Captain Marvel is better than the hype and the bad reviews it’s getting

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I’ve never been one to rely on reviews, which is kind of weird since I write them on my blog now. Anyway, I go the movies because I want to see it, ignoring the bad reviews or condemnation. I don’t regret going to see 1980’s Flash Gordon but I really regret going to see 1995’s Waterworld. In any case, the same can be said for Marvel movies.

I have seen every Marvel movie in the past 10 years. I do have some regrets there too (i.e. Iron Man III and Thor: Ragnarok) but they still had some good moments in them too. In any case, I saw Captain Marvel this week and, despite the weeks of awkward publicity and bad stories, it was a genuinely good Marvel movie. In fact, I would say it’s one of their better movies.

First and foremost, Brie Larson was great. Although, I think she went for the emotionless route too much. She has Danvers’ grit and determination down pat, and she finally showed some emotion in her reunion with Maria Rambeau near the end, but still… She’ll need a little more than that sly grin to carry her down the road in future movies. She has the look and the attitude, and now she has an origin.

Did they change her origin for the movie? Yes, but they stayed true to it while making her story fit into the MCU. Overall, they did a great job, especially since they did it as a prequel to the current Marvel universe. They changed a few things, like making Mar-Vell a woman (great performance Annette Benning) and turned the Skrulls from villains into a race to feel sorry for. However, Marvel’s been making these adjustments to the MCU since the beginning (i.e. making the villain Ghost a woman, casting Heimdall and Valkyrie with black actors (best decision to date), and making the Mandarin an idiot). Even a comic book purist like myself can appreciate the brilliance behind the casting and creative license.

I loved the fact that you had to sit through the whole movie to understand her complete backstory. It wasn’t difficult for someone like me, who knows her origin like the back of my hand. But for anyone else, it’s a great way to learn about her character. Also, by adding in the younger versions of Agent Phil Coulson and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). I especially loved finding out how Fury got his eye scratched out. There are plenty of “Easter Eggs” in the movie too, from how Fury came up with the Avengers Initiative, how the Tesseract got back into Shield’s hands, the space-pager and plenty more.

The Kree are turning into the true intergalactic villains of the MCU, in both movies and television. The movie left things open for the return on Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) and the Supreme Intelligence, although I’m hoping for the floating green octopus head next time around. As for the Skrulls, who can say. Even though Marvel got back the Fantastic Four from Fox, I doubt we’ll see them terrorizing Earth or the “Super Skrull” anytime soon.

The plot kept me engaged the entire movie and it was fun. It had a good mix of serious and humor. The movie made a big statement about sexism in the 80’s and 90’s, showing the bad side of men in the military (“You know why they call it a cockpit…” Gimme a break!). This was the time of “Tailgate” and other scandals like it, so bringing it into the film showed how far we’ve come with women pilots in the military. You really get the feel for that with the “Women of the Air Force” commercial they showed before the movie.

Captain Marvel got a lot of bad press and internet “trolls” trying to bring it down, but the movie is too good for that. It’s a fun movie that brings together the MCU, heading into Avengers: Endgame. That’s only a month away, and I can’t wait!



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

FROM SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO TO STAR BLAZERS How the story changed, yet still remained the same!

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I began watching anime as a little kid in the 1960s. We’re talking Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Gigantor, and Astro Boy. The original anime, as it were. In the 1970s and 1980s, I graduated to Captain Harlock, Star Blazers, and Robotech. Today, its Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, and A Certain Magical Index. I just wanted to lay all that out to demonstrate that I am a lifelong “Otaku” from New Jersey.

That being said, I have been obsessed with Space Battleship Yamato. As a veteran U.S. Navy Sailor, I love the “old school” aesthetic of the space battleship. It is a spaceship I would put up against the Enterprise, Millenium Falcon, Serenity, and any other sci-fi spaceship in the history of movies and television. Beyond that, it’s the characters that make the story.

After the original Star Blazers went off the air, I discovered Space Battleship Yamato and its infinite movies and companion shows. It made it even better. Although the live action movie didn’t live up to my expectations, the rebooted series has.

In the new Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and 2202, we got an in depth storyline, new characters, a more diverse crew and aliens, as well as backstories for Gamilas, Gatlantis, and other characters. As a fan, it’s been overwhelming and exhilarating. Captain Okita is a leader to look up to, Kodai and Yuki a romance to envy, and I wish I had Dr. Sado’s tolerance to alcohol.

First, the crew of the Yamato is finally more than a ship full of men, one woman and one robot. The crew is now a mixture of men and women, each with their own stories. They added some great new characters, from the Mars-born pilot Akira Yamamoto to the Gamilas Lower Storm Leader Melda Dietz. At the same time, there’s even more romance, intrigue, excitement and adventure, just like the original but better.

There is a lot of undertones about the dangers of mass warfare, using power to gain peace, something more prevalent than in the original. In the original, I thought it was more about saving the planet, a stern environmental statement about our future. But now, the series has taken a more serious approach to modern warfare and its consequences.

Image result for space battleship yamato 2199 desslerEven the villains are more complex. The Gamilas Leader Dessler is still a megalomaniac, but he cares little about Gamilas and more about consolidating his own power base with Iscandar. And yet, some of the Gamilas officers are more honorably, trustworthy and don’t follow Desslar like dogs on a leash. At the same time, Emperor Zwordar and the rest of the Gatlantians of the Comet Empire (sorry, I can’t call it anything else) are a clone race bent on the destruction of humanity. They can even self-destruct upon command from the Emperor.

Watching Space Battleship Yamato is like watching a soap opera, but with inter-galactic battles and aliens mixed in. Besides that, it has heart that you find in many anime, but in this one, it never changed. Just listening to the opening theme song makes you stand at attention, or the dark organ from the depths of the Comet Empire quiver in fear.

To be honest, I won’t call it anything but the Yamato anymore. I grew up with it being called the Argo, but all that’s changed. I respect and honor this show by staying true. It’s the Yamato, always has been and always will be.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Social media is the easiest, and cheapest, marketing tool for Independent Authors

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Independent authors are just that, INDEPENDENT! We don’t have a publisher, marketing team, agent or publicist working for us to sell our book. They have to rely on friends, family, and word of mouth. In this day and age, that means social media.

According to Statista, 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. By 2018, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach about 2.5 billion people. With so many consumers using social media every day, this presents a great opportunity for independent authors to reach their online audience.

Social media platforms offer a fun and creative platform to promote you book through videos, GIFs, and creative JPEGs for a broad audience. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa, 95% of online adults ages 18 to 34 are likely to follow a brand on social media. However, when users engage with their social media profiles, it is because they find the content and information valuable. Whether they are looking for deals, enjoy entertaining content, or just want to learn more about a certain brand, social media users are open to engaging on social media channels.

That’s where independent authors can find their niche in marketing their novels. Your social media profiles provide yet another way to get more inbound traffic to your website. This makes marketing through social media an excellent strategy to complement your search engine optimization efforts. Each piece of content that you post to your social media profiles is another opportunity to bring new visitors to your site.

There are different platforms that can provide access for a variety of users. Facebook is one of the best social media platforms, with nearly two million monthly active users. Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with the most diverse audience. When it comes to age, users of all ages are logging onto Facebook, with the largest demographic being those ages 25-to-34. Owned by Facebook, Instagram is another popular channel that promises to be one of the best social media platforms for small business and entrepreneurs. Instagram has more than 700 million active users who log onto the app to enjoy photos and video posts from their friends, family, celebrities, and yes, even certain brands. In fact, according to BrandWatch, 50% of users follow brands on Instagram.

With an average of about 328 million active Twitter users worldwide, this channel is yet another one of the best social media platforms for your 2018 social media marketing strategy. As one of the top 10 websites in the United States, Twitter is the go-to place for the latest news and trends on a variety of topics. The audience on Twitter also tends to be a bit younger with 36% of users between the ages of 18 to 29. Then there’s YouTube. Founded in 2005 and acquired by Google in late 2006, YouTube has quickly become the second largest search engine in the world, right behind Google. What’s more is that YouTube users are watching a billion hours of video each day and generating just as many views. This makes YouTube an excellent channel for reaching and engaging target consumers by creating and publishing compelling video content.

I have one other recommendation for you. If you plan to cross multiple social media platforms with your posts, I would suggest checking out Hootsuite. With this online program, you can put one post on all your social media platforms simultaneously. It also allows you to plan out your posts days in advance. You can find more, in depth information on the best social media platforms for brand marketing at Lyfe Marketing Blog.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.