Irreverent ‘Ranger’ debuts

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This week, Army Times introduces “Power Point Ranger,” a cartoon created by Sgt. 1st Class John Holmes.

PowerPoint Ranger replaces “Private Murphy’s Law,” by Mark Baker, who joined Army Times in February 2000.

Baker, a retired intelligence noncommissioned officer, “ETSed” from the Army Times with last week’s cartoon.

“It’s time that I stepped aside and allowed some fresh blood to take over,” Baker wrote in an email announcing his retirement.

Holmes, 43, joins a distinguished group of artists and cartoonists whose work has appeared in Army Times. Among the first was the award-winning Bill Mauldin, whose “Willie and Joe” cartoons about Army life during World War II appeared in Army Times in 1943. In the 1950s, “Beetle Bailey” joined Army Times — and continues to appear in the OFFduty section.

Although Holmes is a cartoonist, he wants the world to know he’s no artist.

His formerly Web-only comic lampoons the Army, the enemy and combat itself. Its crude style is itself a joke, drawn using the indispensible software program soldiers love to hate: PowerPoint.

“It all started as a joke,” said Holmes, whose kooky cast of characters includes clueless privates, “overly sensitive” Army wives and arrogant helicopter pilots. They include Corporal Thog, the Good Idea Fairy, Sam the Working Dog and Captain Obvious.

“I have two characters who are insurgents, who say, ‘Is it the red wire or the blue wire?’ Boom,” said Holmes, who relishes being politically incorrect and targeting hypocrisy where he sees it. “The Army gives you the opportunity to witness the absurd over and over and over. I think my sense of humor just comes from being a crusty old NCO.”

Now on the verge of retirement, Holmes has worked in recruiting for the New York National Guard for the past three years. But much of his 20-year career was spent in field artillery and in the active-duty military.

In Iraq in 2005, he was a self-described “fobbit,” slang for a soldier who stays inside the wire, honing his PowerPoint skills and creating his comics. Since 2009, he has published his comics on Facebook and later his website, http://pptranger.net/.

The most rewarding part of drawing comics, Holmes said, is his interactions with soldiers who feed him ideas or just let him know he brightened their day.

“Hopefully, I just give people a chance to laugh, even when they’re having a crappy day,” Holmes said.

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38 Comments

  1. Power Point Ranger is disgusting in the way it depicts women. I find it to be very offensive and I will not be picking up any Army Times that includes this pathetic excuse for a comic strip. Not only that, but Ish Holmes is a pathetic excuse for a soldier, choosing to spend his time making crappy comics on Army computers instead of doing the job he was paid to do! This sickens me that Army Times would support people that basically steal money from the government and exploit other soldiers for financial gain. SHAME on you, Army Times.

  2. I am grateful for his comics, they certainly make me laugh, very much. It’s generous of him to take time out of his life to do it. Also, his Snappy Cow business does support troops with free products. Overall, I think he is a great guy doing a good thing.

  3. Michael Devlin on

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the entertainment. I have shared your comics with so many ppl who have also enjoyed. Thanks again.

  4. Raymond F. Cich Jr. on

    I’ve been following ‘Power-Point-Ranger’ for some time now. I find it humorous and an insight into the psyche of today’s Service Member. I’m confident that it’s irreverent and sometime indignant view upon Military Life. Will be a moral booster and just plain; damn funny !!!!! A sentiment that seems to be lacking now a days, with all of that which is going-on.
    P. S. I really like the stuff with the M.P. MWD… I find it hilarious !!!!!!!! “Of the Troops — For the Troops”.
    Ray C. {Former – U. S. Army ’82-89′}.

  5. I’m sorry, Newsraider, positive opinions are not the only opinions you are going to get–truthful ones are also necessary. Power Point Ranger, Snappy Cow, and other WTF Moments groups and pages are well known to be anti-military spouse, disrespectful and degrading to women, and a lot of spouses read the Army Times–Well let’s just say they used to. I’m sure that many more women like myself will not be interested in picking any up now that it has been contaminated with such filth. It’s terrible really that the Army Times didn’t research Ish Holmes’ character before allowing him a spot in their pages. Funny is one thing, but definitely not at the expense of spouses. It just isn’t worth the disrespect towards women married to the military and I’m sure that men who care about their wives will also reject such garbage.

  6. I am so happy that someone (@Megan) has the guts to stand up for what is right. My daughter-in-law was attacked by the young men on http://www.facebook.com/usawtfm not too long ago. She and my son were both very upset by the way she was treated. I have personally witnessed attacks on spouses and female soldiers. The comic is also quite biased against officers and officer wives and is very derogatory to women. It sickens me that that kind of behavior is allowed on Facebook and now that it is in Army Times, I am appalled. This talentless comic strip is not humorous and the young man that writes it should be punished for the way he treats women. Shame on you Army Times; A worse decision could not have been made. If you would like a real comic that is uplifting, I suggest you look elsewhere. There are some real funny stories in Reader’s Digest’s ‘Humor in Uniform’. Maybe instead of a set comic strip, you should consider having readers mail in stories. I really enjoy reading things like that.

  7. @ Megan … Blah, blah, blah … blah, blah … blah, blah. If you can’t understand humor when you see it, then move to another planet. Men married to wives that are made fun of don’t pay any attention to it because they are MEN. So, you are telling me that you are so righteous that you can’t pick up an issue of the Army Times … and when you see a comic you don’t like … you can’t skip it and be done with it? I predict a comic soon with two main characters: Megan and Alice W.

    Readers Digest’s “Humor in Uniform” makes me want to vomit political correctness chunks all over the place. If that’s what you want to read, go read it. I’ve got something “uplifting” for you and it comes in a size 9-1/2 wide.

  8. Are you threatening me, Newsraider? I assume so and it’s not surprising either considering the education level of the young men Ish Holmes chooses to associate himself with. Your comment is exactly why I do not feel that PPR is a good fit for Army Times. There is a certain level of maturity required and PPR fans simply do not fit the bill.

  9. Mitchell Fabrics on

    Despite conflicting reviews of that apparent circle of web-pages attacks online towards spouses I’m disappointed it was picked up. It’s genuinely not funny nor that entertaining. Whomever the artist and concept writer is, at times creates overly mocking images of individuals and makes it a point to encourage his fans to “jump in” on mocking people with opposing views on certain topics.

  10. Don’t worry, the Army Times doesn’t have to balls to publish his most offensive work, everything published will be very sanitized… go ahead Army Times, publish the cartoons where he refers to Soldiers wives as whores and deployment sluts, go ahead, i dare you!!

  11. If straightjackets and ACUs didn’t have some horrible magnetic attraction, FRG meetings would be less painful. Megan, we get it. You don’t like PPR. I doubt AT is going to miss your business. Alice, grow up. The comic is MEANT to be shocking and offensive, though I’ve never found it to be so. Newsreader, don’t feed them. The comic is in AT now and that’s the way things are. If you don’t like it, either stop buying the paper or skip that page of it. WTF is a pretty bad page, but PPR is nothing like that.

  12. Alice W. and Megan are exactly the kind of women depicted in Holmes’ cartoons. Thats why they’re butt hurt about them, because they know they’re true.

  13. This is exactly what is wrong with the world today. I’ve been a fan of PPR for the last few months and have read every comic on his website. 99% of what is in the comic is reality, the 1% that is not is common folklore. Truth hurts ladies, EVERYONE in the military has seen people like Tiffany Amber Smith and the tag chasers in real life. I’m not saying its not degrading to women, but it shouldn’t offend you unless it portrays you. If you don’t like what you see in the comic, take a look around the Army and fix the wrongs that PPR brings into the light. This is the problem with our country. People love to complain about whats wrong and don’t want to do what it takes to fix the real issue. America has become a nation of cry babies, and it will be our demise. I hope that the few that are offended do not ruin a great thing for the masses that this comic bring joy and laughter to. Carry on PPR! I look forward to the Megan and Alice comic!

  14. Alice … your psychiatric social problem goes much deeper if you think I am threatening you in any way.

    Case didmissed. I will hear no more of your petty arguments. Bailiff, remove Alice W. from my courtroom!

  15. While the humor of USAWTF can be shocking it is meant to be by soldiers FOR soldiers. A spouse coming on there violating OPSEC or complaining because her husband has to go to the field will not find a lot of sympathy. Military sterotypes do not come out of no where. Tag chasers, and other male or female who go after soldiers to take their money is well known in the service. I enjoy the humorous parts of both PPT and USAWTF moments and I am a college educated, married female soldier.

  16. It seems that people like Alice and Megan have never dealt with ultra sactimonious wives whose husbands sport shiney metal on their collars. If the comic offends you do what normal people do, do not read it! If you ladies want cencorship move to the Middle East or one of the few remaining Communist countries and enjoy the womens rights there.

  17. I’d like to take a moment here to address the comments made by several people in reference to my comic strip.

    1. Most of my comics make fun of the soldiers themselves. From the lowliest Private to the Army Chief of Staff. I don’t see them getting all pissed off at me. I also make fun of rednecks, gangsters, geeks, wounded soldiers, incompetent officers, fat NCO’s. Everything. I do this because for 20 years I have been one of them. They are my brothers and sisters, and I know them and love them like my family, and claim the right to poke fun at my own family.

    2. I have often made comics which depict the tough situation that military wives find themselves in. I have one character who is a bit of a trashy army wife who seems to be extremely popular with my readers. Probably because she speaks her mind about the inanities that propagate through the Army social circles, such as wives assuming their husbands’s rank. I’m not stupid. If it’s popular, I do more of it. That’s how you become successful. However, it is a small, small percentage of my comics. You cannot laugh at some comics and get angry at others, just because some strike a nerve with you and you may see a little uncomfortable truth there.

    3. AS far as people being attacked on various websites, I’d like to point something out. No one is “ganged up on and attacked” on the Power Point Ranger facebook age. I moderate it very carefully, and personal attacks that go over the line are deleted and those people are banned off my page. In regards to other Facebook sites, I am an assistant moderator on many sites, and I am not responsible for what goes on there. I did not create them, and I myself have received many threats and extreme harassment myself for banning people who have attacked others.

    I think that you people forget that the average soldier is NOT some superhero, mythic, noble creature. He or she is a kid just barely out of high school watching his friends being killed and risking his life. Many of them are exhausted after 10 years of war, and if my comics make my fellow soldiers laugh, then I could care less how the rest of society views my comics.

    Last, I think you comments have pretty much fed right into the stereotypes that you claim to despise so much.

    ~PPR

  18. The Army Times failed to mention the fact that SFC Holmes made most of his comics on government computers during work hours. That’s very professional, don’t you think? I wonder if he’s going to include the comic where he calls WW2 vets “oxygen thieves”.

  19. I find the comics particularly funny and I am an Army Wife. The comments make fun of stereotypes in the military and the WTFs the Army is known for ( hello that’s why the good idea fairy always loses). I’m not offended by the views on women as the site and members support women who do not come on to complain about things like ‘ omg it’s 1700 and my husband isn’t home yet can i call his COC and complain?!’ or wives, girlfriends and fiancées that have Jodi reputations at one point or another. They make fun of male spouses who do that, they make fun of stupid soldiers, stupid policies, stupid political bullshit, etc. If you don’t like it, frankly just don’t look at the comic, it’s that simple. Its Army Wives like some I’ve seen complaining here that make me hate being associated with the 1% of you sensitive asses that most of us a bad reputation. Put on a fresh pair of big girl panties and STFU.

  20. Whaa, whaa, whaa!!! OMG, these comics were made on government computers during work hours!

    What? You think we’re mindless robots, dedicated only to menial tasks through all hours of the day? We sign acknowledgment of acceptable use policies that specifically state we are allowed to use IT systems for recreation as long as no individual causes excessive load on networks and doesn’t do anything silly like watch porn or promote a business using said Army IT systems.

    Get a life.

  21. Hoorah, PowerPointRanger! I don’t particularly “like” all of your comics … I don’t get them sometimes due to my own lack of life experience and understanding. But I damned sure am happy to speak up for your right to create them and for Army Times to publish them if they want.

    Women like Megan and Alice … for certain sure … if they weren’t complaining about you, they would complain about something else that doesn’t help the world spin.

    My chief complaint in life are complainers.

    That’s all I got. More power to you and your rare, creative mind.

  22. powerpointstranger on

    Kevin, “promote a business using said Army IT systems”…. so like him peddling his overpriced energy drink?

  23. I couldn’t help but notice something along the lines of “from soldiers, for soldiers” for that USAWTF facebook page. I’ve seen more false identities of characters from movies and comic books alike making lewd comments time after time with some soldiers breaking OpSec among other issues. I feel that if USAWTF continues they’ll be undermining discipline. Once a soldier touches a keyboard a level of honor, integrity, and discipline should be held. At all times.
    Let us not forget that a public facebook page is public for all to view. I would be ashamed and infuriated if I saw one of my soldiers making such inappropriate comments for all to see regarding some of the more serious issues discussed there.

  24. To all females whining on this site and USAWTF- stop your crying and complaining! If you don’t like what’s being said, then stop reading! If you’re being “attacked” online, there’s a block button. Or here’s a crazy idea- UNLIKE THE PAGE. These cartoons and sites are for us Soldiers that are hurt by the ones we love more than any other person. So, yes, we hate most wives. Wouldn’t you hate your spouse if you went to war while he/she was sleeping around? Get off our sites. They are where we can complain and relieve stress with our Battles that have been through similar pain and hurt.

  25. Hey Lindsey, do you have any proof for your allegations? Do you know that some people have computers in their home and pursue hobbies after hours? Lots of butthurt in your post.

  26. I also thought the comic strip was distateful. i was going to look for it on facebook to follow it, and came across old strips in particularly bad taste. I wouldn’t let my infantry soldiers doodle stuff like that on my squad tracking board, so I sure hope the artist will exercise common sense when submitting material to the “Army Times.”

  27. I felt the need to wrap myself in a wet blanket and hit myself with a bar of soap in a dark closet full of needles and razor blades, beacause of Powerpoint Ranger, I cry myself to sleep, have a failed marriage and poop in my pampers randomly.
    I really hate that peoples opinions can’t be veiled in political correctness and filtered through EO complaints. Recently I have contacted the Army times to file a claim asking them to repay me for the torment i experience everyday as a result of being FORCED to read this vile creation. Additionally I’m forming a group to Protest PPR and ask for it’s removal, we are 3 people strong and expect to become a big deal soon. Those interested are welcome to join me by dying in a fire.

  28. @Megan Sanders, I just want to say that I know for a fact that none of PPR comics have been produced on a GOV computer, or on GOV time… you should use FACTS and not speak of things you dont know, As a NCO I can say that yes some of the comics are crude… but they make light of the BS we deal with everyday… even the stupid, slutty army wives. (yes they exist) I dont know what fake happy life you live. Probably PC AF but get facts before you open your mouth and speak things that are not true.

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