Rick Altergott, 50

Author of Doofus Omnibus and much more

Why are cartoonists good in bed?
Most cartoonists are pretty empathetic. And that translates into wanting to get that "you're good in bed" reaction from another person. But I'm married, so I haven't had a lot of outside experience in over ten years on that one.

What's the best way to pick up a cartoonist?
Cartooning has a very singular kind of insider language. If you can plug into that, you will instantly be drawn into a different kind of inner circle and gain the confidence of another person. Almost instantly. If you want to talk about inking brushes or pens or what kind of paper or even something as broad as "who's your favorite cartoonist?" "Do you know Robert Crumb?" "Do you know the Hernandez brothers?" Once you get the answer, you can fine-tune it from there. Before you know it, you're probably going to end up in bed.

Do you find that a lot of women are familiar with cartooning at that level?
My wife is a cartoonist, and a couple of years ago, I would have said "not so much," but it's kind of amazing how many women are either practicing it or interested in it or have more of an awareness of it than before. It used to be such a boys' club. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if more than half of the people doing cartoons of some sort are women, outside of the mainstream like Marvel.

Has your wife ever objected to anything you've drawn?
A little bit. My wife has drawn some pretty shocking things too. So I would say that, in my particular case, she's a little hard to shock. We've both done X-rated comics before. Most of what she objects to would be more sexist than raunchy. We're kind of beyond that shock-value kind of thing. She'd object to some kind of coarse thing or "that idea's really cheesy or sexist" or something like that. That's where she would try to shame me into going another way.

Before you were married, did you have any groupies? Has being a cartoonist gotten you laid?
No, not really. I met some pretty nice girls through the business of cartooning. Back in the '90s, I was at a party with Jaime Hernandez, and this cute girl came up to us, and she was one of his fans. And then the same night, there was another girl who was a fan of my comic, Doofus, and she was not nearly as pretty. And both of us were like, "There's your fan, and here's my fan." But I wouldn't say either of them was a groupie. I've never had someone come on to me as a result of me being a cartoonist.

What events from your personal life have been featured in your work, if any?
The character I'm known for is named Doofus. He's a guy who doesn't get a lot of sex, but he's interested in things like sniffing panties — the trappings of sex without getting into the physicality of it. And that's not because he doesn't really want to — that's just how it works out for him. That's ostensibly one of the humorous parts of the character. That doesn't translate into my personal life, but I have had times in my life where I could certainly relate to that and felt unloved and unwanted by women.

What about the Miss Juniper comics on dating? Where did the inspiration for that come from?
I wanted a sexy girl character who I liked to draw. I wanted to develop her a little more because I realized that she had been around almost as long as Doofus, and I hadn't really done much with her. I had a bunch of gag ideas about dating and thought, "Oh, this would be perfect." I built them around her a little more; it kind of organically worked out.

My new girlfriend is way, way more sexually experienced than I am. How do I step up my game?
In my day, we used to read Penthouse Forum. Even if you didn't have the experience yet, you could certainly fake it. Or at least find out about things you haven't done yet and try to talk about them with some kind of authority while you're trying to get your more-experienced girlfriend to show you how to do it. I think most women like to be able to show the guy how to do things. And I don't think there are very many guys out there who wouldn't be receptive to that.

My girlfriend is good friends with her last ex. How can I ask her to ditch him without sounding like a jealous douche?
I've had some comics ideas along those lines; it's a theme I've always liked. It frustrates the hell out of guys when there's this other guy who's able to chat and be one of the girls and have girl-talk with a girl. It's even more maddening if the girl is your current girlfriend and this guy has history with her. But you don't want to sound like a douche. You could try to be the sensitive guy and be like, "Oh, this hurts me so much. Can you please not talk to him?" That's probably what I would do. See if that works. It probably wouldn't, but that's a good question!

My last three ex-girlfriends broke up with me and then crawled back to me. How do I keep myself from getting broken up with in the first place?
Wow! That doesn't sound like it could possibly be a real question. I don't understand how that happens anyway. I've never had anybody come back to me.

Nope. I just have to wonder, why would they come back? It's like, "I dumped you. Then I played around and it sucked so bad that I came back." And it happens three times? It's like, what's this guy doing to draw these kinds of situations out of people? It must be a good confidence-builder for you. It must make you feel like you're this amazing guy. Either that or women around you are just desperate. Why are you attracting women with such bad self-esteem? Is it financial — they have to come back to you because they're desperately in need of money or a place to live to get off the street? It sounds like you need to ask yourself some other questions before you can get an answer to that one.

Commentarium (11 Comments)

Dec 13 11 - 2:27am

I loved Big Questions so much I got it for three friends for Christmas. So, fuck yeah, Anders Nilsen.

Jan 08 12 - 2:51am

It really is a great book. Also, UGH/SIGH: Anders Nilsen so hot! I nurse a long-term crush on that guy, to the point of being super awkward when I run into him every couple of years.

Dec 13 11 - 2:35pm
Big Bang

I'm a woman in comics and I've gotten hella laid because of it. Not everyone who works in this field is isolated and/or socially awkward! Just puttin' that out there.

(I'm a cartoonist and I approve this message.)

Dec 15 11 - 5:04pm
also not Kate Beaton

I'm a woman in comics and I've also gotten laid because of it numerous times and I would agree with the interviewees that cartoonists are generally not good in bed.

Dec 15 11 - 6:22pm
patty leidy

I've never been able to find an AVAILABLE, well groomed cartoonist I WANTED to take to bed....the majority lack social skills and a razor and comb...big sigh on my part.

Dec 13 11 - 4:22pm
Sad But True

None of these are Kate Beaton so I don't care.

Dec 14 11 - 10:23pm

I will beat the next person who says "dealbreaker" into the pavement.

Dec 15 11 - 1:21pm
Kate Christensen

Emily Flake, I love you!

Dec 15 11 - 6:21pm
patty leidy

I always warn my future lovers, I'm a cartoonist, beware I WILL be writing about this eventually.. HEEEE

Dec 16 11 - 1:32pm
asterios papsmear

anders totally nails it. especially the sketchbook thing. thank you for being a good representative for cartoonists everywhere, anders!

i'm also a woman in comics, and i really try to avoid dating within the scene because i don't want to shit where i eat. it's risky. but i find that immediately outside the pool of cartoonists, dudes have wanted to fuck me *more* because i was a cartoonist than if i wasn't.

it does attract a certain kind of personality and it is a certain type of lifestyle. at their best, cartoonists are honest, funny, kind, and hardworking people, and make great company. but they're often introverts and can be pretty sensitive and lost in their own heads. you aren't meeting new people working in your room all day so it's a little harder to put yourself out there. if you don't already know how, it can be an uphill struggle.

but nobody's not getting ass MERELY because they're a cartoonist. it's like, honey, no, you're not getting laid because you're really self depreciating and have low self-esteem. that doesn't get anybody anything.

Dec 17 11 - 11:39am

My friend often said life is lack of passion till he met a cutest girl Angel on --CasualLoving dot c'0m--. It's where for men and women looking for intimate encounters.
It's a first and safe place for people who wanna to start a short-term relationship....
no bounds or limits in front of true love.