Max Uriarte, creator of the very popular "Terminal Lance" comic, has a new venture: 3D animation.
His new company, Post Animation, has released its first project -- "Frag Out," written and created by veterans for a veteran audience, and the reviews are overwhelmingly good.
For Uriarte, 3D animation has been a long time coming.
In 2011, he created an animated short featuring two bored but adorable U.S. Marines on duty at a remote outpost. He was pretty fresh out of the military and didn't have quite the same following.
"Half the people following me today never saw the original," Uriarte said. "The original was done for a class, but I always wanted to go back and revisit it."
Since that first animation, "Terminal Lance" has exploded in popularity, allowing him to work on a variety of projects, including a "Terminal Lance" graphic novel called "The White Donkey" and the critically acclaimed "Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli."
In 2013, while raising money to publish "The White Donkey," Uriarte set aside some of the funds to go back and redo that first animation. It stayed on the back burner for quite a while, but when it was time to pick it back up, he found help from Mike Dowling, a fellow Marine veteran and author of "Sergeant Rex."
Almost a full decade after that original class project, Uriarte recreated the animation in a beautiful 3D render with the help of fellow animators. Dowling, along with producer Jeanne Tumanjan, helped produce the new short.
The finished product is pure visual storytelling -- and was well worth the wait.
"Frag Out" features Buck and Chuck, two bored Marines on guard duty who try to keep themselves entertained and awake -- with the help of a grenade.
Gamers may recognize some of Uriarte's creative influences, and veterans of any branch will find familiar antics in Buck and Chuck. Marine Corps veterans might find a little more.
"Marines are a special breed," said Uriarte, who served in the Marine Corps from 2006 to 2010. "They kinda created a monster with Marines. The Corps builds thousands of creative problem solvers and, when they're bored, they come up with creative ways to entertain themselves.
"When boredom sinks in," he added, "anything is on the table."
While some viewers may not fully appreciate pairing U.S. Marines with "cartoony" humor, the response from leathernecks, other veterans and "Terminal Lance" fans alike has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Uriarte.
He said "Frag Out" is the quintessential example of what Post Animation is and will be, just the first in what he hopes is a long line of productions for the new company.
"There's nothing like this, no one is doing 3D animation for the military," Uriarte said. "The only limits we have are financial."
In the future, he envisions more animations, more fun, more everything. He even rendered "Frag Out" in Unreal Engine so the company could leave the door open for video games.
Fans of "Terminal Lance" characters Abe and Garcia have no need to worry; they aren't going anywhere. The Marines of "Terminal Lance" are still Uriarte's first love.
"There are plans in the works for 'Terminal Lance' too," he said. "But that's for later."
Needless to say, readers and fans who enjoy the humor of Uriarte's comic strip are going to love his animated humor just as much.
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