Three years ago we introduced you to Eric Dean Seaton and his indie comic book, Legend of the Mantamji.
The 2015 Glyph Award-nominated first book followed District Attorney Elijah Alexander as he tries to come to grips with his life after being made aware that he descends from a long line of mystical warriors with amazing abilities.
Eric Dean Seaton of Legend of the Mantamaji talks to Ricardo A. Hazell
Recently, I met with Seaton to discuss where the characters pick up in his second volume, Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines.
Its two months later and everything is flipped now that he has accepted his role as the Mantamaji, said Seaton. Something you never see in superhero comics is the real-life transition, can you do this at night and still have a day job. In the first book he was childish and conceited, and everything was taken from him. Now hes gotta go on this journey.
So now hes actually feeling this loss and the responsibility of taking the role,” he continued. “Sydney Spencer is the exact opposite. Now that shes a sanctuate with these abilities, which aren’t working, shes trying to find her place in this world. In the first series they wouldnt confide in each other, which kind of kept them apart until the end. You had two people going on a superhero journey, they just didnt realize it.
Now theyre going through a real-life journey to find their places in this world. Meanwhile, an evil has returned. Lets just say the Mantamaji werent the first ones. Theyre returned now that the Mantamaji are back. Hero triggers villain, villain triggers hero. Elijah learns that his moms perspective about being Mantamaji wasnt the only perspective. There are stories beyond her about what it is to be a Mantamaji.
The Shadow League: What has been the reception thus far for the upcoming Bloodlines book?
Eric Dean Seaton: A lot of people are excited about Bloodlines, which is the new series that comes out December 6th. Whats interesting is the convention has gotten so big that were still getting a lot of new people who are just jumping on the first series. If theyre just jumping on the first series, then theyve got four books to catch up on. Also, weve introduced curriculum guides for the books to be in schools -fourth grade and grades nine through twelve.
TSL: Why are you so ardent about illustrating diversity in your graphic novel, and directing diverse works as well?
EDS: Im a director today because, when I was in college trying to figure out what I was going to do, I saw a friend of mine carrying a film camera across campus. The thing about inclusion and diversity is we get inspired when we see people doing things who actually look like us. He told me he was in film school, and I didnt even know Ohio State had a film school, followed him to his classroom and sat in the back. I changed my major and changed my life that day.
Scorsese and Spielberg are fantastic directors, but they dont look like me. I can relate to them and I like what they do, but seeing another with my skin color doing something inspired me to follow my own dream.
Television director Eric Dean Seaton’s first graphic novel series is a tale exploding with brilliant art, action-packed adventure, true-to-life characters, and a smart and twisting plotline. Published by “And… Action!” Entertainment, Legend of the Mantamaji tells the story of Elijah Alexander, a rising 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.
TSL: Your live action short to promote the first volume was amazing. Are there any plans to do another short?
EDS: We would love to do another short, this time looking at the women. The one thing about the first live action film short is that it was the first scene of issue one and was just used to set up the story. So, it was just him. Even when you read the book youll see that theres a lot of women in this book and we have great representation. Now, we want to do something with just the women. Also, were finally developing a script for a series or pilot, something like that.
Were still building our universe. Thats what Bloodlines is there to set up because it shows you that there was something before the Mantamaji, and in this series we will introduce characters who we can hopefully spin off into their own series. Were definitely trying to expand the universe and create something that really hasnt been done before, a universe from the ground up.
The new Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines will hit comic retailers on December 6th. Also, log onto legendofthemantamaji.com for more on the character that is fast gaining popularity. Or checkout Amazon Prime to see Eric work on his day job as a director for Mech-X4, or his previous work on Netflixs Fuller House.