One Punch Reviews #31: Pressed
The slow, painful deaths of local papers has created some very interesting reactions within people in the webcomic community. Some webcomic creators seem to take a sadistic glee with how things are going. But where’s the democratic response? Ryan Pagelow is the creator of the Pressed webcomic. He’s also a newspaper photographer, a writer, and a print cartoonist. He has a few things to say about the newspaper business as it struggles to stay relevant in the digital age.
The art style for Pressed can be described as very simple. It’s the standard look for comics that take place in the office ever since Dilbert hit the papers. (Seriously. Check out this Alice clone.) It’s weird calling a Dilbert-style comic old fashioned, but that’s how Pressed feels: it’s got a familiar and comfortable cadence straight out of the funny pages. Pagelow’s art style is also appropriate, since it’s about a newspaper whose best days are behind it. Pressed follows the overworked newspaper staff of Mt. Bluff and their everyday struggles in the office and on the field.
Pagelow doesn’t hold papers entirely blameless about their increasing irrelevance. The audience is graying, addlepated, and ornery. Editors struggle with any content to put in the editorials, reporters cover terribly trivial events, and sports writers act like total divas. And may the Lord have mercy on your soul if you forget the crossword.
But Pagelow is no shrinking violet. He observes how the new media centers on sensationalism and rage and misinformed opinions, yet cares so little about content. Pagelow even takes a shot at how unprincipled bloggers can be … wait a minute. I resemble that remark! PAGE-LOWWWWWW!!!!!
The unassuming artistic style tends to catch you off guard. Unlike the typical newspaper funny, Pagelow seems to be quite “hip” and “with it” (I think that’s the “lingo” the kids are saying these days) with the perils of modern communication. So, no, Pagelow is no old man railing at the moon. Sure, there’s a bit of a “better man” complex at work here, and parts of Pressed are exaggerated to the point of sounding bitter, but a lot of the criticism about the 24/7 news cycle rings true.
Pressed, is, at times, quite corny — the mayor’s name is “Windbagg,” for Pete’s sake — but overall, it’s fun reading. It’s definitely streets ahead any topical strip published in the Sunday paper. This sheltered, opinionated blogger wishes Pressed a blessed tenure online. May it live long after newsprint is committed to the dustbin of history… which should be in about three years.
Final Grade: 4 stars (out of 5).