Don Asmussen (Bad Reporter)by GoComics
The GoComics "Meet Your Creator" series brings you firsthand insight into the lives and careers of your favorite cartoonists. Each week, we hand over the keys to one of our talented creators, who share their inspirations, achievements, creative processes, studios and more! Read on to hear from this week's featured cartoonist: Don Asmussen of Bad Reporter.
When did you start cartooning?
When I was about 5, I had a dream that eventually an extremely wealthy and hubristic real estate tycoon would run for president and destroy the world. I awoke and immediately asked my father to buy me some crayons. By that evening, I had completed my very first editorial cartoon diatribe against Donald Trump (this was around 1973-ish). I couldn't get it published anywhere, being it almost 35 years too early. So, I hung on to this precious cargo. Years and years later, it finally is relevant. But now, I can't find it.
So, I try to recreate it every day. The original was funnier. I wish I could find it.
How did you begin your career as a cartoonist?
I was hired at the Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun to create illustrations and charts, plus editorial cartoons. I purposely sucked at charts. Then, I even started sucking at illustrations. All that was left to do was visual political commentary about Donald Trump. Again, they wouldn't publish them since they were around 30 years too early. Now, though, the Lowell Sun sees what I was talking about. They should've realized I was playing the long game.
Where did you find inspiration?
Donald Trump. Did you miss that part of my last two answers?
It was Trump.
What comics did you read as a child?
I didn't really like comics. As a kid I read Spider-Man comic books. Newspaper comics weren't my thing - too many cats and neurotic women. I loved Benny Hill when I was very stupid and young, and then moved up to Monty Python as I grew older and didn't just want to watch Benny Hill's dancers. So British comedy shows were my thing. I like Jack Davis' Mad magazine covers, but I never read the actual mags. I loved Mark Alan Stamaty's "Washingtoon" in the Village Voice when I was in college. That was my first comic love, and I'm still angry at Newsweek for screwing his career up. Stamaty is the king, and that he never got a Pulitzer is a travesty. "Washingtoon" changed everything for me. Congressman Bob Forehead looks sorta like Joe Scarborough.
What comics do you read today?
What do you call your political comic "Bad Reporter"?
It's based on Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair, bad reporters who made up stuff. Spinning the spin, incorrect Wikipedia-esque reporting. I used to love the old newspaper parodies like "Not the New York Times" back in the '70s, which I'm sure The Onion was birthed from. I love news speak, the way newspapers instantly seem like they are keeping something from you. Headline wording is an art form of leaving out most of the facts or perspective. I love lack of perspective. It makes everybody funny. Donald Trump is the ultimate example of arrogant ignorance, very Python and very Congressman Bob Forehead. I hope Stamaty gets a lifetime achievement award. "Washingtoon" saw it all back in 1978. Plus, my drawing of Trump when I was 5. I was right on it. I've gotta look for that.
What are your other projects?
I'm working on fake documentaries, using animation and audio. Did a bunch back in the '90s with a company called Mondo Media. I hope to figure out a way to make them cost-effective. I should ask Mark Fiore how he does it. I'd like to do more of that - I enjoyed working on them before, the scripting, drawing and flash animating and the sound recording. It was super fun. But I'm not sure if media companies want to pay for it. I guess I'll find out.