For independent publishers, setting yourself apart is crucial. Eric Dean Seaton, television director, creator and independent publisher of the graphic novel series, “Legend of the Mantamaji,” uses what makes him unique - his day job 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.
We interviewed Seaton back when he first launched the series. Since that first meeting, he has gone on to be nominated for a Glyphic Comics "Rising Star" Award for the creation of the series. He also hit the Amazon top list in one of his categories, launched a 14 city international comic con tour and sat down for a flurry of interviews. The series also just landed on MTV's Summer Reads for Social Justice Warriors. Yet, even as the grassroots support and accolades continue to grow, Seaton still runs into the obstacles small press publishers and creators of color face.
“We're the underdogs. We are introducing a new superhero from an independent publisher and it takes time and some creative thinking to get your work noticed. And not just noticed," Seaton said, "but, noticed, shared and of course, bought."
Yet Seaton has been able to garner loads of attention and accolades for his amazing work and we expect the same type of positive response to his soon to be released Legend of the Mantamaji Live Action Short which is due in June. But to get fans ready for the upcoming action, Seaton has also created a web series: Legend of the Mantamaji: Behind the Scenes.
This web series follows Seaton and his production crew over the course of three days getting the behind the scenes scoop on what it takes to bring a new superhero to life.
"We want to tell people a little more about the books and what inspired them, show them how much fun it is to shoot machine gun shots and stunts and of course get them excited for the short and the books that inspired it," Seaton said.
The short features Phillip Michael, stuntman and actor (Mamma Mia), as the lead character Elijah Alexander, special effects and 3D mapping from Gentle Giant Studios and stunt work from the same crews that worked on Captain America: Winter Soldier and Batman v. Superman. In short, this short is serious business.
"The technology available to indie publishers wipes out a lot of the barriers to producing quality work. The Legend of the Mantamaji team is spread throughout the country and as independent contractors and freelancers, they know the importance of deadlines, maximizing output and collaborating efficiently. Quality publishers can be found for small press printing all over the world and with a quality product distribution, deals are easier to ink. And digital comics have even greater flexibility."
Seaton went on to say “The web series and the live action short serve three purposes: one, they promote the books, two this is a big ‘thank you’ to fans for the support. They have been saying all along they’d love to see the series this way,” Seaton said. “And three, this helps satisfy a lifelong dream of mine and my own personal curiosity. I wanted to know what does it take to bring a graphic novel to life? How will the Mantamaji armor translate from 2D to real life? I’ve been able to combine my two childhood dreams – directing and creating comics – into one and it's fantastic. Being the new kid on the block isn't a bad thing, it makes you that much more creative and that much more determined to hit the goals you've set for yourself and your work."
The Shadow League is proud to give you an exclusive look at latest episodes from the series.
Enjoy and don't forget to pick up the graphic novel series "Legend of the Mantamaji" and watch out for the live action short coming in June!