…whatever the hell that means. It could be that, since people have to buy tickets to watch a losing football team go through the motions, they might buy more tickets to watch a terrible marching band go through similar motions. However, it seems more likely that the students are going to have to pay to participate in the football team and the band.
Let that sink in for a moment. We’ve just seen two solid weeks of Becky and Bull heaping abuse upon their students, humiliating them and calling their talents into question. What do you think the result is going to be when Bull gathers the team and tells them, “You’re worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty! Twenty dollars, that is, which plus another eighty is the fee you will pay for the privilege of playing football! You terrible, terrible losers! I hate you! But give me those checks or preferably cash, thanks.”
Yes, I know this is Westview, but how many students are masochistic enough to pay for this kind of humiliation? Even if the only alternative is the cornfield, I suspect that Bull, in another, better comic strip, would be presented with a pile of stacked helmets and the reverberating sound of lockers being slammed shut for the last time. And then “the team,” and thus “the band” would cease to exist.
However (there’s always a “however” in Westview), since this strip delineates the troubles faced by contemporary youth, and one of those troubles is marching band, let’s totally forget that the school can (apparently) afford a scissors-lift for the band director and an inflatable giant football helmet (and endless repair and replacement of same). We can see that the marching band is in no immediate danger. Despite the budget cuts and other assorted tribulations, Tom wants the band around…the same way he wants Lisa around. Forever.
Why? He clearly hates the football team, but without the team, the marching band has no function. Or does it?
Based solely on Funky Winkerbean (a phrase I hope I never hear the government utter), the band may have a life outside the reality imposed upon the comic strip. I can’t count how many arcs have focused on the marching band, but there have been a bunch of them. Becky, Dinkle, Owen, Cody…they’ve all been swallowed by the “marching band” maelstrom. They only exist for torture and disappointment…which are the twin axes of the Funky Winkerbean universe.
So…if they have to pay to play in the band…(and Tom Batiuk will make them do so…selling turkeys, selling blood, selling beloved comics, selling “something” to the beings that have preserved them in these horrific tanks)…whatever it takes, it will keep the band alive. He will keep the band alive. Because Tom Batiuk can’t kill the band. No…because the band tasks him and he shall have it. Killing the band is too easy, too quick, too final. He will chase the band ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before he will give them up!
Tom Batiuk has done far worse than kill the band…he’s hurt it. And he wishes to go on…hurting it. He will leave the band as he leaves us, as he left Lisa: marooned for all eternity in “a reality-based comic strip that depicts contemporary issues affecting young adults in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner”…buried alive! Buried alive…!