LEGEND OF THE MANTAMAJI, PoCs, and Magical Superheroes

As I’ve written before, I don’t like superheroes much. When I learned about the all-ages graphic novel series Legend of the Mantamaji by Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas, it was labeled as a superhero comic. While this was a turn-off at first, the premise of the books drew me in. It centers on a rising assistant district attorney named Elijah Alexander, who discovers he is the descendant of a race of mystical knights known as The Mantamaji.

Before reading Legend of Mantamaji, the only superhero of color with magical abilities I knew was Nico Minoru, a Japanese American witch from the Marvel comic series Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. Not only did Legend of the Mantamaji give me more representation, but it made me realize how much I enjoy magical superheroes. By putting swords and sorcery and a rich mythological origin story with elements from iconic superhero characters like Green Lantern and Spider-Man, Seaton created a compelling and entertaining series.

In fact, the mythological backstory and abilities is are some of strongest aspect of the series. The Mantamaji are the descendants of humans and The Enlightened, mystical beings who are like The Jedi Council with more people of color. The Enlightened and humans also have a race of female descendants called Sanctuants, who are fierce warriors that fight alongside The Mantamaji.

As a person of color who loves fantasy fiction and mythology, having a superhero origin story based in Africa was really refreshing for me. Most superhero origin stories I’d seen up to that point were man-made and based in the United States. Seeing people of color have their own origin story broadened my imagination and made me feel like I could have my own mystical powers too.

Both The Mantamaji and The Sanctuants have unique special abilities. The Mantamaji have an Ankh that forms armor and any weapon with a single thought and can also cast illusions. The Sanctuants can fire biogenic energy from their hands and are also skilled trackers. Together, The Mantamaji and The Sanctuants work together to protect the world from harm.

While I love The Mantamaji and The Sanctuants, The Sanctuants stood out to me because this was the first time I saw female characters of color working as equals to male ones. In superhero films, female superheroes are overshadowed by male ones, watered down, or dressed in titillating outfits for male viewers.

In Legend of The Mantamaji, the female characters have multiple roles that cause them to fight alongside The Mantamaji. Mariah Alexander, Detective Sydney Spencer, and Cornerstone are not sidekicks or fanservice for men, but mothers, daughters, cops, love interests, spiritual rocks, and ultimately, warriors.

Legend of The Mantamaji showed me the power of magical superheroes. By telling a fantastic tale with amazing characters that look like me and teaching me memorable lessons about personal heritage and sacrifice, The Legend of The Mantamaji graphic novels are truly legendary.

Midwestern Review “Absolutely Absorbing Read”

This three volume saga is an absolutely absorbing read that combines heroic fantasy with a compelling series of unexpected plot twists and surprising turns. More than just another superhero adventure, “Legend of the Mantamaji” is genuinely original and focuses upon a reluctant hero with incredible gifts having to deal with an ancient foe that was once vanquished but has now been resurrected to rule the world which he will remake in his own image even though it means the global genocide of the human race. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library graphic novel collections, it should be noted that “Legend of the Mantamaji” will have a very special attraction for African-American readers of all ages. If you only have time for one graphic novel saga that is destined to be a true classic, make it Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas’ “Legend of the Mantamaji!”


Legend of the Mantamaji:Bloodlines Debut Exclusive!

It’s Comic-Con® International week. This year we are sneak peaking our new graphic novel “Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines” Book One. The book will be released on December 6, 2017, but for this week only if you order the Comic-Con Debut Exclusive, we will mail it to you NOW! The $14.99 Exclusive Copy makes for a great read or a great gift. If you would love to help support, please order from the link below:


Also, please don’t forget to check out the premiere of “Raven’s Home” this Friday. It was truly an honor to help shape the new version of the original series which started my #directorslife career. It’s going to be a fun week, so please excuse the excessive posting. #independentcomics #LegendoftheMantamajiBloodlines #LegendoftheMantamaji #SDCC #SDCC2017 #comiccon #comiccon2017

Pre-Order Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines Book One


TV director Eric Dean Seaton’s “Legend of the Mantamaji” was critically acclaimed and made news on MSNBC, Forbes and The Root. Now he returns with a new story in the Mantamaji series that’s just as action-packed, just as magical and even more dangerous.

Two months ago, Elijah Alexander was just a cocky Assistant District Attorney who wanted everything his poor upbringing couldn’t give him. When he learned he was descended from an ancient race of heroes, Elijah became the last Mantamaji and used his mystic ankh and powers of illusion to defeat the evil sorcerer Sirach. But now that this enemy is gone, a new enemy—Gideon’s Army—forces Elijah to prepare for a fight he was never trained for…and one that forces him to question the very origins of his people. In “Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines,” nothing is safe…not even history.

“Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines” is a graphic novel series whose sweeping tale of magic and mystery, heroes and villains, has a fresh look, a modern setting—and an ancient beat.

Pages 162

Ages 8 to 88

Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.6 x 0.4 inches


Wondercon Panel • The Writer’s Journey: Breaking in and Managing a career in Hollywood

Our WonderCon panel!


This panel addresses what new writers need to do once they have material ready to go out to the masses. The shifting 21st century digital frontier means the age-old methods of building a career have been rendered irrelevant. This group of Hollywood screenwriters and graphic novel creators share insider information, publishing secrets, and the professional realities on how to develop your ideas into a viable property and market yourself accordingly.

Moderated by 2015 Disney/ABC Writing Program winner and 2014 Eisner Award nominee Brandon Easton (Marvel’s Agent Carter, IDW’s M.A.S.K.), the panel includes TV producer Geoffrey Thorne (The Librarians, Marvel Comics’s Mosaic), NAACP Image Award-nominated director/writer Eric Dean Seaton (Disney’s MECH X-4, Legend of the Mantamaji), actress/writerErika Alexander (Concrete Park, Get Out), and artist/writer Tony Puryear (the Schwarzenegger film Eraser, Concrete Park).

WHEN: Sunday April 2, 2017 12:30pm – 1:30pm
WHERE: Room 208

Mantamaji Invades Wondercon 2017 with preview of new Bloodlines book

Heading to Wondercon this weekend?  Stop by Small Press Table 31 (SP-31) and get an exclusive post card featuring images and info on the new series “Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines.”

TV director Eric Dean Seaton’s “Legend of the Mantamaji” was hotly anticipated and made news on MSNBC, Forbes, and The Root. Now he returns with a new story in the Mantamaji series that’s just as action-packed, just as magical… and even more dangerous.

Two months ago, Elijah Alexander was just a cocky assistant district attorney who wanted everything his poor upbringing couldn’t give him. When he learned he was descended from an ancient race of heroes, Elijah became the last Mantamaji, and used his mystic ankh and powers of illusion to defeat the evil sorcerer Sirach. But now that this enemy is gone, a new enemy—Gideon’s Army—forces Elijah to prepare for a fight he was never trained for… and one that forces him to question the very origins of his people. In Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines, nothing is safe. Not even history.

Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines is graphic novel series whose sweeping tale of magic and mystery, heroes and villains, has a fresh look, a modern setting—and an ancient beat.

female characters in comics, strong female characters

Want to Create Great Female Characters? Start with her brains, not her boobs

female characters in comics, strong female characters

“How do I create strong female characters?”

It’s a popular question many comic book creators now ask as they develop their stories. The short answer?

Develop her brains before you draw her boobs.

It is painfully, embarrassingly, obvious when a creator inserts a female character whose primary purpose lies in sexual objectification and exploitation.

The longer answer starts with a better question… How do I create great characters?

Character development for women isn’t any different than it is for men. There isn’t a special “pink book of characteristics” you must refer to in order to make fantastic female characters.

plague_4ripNEWWhether a creator is motivated by a genuine desire to include women as equals in their stories or is driven by less altruistic ideas (i.e. not wanting to end up on the front page of The Mary Sue for perpetuating stereotypes, or finally realizing the buying power of women, or realizing it may be be easier to get press because, “Look! Girls in Comics!”), it is imperative that comic creators avoid making the same stupid mistakes others have made that alienate readers and frankly, ruin a good story.

I wanted to make my female characters in Legend of the Mantamaji equal to the men in every way. That is why the Sanctuants (women heroes) in my story found a way to survive for thousands of years when the men could not. They are the backbone of the story.

Listen, character development is difficult. From nothing, you have to create a well-rounded, interesting person. The person has to have that ‘it’ factor in order for readers to care about what they say and do. If you’re still stuck on creating a relevant, female character, these three tips should help:

1. Develop her brains before you draw her body.

Get inside your character’s head and get to know her. What does her voice sound like? Where did she grow up? Why? How would she react if x happened? Why? What is her value system? Would it ever shift? How does she interact with other characters in the story? Why? What does she do in her downtime? Why? If you don’t understand a character’s motivation, your character is flat and unrealistic.

main_sanctuants_1NEW2. Don’t confuse girls who kick ass for characters with agency.

If your character’s actions don’t affect the story, you’re wasting ink. Kelly Sue DeConnick called it the “sexy lampshade test.” If you can replace the character with, say, the lamp from A Christmas Story and the quality of the story doesn’t decline significantly, your character sucks.

“But she is a total badass,” you say. “She can shoot big guns!”

So, what? Why is she shooting big guns? If it’s simply because someone told her to – seems like a lame reason.

3. Remember she is not “just” anything.

She’s not just a girlfriend, or just the mom or just the secretary. Look at the women you know. Are they “just” anything? They have lives, dreams goals and motivations outside of their interactions with you. Or to put it another way, would you ever throw a male character into a story just so he could get killed? How about throwing him in the story just so the hero has a way to be ‘humanized?’ Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

It’s lazy writing, bad storytelling and terrible karma to marginalize an entire group of people in your stories.
Why do the Mantamaji fight? Why does Superman fight? Is Wonder Woman simply waiting around for people to give her instructions? Is Detective Sydney Spencer sitting around the police precinct waiting for someone to kidnap her? No! They have their own reasons for taking up the mantle of hero or villain.

If your character development is lacking in any of these three ways it’s time to go back to the drawing board, you still have work to do.

Check out more great characters from Legend of the Mantamaji and pick up the books here.

Martin’s Theory of Relativity Great Review!


Review of Eric Dean Seaton’s Legend of the Mantamaji

Lately there have been a lot of discussions regarding diversity in comics. We now see examples of diversity in comics among the Big Two (Marvel Comics and DC Comics).  Marvel Comics has characters like Ultimate Spider-Man with the bi-racial Miles Morales and a Black Captain America; DC comics even has a Black version of Superman. While they should be applauded for making steps in the right direction it has been far too long in coming. Some question whether or not these changes are done in the name of equality or recognition that with changing demographics providing more diversity in their products translates into bigger profits.
What gets lost in the debate is that there are a number of creators out there who are not waiting to see what the Big Two plan to do next when it comes to diversity. They are creating their own diverse superheroes with their own unique mythologies.  An excellent example of this is the work being done by Television Director, and former Clevelander, Eric Dean Seaton. He has written  the three-issue series of graphic novels Legend of the Mantamaji. The series is about Black Assistant Attorney Elijah Alexander who finds out that he is the last of the Mantamaji, a long-lost race of warriors from Nubia, Africa with magical powers who were protectors of humanity long ago.
Book One introduces us to Elijah Alexander. He is cocky, media-hungry and ambitious beyond words. Lately he has been winning case after case, but he wants more. We meet his girlfriend Detective Sydney Spencer who warns him that his wins have been coming too easily. She is smart and resourceful and every bit Elijah’s equal.  She has her own conspiracy theories of a mysterious group called the New World Knights who are getting rid of their criminal rivals by framing them. Her theories have led to her being ridiculed her fellow police officers. Enter Elijah’s mother Mariah and her long lost friend Noah. He finds out that Noah is a Mantamaji and that his mother is a Sanctuant. At Noah’s prodding Mariah tells Elijah about the history of the Mantamaji and his true destiny.  I like the idea that when Elijah was growing up Mariah had been telling him about his people’s history all the time, but she disguised them as children’s stories. The mythology that Eric Dean Stanton has created for the Mantamaji is well-done.
Elijah is told that the evil and powerful Mantamaji Sirach has reawakened.  He has created a new identity for himself the seemingly benevolent Brother Hope. The New World Knights are his disciples and soldiers. He has plans to reshape the world as he sees fit.  Only Elijah is equipped to stop him.  The powers he is able to manifest as he learns more about himself are pretty cool. Elijah has to decide whether to embrace his destiny or ignore it. The fate of mankind hangs in the balance.  I don’t won’t to give away too much of the story. But believe me the book is a real page turner. The characters are well-written and fresh. The art work by Brandon Palas is excellent.  I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and pick up Legend of the Mantamaji.  You won’t regret it. And be on the lookout for a future live action version which is currently in production.

Wiles Magazine Authors Spotlight



By John Nathan

Director and author Eric Dean Seaton

If you’ve ever seen episodes of shows like “That’s So Raven,”…or the current series “Undateable,” then you’ve seen prolific and award-winning director Eric Dean Seaton’s work.  And, if you happen to be at Comic Com 2014 from July 24 – 27, you’ll get to see even more of his work AND meet him in person.

After building a successful career as a television director that began with an internship during the final season of “The Cosby Show,” Eric Dean Seaton has translated his talent for storytelling into the Legend of the Mantamaji series of graphic novels. And, as he shared with us, the worlds of television and graphic novels aren’t nearly as far apart as you might think.

“Legend of the Mantamaji” was the culmination of all the things I learned about story telling while working for The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.  Their characters can be broad and the stories tailored more towards kids but the art of telling a story is the same.  You have to have heart, it has to mean something, the main character needs to be flawed and learn a lesson and you have to take the audience on an adventure. ”

And, as it turns out, the art of creating adventures for himself and others is something Eric has been perfecting since childhood.

Read the rest of the Wiles Magazine Profile here…