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Chuck Asay draws on a white board during his talk at the Old Colorado City History Center Jan. 14.
Westside Pioneer photo

Famous cartoonist (Westsider) talks about his career

       Since 1978, one of the country's best known political cartoonists has lived on the Westside.
       He's Chuck Asay (pronounced A-C), who worked in the region since moving to the Pioneer Park area - including the Gazette from 1986 to 2007 - and finally announced his retirement (not surprisingly, in a cartoon) last year.
       Asay spent an hour Jan. 14 at the Old Colorado City History Center, talking about his life and career. The main theme, illustrated by several of his cartoons, was a comparison of the issues of today with those of 1993.
       “I decided to go back 20 years and see what people were talking about,” he told the packed house of about 100 people. “I was amazed at how many of those issues we're still dealing with today.”
       His research left him dismayed. “It was all for naught,” he said of political progress over the 20-year span. “We haven't learned a single thing.”
       Asay described himself as a believer in limited government with a pro-life stance.
       Similar issues he found from '93 included gay rights, homeless people, gun rights and even the controversy over the football team name, “Washington Redskins.” Speaking to the latter and using the surprise-ending joke that typified many of his cartoons, Asay said with a straight face that he understands some of the players today are “embarrassed to be on the team. They want to drop the name, 'Washington.'”
       In his talk, Asay shared a few personal experiences. One was that he was almost never born. His mother told him later that when she was pregnant with him she was so depressed about his father being unfaithful that one day she considered throwing herself into a river. Before that could happen, an older (future) sibling sat on an ant hill, which required her attention first. “So that gave me a personal reason to be pro-life,” Asay commented.

The cartoon above by Chuck Asay was denied for publication when he was with the Gazette, according to Asay. During his talk at the History Center, he explained that he thought of the idea based on the typical behavior of most media to start writing about homeless issues around the start of December each year.
Westside Pioneer photo of Chuck Asay cartoon. Used with permission of Chuck Asay (as is the cartoon on the Westside Pioneer home page)

       But the subject is particularly important to him in an overall sense. In all the arguing about “equal rights,” he said there is one group that gets no say at all, and that's the unborn.
       His favorite cartoon was the one he did after the Challenger explosion in 1986, which showed the shuttle flying on, into the hands of God.
       Asay realizes his messages often raise hackles with people not on the conservative side of the fence. “The truth that sets you free can also be the truth that hurts,” he observed.
       Not all of his submitted cartoons saw the light of day. In his years at the Gazette, “many times the Gazette wouldn't print stuff that didn't fit their point of view,” he related.
       Asked where he gets his ideas, Asay compared the process to hunting ducks. “Sometimes you get nothing, sometimes one or two. You dress them up and see if people want to swallow them.”

Westside Pioneer article (Posted 1/13/14)