female characters in comics, strong female characters

Strong Female Characters in Comics: Not that hard to create

Creating well-rounded female characters in comics isn’t hard. Just look around you for inspiration and if you can’t find real life representations, you need to expand your own circle.

Sanctuants, strong female superheroes in comics, legend of the mantamaji

The Sanctuants have the ability to conjure biogenic energy in their bodies. Almost wiped from the face of the Earth throughout the centuries, they currently live in secret among humans.

Diversity in comics is usually one of the main topics of the conversations I have when discussing creating the Legend of the Mantamaji with the press. And interestingly, the discussion of race tends to be shorter than the discussion of the portrayal of female characters in the series.

The reality is, creating strong, well-rounded, fully fleshed females isn’t any more difficult than creating any other type of character – and inspiration isn’t hard to find.

In my life and in my career, all the people that have been behind my advancement have been strong women.

When I first came to Los Angeles and started working on comedies, the creators and people in charge were women:

  • The Executive Producer who got me in the Directors Guild of America as an assistant director.
  • The Line Producer who was behind me getting my opportunity to direct.
Sydney Spencer female characters in comics, strong female characters, legend of the mantamaji

Detective Sydney Spencer, smart, tough with a mean right hook. She believes in the impossible possibility of supernatural happenings happening in her city and she’s going to get to the bottom of it.

They were all the same in that they were smart, strong and extremely talented. They were also mothers. I am lucky that, in my life, I have always been surrounded by women who were strong and who were hustlers. I have always seen women who were doing everything you traditionally saw men do and doing it well.

My mom is a life-long educator who still consults at John Carroll University in Cleveland in Multi-cultural Affairs. My wife owns her own thriving business. So when I created Sydney, Cornerstone and the other female characters in Legend of the Mantamaji, I was drawing on people I have seen, known, worked with or worked for.

Sanctuants from the Legend of the Mantamaji series are explicitly mentioned as equal to the male Mantamaji warriors. It’s an unusual call out among the comic industry, but I didn’t want any of the female leads to be any less than the main hero, just different. It makes the story’s history so much richer.

If I had to boil down three things I wanted to accomplish with the female characters in Legend of the Mantamaji, I have to say I wanted to create a new batch of heroes who are full, real characters; I wanted to make sure people were interested in their journey and I wanted to give women readers what they have been asking for and deserve from comic book creators – real representation.

strong female super villains in comics, legend of the mantamaji

Lisa Legardi AKA WRATH OF PLAGUE. Her day job she rules the airwaves in America with her own TV network. Her alter ego, Wrath of Plague, has the ability to shoot hundreds of deadly disease and plague-ridden daggers from her body.

That really shouldn’t be unusual. It shouldn’t be noteworthy to show women who have more going for them than being a love interest, a damsel in distress or a hero just waiting in the wings until someone needs help.

From our experience at the conventions and speaking with media pros and readers, people LOVE the Sanctuants and they love Sydney from the beginning to the end. They even want to see more of them. It’s the best response I could ask for and accomplishes all I wanted to do.


Hey Mantamaji Fans – We Need Your Reviews!

Instagram Review LOTM Graphic.001

Comic-Con San Diego, the Sherman Oaks Pop Culture & Comic Expo brought me in touch with thousands of new Legend of the Mantamaji fans. We shook hands, took photos and my new friends bought my books!

Now I need your help. We want to continue to spread the word about the Legend of Mantamaji and reviews are a good way to get the word out. So, if you have purchased and read the books, please head over to GoodReads.com and leave an honest review:

Book 1 GoodRead Reviews

Once book launches October 8th, I’d love to have your review on Amazon.com.

Thank you Mantamaji Fans!


Legend of the Mantamaji Fan Letter

art_BK3_Ch14_1000This is a great letter we received from a fan we met at Comic-Con San Diego. The missing parts of Ms. Magracia’s review were redacted with her permission to prevent spoilers ;0):

At Comic-Con this year I, Divina Magracia, bought the full trilogy of the Mantamaji series with my father. We greatly appreciated the glasses Mr. Palas added to our free sketch that came with the series and the short conversation I had with Mr. Seaton about working in the entertainment industry. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you about the series; I took my time and savored the experience, just finishing the series today. Forgive me if my review is a bit long.

Elijah and Sydney were very real and human characters to me, and I appreciated that immensely…The development of Elijah’s participation and acceptance of his destiny was neither too stilted nor too rushed. I thought it was great how honest he was about his desire for revenge, and the moment when he realizes how close he was to being the same as Sirach was beautiful to me.

Similarly, Sydney’s heroism struck me and I loved how her background wasn’t a sob story but a foundation for her determination and success in a believable way…Speaking of subtle, I thoroughly enjoyed the way Noah’s role was handled throughout the series. He was a large part of what kept me reading partway through the second volume of the trilogy.

The villain, oh Sirach the villain… I have a certain inclination toward villains the reader can empathize with and understand. My favorite part was how Sirach really believed he was going to fix humanity. The scenes where he was disappointed and disgruntled with the corruption of his [followers was] great.

Hopefully that wasn’t too long of a review. I remember Mrs. Seaton letting me know she wanted to hear what I thought of the series so I hope this fulfills that well enough. The characters in Mantamaji were wonderful to read about. Overall when I read I tend to latch on to the characters, the people that bring the story to life. It’s one of the reasons why I would like to go into casting as a career.

Talking to Mr. Seaton about working as a television director was quite inspiring and I hope my future career is just as rewarding for me.

Thank you for your time and for the pleasure I had in reading the series,
Divina Magracia
University of California, Berkeley ‘15
Media Studies w/Music minor