy to Iraq, and confront the reality of war and what it leaves in its wake.

Let me say upfront, in the interest of full disclosure, that I’m a veteran and for me The White Donkey was a powerful story. The creator, Maximilian Uriarte, is a former Marine and he manages to elegantly capture the disconnectedness of family, friends, and the general civilian population from the service members deployed or preparing to deploy. He beautifully and convincingly tells the story of camaraderie between service members, of the almost unbearable boredom and never ending routine of deployment, and the uneasy excitement and anticipation of the unknown.

Unlike other “war” stories, The White Donkey doesn’t attempt to glamorize or romanticize the experience. This graphic novel depicts things as they are and as the writer/artist experienced them for himself. He states up front that The White Donkey is a work of fiction, but anyone who has worn the uniform and served in harm’s way will quickly identify with the characters and the experiences they go through. The overwhelming sense of surrealism that slaps you in the face when you set foot on a foreign land where things are so different and people want to kill you. The guilt associated with your actions. The repressed emotions that aren’t given time to be expressed because of the ongoing “mission requirements.” And the never ending, indifferent brutality that mars the landscape of war.

This is an important graphic novel that anyone seeking to understand the experience of our military in war should read. It’s not flashy heroics. It’s not unbelievable death defying scenes. It’s nothing you would find in a video game or an action movie. It’s something much more real. It’s a veteran’s perspective on what things are really like, in the real world. The good and the bad. The joy and the pain…and the scars it all leaves behind.

You can get The White Donkey at and find more of Maximilian Uriarte’s Terminal Lance at

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