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.

comics and graphic novels for kids, graphic novels for reluctant readers

9 Reasons Why Kids Need Comics and Graphic Novels

Everyone knows the importance of helping kids establish a love of reading early in their childhood. And though it’s no secret that kids love comics and graphic novels, what still seems to be a point of contention is whether or not kids should be encouraged to read comics and graphic novels.

The answer? Absolutely.

Comics and graphic novels are flashy, yet underrated tools in parents’ and teachers’ educational tool belts. Kids are drawn in by the images and colors and learn important nuances of reading along the way.

Here are 9 reasons why kids need comics and graphic novels:

1.Reading comics teaches students inference.

According to Imagination Soup’s “8 Reasons to Let Your Kids Read Comic Books,” with comics, readers must rely on the dialogue and the illustrations – inferring what is not written out by a narrator – a complex reading strategy.

2. Reading comics slows down skimming speed demons.

Kids who skim their books find themselves moving slower when they take on comics. Instead of rushing to finish, they take their time to fully understand the pictures and plot.

3. Reading comics and graphic novels boosts exposure to diverse characters, settings and more. 

The push by readers for authors and publishers to include more diverse characters in graphic novels and comics, combined with a plethora of independent publishers who are bringing diverse characters to life means kids see a wide range of characters in visual form. Legend of the Mantamaji is just one of the diverse character created by independent publishers in recent years who are currently gaining critical acclaim among critics, librarians and readers.

4. Comics and graphic novels are perfect for reluctant readers.

Students who are struggling to read or who are tackling English as a second language (ESL) don’t just need books they can read, but also need books that give them confidence to keep trying. No one wants to have to use baby books to help boost their reading abilities. Comics help students by providing age appropriate materials with the added bonus of illustrations that aid in comprehension.

5. Comics and graphic novels tackle tough topics.

Comics and graphic novels have a rich tradition of taking on topics like racism, sexism and GLBT issues at various student age/reading levels. The addition of a visual element to these topics allows students to gain deeper insight into the material.

6. Kids who read comics and graphic novels learn to cultivate their tastes when selecting their own books.

According to ToonBooks.com’s “Are Kids Wasting Their Time NOT Reading Comics?” post, browsing comics is remarkably easy, because instead of merely sifting through the opening pages of a novel or relying on blurbs, flipping through a comic reveals its art style, its major characters, and a good deal about the mood of the story. The independence to choose their own adventure, so to speak, gives kids more motivation to explore their love of reading and what they believe is interesting or exciting – instead of simply having their choices limited by or dictated to them by the adults in their lives.

7. Graphic novels can be paired with classics to enhance student understanding and interest.

According to Scholastic.com’s “Raising SuperReaders: The Benefits of Comics and Graphic Novels,” one high school teacher on the “Super Girls” panel at New York Comic Con said he’s found success in pairing a canonical text like The Scarlet Letter with a graphic novel that centers on female protagonists who feel alienated.

8. Graphic novels and comics help kids with disabilities, including autism and dyslexia.

According to KidsReadComics.com, “For children with autism, the illustrations in comic books and graphic novels can help them better understand facial expressions and understand the emotions of the characters, things that might be missed when they are reading traditional text. For children with dyslexia, the pictures in graphic novels help them still follow the plot and recall details even when they are having trouble with the text, particularly as they often are better able to remember pictures than sounds or words.”

9. Graphic novels and comics aren’t just about superheroes.

Comics and graphic novels can be found in every genre including history, science, medicine, non-fiction, fiction adaptations and more. Diverse offerings mean students can pursue their interests and discover new ones outside of folks in tights. It’s not unusual for a student to move from a graphic novel on a subject to a non-fiction book on the same subject.

The back to school sales are on and it’s easy to blow past the colorful sections of comic books and graphic novels, but take a moment and help your child choose something that they’ll love to read, share at story time and with their reading buddies.

Here are a few sources to help you find comic book and graphic novel recommendations:

Middle School Monday: The Big 4 (part 1) by Julie Stivers Diverse Heroes,

New Series: Seventeen Graphic Novels for February, Black History Month