It appears we are living in a Golden Age for indie comics. Never has there been a better or easier time to write, create, print and sell comics as an independent creator and publisher. For independent publishers, setting yourself apart from the pack is crucial. Eric Dean Seaton, television director, creator and independent publisher of the graphic novel series, “Legend of the Mantamaji,” decided to use his “day job” experience [as an episodic director of hit shows like NBC’s Undateable, Disney’s That’s So Raven, and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans and Bella and the Bulldogs] to create a live action short based on the first book in the Legend of the Mantamaji series.
“As an independent with a new superhero, you encounter some pretty big obstacles,” Seaton said. “You have to dispel some long held misconceptions people have about independently published comics – that they don’t have longevity, that they are inconsistently produced, hard to find or not well made. Then, you have to establish your characters and the rules of your world in a way that’s interesting and to the point. I say this all the time – when Superman first came out he couldn’t fly, there was no Lex Luthor or Kryptonite.That first Superman would never make it in the comics now, it took years of great writers to develop him into the hero the world knows today. Now, you have to rich content and highly developed characters with all their powers right from the start. That’s one of the reasons why we did the short. You get to see what the Mantamaji can do and a good representation of the action and fun in the book in eight minutes.”
In addition to creating the live action short, Seaton launched a web series on May 5th, 2015: “Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes.” The web series follows Eric’s production team for three days as he films the live action short. Most episodes of the 12 episode series clock in at a social-media-friendly two minute run time and lead up to the release of the live action short in June. Originally slated for one weekly episode, the series will now show its fans two episodes per week of behind the scenes action.
“The series and the short serve three purposes: first of all, I want them to help promote the books. When you start off in the comics industry, it’s like being a freshman. You have an idea of how things work, but you have to get in there yourself and learn through experience. You aren’t very popular, no one knows who you are and even if the media and fans are interested, they tend to take a wait and see approach in favor of more well known titles and creators,” Seaton said. “Secondly, I wanted to create something live action for the fans of the series to say, ‘thank you’ for the support. They have made this so much fun and have been saying all along they’d love to see it this way,” Seaton said. “And lastly – I was curious. What does it take to bring a graphic novel to life? How will the Mantamaji armor translate from 2D to real life? What about the morphing of his weapons? I’ve been able to combine my two childhood dreams – directing and creating comics – into one and I’m having a great, great time. We’re underdogs, the new kids on the block, but I’ve always loved an underdog.”
Atlanta Black Star has the Exclusive First Look at this week’s episodes in the series. Check them out:
Terreece M. Clarke is a freelance writer/journalist for a variety of magazines, newspapers and websites and a rocking’ wife and mother of three. Follow her on Twitter: @terreece!