Maurice Fontenot is a renaissance man of sorts, having worked in animation as a designer and storyboard artist, in mainstream print comics as an artist for DC and Valiant, and as the creator of the webcomic "Ghost Pimp" for ACT-I-VATE. We chatted with Fontenot about "Ghost Pimp," which is debuting today on MTV Geek!
MTV Geek: How did you come up with the idea for “Ghost Pimp?”
Maurice Fontenot: I created Ghost Pimp for an anthology comic in 2001. The idea was to examine attitudes toward life and love and how extreme they could be. One day a guy wants to fall in love, settle down, get married and have kids; the next day he wants to screw every girl he sees. And how much more extreme could you get than a modern day nerdy white guy and a murdered black pimp from the 1970’s? The idea was to create a frank, funny look at adults and sex and how insane dating and relationships can be.
Geek: How did you get involved with ACT-I-VATE and what has been your experience with them?
MF: I had been a fan of ACT-I-VATE and knew a few of the contributing artists, but I’d never thought of being a part of it. Dean Haspiel saw my website and asked if I wanted to put Ghost Pimp on ACT-I-VATE. He said I could post the comic I did in 2001 and produce new stuff after that. I’d been working on an animation pitch for Ghost Pimp and had a lot of story ideas rattling around in my head, so the timing was perfect.
Geek: Do you prefer working in print or webcomics -- or rather, what are the advantages/ disadvantages of working in both?
MF: I’ve loved comics since I was ten and attending The Joe Kubert School and working as a colorist, writer and editor at Valiant Comics and a penciller at DC Comics taught me the ins-and –outs of the genre. I think the biggest difference between print and webcomics is that webcomics are a great way to get your stuff out there quickly and get immediate feedback. You can really develop the relationship between the artist and the reader. The disadvantage for me is that I can’t make a living off of it, so for now it’s just a hobby. But it’s really encouraged me to produce more comics for myself.
Geek: Who have been your greatest artistic/storytelling influences?
MF: Charles Shultz, John Kricfalusi, Peter Bagge, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Kurt Vonnegut, Walt Disney, Al Hirschfeld, Hanna-Barbera cartoons and Richard Pryor to name a few.
Geek: How has your work in the animation field impacted/influenced your comic work?
MF: Big time. Every animation gig I’ve had and all the talented artist and creators I’ve worked with have been a huge influence on me. I’ve stolen from every one.
Geek: Do you plan to collect the adventures of Ghost Pimp in print form? And/or extend them out to other media such as animation?
MF: I’ve experimented and looked into self-publishing the existing Ghost Pimp stories in a collection. That’s something that will hopefully happen this year. I’ve been working on a Ghost Pimp animation pitch for a few years now and have a lot of fun story ideas. I think that would be the perfect format for Ghost Pimp. Wanna make some cartoons MTV?
Geek: What other projects are you currently working on that you’re excited about?
MF: I’ve got bills to pay, so I’m lining up as much storyboard, illustration and advertising work as I can get my hands on at the present. I’m also illustrating a chapter for the new anthology comic on ACT-I-VATE called EVERYWHERE that I’m very excited about. And more Ghost Pimp!
You can visit Maurice Fontenot's official website at: www.mauricefontenot.com
Visit ACT-I-VATE for "Ghost Pimp" and many more webcomics at: www.act-i-vate.com