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Legend of the Mantamaji
Written by Lea Michelle Cash/CelebrityShowcase/Published 02/04/2016
It is a beautiful day in North Hollywood, Southern California. As I sit and chat with the talented, African American television director Eric Dean Seaton, outside at a popular Melrose organic caffé about his childhood dreams, I am in awe of the quiet demeanor and humble persona of this living creative genius. There is no air of greatest, no fanfare, no royal superiority, or director arrogance. There is a man, however, speaking candidly about his vision to write action adventure comic books for young people about doing good things on this planet called earth.
Anyone can Google Eric Dean Seaton’s name and learn that he has been nominated several times for NAACP Image Awards, and has directed over 200 television episodes of many very popular shows. For this husband and father of two, this is indeed a major accomplishment. However, as Langston Hughes once said in his legendary poem, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Director Seaton will never know because he has set out on a mission to synthesize information from a variety of sources and adhere to accomplishing the dream of his youth.
Seaton said, “As a child, I was not a book lover or reader. When I was about age seven, Saturday mornings, I would go to the coffee shop with my dad. That coffee shop had comic books. I would pick them up and read them, while my dad enjoyed his coffee. Soon I became hooked on reading comic books. My dad would take me to comic book shops. I could read comic books all day long.” He continues, “But, in all the comic books that I read, I never saw a super hero that looked like me.” Seaton never forgot that thought. He states, “That stuck with me.” He is effusive while describing the experience.
Therefore, although Seaton is celebrated and renowned for his television directorial vision and stewardship with shows on Disney and Nickelodeon, it took him eight years of writing and six years of drawing to complete the three action books of “Legend of the Mantamaji,” a graphic novel trilogy. The director early in his career, while attending Ohio State, once wrote a letter to Bill Cosby (who received thousands of letters a day) about how he could follow his dream, and become a director never loss focus about creating a African American super hero. Mr. Cosby granted Seaton an internship and he received $50 bucks a week. What he learned from that internship was golden about the magic of believing in the written word—caring and sharing has huge attributes.
The “Legend of the Mantamaji” tells the story of Elijah Alexander. Elijah is an African American, hot shot Assistant District Attorney, who finds out that he is the last of the Mantamaji, a long lost mystical race of knights who once protected humankind. The chosen warriors had many powers with unlimited magical abilities. When an ancient evil Mantamaji who betrayed their race three thousand year ago is resurrected, named Sirach, Elijah has to turn his back on all that he has worked for in order to defend the human race. He must be trained by the aging Mantamaji, Noah to take down Sirach and his evil followers.
This produces inspiration, comic book lore, many thrilling and difficult challenging adventures for the last Mantamaji, an amazing super hero who must reject his present life that he loves. Aside from being challenged by the malevolent Sirach, Elijah struggles internally, too: he must transcend himself and his self-absorption for the good of the world and soar to new heights.
Seaton says, “Elijah Alexander’s story is with true grit, basic values that ground his success, in that he takes the roads less traveled. This super hero reflects no cussing, no sex, no blood and gore, just pure action packed adventure with true to life characters is multi cultural. I would love him to become a household name, a perfect role model for youth to read about and identify with. It is very good reading.”
In 1966, Marvel Comics introduces the first black super hero “Black Panther” to mainstream comic books. In the following years of 1969 through the 70s, a parade of other black characters appeared, but their integration and assimilation into mainstream and the super hero culture has always met with many challenges over the years. Although its been said since the early 1930s that comics are nothing more than harmless entertainment for children and they sold by the thousands. The sale of comic books over the years has declined due to shrinking readership, video games, and the Internet.
Seaton well on his way to making Legend of Mantamani a household name has turned the Super Hero’s action adventure into a live action short to keep his readers enthusiasm flowing, compelling and paramount. The action packed movie can be viewed on You Tube, and to date has over 40,000 views.
In fact, he has won the Award of Excellence in the Film Short, Television (Pilot Program) and African American categories at the 2015 Best Short Competition, (Best Editing). He also received an Honorable Mention nod at the 2015 Los Angeles Movie Awards, and was named the Best Action Short Winner at the 2015 Urban Media makers Film Festival. Seaton took home the Grand Jury prize for Best Action Short Film at the 2015 Orlando Urban Film Festival.
“After watching the live action short, perhaps young readers will desire more and read with enthusiasm the adventures of Elijah Alexander and dream about saving the world,” says Seaton. “It is my hope that youth reading of comics, will lead to the joy of reading good books because it has been a real life changing experience for me.”