Since his publishing company previewed the Legend of the Mantamaji graphic novel as a San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) exclusive months before their release, Eric Dean Seaton has had quite a whirlwind of a year. From its small, but earnest beginnings, the series has gone on to sell out at convention appearances as part of at 15 city (and growing) international book tour, been named a ‘Top Graphic Novel’ by Examiner.com and Atlanta Black Star, added to MTV’s Beach Reads for Social Justice Warriors list, earned brisk sales (including hitting top spots on Amazon.com), had continuous press coverage and has been picked up by major book distributors like Barnes & Nobles stores, Baker & Taylor, Ingram Books and public library systems. Seaton himself has been recognized with a Glyph Comics Awards Rising Star’ nomination and as a 2014 Samella Lewis Award winner for outstanding professional achievement. The momentum continues with Seaton’s appearance on “The Black Panel” – a closely followed SDCC panel – on Friday (10:00am – 11:30am Room 5AB) as well as his sneak peek at the upcoming Legend of the Mantamaji: Live Action Short which can be viewed all weekend at Small Press Pavilion Table P-13.
“Heading back to this year’s SDCC is like returning home,” Seaton said. “Last year, we launched previews of the book as SDCC Exclusives and this year we return with the Live Action Short’s sneak peek and my appearance on The Black Panel. It’s amazing to see how much Legend of the Mantamaji has grown and I am so grateful for all of the support, encouragement and even the discouragement we’ve encountered along the way.”
The Legend of the Mantamaji series will be available for purchase at San Diego Comic Con throughout the entire weekend and the books will be autographed by Seaton. Additional special appearances include: Legend of the Mantamaji artist Brandon Palas and Legend of the Mantamaji: Live Action star Philip Michael.
Remember when you were a kid you would do things in slow motion? Okay, okay, it was last Tuesday, but still, in your mind it was super cool just like the movies. Well, that’s what’s happening in this week’s episode of Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes.
The past couple of weeks have been great for the Legend of the Mantamaji team. The Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes web series began and we’ve been hearing from readers and new fans about how much they enjoy the series so far and that they are looking forward to the Live Action Short (so are we). In cased you missed an episode or two, here is the entire series so far. Be sure to like the videos and share with friends, we need your support!
Guess what?! Another episode of “Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes is out! And this we’ve released both episode two and three. Take a look at prop and set decorating and check out what it takes to get the superhero run just right.
The Atlantic Black Star has this week’s exclusive on the episodes and a terrific interview with Eric who discusses why he created the live action and what it’s like to be an independent creator right now:
As an independent with a new superhero, you encounter some pretty big obstacles,” Seaton said. “You have to dispel some long held misconceptions people have about independently published comics – that they don’t have longevity, that they are inconsistently produced, hard to find or not well made. Then, you have to establish your characters and the rules of your world in a way that’s interesting and to the point. I say this all the time – when Superman first came out he couldn’t fly, there was no Lex Luthor or Kryptonite. That first Superman would never make it in the comics now, it took years of great writers to develop him into the hero the world knows today. Now, you have to rich content and highly developed characters with all their powers right from the start. That’s one of the reasons why we did the short. You get to see what the Mantamaji can do and a good representation of the action and fun in the book in eight minutes.”
Read the rest of the article here and watch the new episodes below:
If you’re in L.A. or the surrounding area on May 9th, make it a priority to come out to take part in the Manifest Justice events. Eric has been invited as a panelist for the “Coloring The Future” moderated by Erika Alexander. Participants will discuss how they are creating new worlds in color and impacting how society thinks about race.
“I created Legend of the Mantamaji because I’ve always loved comics, and as a kid it bothered me not to see many people of color in the stories I loved so much,” Seaton said. “I wanted to create great stories with heroes, and magic and swords and have it feature people of color and strong women…stories that more people can identify with. It’s imperative for diverse creators to tell their story and create worlds of their own imaginings.”
The entire Manifest Justice event is several days of dialogue, events and activities with a focus on empathy, accountability, economic opportunity, compassion, dignity, power and opportunity for all communities.
Coloring the Future Panelists:
Learn more about the Manifest Justice event: http://manifestjustice.org
What does it take to bring a graphic novel to life? That’s the question being answered in the new web miniseries – Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes.
The series follows Legend of the Mantamaji creator and TV director Eric Dean Seaton and his production crew over three days as they bring a key scene from Legend of the Mantamaji Book One to life for the Legend of the Mantamaji Live Short.
“It’s fun look inside life on set and a great way to introduce new readers to the series,” Seaton said. “There is everything people love about behind the scenes footage – interviews with the people working on the film, insight on how stunts and scenes are created and the inspiration behind the story.”
Most people have already seen Seaton’s work without realizing it. Seaton has directed more than 200 episodes of 38 hit TV shows including NBC’s Undateable, BET’s Reed Between the Lines, Disney’s That’s So Raven, and Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a show on Nickelodeon and Disney from the last 10 years that Seaton hasn’t been involved in, a formidable experience that viewers get to see on display throughout the Behind the Scenes miniseries. Seaton however, isn’t looking to show off for the cameras, instead he wants to give back.
“The live action short is a couple of things…first, it’s big thank you card to fans of the series,” Seaton said. “We’re an indie company with a new superhero and people have taken a chance on us. In fact the response has been amazing. We sold out recently at a con (C2E2) and we’ve sold out our initial runs on Amazon twice. The short is our way of saying thank you to the fans for using their power – both on social media and their dollars.”
“Secondly, the short and the behind the scenes series is a chance to gain a bigger audience for the books,” Seaton said. “It’s not easy being the new company on the block. Not only do you have to introduce yourself and your characters to would be fans, you have to do the same to media and the information gatekeepers. It’s an uphill battle for an indie company, we’re definitely the underdog here, but then again, everyone loves the underdog.”
The 12 episode series publishes weekly with the first episode clocking in at four minutes and the other episodes coming in at an internet ready viewing time of two minutes each. The series leads up to the launch of the eight minute film Legend of the Mantamaji: Live Action Short.
“This is an exciting and important step for the series and for the company [“And… Action!” Entertainment],” he said. “We’re able to show that we here for the long term, positioned for growth and we get to show off what the Mantamaji can do which is really fun. I’m living my two big dreams directing and creating comics.”