When Eric Dean Seaton was a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, there wasn’t much minority representation in the comics he loved so dearly. After finding success as a television director, Seaton, who is black, set out to create a superhero series that had a great plot, a rich history and a multicultural cast of characters in Legend of the Mantamaji.
The graphic novel scene has become increasingly diverse as Brigid Alverson noted in a blog post entitled, “How Diverse are Comics and Graphic Novels?” on the School Library Journal website. In the post, she says there are only a small number of African American graphic novel creators. Seaton is a part of the growing crop of new creators hoping to change this. Publisher And…Action! Entertainment has just made the Legend of the Mantamaji series available for sale through major library distributor Baker & Taylor.
Legend of the Mantamaji tells the story of Elijah Alexander, a brash, headline-grabbing, egotistical Assistant District Attorney in New York who learns he is the last of a race of mystical knights called the Mantamaji, who once protected mankind. When an ancient evil is resurrected, Elijah has to turn his back on everything he’s worked for, accept his birthright and learn how to use his magical warrior abilities to defeat the greatest threat the Mantamaji have ever faced.
The books feature artwork by Brandon Palas, colorist Andrew Dalhouse who has worked with From Boom, Dark Horse, Image, Marvel and DC and lettering by Deron Bennett, who was nominated for an Eisner Award two years ago for his work on titles like Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and Helldorado, among others.
Book One was released on October 8th, with release dates for book two and three scheduled for December 10, 2014 and February 11, 2015, respectively.
PRAISE FOR LEGEND OF THE MANTAMAJI:
“Fans who bemoan the “big two” for a lack of vision or effort to create bold new characters and franchises should learn that innovation can often be found elsewhere. “Legend of the Mantamaji” has all of the excitement, imagination, and suspense to be a TV or film series on its’ own, but instead it is here as a comic to be enjoyed by the masses who crave them. “Legend of the Mantamaji” volume one is a must read for those who crave all of the spectacle and action of superhero comics yet want a comic which offers creative new ideas and a progressive storyline with real weight behind it.” [FOUR STARS] – Alex Widen, Examiner.com
“I didn’t want to put it down, dragging out the last few pages because I didn’t want to come to the end! A refreshing take on a mystic warrior story in the modern world, while still harkening back to African myths and legends. Great to see an original, African-American superhero character come into his own in a seemingly grounded setting.” [FOUR STARS]
“Author, Eric Seaton is a true contender in the comic world. Seaton knew what he was doing right from the beginning. An African- American D.E.A assistant in Manhattan, New York, soon discovers the stories that his mother had been telling him since he was a boy are true and that he must give up what he was worked for all his life to save the world. Just as any other hero that denies their destiny but soon or later have to except it. This is beyond imagination and I’ve had to stop myself from reading too much before there was nothing left to read. I love how the characters speak out loud and the reader is made to be part of the story. Legend Of The Mantamaji makes me feel like I can make my own comic book with an African-American as my lead character. Just looking at the cover I knew it would be a sensation, I look forward to the Mantamaji books to come.” [FIVE STARS] Khamwryn, Amazon.com
“Summary: 5 Stars Easy. Loved this comic, loved the way it left me hanging at the end. And I loved that it was more complicated than I initially anticipated. I am really looking forward to our heroes journey and with Detective Spencer at his side the bad guys don’t stand a chance!” [FIVE STARS] Thelonious Legend, GoodReads.com
“Rated ON!” by CommonSenseMedia.org
About Eric Dean Seaton:
As an episodic director, he is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee and has helmed over 38 different shows, 195 episodes of television, 18 music videos, two pilots for Nickelodeon, “Bad Fairy,” and “Sketch,” as well as two pilots for Disney XD, “Mighty Med,” which currently shooting its second season and “Kickin’ It,” which has completed its four year run.
Eric has also directed episodes of NBC/Warner Bros. comedy “Undateable,” BET’s “Let’s Stay Together,” as well as direct the pilot and co-executive produce the Starz Kids and Family Channel and international hit, “The Wannabes Starring Savvy.” This fall he will also debut his first Graphic Novel Series, “Legend of the Mantamaji.”
Legend of the Mantamaji: Book 1
Eric Dean Seaton (Author)
David Ellis Dickerson (Editor)
Brandon Palas (Illustrator)
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: And… Action! Entertainment; 1 edition
(October 8, 2014)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
It’s time for the Monday Mix! And this week I’ve found a great new Honest Trailer. If you haven’t seen an Honest Trailer video before, it hilariously sums up a movie to its good bits and adds a healthy dose of critic to plot holes and simple fixes overlooked for the sake of action. This week they take a look at X-Men: Days of Future Past:
It’s a little older, but it’s still good. “Sh*t Comic Book Nerds Say” is hilarious and you won’t be judged by how many times you’ve said these things.
New York Comic-Con drew hundreds of thousands of pop culture fans from around the world and we had a blast! It was a big week, with parts of the Legend of the Mantamaji crew coming out New York to man the LOTM booth.
NYCC also fell during the launch week of Legend of the Mantamaji Book One! So, in the middle of setup and of course the Con, I was getting all sorts of texts and alerts from people talking about the book on social media and in the media. It was crazy and exciting.
The trip to New York was a week-long adventure. It started with an interview at the offices of The Shadow League and Black Enterprise Magazine where Ricardo A. Hazell and his team got all the details of the LOTM – and we had a lot of fun as well. Look for that interview to go live soon. Then after some fun, we went into NYCC. The Con was a BIG hit for our team. We doubled our sales from San Diego Comic Con with one less sales day!
We also got the attention of libraries who are interested in adding the Legend of the Mantamaji series to their collections. Staten Island Library, Brooklyn Library, Long Beach Library and the Free Public Library in NYC all picked up the series to share with their counterparts ahead of their larger order.
The librarians we talked to were thrilled to discover LOTM, as we were the only superhero graphic novel with a black lead at the event. They told us the series are the kind of books their kids will go crazy over – which, of course, brought big smiles to our faces! I mean, listen, that’s one of the major reasons why I started on this journey. As a kid, I grew up wanting a comic or graphic novel like Legend of the Mantamaji. So it is so gratifying to know that librarians, people who are instrumental in helping shape a child’s love of reading, see the need for heroes of color and are actively pursuing and supportive of creators of color.
Speaking of creators, we also ran into our friends Erika Alexander and her husband Tony Puryear who were at the Con to promote their awesome graphic novel series, Concrete Park from Dark Horse Comics. (Go check it out if you haven’t already.) It was like a mini Living Single flashback!
I love getting a chance to interact with readers and to tell new readers about the series. I also love seeing and hearing their reactions after they’ve read the first book and then come back for the rest of the series. Overall, NYCC was a great success. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with a great team, including Legend of the Mantamaji and Eisner-award nominated letterer Deron Bennett who was on hand to sign books. We met many wonderful fans and creators, doubled our sales over San Diego and reconnected with friends. You can’t ask for much more than that!
This week’s Monday Mix has a kid theme to it: creepy kids, funny kids and a geek dad totally hooking up a kid. If you’re going to waste time on anything today, waste a few minutes on these:
Brownie Points for Dad
With more than 6.5 million views on YouTube, this Dad gets serious bonus points for building his child a fully functioning merch suit.
Creepy music + little kid = Perfect 1 Minute Horror Movie
Tuck Me In is a 1 minute horror movie that combines some of the best elements of what makes a horror film work: suspense, a kid and creepy music score.
“I am your father.”
Remember your reaction when you found out Darth Vader was *spoiler alert* Luke’s father? Well, check out these kids. *Mind Blown.*