Issuu on Google+

REVIEWED TITANFALL / SONY XPERIA Z1 COMPACT

Pop culture & lifestyle GET READY FOR

X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST AS WE INTERVIEW

JENNIFER LAWRENCE SIR IAN MCKELLAN PETER DINKLAGE

The

Tattoo Issue A TATTOO SHOWCASE INCLUDING

LEGO everything!

ISSUE

THE 2014 CAPE TATTOO EXPO

4


M A G A Z I N E

is moving to a new home at joomag.com This will be the last edition of SPLICED on Issuu. You’re invited to our housewarming on Joomag where you’ll find the same amazing content, but with an improved user experience. Come on over, we have cupcakes!

CLICK HERE!


SPLICED MAGAZINE / ED'S NOTE / RA! RA! GO TEAM!

ISSUE 04

Ra! Ra! Go team! In case you hadn’t noticed, this is the tattoo issue. We love them. And we love the fact that this particular form of body art is being embraced by so many different people from all walks of life. The beautiful image that graces our cover is one of my favourite from the series shot by Tim Hulme, specifically for this issue. So many awesome people volunteered to show off their tattoos for us, and we were incredibly impressed by the quality and diversity of the ink on show. Just once, I wonder what it would be like for an issue to run completely smoothly, with no glitches, and no drama. I’ve been involved in a variety of different fields over the years, from lecturing, to television presenting and production. I’ve been a writer for many years as well, but every issue there are always a new set of challenges that arise, and this whole magazine editor business has been a very different experience for me. In fact I think indeed it’s been quite a different experience for all of us involved.

LETTERS

We'd love to hear from you, so if you have any comments, ideas or criticisms drop us a mail at ed@splicedmagazine.com and we'll feature them in forthcoming issues of Spliced. Who knows, the best letter might even win a prize. Nudge, nudge. Wink wink, say no more, say no more.

We’ve all had to learn to work together and while it’s been fun, at times it’s also been frustrating, with tempers flaring when under ordinary circumstances we’re all pretty chilled people by nature. There are times when it seems like we’ll never agree on something that seems incredibly trivial to anyone on the outside, but then all of a sudden something just clicks and the harsh words and frustrations are forgotten in an instant, and that to me is what makes this team work. Yes, we get annoyed with one another, but we also work really well together. We have a vision that is compatible, and we all want to see Spliced succeed.

in any way, but we moved for a variety of reasons, one of which is an opportunity to explore the integration of richer content within the magazine. I’m pretty confident that your reading experience won’t be affected in any way, but if for some reason you disagree, do let us know how you feel. We’re working hard to make every issue engaging and entertaining for both our readers and ourselves. Lastly, I have to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped me out this month while I was pretty much MIA dealing with a family crisis that happened just after the release of our last issue. I’m amazed by the fact that even without me there nagging you (ok, only a little towards the end) you all still (mostly) met your deadlines and sent me amazing work. If all you readers out there didn’t already realise that we have an amazing team working at Spliced, I’m telling you right now. We have an amazing team of people who are dedicated to making every issue the absolute best they can. 

Pippa Tshabalala { Editor }

You might have noticed a change in that we’ve migrated from one digital distribution platform to another. Don’t worry, our content hasn’t been affected

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SPLICED MAGAZINE /

ISSUE 04

CONTENTS

Pop culture & lifestyle

CREDITS

Splice (verb)  

splice [pronounced: splahys], spliced, splic·ing, splic·es to join or unite.

EDITOR Pippa | Tshabalala pippa@splicedmagazine.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Chris | Savides chris@splicedmagazine.com

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER / Tim Hulme FEMALE MODEL / Guinevere Miller MALE MODEL / Matthew Baylis

SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER Tim | Hulme tim@splicedmagazine.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS David | Swart Akin | Aworan WRITERS Amanda | Stone Isaac | Kosmides Marco | Cocomello Ray | Whitcher Dane | Remendes Miklós | Szecsei Sarah | Browne Samantha | Wright Dani | Geyer Lindi | Davids Cameron | Murray Leani | le Roux Ivo | Visic

{ Regulars } 3

Ed's Note

124

Last Word

{ Opinion } 8

Why the face?

20

While we're on the subject of...

110

Drawing conclusions

{ Cover Feature } 42

TATTOO SHOWCASE We asked people from all walks of life to show off their ink.

CONTRIBUTING ARTIST Keron | Grant

ADVERTISING

{ Tech }

info@splicedmagazine.com WEBSITE www.splicedmagazine.com SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook.com/splicedmagazine Twitter @SplicedMag © 2013/2014 Spliced Magazine All rights reserved. No article or picture in this magazine may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form whatsoever without the express written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or the editors. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

We're saving the trees by going digital, you're welcome.

4

10

MINI REVIEWS / Gadgets, glorious gadgets!

12

REVIEW / Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

14

REVIEW / Garmin Vivofit

16

MINI REVIEWS / Apps


SPLICED MAGAZINE /

ISSUE 04

CONTENTS

42 { Lifestyle } 22

BLACKBEARD'S CHEST / Buli G

26

MUSIC / Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

27

MUSIC / Dear Reader

28

INTERVIEW / Keron Grant

32

20-ISH QUESTIONS / Mariëtte Bergh

34

INTERVIEW / @legojacker

36

FEATURE / The 2014 Cape Tattoo Expo

{ Movies }

58

BAD MOVIE NIGHT / Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

60

INDIE FEATURE / Coming of Age

{ Comics }

64

FEATURE / X-Men: Days of Future Past

112

76

REVIEW / The LEGO Movie

THE SCIENCE OF SUPERHEROES / Spider web

80

REVIEW / 300: Rise of an Empire

114

FEATURE / The Golden Mile: London Comic Crawl

84

REVIEW / Need for Speed

118

REVIEW / I Kill Giants

120

REVIEW / Revival

122

OBJECTS OF DESIRE

{ Gaming }

90

FEATURE / Meditation for Gamers

92

MINI REVIEWS

{ Competitions }

94

REVIEW / Titanfall

55

Marvel Comics hamper

100

REVIEW / The LEGO Movie Videogame

99

LEGO hamper

104

REVIEW / inFAMOUS Second Son

113

Super Mario Bros. hamper

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Illustration by Keron Grant. Go to kerongrant.net for more. 6


ISSUE 04

SPLICED

CHAPTER

01 being

Technology

08 COLUMN / Why the face? 10 MINI REVIEWS / Gadgets, Glorious Gadgets! 12 REVIEW / Sony Xperia Z1 Compact VS. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini 14 REVIEW / Garmin Vivofit 16 REVIEWS / Mobile apps

01/05 7


SPLICED COLUMN /

ISSUE 04

WHY THE FACE?

01/03 Why the face?

Every cloud (server) has a silver lining‌ by Amanda Stone Freelance Multi-media Tech Journalist and Content Producer. Blogger and owner at www.PrettyMassive. com. Appreciates Tim Burton f ilms, gangster rap, and badly stuffed animals.

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SPLICED COLUMN /

ISSUE 04

WHY THE FACE?

And often, golden contents. (You can probably tell where this is going already.) It’s been a wild past few weeks. This month could have seen me write this column on the epic experience of Mobile World Congress (in Barcelona). Or on the local (South African) launches of Sony or Nokia’s new flagship phones. I could have even decided to write this column on my opinions (and those of others) on Spritzs’ latest speed reading technology (apparently this is a controversial issue). But instead, I’ve decided to take the noble route, to put yáll first, and take this chance to mimic your mother’s voice and nag you to BACK YOUR S**T UP NOW. Yup. Barcelona, known for being a theft hotspot, took one more victim last month. In the form of, well, me. To be fair, it took on many more victims than just myself, but I also happen to be the writer of this column. And part of writing a column is talking about yourself and your ideas like you’re important and your ideas are fancy and clever. Or something like that. Upon arrival in Barcelona, for the Mobile World Congress expo last month, our groups chauffeur was offloading all of our bags from the boot of the van and onto the sidewalk outside our hotel. Unfortunately, it seems that some stealthy being swooped past our collection of goodies and helped themselves to my beautiful House of Marely backpack. The backpack that happened to have my entire collection of techy gadgets stashed safely (or not so safely) within its confines. Including my brand new 13” MacBook Air. With ALL my work on it. All my freelance work. That I do, in a strictly freelance capacity. Without any office or desktop PC. Because I freelance.

even so, I was left without any of my latest projects. Even when I was able to borrow a friend’s laptop for a few short hours – I had nothing to work with. All my invoices, personal documents, notes, research, EVERYTHING was either gone or back home in SA. And I wished there was some way I could just access my most important slash urgent stuff from any device, anywhere in the world. Which was around about the same time I started to understand the immeasurable value of... cloud servers. (Yes I know, I’m slow like that.) And behold; my point (finally). Back your shit up. Now. As in this very moment. Even if it’s just the basics. Think of the folders you access the most, and all that important stuff you frequently need (copies of ID’s, tax details, invoices, your CV or portfolio, your thesis or latest project that isn’t yet complete, banking stuff and such like). Especially if you are travelling. Cloud servers are wonderful things that can be found anywhere. Unlike most physical items when you need them the most. (Murphy – that’s all I’m saying.) So in one last attempt to potentially save your bacon, here’s a list of some of the more popular, user friendly, (and yes, free) cloud servers. Along with how much space you get at no cost. (You can always pay for more space, or earn more free space by referring others.) You’re welcome. 

01

On the upside (because that’s where I have to look to avoid dissolving into a puddle of raw, ugly emotion), as a result of having to move the contents from my old Mac to my new Air only the week prior, I had most of the contents of what was on my “subsequently re-homed” Air on a hard drive back at home. (Praise God.) Had I not, chances are you’d be reading my obituary now, and not my column. But

Google Drive: 15GB Dropbox: 2GB One Drive: 7GB iCloud: 5GB SugarSync: 5GB

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SPLICED TECH /

MINI REVIEWS / GADGETS, GLORIOUS GADGETS

ISSUE 04

Gadgets, Glorious Gadgets Stuff we had lying around. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. by Amanda Stone

Samsung Galaxy S5 The Samsung Galaxy S5 has upped the ante in the ‘practical features” department. With a screen measuring in at 5.1 inches, a 2800mAh battery and expandable memory of up to 128GB, it’s fair to say that Samsung has gone bigger. The phone features a 16 megapixel camera coupled with a user friendly interface which allows users to take, edit and share photos quickly and simply. The camera also offers the fastest auto-focus speed known to camera phones (at this point). The personal fitness tracker on the S5 helps users better understand their general health and fitness, as well as make the necessary changes. But perhaps most impressive? The S5 is water and dust resistant, which now makes this this phone a viable option for every clumsy person in the market for a phone (so basically, most of us). Users can now also lock their phone and make payments with their fingerprint, by means of a fingerprint scanner. And the Ultra Power Saving Mode shuts down all non-essential features to ensure users can make or take calls and messages on limited power when they can’t afford not to. Recommended retail price / TBC Available from /TBC

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SPLICED TECH /

MINI REVIEWS / GADGETS, GLORIOUS GADGETS

ISSUE 04

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Officially the world’s skinniest and lightest waterproof tablet on the market. It also features the world’s faster processor in a tablet, and offers the world’s first Digital Noise Cancelling technology in a tablet. So in a nutshell, it’s an overachiever. Its 10.1’’ display is fully HD, and the tablets’ OmniBalance design makes it pretty comfy to hold. Quick charge technology adopted by the Z2 tablet means that its can charge up to four times faster than other tablets. Battery wise, users can expect around 10 hours of uninterrupted multimedia usage, before imminent tablet death, thanks to a 6000mAh battery in conjunction with Sony’s Battery STAMINA Mode. The 8.1 megapixel rear-facing camera shoots in HD and does notably well in low light conditions, while the HD 2.2 megapixels front-facing camera allows for catching up with family and friends. And a pre-loaded suite of camera apps means that users can also have fun and get creative before posting and sending photos. Recommended retail price / R17,500 Available from / Dion Wired

Nespresso Inissia Anyone who likes to take their caffeine intravenously and knows the value off the buck will be pleased to know that Nespresso have recently launched the Inissia. A colouful, compact machine that’s also kind on pockets, the Inissia has been making big waves amongst coffee lovers. It’s also kind to those who have minimal time (especially in the mornings), heating up in only 25 seconds. Little and light, it sports an itty-bitty footprint, and weighs in at only 2.4kgs. Users can pre-program coffee buttons to deliver their perfect cup of coffee on autopilot. And it’s available in a range of colours, including Ruby Red, Vanilla Cream, White and Black. Recommended retail price / R1,650 Available from / Nespresso boutiques

Acer Aspire R7 Quite possibly the love child of the Starship enterprise and Windows OS, the Acer Aspire R7 features a touch screen, tablet like, full HD 15’’6 inch screen mounted on a revolutionary “Ezel Hinge”. Spoilt for choice, users can choose to flip the screen, reverse it entirely, lie it completely flat on the keyboard (tablet style) or allow it to float (as one does). This notebook also sports a repositioned keyboard, with the track pad placed above the standard keyboard keys. Functioning impressively well as a regular power horse for both work and play, this notebook also works well for watching movies, screening presentations, and generally impressing others with its novelty feature screen. Specs wise, this beast also comprises of a full size sized, backlit keyboard, HDMI port, three USB ports, and up to 1TB hard drive or 256GB SSD space. Recommended retail price / R17,500 Available from / Dion Wired

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SPLICED TECH / REVIEW / SONY XPERIA Z1 COMPACT VS. SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 MINI

ISSUE 04

by Pippa Tshabalala

SMARTPHONE COMPARISON

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Round 1… FIGHT! RRP / Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - R9,000 / Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini - R5,699  

W

e’re all aware of the latest trend for smartphone manufacturers to release a “mini” version of their flagship phone. I’ll be honest, when I first saw the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, I thought this was exactly that – a mini version of the Xperia Z1. The Compact however, has almost exactly the same specs as its big brother, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini which is a scaled down version of the S4. It’s natural of course that we compare these phones with each other, but how does the newer Z1 Compact stack up against the more established and popular S4 Mini? Particularly well actually. The S4 Mini is one of the “compact” Android phones that has done particularly well in the smartphone market. More portable and easier for one handed access than the S4, but on the downside, not quite as high powered.

12

Physically the Sony and the Samsung are the same size, but the Sony has an increased screen resolution of 720 x 1280 as opposed to the Samsung’s 540 x 960 resolution. For those of us who predominantly use their phones for taking photos, the biggest draw card of the Xperia is the whopping 20.7MP (yes you read that correctly) camera, which puts the S4 Mini’s 8MP camera to shame. From a hardware perspective, again the Xperia comes out tops. The Compact features a quad-core processor in comparison to the Mini’s dual core and 2048MB RAM as opposed to the Mini’s 1536MB which shows up most noticeably when it comes to background processes.


SPLICED TECH / REVIEW / SONY XPERIA Z1 COMPACT VS. SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 MINI

ISSUE 04

TECH SPECS Did you know that the Sony Xperia range has it’s own online store? You can buy both the mobile and tablet devices as well as accessories there. Find out more here xperiastore.co.za

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

XPERIA Z1 COMPACT • 137 g • 4.3 inches • 720 x 1280 resolution • 342 ppi • 20.7 MP rear facing camera • 2 MP front facing camera • 1080p HD video recording • Quad Core, 2200 MHz Krait 400 • 2048 MB RAM • 16GB Built in storage

9

SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 MINI • 107 g • 4.3 inches • 540 x 960 resolution • 256 ppi • 8 MP rear facing camera • 1.9 MP front facing camera • 1080p HD video recording • Dual Core, 1700 MHz Krait 300 • 1536 MB RAM • 8GB Built in storage

The Xperia Z1 Compact wins hands down when it comes to battery life. It’s one thing reading about the 2300 mAh battery on paper, but it’s completely different experiencing it firsthand. Although it’s in my nature to charge a phone every night, if the Xperia is on 60% at the end of the day you’ve used it a lot.

Contrast is slightly higher on the Samsung but low light photos are understandably better on the Xperia Z1 Compact, as is the zoom functionality.

Although the Xperia Z1 Compact is more expensive than the Mini, it’s completely worth it for the added value you’ll get in the long run. 

VERDICT

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

7.5

While it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed by either phone, the Xperia Z1 Compact has taken the lead in this battle of the “compact” smartphones. Samsung are going to have to do some serious work with the S5 Mini in order to catch up.

13


SPLICED TECH /

REVIEW / GARMIN VIVOFIT FITNESS TRACKER

by Amanda Stone

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Tracker Garmin’s new Vivofit is the sports watch meet fitness band we didn’t even realised we were waiting for. Until now. RRP / R1899 or R2299 (including heart rate monitor bundle)   ONLINE / sites.garmin.com/vivo

Y

ou may be tempted to write this little gadget off as “just another fitness band” trying to establish its place in an already fairly saturated market. (Because that’s pretty much how I felt.) But let me say this upfront and honestly; it’s not. Right off the bat I noticed that this fitness band has a screen. It has a simple, informative LED display that allows you to see all your basic stats at a glance. Suddenly, this band had my attention. Because while we generally use things like fitness bands to try and decrease laziness – let’s face it - syncing bands to phones and sites every time we want to see our step count or calories burnt is a bit of a hassle. Not only this, but the display actually tells the time too. Bonus. It features different display screens which you are able to skip between by

14

pressing the (there’s only one) button. The different displays each provide daily information on different stats; including steps taken, calories burned, distance walked, users heart rate, step goal for the day (and how much further you have to go), pace, and then the time. (Yay for instant gratification.) The tracker also displays a super useful red “move bar” when you’ve been slothing it out for over an hour, reminding you to move. For every addition 15 minutes you stay stationary, the red bar extends. I found this pretty neat because while you’re being reminded to move, you’re not being persistently harassed by a vibrating device on your arm while in the middle of a board room meeting and unable to do anything about it. Design wise, the display face is removable and each device comes with two different sized, rubber type bands

ISSUE 04


SPLICED TECH /

ISSUE 04

REVIEW / GARMIN VIVOFIT FITNESS TRACKER

TECH SPECS • Includes a pedometer and a sleep monitor • Compatible with Android 4.3 or higher, and iOS 7 or higher. • Battery life of 1 year • LED display screen • Bluetooth 4.0 • Comes with Garmin Connect pre-installed • Band and face are both replaceable

By syncing your Vivofit to Garmin’s free online community, Garmin Connect, you can also track your total hours slept, as well as any periods of movement or disrupted sleep during the night.

to ensure yours fits you correctly. Bands also come in five different colours, so you can chop and change as you wish. It’s also fully waterproof, shatter proof and scratchproof, so there’s no real need to ever take this bad boy off. While the battery isn’t rechargeable, Garmin claim it will last for roughly one year before it will need to be replaced. Also, it looks nice. It functions as a basic sport watch would (with instant feedback on distance, time, pace, calories burned etc) but is far less bulky. Plus, it’s relatively comfy, so sleeping in this baby isn’t a problem. Oh, and the pricier bundle also comes with a heart rate monitor for all those diehard enthusiasts out there. One of the features that sets this device apart from the others is that sets personalised daily goals on your behalf. The Vivofit learns your current activity level, and as you achieve your goals, it adjusts your goal accordingly for the next day. Bluetooth 4.0 allows you to sync the fitness band with Garmin Connect

online by holding down the button on the strap. Once you’ve done this, you’re able to join Garmin’s online community – Garmin Connect (via app or site) to see a far more complete, detailed picture of your fitness progress. And while the Vivofit tracker is arguably one of the more accurate fitness devices on the market when it comes to tracking things like steps and calories burnt, it struggles to register that you’re walking if your arms aren’t moving. Which means that while you’re pushing a cart around a supermarket, your steps will be in vain. (In the digital world, at least.) 

8

VERDICT

In short, the Vivofit does the basics and does them well. It’s comfy, looks fairly trendy, gives users instant gratification when it comes to monitoring daily data, and allows you to connect online and monitor your long term progress in a large variety of areas. It also allows you to see how your buddies are doing too.

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SPLICED TECH /

ISSUE 04

MINI REVIEWS / APPS

The Entertainer

Telegram

Garmin Connect

AVAILABLE ON / Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows PRICE / Free to download, city packs available for purchase

AVAILABLE ON / iOS, Android PRICE / Free

AVAILABLE ON / iOS, Android PRICE / Free

L

ong established as a useful resource for many travellers, The Entertainer was initially a book that offered special discounts. The company has now expanded its range from a physical book to an app on multiple platforms. The basic premise behind the concept is discount vouchers. You download the app, browse through the list of offers available in your city, and cash in on the vouchers, which offer great discounts. You’ll be able to make use of all the coupons on offer, from discounts at restaurants, to accommodation offers, beauty treatments and leisure activites. It’s easy enough to use, just log in, select your city, and then when you’re at your selected vendor, redeem the voucher. You enter your pin, then the vendor enters theirs, and it calculates the discount and gives them a reference number. Pretty straightforward. While the app itself is free to download, and there are a couple of free offers that don’t require you to pay additional money, if you want the city pack you are going to have to pay an additional fee. It’s not a lot of money for the value you’re getting, but you must use it then of course, otherwise it’s a waste. - Pippa Tshabalala

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16

E

veryone you know is on Whatsapp right? But of course Whatsapp is now starting to charge, it crashed a few weekends ago and in a bid by many to resist the ever-increasing net of Facebook, a new app has arrived on the scene offering an alternative. Telegram is the latest messaging app to hit the market, and while on the surface it’s almost identical to Whatsapp, it offers a level of privacy that many people are currently searching for in a messaging app. It gives you the ability to send messages and photos affixed with a self-destruct timer, which means you can engage in a secret chat that isn’t stored on Telegram’s servers (unlike Whatsapp), and using end-to-end encryption, only the sender and recipient can read them. Yeah ok, it’s likely that most people will use the secret chat for sexting more than anything else, but the possibilities for those paranoid about privacy are very attractive. Although it doesn’t include audio messages as yet, we have no doubt this will soon be on the cards for Telegram. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? As in completely. No subscription services, nothing. And they promise it will remain like this. Whatsapp, watch out. - Pippa Tshabalala

9

Y

ou might have noticed that we reviewed the Garmin Vivofit in our tech section. For you to truly get the most out of your Vivofit, you need to have the Garmin Connect app installed on your phone, because while you can easily track the number of steps and so forth directly on your device, if you want to get an overview of your progress, you need to sync your device regularly with your phone. This will give you an idea of the number of steps you’ve taken in a day, your periods of inactivity, the number of calories you’ve burned and whether or not you’re meeting or even exceeding the daily goals the Vivofit sets for you. While the app itself is simple enough, after prolonged use I did find it a bit buggy. It syncs to any Garmin fitness device via Bluetooth, and at times, no matter how many times you close the app, reopen the app and turn your Bluetooth on and off, the only way to get it to sync is to restart your phone. Pretty darn annoying when all you want to do is transfer the information from one gadget to another, but overall it’s a good companion app to your device. - Pippa Tshabalala

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May 3rd 2014 www.freecomicbookday.com • Comics from R10. • Graphic novels discounted between 20% - 50% • Comic book sets at half price. • Signed certified comics marked down. • Awesome rare collectibles available on the day.

1ST 30 CUSTOMERS in line will recieve a Smallville Comics gift voucher valued at R150.

1ST 30 CUSTOMERS who spend R300 or more will recieve a free Heroclix Batman Arkham Origins quick start kit!

1ST 30 CUSTOMERS who spend R500 or more will recieve a free "goodie bag" valued at R500. (Includes Heroclix Batman Arkham Origins quick start kit!)

1ST 5 CUSTOMERS who spend R2,500 or more will reieve a random Michael Turner signed comic valued at R1,200 free!)

1

ST

COSPLAY COMPETITION Come dressed as your favourite hero or villain. All participants will recieve a R100 Smallville Comics voucher.

3 CUSTOMERS

Prizes for the top 3 best cosplays!

who spend R3,500 or more will recieve a random Stan Lee signed comic valued at R2,500 free!

CONTACT JOE: 083 534 9301 OR RONNIE: 083 401 2562 FACEBOOK Smallville Comics Alberton E-MAIL kentcomics@yahoo.com ONLINE www.smallvillecomics.com

Alberton City shopping centre


Illustration by Keron Grant. Go to kerongrant.net for more. 18


ISSUE 04

SPLICED

CHAPTER

02 being

Lifestyle

20

32

COLUMN / While we're

20-ISH QUESTIONS /

on the subject of...

Mariëtte Bergh

22

34

BLACKBEARD’S CHEST / Buli G

ARTIST INTERVIEW / @LegoJacker

26

36

MUSIC / Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

TATTOOS / Cape Tattoo

/ Dear Reader

Expo 2014

28

42

ARTIST INTERVIEW / Keron Grant

COVER FEATURE / Tattoo showcase

02/05 19


SPLICED COLUMN /

ISSUE 04

WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT OF...

02/03 While we're on the subject of...

Polyamory Polyamory noun \pä-lē-ˈa-mə-rē\ The state or practice of having more than one romantic relationship at a time. Polygamy noun \-mē\ The state or practice of being married to more than one person at the same time.

by Isaac Kosmides Isaac is a writer, illustrator and designer. He also has a dayjob. He is a Sagittarius, occassionally makes it to yoga on time and will probably make you breakfast if you ask him nicely.

20


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WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT OF...

ISSUE 04

For most, the notion of polyamory is relegated to the confines of wet dreams, drunken experimentation and questionable latenight downloads; but polyamory has long been a cultural staple. The ancients in Greece & Rome married, but orgies were commonplace as a means of celebration, and it was customary for a man to take a younger bloke under his *ahem* wing as a rite of passage (bear in mind these are the same lot that shagged goats in the name of Dionysus and had dedicated vomitoriums – the ancients knew how to party). Islamic law still allows for a man to have up to 4 wives at a time. Jews would customarily be able to marry their brother’s widow in addition to their own wife thus absorbing the family as their own. Nomadic Tibetan brothers often married the same woman, sharing their matrimonial privileges. The Mormons, more creepily perhaps, devised and implemented the ‘sister-wives’ concept. Our president is flying the flag of our local cultural bylaws. For most countries polygamy may not be legal, but polyamory is on the rise. You may be doing it right now. By definition dating is a polyamorous practice. Hedging your bets, dating more than one person at a time to figure out which may be the better match? That’s polyamory in practice. And why not? The Women’s Liberation movement dispelled the necessity for a marriage to provide sole financial security. The medical leaps beyond bloodletting and leeches now call it an orgasm instead of hysteria. The sexual revolution and ever-progressive laws have entirely opened the divide between homo, hetero and everything in between; recognising a person’s inalienable right to love who they want, for as long as feel and marry whomever they choose (in certain parts of the planet at least; in others entertaining this concept alone could have me incarcerated). [ Or executed! – Ed ]

02

The original reasons for a til-death-do-us-part twosome have largely been nullified, as have the expectations surrounding them. The model of the average household has dispersed and the nuclear norm is a possibility but not a staple. People are increasingly independent, self-sustaining and open to alternative means of loving – one of which is to open the relationship to the possibility of two becoming three (or more).

And it makes sense. Logistically, think of the rent split three ways even if there is a stay-at-home-whatever, it’s still a double income household. Think of three-ways. Fullstop. Gone are the worries of boredom, or obligation. For any activity you’re not in the mood for right now, there’s a 66% chance that someone else will be in keen to take one for the team; making dinner, seeing the family, making sure the kids are sorted. Worries of sex getting stale are suddenly moot. Three heads are better than one, so to speak. Find the right balance and everyone’s happy. All. The. Time. For any argument there’s a built-in tiebreaker. For any tear, 4 shoulders. Best of all, holidays are cheaper the more people there are. Same thing for bulk cleaning products. It’s almost as if they want you to diversify. True, there are cons. A third member in any tribe means an extra opinion on everything. There’re two people constantly leaving the toilet seat up, or two to complain about it. Apartments don’t generally come with enough cupboard space for one person let alone more (though diversifying does make clothes sharing a given), nor are there standard 1-bed 3-bath options, nor baths the size of swimming pools, though these are problems a plumber can fix. The biggest hurdle for most is jealousy (though the earth requires both moon and sun to keep everything in orbit.) And perhaps omnisexuality. To that I can only concede that polyamory isn’t for everyone. Still, if you can put petty jealousies aside, brave the (envious) glares of the sanctimonious soccer moms and embrace the notion of an expansive lifestyle based on mutual respect and adoration split three ways – three may just be the magic number… 

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LIFE /

BLACKBEARD'S CHEST / A COLLECTION OF RANDOM TREASURES

ISSUE 04

Blackbeard’s Chest by Buli Ngomane

A collection of random treasures. Buli G is the Eastern Cape’s GoTo-Girl because of her vast network. Over 15 years she has had a TV and prime-time-radio presenting career in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. As a singer, she has starred in theatrical productions which toured the world. All that exposure led to a media and communications career that sees her currently working in 7 African countries when she is not in Cape Town or Johannesburg shooting episodes of The Power Within (currently between seasons) - a women’s empowerment show which she presents on SABC 3. This driven woman has a shelf full of media and business awards and accolades.

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LIFE /

BLACKBEARD'S CHEST / A COLLECTION OF RANDOM TREASURES

ISSUE 04

Music

Martin Sjöstedt Get his music on www.martinsjostedt.com I play Martijn Sjöstedt’s latest CD In the Blink of an Eye in my car and it has cured me of road rage.

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first met Martin in East London in 2005 in a hotel lobby. He was part of a quartet visiting South Africa and I thought he looked like a rock star, not a jazz musician – denims, leather and a big grin. Years later after countless returns to play at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and other events I’m happy to say I have followed his music and try not to miss a single gig when he is in the country. He is a talented bassist, pianist, arranger and composer. In his latest album he collaborates with the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra and the result is best described as a larger than life jazz jam that can’t be ignored. He is one of the biggest talents in Swedish jazz and this year’s recipient of the Jan Johansson award. Martin Sjöstedt will be at the Grahamstown Festival in 2015.

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LIFE /

ISSUE 04

BLACKBEARD'S CHEST / A COLLECTION OF RANDOM TREASURES

Fashion

Silver Spoon Clothing www.silverspoonclothing.co.za Stephanie and Dieter van den Bergh are the cool kids in Port Elizabeth and their label Silver Spoon which was launched in 2008 dominates my wardrobe. I love to wear them!

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A seems to agree with me because Silver Spoon Clothing and its owners have won multiple awards – their latest accolade seeing Stephanie included in the city’s top 40 under 40 business achievers for 2014. I adore their edgy classics with statement colours that can easily carry you through multiple seasons. Their store is located in Richmond Hill, just a stone’s throw away from the bustle of the trendy restaurants and visiting them always turns into an afternoon of shopping bliss and too much MCC as a result. Their clothes are mostly ladies-wear, but Dieter is launching Jacob – a label for the gents in the near future.

Stephanie and Dieter van den Bergh

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LIFE /

BLACKBEARD'S CHEST / A COLLECTION OF RANDOM TREASURES

ISSUE 04

Flora

Christopher Rimmer www.christopherrimmer.com Driving along the pot-holed Wild Coast road after sunset is never wise, so on a recent trip I found myself making a stop in Port St Johns, my childhood home until I was 5 years old, to spend the night before heading on. I stayed at a river lodge and spent the early evening chatting to other guests. That’s when I met Christopher. He showed me the most amazing photograph of a bull on the local beach with a moody, breathtaking blue sky in the background and I was hooked. The following day he said he planned to use a carrot to see if he could lure a donkey to the beach and take a similar shot. I continued my journey the next morning, but thanks to Facebook, I saw that he had indeed succeeded in luring the donkey, and the result is perfection - I have enjoyed many more of his beautiful photographs since then. Christopher’s story is as astounding as his images. Christopher Rimmer was born in England and emigrated to South Africa as a child. After immigrating to Australia in 1981, he studied photography formally, firstly under Werner Hammerstingl and then later at Rusden College under Paul Green. His critically acclaimed photographs of Africa have been widely published and he has exhibited in group and solo shows both in Australia and in the United Kingdom and France & the U.S. He is a member of the Royal Photographic Society and was shortlisted for British magazine B&W Photographer of the Year for his

work in Southern Africa in 2011 and again in 2012. I’m glad he is back in South Africa and am wowed by his latest offering! Above all its good to know that journeys can hold infinite surprises and new friendships even when the road is a familiar one.

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SPLICED LIFE /

ISSUE 04

MUSIC / DAN LE SAC VS. SCROOBIUS PIP

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

In case you’re wondering where to get all these weird and wonderful tchoons (boet), do yourself a massive favour and check out www.deezer.com. It’s especially great for the local stuff you thought would never make it on the webs since Myspace lame-ified, and subscription fees are negligible. Yay! Paying for the music people work so hard to produce is fun! by Sarah Browne

Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip / Angles (2008) I don’t even know how to begin praising this musical and poetic masterpiece. These two white lads from England sure do know how to break it the fuck down. Dan le Sac is the less-good-looking musical wizard behind the turntable, while Pip is the bearded bard who could give the original Bard a run for his money. Is this hip hop? Yes. Is it guns, bitches, and bling? Hells no. In fact, it couldn’t be further. It’s some seriously life-changing stuff that manages to also be crazily beat-tastic, just to keep you from contemplating ALL THE POETIC THINGS from within an inch of your relative sanity. Have a listen to Pip’s solo stuff too. None of it will disappoint you (unless you have impossible standards, in which case, stop that).

BEST TRACKS Thou Shalt Always Kill / With music subtly reminiscent of a Sega game and next-level lyrics, these commandments are ones you not only want to live by, but dance to too. It tells you sensible things like “thou shalt not question Stephen Fry,” and “though shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me,” which, you know, win. Such honest. So electro. Much rap. Wow.

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The Beat That My Heart Skipped / “And it goes like: bum bum bum bah-dee baaah” is what you’ll be singing all day, son. All day! This is an incredible song in its own right, but as an energizing intro to a stellar album? Oh man, it’s like a war cry leading into the imminent battle for awesome. It wins, by the way.


SPLICED LIFE /

MUSIC / DEAR READER

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Dear Reader / Replace Why With Funny (2009) I totally forgot about this little gem, but man is it killer for the car. Imagine driving with a spring in your step, but in a way that doesn’t turn your travels into a scene out of Carmaggedon (those poor Rottweilers). It’s really great to sing to with the volume turned up so high that even you don’t notice how poor your singing is. You also might imagine that you too can play classical instruments with gusto and great skill. You’ll probably be pretty wrong, but no one cares when you’re playing the air-violin at red robots. The vocals are sweet as cherry-pie, the music is accomplished-as-fuck, and the lyrics take you on charmingly quirky journeys through the divide between fantasy and earnest heartfelt-ness (your face isn’t a word). “The Same,” a tale of benevolent white guilt, may go a little too far into earnest territory, but that’s what the skip button’s for.

BEST TRACKS Great White Bear / You know those daydreams when you imagine that you are the protagonist in your own adventure story (possibly even viewed on flickery film at the back of your mind on a dull concrete-jungle day)? This is what the journey part of the story might sound like.

Never Goes / It’s a sad one, but it’s kind of hauntingly beautiful and musically dramatic in a “wow” way. In fact, I really wish these guys would start gigging locally again. Give me more of this loveliness in my face, Dear Reader!

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SPLICED LIFE /

ISSUE 04

INTERVIEW / KERON GRANT

AN AUDIENCE WITH

by Chris Savides

KERON GRANT Keron Grant hails from Montego Bay, Jamaica. He left the island paradise and moved to America with his family as a teenager. The new surroundings, as well as the vast pop culture on hand was the catalyst that fuelled his desire to create, and boy are we lucky he did. He’s since gone on to work for some of the biggest companies in America, which spans from work in comics with Image and DC, to games and films. We caught up with Keron on Skype to ask him a few questions. Spliced Magazine: Hi Keron, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. You’re a hard man to get a hold of! Keron Grant: [Laughs] it’s a pleasure, thanks very much for having me. At last we’re doing the interview. I read through all the issues of your magazine, it’s really impressive so thanks for the opportunity! SM: Thank you very much. Your homeland is Jamaica, how long have you been in the States for? KG: Well, I moved to the States when I was 15, so I’ve been here 22 years now. But I still consider Jamaica to be my home. I miss it, but living in New York is also great. SM: Did your love of art start in Jamaica or only once you got to America? KG: Look, I’ve been drawing since I can remember. I started as a kid when I was about four or five, it was just something I always remember doing and always loved doing. Once I got to the States I was blown away by all the pop culture and comics that I was surrounded with. So that defiantly helped with inspiration for my own art. I went to college and actually studied industrial design and fine art. While I was still in college I got a few jobs from Image comics and that really was the start of things.

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Keron's art captures the beauty in the female form as well as the intricasies of the muscle cars. A beautiful marriage of curves, both organic and mechanical.


SPLICED LIFE /

INTERVIEW / KERON GRANT

SM: That’s amazing. So you went from working in comics to other fields too. You also did some work in the gaming industry too. KG: Yeah, I was in my twenties when I started doing some work for DC and Marvel comics too, and from there I moved to doing some gaming stuff. I think one of the first games I worked on was inFAMOUS. That was a lot of fun, I mainly did character designs for a few of the villains, which is always cool. SM: inFAMOUS was a great game. How exactly did you break into the gaming industry coming from a comic background? KG: Well, I would attend all the big comic cons like San Diego and New York. There was always a producer for a game or a

ISSUE 04

movie walking the artists ally. Good work will hopefully always speak to people and get noticed. I was lucky enough to have my work seen by a few producers and gaming industry people, and from there I got called in to do freelance work for them. SM: Well, your work obviously got noticed by quite a few people, after doing work for games you also worked on some huge Hollywood blockbuster films too. Tell us about those. KG: Well it varied; I’ve done storyboards for films and concept and character designs. I worked on the Matrix movies, Transformers, and recently G.I. Joe and Robocop. G.I. Joe was a lot of fun to do, I’m a huge fan of motorcycles and I was asked to come up with concepts for a few of the vehicles for G.I. Joe, and spent some time on set while they were filming too.

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SPLICED LIFE /

INTERVIEW / KERON GRANT

SM: How much were you involved in the Robocop film in terms of its look and feel? KG: Oh, I didn’t even know they were making a movie, I thought it was for some TV show they were working on that would eventually be cancelled two seasons in. I was on it very early, from when they were pitching it to the studio, so I did some concept designs for the suit. SM: What about the motorcycle, being a huge motorcycle fan did you get to work on that too? KG: Nah, that was already designed before they got to me, they did ask me to advise how he would sit on the bike they designed with the suit, but I never got the chance to design the bike sadly. SM: Do you prefer working traditionally over digital? KG: I do like traditional, I like the feel of the paper and the medium I’m using, and also you get the mistakes that you make coming through in the piece, which sometimes make you feel like “Oh hey, I’m a genius

Vibrancy, kinetic energy, a passion for technique and a master of his craft. All attributes of a Keron Grant piece.

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look what I did?” [Laughs] but yeah, I work a lot with traditional techniques and always try experiment with new ones. When I’m working digitally though one thing I force myself to do is not to erase or cover up mistakes. So just like in life there’s no Ctrl Z, it makes it feel more traditional and if there’s a mistake it becomes part of the artwork or incorporated into the piece. Luckily there’s a place for both these days. SM: What advice would you give to artists who want to break into some of the fields you’re in? KG: Just love what you’re doing and draw as much as possible, every day. If you love it and you get excited by drawing and creating good work it will get noticed. Just have fun, drawing shouldn’t become a chore or feel like work otherwise that will come through in your art. SM: Where to from here for you, do you have some exciting projects coming up? KG: Hmm, I’m working on a very big film right now that I’m not allowed to say anything about just yet.

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SPLICED LIFE /

INTERVIEW / KERON GRANT

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The Man of Steel, frozen in time above Metropolis. Keron has a knack for capturing an exhilarating moment.

SM: C’mon you can tell us, your secret is safe. KG: [Laughs] My lips are sealed, man. I can say that I want to do more gallery pieces this year and something involving cowboys mixed with motorcycles or something like that, a cool Western thing with bikes. SM: That sounds cool, so something like Bravestarr?

SM: When you’re not making amazing art, what do you like to do in your spare time or to unwind? KG: I’m a huge motorcycle fanatic, I like to design them in my spare time and ride them as much as possible. If there’s a comic convention I’m attending I usually like to take the long way round and enjoy the ride. I do my art to pay for working on my next motorcycle [laughs]. I’m also an art geek; I love books with anything art related.

KG: What’s that? SM: [Gasp!] It’s a cartoon from the eighties that’s set in the 23rd century on a desert planet in a town called New Texas. It has robotic horses that talk, and bad guys that ride flying cattle steeds and Marshal Bravestarr who kicks all kinds of ass, and the villain is this giant cattle monster with robotic horns that calls him Stampede. It’s awesome. (Splicers, look out for a Bravestarr article in the future lol) KG: [Laughs] Damn, I need to check that out. Thanks for the heads up!

SM: And finally, our last question, and probably the most important of them all. When Meatloaf said that he would do anything for love, but he won’t do that, what do you think he was referring to? KG: [Laughs] and [Laughs some more] I think he wouldn’t give up his motorcycle! SM: Thank you so much for your time Keron and for allowing us to showcase your work. KG: Thanks very much, take care.  

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SPLICED LIFE /

20-ISH QUESTIONS / MARIËTTE BERGH

ISSUE 04

20-ish questions with

Mariëtte Bergh

is someone to behold. Since taking the plunge from magazine darling to fulltime painter, she has fast established herself as a name to watch, and a talent to collect. Her glass-fronted works portray the effortlessly chic and delightfully wry sensibilities she herself embodies; with her style becoming a recognisable staple in galleries across the country. Last year, she launched the uberstylish bespoke wooden kiddies furniture range Bunny & Clyde with Lisa Vos. With so much on the go, Spliced distracted her just long enough to ask a few questions...

Right now, I am sitting on the couch, next to my dog, eating a lollipop. I’m currently working on an exhibition called Gravity; featuring Dani Loureiro, Cassandra Leigh, Mariëtte, Tess Metcalf, Nina Torr & Maaike Bakker. I’m really proud of my son, Finn. I’m always obsessed with music, and my son. I couldn't possibly live without my family. You’d be amazed to see me change colour in the sun. You’d be horrified if I showed you the inside of my brain. I’m currently living in Joburg. I've lived in places strange and far, if Joburg is considered that. My favourite place in the world is just any postcard beach with a warm ocean. I’m really inspired by words, and timber. I’m reading (and loving) books by Mo Hayder. I’m currently listening to Widowspeak, First Aid Kit, Suuns, Here We Go Magic,


SPLICED LIFE /

ISSUE 04

20-ISH QUESTIONS / MARIËTTE BERGH

Daniel Rossen, Metronomy, Luke Temple, Angel Olsen and Megafaun. Amongst others. Next up on my bucket list is to move to Cape Town. The last thing I crossed off my bucket list was to see the wild horses in the Namibian desert. I realised I was an adult when I realised I suffer from anxiety. I realised I’ll never be an adult when I don't finish sentences. When I grow up I want to be a kid. Best invention since the wheel is Photoshop. My best example of timeless design is Bunny & Clyde's beautiful wood furniture. A house is not a home without a dog. I never leave home without short circuiting. My guiltiest pleasure is soft serve with a dash of ethanol. When no-one’s looking, I do the boogie woogie. In my next life I want to be a seahorse. Every morning, I go for a slow run with my dogs. I believe that happiness should be the only pursuit. I’ve really got to work on my nerves. Best advice I was ever given was to make art for myself, and everything else will follow. Where can peeps see more of what you do? mariettebergh.com bunnyandclyde.co.za 


SPLICED LIFE /

THE LEGOJACKER

Instagram profile

@Legojacker Legojacker was born on a tropical island on the equator. It was here he first discovered Lego and the joyous ritual of new Lego every Christmas. Like all plastic addicts he would spend many hours building things with Lego, but did not like to follow the instruction books. When he was 12 he moved to Australia and forgot about his Lego. Fast forward two decades, and a chance encounter with a large box of Lego on Christmas eve. After tinkering with toy photography he started Legojacker on Instagram late 2011 and was featured as a suggested user by Instagram in mid 2013. Since achieving this very minor insta-celebrity status, he has been using his love of tiny plastics for highlighting important causes and trying to get free stuff. When he is not photographing plastics he works in arts marketing. You live in Melbourne, Australia but you have thousands of followers on Instagram from all over the world - was this something you consciously built up, or did it just happen? Do you think Lego is a common interest for many people? I started the Legojacker idea about two and a half years ago but the popularity of Legojacker really took off when Instagram featured me as a suggested user back in April 2013. My page went from a little over 2k to 25k in a month. I think that's when other “grammers� started to take notice. The Legojacker name came from the idea of 'hijacking' everyday situations with plastic toys. For me, there is a beautiful simplicity

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SPLICED LIFE /

THE LEGOJACKER

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about seeing the world reduced to tiny figures even if the situation/ environment around it is ugly. I think the use of Lego reconnects many adults with their childhood, and that is quite a powerful platform to create art, engage people and occasionally share an important message or cause. What inspires your pictures? They all differ greatly from one another, with the exception that they all reference popular culture. I think the idea of reflecting the human condition through toys is what drives me. Sometimes that representation is whimsical, the everyday made magical. Sometimes I use LEGO to reinterpret street art, art which this city is very famous for. And sometimes my pictures can get very dark reflecting real world events like Gezi Park, Syria, Ukraine, Child Slavery and Boat people. What is your favourite Lego object you've built or alternatively something you aspire to build? I guess my photography is primarily based around shooting mini figures, so my favourite Lego objects are the characters. I don't really have a favourite, because I'm generally mashing them all up to create new characters. I don't operate by the book. In that sense I don't build a huge amount of the model sets because I use the real world as the setting. That being said I would love to build the large Sydney Opera House Lego set, because I used to live in Sydney and that place holds many amazing memories. That and maybe the Lego Death Star. Which Lego set would you like them to make that doesn't already exist? Lego toys have such amazing education potential that I would love to see Lego take on the responsibility of profiling a global cause, like climate change, ending child slavery and building a Lego set to reflect that. They could even donate proceeds from the sets to charities supporting that. Although I think we can safely put that into the never going to happen box. I might have to build it first. When Meatloaf said he would do anything for love, but he won't do that, what do you think he meant? ;) I think Meatloaf was clearly singing about not wanting to sell off his Lego collection. 

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SPLICED LIFE /

TATTOOS / CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014

by Pippa Tshabalala / Photos by David Swart

CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014 THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE BUZZ OF A TATTOO MACHINE. AUDIBLE AND DISTINCTIVE EVEN OVER THE SOUND OF THROBBING MUSIC AND TALKATIVE CROWDS, YOU CAN PICK IT UP IMMEDIATELY, DRAWN TO ITS SOUND LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME.

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SPLICED LIFE /

TATTOOS / CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014

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SPLICED LIFE /

TATTOOS / CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014

nd like moths, every year tattooed people from around the country flock to the Cape Tattoo Expo, now in its sixth year. What began in the CTICC as an ambitious project founded by Manuela Gray of Wildfire Tattoos, bringing the best South African and international tattoo artists together under one roof, has evolved into an annual event that has moved venues twice, and gathers increased anticipation and momentum in the lead up to an event that rarely disappoints. This is not your average expo. It’s a three day tattoo extravaganza that caters to every aspect of tattoo culture, from music with nightly concerts by big name local musicians, to clothing such as the rockabilly style brand Miss Happ, tattoo styled accessories, and annual tattoo art exhibition and of course, the stars of the show, the artists themselves. The 2014 Expo was no different, although there was a noticeable drop in the number of international artists attending this year, due no doubt in part to the fact that for the first time, it was held at the end of February as opposed to the end of January as has been the usual model up until now. Patrons browse through artists’ portfolios, lingering over the pieces that appeal to them, with those who perhaps aren’t familiar with the scene trying to get an appointment on the spot. Although it’s certainly possible and walk-ins might be able to have something small done when their chosen artist has a gap, most artists are booked up weeks, if not months in advance by those eager to get inked. If they’re not booked it’s on a first come first served basis so you need to stake your claim (and your cash) early. International artists are even more in demand, even with the steep rates due to the

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SPLICED LIFE /

TATTOOS / CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014

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SPLICED LIFE /

TATTOOS / CAPE TATTOO EXPO 2014

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weakening Rand, as the chance to be tattooed by an international artist of this ilk is a rare one, but be prepared to max out your pain threshold however, as there are no second sittings when it comes to an international artist, they simply aren’t around in a month or two. Along with the photographic portfolios, you’ll see those who are sitting apprehensively, awaiting the artist’s pleasure as he or she sets up their equipment. There is a sense of anticipation, of nerves, which is usual when being tattooed, but there is the added pressure of doing this in a public environment. It’s a very different experience sitting in your artist’s studio with perhaps only one or two people around you, as opposed to your every flinch of pain or stoic expression being analysed and indeed photographed by the hundreds of people who walk past. I’ve been tattooed at four of the six Cape Tattoo Expos, and the experience is very different to that of being inside my artist’s studio. There is both a sense that you need to avoid looking as if you’re in pain, and at the same time the pain is strangely more tolerable as the constant flow of passersby provides a distraction from the persistent aggravation your skin is currently undergoing. There is a sense in this environment that you’re a part of a community. You’re no longer the outsiders that people stare at because of your body art – you’re a part of a culture that loves and admires your ink and everything that goes with it. 

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I

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SPLICED FEATURE /

TATTOO SHOWCASE

ISSUE 04

Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular in today’s culture. Although of course we realise that it’s not for everyone, those of us who choose to decorate our bodies in this way choose our art for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s a memorial to a loved one passed on. Perhaps it commemorates an important decision or point in your life. Perhaps you just liked the look of it and to all intents and purposes it means nothing that anyone else would relate to other than you. Don’t judge us. We are not the drug-addicted degenerates, ill suited to raise children, covering our bodies in sinful images to shock you.

We are your doctors, your lawyers, your financial advisors, your editors, your personal trainers – and yes, we are also the tattooers, the flamboyant artists, the actors. We are from all walks of life, and we are functioning members of society. We choose our art and we wear it proudly.

We are tattooed people. 42


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TATTOO SHOWCASE

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SPLICED FEATURE /

TATTOO SHOWCASE

Riki

Photographer/Graphic designer

" They're a part of my artistic personality." - Riki

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SPLICED FEATURE /

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Sekwa Marketing

Adam

Sales/Marketing

Pippa Spliced Editor

Annie

Freelance writer

" My tattoos make me feel like myself." - Annie

"It's a little bit of the inside, on the outside." - Pippa

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SPLICED FEATURE /

Matthew & Guinevere Plumber & Hairstylist

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

" I get a tattoo in every city I visit " - Guinevere


SPLICED FEATURE /

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Conrad

Body modification artist

Candice Broker/Model

Boyden Owner of Freedom Hair

Daniella Project Manager

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SPLICED FEATURE /

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Rozi Cheeks Stylist/Derby girl

Fern

Operations manager

Matt

Client Liason

" Cartoons from my childhood. " - Leshate

" Unique just like everyone else. " - Matt

Leshate Graphic Designer

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SPLICED FEATURE /

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Marleen Receptionist/ Drummer

Guinevere Hairstylist

" Let a million pictures make up one big picture." - Tyron

Tyron Salon Owner

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Brr

Multi Person

Danny

Radio & TV Presenter

"At the end of the day it's all about self expression." - Francois

Francois Stylist

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Dylan Sales Consultant


SPLICED FEATURE /

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Dave Art Director

Gina PA

Albie Photographer

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Ty

Scriptwriter/Actor

Jacques

Financial market analysist

Zureta

Costume Designer

Pixi

Project finance co-ordinator

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SPLICED FEATURE /

Devon PR manager

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TATTOO SHOWCASE

Elzette Artist/ photographer/ mom

Nadine

Jan 'Munky', Tattoo Artist

Business service manager

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SPLICED FEATURE /

ISSUE 04

TATTOO SHOWCASE

Lacretzia Mommy

T 'ruska Student

Nikki

Creative director

Kelly Social media manager

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WIN a marvel hamper! incluDing A signed Guardians of the Galaxy #1 variant.

An X-Men: Phoenix Warsong graphic novel.

PLUS

Three Marvel Select X-Men action figures.

TO ENTER GO LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO FIND OUT HOW. facebook.com/splicedmagazine

Prize sponsored by Smallville Comics

Competition closes 31 May 2014


Illustration by Keron Grant. Go to kerongrant.net for more. 56


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SPLICED

CHAPTER

03 being

Movies

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74

BAD MOVIE NIGHT / Tucker &

INTERVIEW / Peter Dinklage

Dale vs. Evil!

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INTERVIEW / Bryan Singer

INDIE MOVIES / Coming Of Age

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REVIEW / The LEGO Movie

FEATURE / X-Men:

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Days of Future Past

REVIEW / 300: Rise of an Empire

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INTERVIEW / Sir Ian McKellan

REVIEW / Need for Speed

73 INTERVIEW / Jennifer Lawrence

03/05


SPLICED MOVIES /

BAD MOVIE NIGHT / TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL

DIRECTOR Eli Craig  CAST Tyler Labine / Alan Tudyk / Katrina Bowden RUN TIME 89 minutes  RELEASE DATE  22 January 2010

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BAD MOVIE NIGHT / TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL

Tucker & Dale vs. Horror Tropes by Sarah Browne

S

POILER ALERT! Spoilers everywhere (but really, you’re not reading about The Fountain or something by Lars Von Trier – any surprises here aren’t really that surprising; that’s not the point of watching a Bad Movie)! Picture this, a group of Middle-American youngsters go on a camping trip in Hillbilly territory; two Hillbilly types enter the scene, heading out to their creepy, decrepit… holiday home? You’ve seen it all before, right? Wrong! There’s only one bad guy in this movie, and it’s neither of the Hillbillies. They do end up killing a bunch of the youths, but it’s completely by accident – no, really! That incident with the guy falling into the woodchipper; the “killer bees” (which, incidentally, are what we in SA just know as garden variety bees) chasing that guy into the mysteriously sharp and protruding tree branch; that dude falling into the conveniently grave-like outhouse hole (and onto the spade that dug it out); fires that burn the actual bad guy’s face, forming a fitting disfigurement; hilariously poor aim with a chainsaw – this movie has it all. What makes this a Bad Movie is the gloriously high cheesefactor, coupled with the epically huge checklist of horror tropes. What makes it infinitely watchable is how they manage to address these tropes with such benevolent irony, by flipping it around completely. Let’s have a look at some of these, shall we: The asshole college kid named Chad

This guy is more than just an asshole with a revenge plot and a penchant for booze and weed. Turns out, his chamomile allergy isn’t the only thing he inherited from his ‘rents – the dude’s part Hillbilly himself!

The busty blonde

Okay, so she is annoying, but you don’t hate her entirely since she ends up falling for one of the Hillbillies.

The skinny Hillbilly

While he does have a mild superiority complex and a grumpy streak, this guy (played by the wonderful Alan Tudyk) really just wants to enjoy his hardearned holiday home, sip his beer through a straw and go bowling.

The fat Hillbilly

The non-so-bright, but kinda also savant bear of a ‘Billy is the sweetest person to ever not die in a horror film’. He’s just so sad that all these college kids are so clumsy and dying all over his new holiday home. He can step up and be the fairly intimidating and puzzlingly adept fighter/hero when he needs to be, though.

The rickety cabin in the woods

As already mentioned, the Hillbillies buy this cabin to use as their holiday home. It used to belong to a now deceased serial killer, the centre supporting beam is a literal death trap, it’s the scene of brutal murders and a devastating fire; but it’s their rickety cabin in the woods, and to them it’s a paradise.

The “woo, we survived” ending

We’re used to horror endings that take place on gurneys, with flashing police lights, and/or some sort of mysterious clue to the bad guy’s potential survival, just in case the movie makes enough money to warrant a sequel. With this one, there sure is a hospital scene, but it’s filled with beer and comically misplaced finger surgeries. Then there is bowling, laughter and friendship. Awww…

Is this really a horror? Meh, probably not. Does that matter? Hells no. Never before has a movie been filled with so much blood and so many “awww” moments. It’s funny as fuck too and you should watch it. Go. Now. Okay, read a bit more and then go. 

- WATCH THIS IF You know, deep down, that the Scary Movie franchise just isn’t where it’s at, horror-parodywise. It doesn’t hurt if you enjoy watching guys dive head-first into woodchippers too.

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SPLICED MOVIES /

FEATURE / COMING OF AGE

e g A f o g in m o C By Isaac Kosmides

A

t-ridden dolescence. That unavoidable angs lthood. adu and d hoo child een precipice betw ld is wor the and ning mor one You wake up y and osit curi and ty curi inse and landmined with sex etly documented disillusionment all of which are secr t poetry. ialis tent exis ble in reams of truly terri , your body No one seems to understand you all that is in a state of angry revolution, and d is dragged chil a as eve beli to you’ve been raised beaten and day of t ligh h hars out into the cold it’s den sud a of All y. nsit with hormonal inte

) Avril ( 2006

ost a nun. ton) is alm in u Q ie h p Baptistine Avril (So r life in the e h t n te e sp d in the la Having er dissolve rd o n (a s t a conven hom she w ry) with w ndergo 19th Centu needs to u e sh y, b a re as a b ntine befo entrusted itual quara ir sp ry y, a to w a a a mand ilst locked vows. Wh she is in t a th t taking her c to the fa ff o ere d e p p has, out th she’s ti s, and still in in tw th f o o b e , ovice fact on rother. A n b a rld , o re w e e h th somew ays of w e th in d on nt an on a missi the conve e embarks sh ing s, ll rm a a w h s c past it of the lp e h e th h wit ges to find him vely mana she effecti m o h ie v w o r painte way. The m along the very to pick up rming and d and cha te ue to ta tr rs e y a d is un es to st t it manag a th e been v a in h h c Fren hat could w r e v o rs te nds the charac e in the ha stic plotlin li a n ld o ra ti e sa G a sen ector er than dir th o e n o y n of a -Mathieu. Hustache

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place in the your responsibility to find your own ideology, of ons noti the world, to grapple with d joy ridle unb the and sexuality and rebellion is how (this both in less in being able to be reck nable stio que ere Wh er). we learn to know bett tered shel r You ius. gen to ideas seem tantamount st thir ble cha uen unq an by world is blown apart ur. avio beh tive truc -des for exploration and self we’ve all done it; It’s magical. And terrifying. And ly unscathed and tive rela ived some have even surv These are some it. ut abo ies gone on to make mov of the best…


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FEATURE / COMING OF AGE

ISSUE 04

Kids (1995) No movie list on this theme would be complete without listing Kids, the controversial quasi-documentary zeitgeist film that woke up a generation of parents to the realities of teens living in a time where sex and drugs are not only immediately available, but readily utilized from an unnervingly early age. The film was slated on release because of its gratuitous content, which the makers defended as realistic. Truth is, it still reads just as relevantly now, the only notable difference being the visible absence of cellphones. Director Larry Clark was determined to portray his subjects authentically, largely casting the leads on chance meetings; Chloe Sevigny met writer Harmony Korine at a party, while Leo Fitzpatrick was recruited while Clark watched him swearing when not being able to land a skating trick.

Running With Scissors (2006) Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name (adapted for the screen and directed by Ryan Murphy,) Running With Scissors documents the years in which a teen Augusten Burroughs was abandoned by his unhinged mother (played by Annette Bening who was nominated for her portrayal) into the care of her hack psychiatrist and his unbridled tribe. What makes the story so disturbingly entertaining is that it’s based on fact; even if the family did sue for libel when the book was first published.

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Stealing Beauty (1996) Bernardo Berollucci’s Stealing Beauty is overall one of the most beautiful movies made on the subject. Virginal Lucy (Liv Tyler at her best) flies to Tuscany to spend the summer at a picturesque artist’s villa to have her portrait sculpted in the hopes of unravelling the mystery of her poet mother’s life and death. Well, that, and to rekindle the fling she had with one of the local Italian boys. She instantly finds herself the curiosit y of the meddling artists and old summer-holiday family friends that live there. The film effectively launched both Liv Tyler and Rachel Weiss, playing against the real-life husband and wife Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack . And the soundtrack is awesome; compiling Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Portishead and the Cocteau Twins.

Wonder Boys (2000) Wonder Boys is testimony to the fact that no-one ever really grows up without a fight. Based on the Michael Chabon novel, the adolescent in question is 50-something Professor Tripp (Michael Douglas). The oncebrilliant writer is perpetually stoned, unable to finish his now-mammoth follow-up opus, at the tail-end of another broken marriage and unable to commit to the Chancellor (Frances McDormand) with whom he’s been having an indefinite affair. This all comes to a head over the university’s

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annual WordFest. Flanked by his hedonistic editor (Robert Downey Jr) and morbidly disturbed but brilliant creative writing student (Tobey Maguire) the unlikely posse muddle their way through the week trying to keep it all together just long enough to figure out what to do with the dead dog in his trunk. Brilliantly scripted, and with (in my opinion) career-best performances by Douglas and Downey Jr, Wonder Boys is an ode to the indefinite process of ‘growing up.’


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FEATURE / COMING OF AGE

ISSUE 04

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Based on the Jeffrey Eugenides herself by impaling herself on novel, s marked the directorial debut a fence . The most intriguing is and resultant vindication of Sofia Lux (Kirsten Dunst), the most Coppola as an artist in filmmaking visibly rebellious of the five, and (her biggest feat is single-handedly her salacious relationship with making Kirsten Dunst appear to high-school heartthrob Tripp be a good actress). The story is (Josh Hartnett). The movie is narrated as the neighbourhood beautifully constructed, from boys’ hypothesis on the events text through execution, mostly leading up to the collective suicide due to the achingly understated of the enigmatic Lisbon sisters. (and meticulously stylized) way in Set in the suburban mid-70’s, the which Coppolla manages to portray boys try in vain to untangle the complex female characters on film. mysterious lives of the sisters, effectively under house arrest on the instruction of their overprotective parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner) after the youngest attempts, then succeeds, in killing

The Way Way Back (2013) Introverted Duncan is dragged on vacation to spend the summer in a beach cottage with his mother (Toni Collette) and her dickhead boyfriend (an astoundingly convincing Steve Carrell). Surrounded by adult supervision that need supervision themselves, he discovers the local waterpark Water Wizz (read Wild Waters) and secretly takes a job there under the wayward guidance of man-child owner Owen (the ever-awesome Sam Rockwell). Here, he finds camaraderie in the band of misfits that run the park, and a place to call his own. It’s a classic comingof-age formula, made infinitely more charming by the great casting.

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SPLICED FEATURE /

MOVIES / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

ISSUE 04

by Ray Whitcher

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST In what could be the most complex and ambitious superhero film ever made and helmed by Bryan Singer once again, the man that started it all with X-Men way back in 2000, the future is looking very bright for Charles Xavier’s band of merry mutants.

GENRE Action-Adventure  DIRECTOR Bryan Singer CAST Patrick Stewart / Ian McKellen / Hugh Jackman / Ellen Page / Halle Berry James McAvoy / Jennifer Lawrence /Michael Fassbender RUN TIME TBA  RELEASE DATE  USA: 23 May 2014 / Local: 23 May 2014

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ISSUE 04

-Men: Days of Future Past is based on the Uncanny X-Men comic series of the same name from way back in 1981, starting with issue 141, and is probably one of the most important and acclaimed story-arcs in the X-Men's history. In summary, the comic is set in a dystopian future in which Sentinels reign supreme, systematically exterminating or capturing mutants in an inexorable assault and a not so thinly veiled commentary on bigotry and racism. Very few mutants are left to oppose the swarm of killer robots and are mostly left disenfranchised and terrified. Among the survivors of the ethnic cleansing are Magneto, Wolverine, Shadowcat, Storm, Colossus and Rachel Summers (Cyclops and Jean Grey's daughter). On the day of an impending nuclear holocaust, the group sends Shadowcat's adult mind 32 years prior to the current events to send a warning to her team-mates about the prevention of the assassination of anti-mutant advocate Senator John Kelly by the Brotherhood of Mutants (a cadre lead by Mystique). The implications of the actions of the heroes are massive and they have to question the motivation behind saving someone so ardently hateful towards their kind, with tough choices and massive sacrifices having to be made to save the world. It’s the moment every X-fan has been waiting for, the chance to see some of the X-Men's best moments on film, because this is the X-story that deserves to be told, along with the Apocalypse saga, which Bryan Singer has confirmed as the sequel to Days of Future Past, so far titled X-Men: Apocalypse, and set to be released in 2016.

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MAKE-UP MYSTIQUE by Cameron Murray With credits that include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and both JJ Abrams Star Trek movies, it’s no wonder award-winning make-up effects artist Brian Sipe was a key player in bringing Mystique to the big screen for X-Men: Days of Future Past. What made you want to become a specialeffects make-up artist? Growing up, I was one of those kids who always watched Godzilla, King Kong, Star Trek – all that stuff. And I had a fascination with magic. I think I got fascinated with the thought of the illusion and fooling somebody. Tell us about your job on X-Men: Days of Future Past. That was a great experience. The producers knew going in that they had Jennifer Lawrence, who had just come off Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook and was the frontrunner to win the Oscar. The last time she was Mystique [in 2011’s X-Men: First Class], I was told it took seven artists up to eight hours to do her make-up. And then it would take them two to three hours to clean her up at the end of the night. I mean, that’s 11 hours, not counting how much time they could shoot her during the day, so I think they figured, “We’ve got this hot actress and we need to tighten this up.” How did you streamline the process? By the time I got the call, the process of how we were going to move forward streamlining the make-up was already in motion. But then it came down to me to be like, “OK, we gotta make this faster and we gotta make it last all day so we have minimal touch-ups and we’re not holding up production.” I did countless tests with different make-up materials and we knocked it down to three artists, three-and-ahalf hours on and 45 minutes to get her out at the end of the night. What was Jennifer Lawrence like to work with? Jennifer was great, a real trooper. We would go through three-and-a-half hours of make-up and she would still be smiling. We watched a lot of South Park and Family Guy… got us through the 4am call times. When we put Jen in make-up, a lot of the time we also put her stunt double, Renae Moneymaker, in makeup. She is also a sweetheart and was very patient with all that we did to her.

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Days is set to be quite a monumental film for multiple reasons - firstly we see Bryan Singer returning to the director's chair, which will hopefully mean a decently emotional portrayal of the plight of the characters and a cohesive story. Then we also have the reunion of some of the veteran cast members of the previous trilogy, including Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ian McKellan (Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier), which means a massive ensemble cast, a great story and the rather good First Class to follow on from. Excited yet? Days of Future Past is set in the 1970's, 10 years after the events of X-Men: First Class. Things aren't going all that well for the X-Men. Xavier is despondent from the betrayal of Raven (Mystique), reprised once again by the talented Jennifer Lawrence, and Magneto who has made several failed attempts to create a safe, nurturing place for young mutants. Nothing is going well, the mansion is falling apart and the morale of the team is all but nonexistent. This is very much along the lines of Singer's original vision for the X-Men (until that terrible third film and unmentionable Wolverine... things... happened and ruined


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everything) - the team, in spite of being superpowered, are still human beings. Their wanton persecution, the responsibility of their powers and their constant fear is soul crushing. Where the film differs from the comic it draws inspiration from however, is that Wolverine is the one whose future mind is sent back to the past to give the warning to the team instead of Shadowcat and that the focus will be very much placed on Xavier and the turmoil he faces. Instead of the excited and inspired young man we saw in the previous film, now all that's left is a crippled, broken husk on the verge of giving up. This will play up well to his relationship with Magneto and Mystique, who are now enemies. Watching the two most important people in his life, people that he genuinely loved, was truly heart-breaking at the end of the last film, so imagine how devastating it will be to see this broken, wretched man. Beast washing Magneto's a hair in a fountain.

The true strength of the X-Men franchise has always lain in the interpersonal relationships between the mutants, whether friend or foe. Despite their differing views, all of them fall under the common banner of being freaks, societal outcasts reneged to back alleys and hidden from public sight because of their differences. Whilst one faction adheres to the moralistic, if naively optimistic path of advocating equality, the other takes on the mantle of aggressive segregationist - that is to say "If you don't want us, we'll make a place for ourselves and none of you can stop us". Up against both sides is the massively overwhelming population of normal people that fear the mutants for their difference that abhor their existence and react with malice and hatred. It's incredible just how poignant these themes have remained over the five-odd decades that the X-Men have been around. Whilst the dark days of colonisation and Apartheid may be over, society is still rendered asunder by rampant bigotry, homophobia, religious segregation and misogyny - we fear what's different because it makes us uncomfortable. How is it that we haven't changed in hundreds of years? This is the 67


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question that X-Men raises loudly and clearly and Days goes further to present the very difficult, yet potentially very real situation in which the zealots win out and let their own power spiral out of control until the very thing that they created to repress the minorities in turn repressed them in a totalitarian world of zero tolerance and freedom. Heavy metaphors, but it's just a silly comic movie, right? It can't possibly be advocating homogeny, pop culture’s too dumb for such things. Peter Dinklage, most recently seen as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, will be playing a very interesting take on Bolivar Trask, the man behind the Sentinels, whose moral indignation at what he views as the blight of mutation will be an undoubtedly malfeasant performance to behold. Dinklage has this innate ability to utterly captivate his audience, and he's rather good at playing evil sods, and nothing is more evilly soddish than a deluded moralist with a genius intellect.

BACK TO THE FUTURE PAST Bryan Singer is a massive fan of time travel, especially of the Back to the Future and Terminator 1 and 2 films. Days of Future Past has often been cited as being quite a huge influence on the story of the first two Terminator films and Singer happened to have a chance meeting with director James Cameron where he mentioned that Terminator influenced his directing style for Days. Singer then asked Cameron to sign an art book, and Cameron wrote: "Don’t fuck it up. Love, Jim".

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The Sentinels themselves have actually been a sticky point for some fans, with loyalists citing that they were too small, looked too plastic and had odd builds. The ‘70s Sentinels are the epitome of technology at the time, though obviously they seem dated now. The future robots, however, are complex fighting machines, able to adapt to mutants’ powers. Extensive visual research has been put into the designs by John Myhre, the production designer for Days. He looked at the 70's style of design of moulded, white and smoked plastics as well as a lot of car design and futuristic concepts from the era, which will undoubtedly look visually stunning on screen. Having Wolverine in place of Shadowcat is also not the worst breakaway from the original story - as


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LEFT / Trask industries' anti-mutant propganda posters showcasing exactly what the Sentinels were built for.

BELOW / Uncanny X-Men #141, mentioned time travel from the year 2013, the same year in which filming began.

much as I like Ellen Page, Kitty Pryde always just felt like the token stealth character that could sneak into places and not be of much more use. Jackman has nuanced the character of Logan very well, and this Wolverine will be more akin to the battle-hardened, confident veteran of the X-Men rather than the abrasive loner of the previous X-films, meaning that he knows more of what's at stake, but always has his team in mind first. Plus, there's nothing more satisfying than good ol' mister 'snikt' taking down a Sentinel or two. For the first time in his cinematic history, Wolverine really has to accept the burden of the responsibility cast upon him by his remaining allies this isn't his typical slice and dice M.O., but rather to become a leader of sorts, to take up the reigns that Xavier has dropped and rally the team together to prevent the outright destruction of mutant kind. There’s no denying that Days Of Future Past is the biggest X-Men film ever attempted, and indeed the biggest Fox has made since Avatar. Singer though, points out that it should be enjoyable to those who have read the comics and watched the movies and people who don’t know their Mystique from their Sunspot. “In the beginning we kind of recap everything,” he says. “It still is tied into the universe so it's nice if you've got some familiarity but you don't really need to know, you can be really entertained by the movie if you haven't seen an X-Men film.”

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SPLICED FEATURE / CHARLES XAVIER

ERIK LEHNSHERR

CODENAME / PROFESSOR X ABILITIES / Telepathy / Genius Intellect / Illusion Casting

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MOVIES / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

LOGAN

RAVEN

CODENAME / WOLVERINE

CODENAME / MYSTIQUE

CODENAME / MAGNETO

ABILITIES / Regenerative

ABILITIES / Shapeshifting /

ABILITIES / Genius Intellect /

Healing / Superhuman Senses /

Superhuman Agility Healing

Magnetic Manipulation

Adamantium Claws

"MUTATI N" CHARLES XAVIER

ERIK LEHNSHERR

CODENAME / PROFESSOR X

CODENAME / MAGNETO

ABILITIES / Regenerative

ABILITIES / Telepathy / Genius

ABILITIES / Genius Intellect /

Healing / Superhuman Senses /

ABILITIES / Weather Manipulation

Intellect / Illusion Casting

Magnetic Manipulation

Adamantium Claws

/ Flight / Energy Perception

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LOGAN CODENAME / WOLVERINE

ORORO MUNROE CODENAME / STORM


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HANK MCCOY

PIETRO MAXIMOFF

ALEX SUMMERS

JAMES PROUDSTAR

CODENAME / BEAST

CODENAME / QUICKSILVER

CODENAME / HAVOK

CODENAME / WARPATH

ABILITIES / Genius / Super

ABILITIES / Speed

ABILITIES / Energy Absorbtion /

ABILITIES / Speed / Super Human /

Energy Redirection

Flight

Human / Sharp Claws

"It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward. " – Professor Charles Xavier

KITTY PRYDE

BOBBY DRAKE

CLARICE FERGUSON

BISHOP

CODENAME / SHADOWCAT

CODENAME / ICEMAN

CODENAME / BLINK

ABILITIES / Energy Absorbtion /

ABILITIES / Intangibility

ABILITIES / Thermokinesis /

ABILITIES / Teleportation

Super Human / Energy Redirection

CODENAME / BISHOP

Cryokinesis / Hydrokinesis

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MOVIES / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Q&A IAN MCKELLEN / Erik Lehnsherr Ian McKellen returns to the X-Men films for the first time since The Last Stand, playing the bitter, powerful mutant dedicated to protecting his kind no matter the cost. For the actor, it was a chance to inhabit one of his most famous roles again and spend time with his colleagues from the original three films. McKellen talks about the pleasure of seeing old friends, how Magneto has changed and what the films say to the world…

Where do we find Magneto in this film? The situation appears to be very dark.

And with Bryan returning, that must've made it an easier rapport?

You'll have to forgive me, because it's been a year since we filmed and I've been busy since then, but yes, the enemy is about to strike and Professor Xavier works out a way with Wolverine of stopping it. And I did see some of the film when I was working on some ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) and I must say it looks pretty spectacular. I'm looking forward to seeing it all as much as any of the fans.

I've done four films with Bryan now, between Apt Pupil and the first two X-Men films and now this one. Bryan has grown as a director as well, and I've always been very happy working with him. He's a director who knows what he wants and once he sees it on screen, he lets you know he's got it, and that's a great relief to me. When Bryan says, "We’ve got it," I know we have, because he's so particular. I feel very safe with him at the helm.

Was Magneto a role you found easy to reclaim?

Had you noticed anything different since you last stepped into the world of the X-Men?

Yes, although he's a bit more temperate in this film than he's been in the past. The old rivalry, the old antagonism has gone and he's changed. He's come to a point where he has to do what's right for everyone, and he realises he needs his allies. But it was easy to get back into playing him - climbing into those clothes and those boots, and them putting me up on wires, because he still has his powers. And all my old friends were there, which was lovely. Of course, Bryan Singer was back with us, so that was great, plus some of his old colleagues. It was a bit like going to see family you haven't seen for a while. And then there were some new friends!

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The costumes have changed a bit and there's a new element to the helmet - fans will be able to work out why that should be, given why he wore the helmet in the first place. But on the whole, no, it felt like just another episode... Singer’s X-Men films always have subtext, especially his X-Men movies. What does Days of Future Past bring? The story about humans with superhuman power that can control the world around them the way the rest of us can't. For all that fantasy, it's in the service of a serious

message. I think that's what sets X-Men apart from other superhero films. It's focused on people who are cast out by society for what they are, and that's an early thing Bryan said to me way back in the last century! I think Days of Future Past continues that. You went to Comic-Con last year and met with the whole cast. Was there much fun to be had? It was very fast and it can be hard work because they get you tied up with promoting the film, so it's not really a relaxing time with friends. Patrick and I were already rehearsing one of our plays in Berkley so we were flown down for one day! But it was enjoyable sitting with all those famous faces and fortunately we all got on. But making the film was more of a party - Bryan's directing style is that way, he gathers the right people together and makes sure that they enjoy themselves. And of course the reaction from fans was overwhelming. Do you get a lot of input into the character given your experience? No, there was no need for that. It sort of played itself. But Bryan is very perceptive and the general outline was pretty clear.


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Q&A JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Raven/Mystique Lawrence returns as Raven/Mystique, the conflicted chameleon with the desire to embrace her mutant side but the fear of what will happen if she does. 1973 finds her in an even darker place, alone and out on a dangerous personal mission. Lawrence talks about her reaction to working with Singer, her joy at reuniting with her First Class friends and working blue. In more ways than one‌

Ten years have passed in the characters' lives since First Class and it seems like she's in a dark place... Yeah, when we find Mystique, she hasn't seen Charles or Erik for about a decade and she's her own agent who doesn't really agree with either of them. She's on this path - we see how she ends up, we know that she becomes an assassin – and this is kind of the first leg of her journey, becoming the Mystique that we know. But Charles intervenes because he still believes there is good in her. Have they done anything to change the make-up, to make it easier on you? Yeah, it gets better every time. We've gotten it down three hours and the paint is a lot more skin-friendly. It's quicker, thank goodness! Do you ever wish you could go the Avatar route and work with dots on your face for them to put the character on later? I think about that ALL THE TIME! It's a huge film - did it feel that way to you and the rest of the cast? This movie was huge. I met Hugh Jackman! And we had all the original cast, it was kind

of intimidating coming back because it was a much bigger deal than how it felt when we were making First Class. Because then we were sort of timid, we didn't know how it would go, and crossing our fingers hoping it would turn out okay. Bryan Singer is back for this one. Is it fun working for the godfather of the X-Men films? It's amazing! There was a tiny fan boy inside of me jumping up and down and screaming when he decided to direct. He's incredible to work with and he just knows these characters inside and out and his excitement and his knowledge makes you more excited at work. Was there something you wanted to achieve with the character this time? I think I was struggling back and forth just as much as she was with wanting to get darker, but Bryan has no problem completely changing a scene when needed. There was one scene where I just couldn't get past thinking that Mystique would shoot someone where she doesn't shoot them in the script. It didn't feel right. And Bryan just said, "All right... Shoot them!" We shot it both ways, so I don't know which one they'll use, but there's so much freedom to question decisions, just as much us he

does. A lot of the time when you're filming, your ideas are developing. But for these huge movies, they allow for that kind of freedom. Apparently the First Class cast call Hugh Jackman "Hugo Boss." Who coined that? I don't know who came up with it! Who gets credit for that? How was it working with the Wolverine? He's exactly what you want him to be! When people ask me what he's like, I don't even know where to get started. He's the jolliest, nicest person, funny and sweet all the time, plus an amazing actor. He's such a great guy. He took me to Six Flags! Did you get to work much with Peter Dinklage? I love him! He's a great actor and all that, but he is so funny and I love Game Of Thrones. When he first came on set, my friend and I were freaking out because we watch the show together and I was in my blue makeup at the time... I stuck my head out of the trailer door and ran up to him, and was having a total fan moment. I forgot I looked like a blue lizard, and I never addressed it! But he was so great to work with - so good at being charming, yet evil.

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MOVIES / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Q&A PETER DINKLAGE / Bolivar Trask Peter Dinklage, who has also been seen in such films as The Station Agent, Death at a Funeral and Elf, found time in his schedule to shoot the film before having to return for the next season of Game of Thrones. Here he talks about what he wanted to achieve with Trask, his experience on set and his ability to grow a bushy moustache quickly…

What appealed to you about Trask? It's fun to play someone who thinks he's the smartest person in the room, and that arrogance – that’s what I wanted to play up a little bit and hopefully it comes across. But at the same time, he's also frustrated, he’s not being taken seriously and this maybe makes him a bit more aggressive and a bit more volatile. Underestimating someone can be dangerous!

Future Past comic book was on set. I read one of those and that was great fun. He was great. I was always a comic book fan, but in deference to true fans/collectors, I certainly wouldn't consider myself on their level. There are some people out there who really know what they're talking about and I'm certainly not one of them. I was always drawn to the X-Men storylines and, of course, Bryan's films, which are up there with the Christopher Nolan Batman movies as some of the best superhero movies ever.

And he doesn't see himself as the villain?

remember the first movie I did where I had to act with tennis balls; you really had to know what you're looking at because it's completely unreal. But as time goes on, you know the tricks and how to sort it all out in your head. And there are people around who just know so much more about it and that's very helpful. How was it working with Bryan? He had a very fluid way with the scripts and his thoughts in production. And did he and Simon Kinberg welcome your input?

How was it hanging with the cast? Of course not; he sees what he's doing as heroic. He wants to save humanity and doesn't see the problem with that. Did you base him on anyone? A lot of the people with genius IQs are humble, and you would never know it. That’s not the case with Trask. I've seen some interviews in the past with men of science who are quite proud of their IQ level. I just had fun playing with that. Again, being a movie that's not based in real facts or history, it's a little tricky, but you just have to have fun with it and that's what we did. Did you have any experience with the comics beforehand? Did they give you “comics homework”? Chris Claremont, the writer of the Days of

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We were up there in Montreal last summer and we had a really good time. Nary an ego amongst them. Before I met Jennifer, I saw her and her friend sneaking peeks at me out of their trailer window. Here's this woman in blue running after me, screaming how much she loves Game of Thrones. She's an angel, a truly lovely person. We’d geek out with each other. Everybody on that movie, we were a bunch of kids getting together and being fans of each other's work.

Oh yeah, for sure. Very little input from me, at least, because they know what they're doing. But I love their openness to change things at the last minute - I think that’s how great things happen. Bryan and Simon are bright enough to realize that. It's interesting, dealing with a movie with time travel and the different elements of it. Going through the "rules" was fun to explore. And the continuity of that! It must've been the biggest headache for them, the differences in past and future… I can't imagine how they were able to wrangle that.

Was it enjoyable to work with the Sentinels and other special effects? Does that come easy to you now?

Was the moustache was yours?

Oh yeah, there's so much make-believe that anything tangible on set that you can touch is just fantastic. When you first start, it's tough, but then faking things gets easier. I

I can grow a Burt Reynolds at the drop of a hat. It was my Tom Selleck, that's all me. Of course, I'm getting older, so they did have to comb out some of the grey in my moustache, but that's about it.


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MOVIES / X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

ISSUE 04

Q&A BRYAN SINGER / Director/Producer/writer Fortunately for the team, they have a big supporter in Bryan Singer, who returns to direct his first X-Men film since 2003’s hugely successful X2. He’s been involved as a producer and writer since then, but Days of Future Past gives him a chance to combine both the original cast and their younger, First Class equivalents, while also introducing some new mutant faces. He talks old faces, new tricks and the fun – and headaches – of time travel…

It's your first X-Men film as a director since X2. What have you drawn from your work since then to re-energize you? There are certain visual effects I wasn’t able to do early on that now I can, so I could explore my imagination a little more. And the thing I loved doing a lot is parallel action – things happening simultaneously – so with this movie there was a great opportunity to be able to do that with events happening in the past and future at the same time. As a filmmaker, that's something I enjoy and wasn't able to do enough before. I think I did a lot of it in the climax of X2 and here I can really push that kind of cinema forward. The Sentinels are a big part of the story. What challenges were there in creating them? There are movies like Transformers, Iron Man, and Pacific Rim that have already explored robots of all different sizes and shapes and scope and calibre. I knew that I didn’t want to make just another film where a robot attacks people, yet they are an element in the picture. They serve the story in an interesting way, and not necessarily in an obvious rock-em-sock-em battle robots way – although there is some of that too!

Were there big challenges with the time travel element? It was a little challenging in the script development stage, but again, once I cracked the conceit and felt it made sense and Simon could write it, we could craft a story on a physical level, as well as an emotional one. I think what separates us from a lot of other comic book films is there's a huge thematic element in the X-Men universe about outcasts and trying to belong and what side you're on, and also an emotional aspect to it with the relationships of the characters. So once I started getting involved in that, it was great. Your X-Men movies have always have these deeper levels and layers, so is there something of that in Days of Future Past? It's the universal thing that people always think about - if I knew then what I know now, what choices would I have made? What kind of person would I be? Would I be the same person now? Do I have regrets? And what sacrifices would I be willing to make of myself to go back and change history? Xavier has a lot of focus this time. He has a journey...

Hugh goes on the physical journey, but it's Xavier who goes on the emotional one. He's reached a particular low; he's lost a great deal and it's basically a journey of redemption for himself and for his relationship with Raven. How do you go about differentiating the tone of the different eras? It would mostly be color. Obviously the '70s is brighter and more colorful, while the future is more monochromatic. Were you conscious of trying to present a '70s that were realistic? My notion with the X-Men universe is always to make it as realistic and believable as possible, so I tried to create a very real 1970s. If you look at any of the footage from that era, particularly from some of the events we recreated like the Paris peace conference after the Vietnam War, it's very realistic. I didn't want to go Austin Powers on the '70s. Is there going to be any connection to Apocalypse at the end of DOFP? There might be. I'm not sure. There's an image that I'm toying with now that I may or may not put at the end of the credits of Days. 

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REVIEW / THE LEGO MOVIE

ISSUE 04

The LEGO Movie Everything is Awesome!

GENRE Animated adventure comedy  DIRECTOR Phil Lord / Christopher Miller CAST Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman. RUN TIME 100 minutes  RELEASE DATE  USA: 7 February 2014 / Local: March 14 2014

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REVIEW / THE LEGO MOVIE

ISSUE 04

by Lindi Davids

Personally

I have found in the past that movies based on toy lines are pretty crap (I am talking to you Michael Bay, Transformers was overblown, unoriginal and pompous). So even though the buzz on the LEGO movie was mostly positive I did walk into it with a pinch of apprehension, which was immediately washed away by the opening scene.

Watch the trailer

The animation in The LEGO Movie is a combination of stopmotion and CGI.

The LEGO Movie is a mixture of a frenetic overload of amazing CGI and stop motion animation, great humour, as well as a satirical comment on big business and following the rules or living your life to the beat of your own drum. It’s a pretty tall order to get right whilst being a very long exercise in product placement which I know most film lovers hate, but somehow Chris Miller and Phillip Lord (creators of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) manage to make a movie exactly like its theme song where “Everything is Awesome”!

The plot follows every day Joe “Emmett Brickowski” (voiced by Chris Pratt), a construction worker who always follows instruction until he accidentally finds a magic brick and is enlisted into the rebel forces against “President Big Business” (voiced by Will Ferrell). It emerges because of this discovery that he has fulfilled the prophecy of “The Special”. With the help of his fellow “Master Builder” rebels, Emmett embarks on a dangerous mission through all of the various LEGO worlds that have been demarcated ala Apartheid style by

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REVIEW / THE LEGO MOVIE

President Big Business; everything in its place and time and no delineation! President Big Business, as all super villains do, has a larger more insidious plan to gain even greater control of LEGO Land. Emmett must save them all from the tyranny of their totalitarian President. What also makes The LEGO Movie so special is it’s not so subtle nod to “The Matrix” but with a huge amount of humour and way more interesting characters (hopefully no really shite sequels will be made to spoil the awesomeness of this film). Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) is one of the highlights of the film and takes the piss of the recent portrayal of the masked super hero in the Christopher Nolan trilogy; it is in no uncertain terms, genius. Uni-Kitty from “Cloud Cuckoo Land” is the embodiment of that girl or guy you know who is always happily positive and bubbly but you secretly believe

ISSUE 04

The theme song Everything is Awesome was co-composed by The Lonely Island. is the first person who would go on a record-breaking mass murder spree. Elizabeth Banks has the swishy hair (you have to see the swishy hair), and is a kickass heroine, an honest portrayal and not nearly as irritating as most leading ladies written in this genre. The Prophet of the prophecy, Morgan Freeman, is so much more humorous than any of the God-like characters that Mister Freeman has unashamedly been type cast as in the last few years. Then of course there is Good Cop, Bad Cop (voice by Liam

Emma Stone and Robert Downey Jr were initially considered for the lead roles in the film. Ultimately their roles went to Liam Neeson (pictured to the left as Bad Cop) and Elizabeth Banks.

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REVIEW / THE LEGO MOVIE

LEFT: It's the goddamn LEGO Batman! Our new favourite version of Batman ever!

Neeson) which was my favourite of the film. I cannot explain the sheer hilarity of this character, you just have to go and see it. The LEGO Movie, all in all, is a great ride. The theme song “Everything is Awesome” is an earworm of astronomical proportions! No seriously, that song will be on repeat in your head for a couple of weeks, it is diabolical! My ten year old self would have loved this film but my 30 something year old self truly gets how special and funny this movie really is. It is an exercise in being creative and crazy whilst still playing in the well-constructed LEGO world with a thoughtful but unforced message

to boot. I did not roll my eyes once, and believe you me I love a good eye roll; this is really hard to pull off in the genre which is usually riddled with forced, unfunny jokes and twee life lessons. Emmett’s journey of self-discovery, bucking the status quo and standing up for individuality is as about as exciting, irreverent and brilliantly executed as a script can be when geared towards the family entertainment genre. 

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VERDICT

Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome, when we're living our dream.

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REVIEW / 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

300

Rise of an Empire 300: Rise of an Empire is both the prequel and the sequel to the 2007 smash-hit 300. Yes, it really is both a prequel and a sequel. GENRE Action-Adventure, Fantasy, Epic  DIRECTOR Noam Murro CAST Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Heady, Rodrigo Santoro RUN TIME 102 minutes  RELEASE DATE  USA: 7 March 2014 / Local: 7 March 2014

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REVIEW / 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

ISSUE 04

by Dani Geyer

300

Rise of an Empire takes place a little before, during and after the events of 300 and provides some interesting insights into the events of the original film. It follows a Greek general, Themistocles, and his charge against the invading Persian forces headed-up by the ruthless Artemisia. It is a re-telling of the Battle of Salamis which occurred in 480BC, but is, of course, an entirely fictional account.

Watch the trailer

300: Rise of an Empire is based on Frank Miller’s currently unpublished graphic novel Xerxes.

Sullivan Stapleton takes on the role of Themistocles and goes up against (the surprisingly busty) Eva Green, who portrays Artemisia, in a battle that takes place on the Aegean Sea. The screenplay and directing make the most of the liquid battle field with fantastic battles featuring fleets of ships and the interesting means through which each side boards the other side’s ship. All the blood and water made for some stunning 3D sequences and battles. There are spectacular “moments of quiet” throughout the whole movie as everything slows down to reveal a seemingly arbitrary action taking place in that exact moment. Director Noam Murro certainly took a leaf out of Zack Snyder’s book, aiming for highimpact scenes that were all absolutely beautiful even when they were macabre. The movie is, unsurprisingly, quite violent, although if you’ve seen movies such as Dredd 3D or Immortals it’s unlikely that you will be fazed. I didn’t really think of the film as “too violent” until others who had seen the movie brought it to my attention, however, if you’re easily offended by

violence I assume you wouldn’t find yourself watching 300: Rise of an Empire in the first place. The acting is exactly what you’d expect it to be from everyone barring Eva Green (and Lena Heady), who absolutely stole the movie. Say what you will about Artemisia, no one was worth as much talk as she was. Perhaps she may come across as dramatic or even over-the-top at times, but Eva Green pretty much nailed the “Scornful Woman” character and really towers over all the other actors when it comes to her on-screen presence. Despite being treated to an awesome back story, we don’t see much of Xerxes, which cuts Rodrigo Santoro out of the picture when it comes to comparing acting, and most of the Athenians were all brawn-andno-brains. Sullivan Stapleton carried himself well, but it’s hard to take him seriously as an actual Greek. Speaking of “nailing her performance”, Eva Green nails something else in the film: Sullivan Stapleton. This really is a sex-scene that cannot go without mentioning: it is a power-play of note! Maybe something to keep in mind if you get awkward

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about these things. Lena Heady was, as you could expect, wonderful in her role as Queen Gorgo (Gorgo? It’ll never grow on me), but unfortunately we are not treated to a great amount of screen-time with her. It’s still an absolute joy seeing her fulfil the role of someone good rather than a villain, although I suspect that had she not been Queen Gorgo in the first film she would have been the only other option next to Eva Green when it came to casting Artemisia. Yes, this was a film about guys mostly geared toward guys, but it would have been nice to see more of Lena Heady. I mean, it’s Lena Heady: no one is complaining. The storyline is easy to follow but doesn’t offer much in terms of plottwists or originality. It is definitely high-up on my list of visually appealing films but definitely not a movie to watch for its performances or plot. Something

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"The movie is, unsurprisingly, quite violent, although if you’ve seen movies such as Dredd 3D or Immortals it’s unlikely that you will be fazed."

Eva Green was the only woman considered for the role of Artemisia.


SPLICED MOVIES /

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REVIEW / 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

LEFT / If you think that the Athenians don’t appear to be as big (physically) as the men in 300, you’re onto something: Athenians were smaller in build than Spartans and so some members of the cast were actually asked to lose weight rather than gain weight, including lead actor Sullivan Stapleton, who lost 10KGs for the role.

else that has drawn criticism would have to be the accents, which waver between South African to Australian, to American, to British and right back around. The only consistent accents are produced by Lena Heady, Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro (who hardly even speaks in a human decibel and doesn’t really count as a viable example). 300: Rise of an Empire is worth seeing if you’re a fan of 300, but you definitely cannot walk into the cinema expecting the same level of awe to envelop you as you experienced with the first film. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, 300 left pretty big Spartan sandals to fill and it would be near impossible to re-create 2007’s epic production. However, its

stunning visuals and directing, coupled with some fun performances and an epic back-drop, make for a pretty entertaining experience and will in all likelihood satisfy your cravings for a movie with an epic premise and tonnes of motivational monologues. 

7

VERDICT

300: Rise of an Empire does what it says on the box. It doesn’t manage to fill the shoes of its predecessor, 300, but succeeds in serving as both a sequel and a prequel. Ingredients include: violence, blood, action, slow-motion, sex, violence, blood, action and slow-motion.

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REVIEW / NEED FOR SPEED

Need For Speed Yes, another video game movie GENRE Action  DIRECTOR Scott Waugh CAST Aaron Paul, Scott Mescudi, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Ramon Rodriguez, Michael Keaton. RUN TIME 130 minutes  RELEASE DATE  USA: 14 March 2014 / Local: 20 March 2014

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REVIEW / NEED FOR SPEED

ISSUE 04

by Samantha Wright

One

of my favourite sounds is the click of a gear change in a super car. It resonates with me. This was also the stand out feature of the new Need For Speed film: the cars featured sound exactly the way they would in real life without the hyped up sound effects usually added. Most everyone who has even a smidgen of interest in gaming has, at some point, played Need For Speed.

Watch the trailer

As a teen I remember racing around tracks in pretty cars that easily bounced off the curb when I hit them. Something I’d learn, later on, wasn’t completely accurate. The EA team decided to pair up with DreamWorks and add a new dimension to the video game franchise with a feature film. The film’s plot centres on our “hero” Tobey Marshall (played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Marshall is commissioned by the “bad guy” Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) to refurbish a high value Shelby Mustang. Marshall is aided by his band of merry men who don’t have much of a role to play other than make wisecracks and die (every film needs a catalyst). The leading men are strong

actors and the cast also brags Michael Keaton, Kid Cudi as well as my personal favourites Imogen Poots and Rami Malek. Big acting chops on most accounts but they failed to deliver (more on that later). Once the Mustang is refurbished it’s sold courtesy of Marshall’s excellent driving skills. Brewster gets jealous, challenges him to a race in some Koenigseggs and they’re joined by the youngest of the Merry Men who dies in a crash during the race. Marshall heads to jail for a measly two years after being incorrectly blamed for the death and once out declares revenge on the bad guy. This sets him off on a cross country road trip in the Shelby Mustang to attend a race where he’ll

Imogen Poots did not know how to drive before being cast in Need For Speed.

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Petrol refilling skills: Korean

finally face down Brewster. Lovers of the game will reminisce about Need for Speed: The Run at this point. The plot is predictable. It’s filled with impracticalities and holes your brain will want to fill. The dialogue is cheesy and bad at best. Don’t watch Need For Speed for the “movie”, watch it for the cars. There are some beauties on display including a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. Some of the car chases give a nod to classic car films like French Connection with their settings and the filming techniques used. Those moments are something special, though sadly they’re few and far between. The on board computer systems in most of the vehicles will remind you of the game, as will some of the shots that take place behind the actual wheel of the car.

Before beginning production, Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper learned to drive high-speed cars.

Need for Speed depicts more cars flying through the air and exploding and catching fire than cars driving on the road.

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Executive producer Steven Spielberg was binge watching Breaking Bad as we all do, and decided that Aaron Paul shouldn't play the villain as initially suggested, but the lead instead.

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REVIEW / NEED FOR SPEED

Despite the good car stuff, the movie lacks substance and an hour in had me questioning when it would all end. As a woman, I found that the obvious sexism in the film got under my skin. Why is that car movies always need to feature either a dumb, helpless blonde always getting in the way and in need of saving (as is the case in this film) or a girl who knows her way around cars but is brash and tom boyish (Rodriques in The Fast & The Furious anyone?). The clichĂŠs are weathered. The cars are sexy and the aerial shots on the races are appealing on the eyes but the movie is awful. Rather spend the few hours playing the console game and give this one a skip. 

5

VERDICT

The curse of the game to movie adaptation claims its latest victim. While the car spectacle is fun to watch, the rest of the film leaves you in neutral.

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Illustration by Keron Grant. Go to kerongrant.net for more. 88


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Games

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FEATURE / Meditation for gamers

REVIEW / Titanfall

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100

MINI REVIEWS / Dark Souls 2 /

REVIEW / The LEGO

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Movie Videogame

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MINI REVIEWS / Starseed Pilgrim /

REVIEW / inFAMOUS: Second Son

Guacamelee! Gold Edition

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FEATURE / MEDITATION FOR GAMERS

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M ED I TAT I O N F O R

G A MER S by Ivo Visic

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FEATURE / MEDITATION FOR GAMERS

THE GREAT HALLS OF WIZARDS, MAGES AND TECHNOCERY IN THE MOUNTAINS OF SHAPEIR ARE SAID TO BE LOUD WITH THE SOUND OF ITS SILENCE. A GREAT, UNBLINKING TIGER OF AN EYE HUMMING THROUGH THE HALLS AND LEAVING ALL WATER UNRIPPLED. ONLY ONE OF GREAT AWARENESS IN THE CENTRE OF THAT STORM MAY BE APPROVED ENTRY INTO THE TRIALS THAT GRANTS ADMISSION INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF MAGICS.

Such is the great power of mindfulness meditation discipline. Naturally us mere mortals would only like to be more calm, less anxious and have increased focus and concentration. All very valuable tools to the studious gamers who look for any edge over another in a noisy LAN gaming hall or Sierra quest game with hours of staring at the screen, trying to figure what to do to obtain full puzzle points. The ability to see patterns emerge out of chaotic information can be more readily obtained in certain brain wave states or as the wizards would say, in their convoluted look-howbrainy-I-am sort of way, “Inherent patterns in the web of being are only felt by giving yourselves over to them. Flux and flow are not the problem, it is the boogie board with which we choose to ride them.” So off we go with a ripped out page from the Primer of Concentrated Focus by Magus Spirare Memor.

STEP 1 / Place your wands, tomes and familiar in your storage locker. Take a seated posture in a chair with feet flat on the ground and back straight, hands may rest lightly on top of the knees or cupped in front of your navel. Lying on the back with pillows placed under knees and head is also helpful but sleep may occur. STEP 2 / Close your eyes and simply become aware of your breathing. Mosquitoes may be dealt with by a simple Citronella Charm Bracelet from your first year textbook.

STEP 3 / Focus on your breath in the area of your body that you feel it the most. Common sites are the interfaces between air and skin - the nostrils and back of the throat and where you feel muscles move because of air movement – the tummy, the chest and ribs, the pointy bit of your hat moving forwards and backwards.

STEP 4 / Maintain a gentle focus on the breath. If the mind wanders, and thoughts about your next incantations exam or who you want to invite to the Kobold’s summer dance abound, just lightly and without judgement bring your awareness back to the breath. Bring your focus back to the breath like a puppy being guided back to its wee-wee spot. This is the practice: returning to your breath over and over and over and over again. Start with 5 minutes and slowly build up until you can hold the state for the duration of an unskippable Elder Scrolls conversation. If you are struggling, you may count the breaths, simply labelling; 1 in, 1 out, 2 in, 2 out. This may prove a valuable focus point for the mind until you are able to master the 12 languages of spellworking. A gentle master will lead the strongest warriors. Failing that, you can always use cheats to win over your opponent but the best cheat is a cheat of the mind, of the breath, of the moment. 

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PLATFORMS GENRE DEVELOPER AGE RATING

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MINI REVIEWS

PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC RPG From Software 18

Dark Souls II

PLATFORMS GENRE DEVELOPER AGE RATING

South Park: The Stick of Truth

G

S

9.5

9

oing beyond death is nothing new for the Souls series, and Dark Souls II is everything you have ever loved about dying, but set in a bigger world, with double the iconic boss fights and loot. I spent around 80 hours in Drangleic, died 257 times, and I was level 153 upon completion. Every time the ‘You Died’ sign popped up I didn’t grow in knowledge of how I died and how I would do things differently next time around. You have everything to lose upon death, and it’s a gamble all the time. Like past games when you die you get punished for that death, in Dark Souls II your max health drop lower and lower, and you become hollow, losing the ability to call upon aid in the form of phantoms and other online players, this is cured with the use of a human effigy, reversing the effects. Drangleic is beautifully crafted, and filled with tough decisions to make, but overall Dark Souls II teaches you to be a better gamer, a patient gamer, with everything to lose and very little to gain but a sense of accomplishment. Dark Souls II will be remembered forever, for teaching me that death should always have its consequences.  Marco Cocomello

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PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC RPG, Adventure Obsidian Entertainment 18

outh Park: The Stick of Truth is disgusting. It’s rude, crude and gross. It’s also the most fun you’re going to have in 15 to 20 hours. Total gameplay is short if you avoid the side quests (don’t though, they’re so much fun) but you’ll feel like you’re participating in one of the best episodes of South Park yet. You’ll start the game as the new kid and get to South Park yourself out. I was a bit upset I couldn’t play as a girl but I understand the rationale that a group of young boys wouldn’t want a girl running in their pack. Your character will be pulled into a war between elves and humans, where he joins Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle in this clever RPG gem. The landscape is in 2D and you’ll love the diverse locations which include an 8 bit Canada and abortion clinic as well as regular appearances from all your favourite characters. The plot is fun and the writing is clever. Expect all the filth and the dirt of the TV Show. Gameplay consists primarily of turn-based battles with opponents while gathering loot and friends in between (both rather important). I loved it. You will too.  Samantha Wright


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PLATFORMS PC GENRE Platformer DEVELOPER Droqen AGE RATING N/A

Starseed Pilgrim

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t’s easy to bounce off of Starseed Pilgrim. Upon first entering its minimalist world, it offers only basic, cryptic information about how it’s played. You’re a cosmic gardener, acquiring “seeds” which can be planted in the game’s blocky soil. Those seeds will then grow outwards as blocks with their own characteristics, emitting careful sound effects that add to your cosmic symphony. You’re outrunning a void of some kind, empty space containing a world within a world. First, you’ll wonder why you’re playing it, where exactly its purpose lies. You may decide you hate it and quit the game forever, and I wouldn’t blame you. But if you keep growing outwards, keep pushing the boundaries of that seemingly pointless space and manipulating its nuances, Starseed Pilgrim will reveal more. It’s like having a conversation directly with its mechanics, the game slowly teaching you its workings as you experiment with its world. It’s an incredibly effective piece of game design, one which will no doubt hold you captive if you persist. I can’t stress this enough though: not everyone will be drawn in by its distinct hook, and so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend that everyone play it, much as I want to.  Dane Remendes

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PLATFORMS GENRE DEVELOPER AGE RATING

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Guacamelee! Gold Edition

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ou are Juan Aguacate, agave farmer turned luchador, who must battle an evil skeleton lord and his minions to rescue his lost love from the claws of evil. Draped in a wonderfully lighthearted Mexican aesthetic, Guacamelee! is incredibly charming, with visuals, audio and humour that give it a personality that’s attractively unique in gaming. At first it’s a fairly simple platformer, giving you access to basic jumps and rolls and attacks with which to traverse the world and defeat foes. Gradually you’re introduced to new luchador abilities that’ll give you the edge in combat zones, and traversal powers that let you access new areas in the game’s expansive map. Combat is fluid and satisfying, requiring precise timing to string together melee attacks and abilities to maximum effect. When you’re not punching things in the face, the platforming bits are great fun, often requiring that you flip between the worlds of the living and the dead (platforms and obstacles that appear in one world don’t appear in the other) to solve movement puzzles. It’s deviously challenging at times, and the whole package is addictively rewarding. It’s highly recommended if you’ve got a Metroidvania itch you’re looking to scratch.  Dane Remendes

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REVIEW / TITANFALL

by Miklós Szecsei

PLATFORMS PC / XONE / X360 GENRE First-person shooter MULTIPLAYER 12 Players DEVELOPER Respawn Entertainment PUBLISHER Electronic Arts AGE RATING 18 WEBSITE www.titanfall.com

Titanfall Respawn redefines the online shooter

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hen reviewing games, occasionally a title comes along that prompts unbridled glee. Titanfall is one of those games. But first, the elephant in the room: while SPLICED is available all over the world (hi, international readers – you darling bunch, you) we’re all actually based in South Africa. Funny thing about Titanfall and South Africa: Electronic Arts decided to cancel the game’s release because of the lack of Microsoft Azure servers on our continent. Still, thanks to digital distribution, many South African gamers are playing Titanfall with massive, stupid grins on their faces in spite of Electronic Arts South Africa’s baffling decision. EA blamed unsatisfactory local networking speeds, but those South Africans who are playing the game are finding it entirely stable and completely playable despite the 200+ millisecond pings to European servers. In that

regard, Respawn’s networking code is obviously built on unicorn sparkles, because that latency compensation is astounding for a first-person shooter as fast as Titanfall. After extensive testing (on a 2MB line by the way), we do not know why EA South Africa decided to deny Titanfall’s release. What we do know, and what we will indeed gush about for the remainder of this review, is that the game is utterly fantastic. With Titanfall, Respawn has pruned stale online FPS conventions, and injected enough evolution and chutzpah to create something that feels like a new experience. This is the shot of adrenaline to the heart that online shooters have needed for the past two to three years. Titanfall’s universe is an interesting one and there’s some intriguing canon, but this is also perhaps the game’s biggest disappointment. For years, people have been saying that franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield should drop the single-player campaign Burn Cards offer one-hit perks that can be and focus on multiplayer, activated between spawns in a match. You can because inevitably the singletake 3 into battle with you and activate one at a player turns out to be insipid time. There are 50 variant offering a multitude of drivel anyway. Respawn has buffs, damage modifiers and equipment perks. done that and shirked a real single-player campaign to focus on multiplayer.

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"With Titanfall, Respawn has pruned stale online FPS conventions, and injected enough evolution and chutzpah to create something that feels like a new experience."

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"... players feel like the super-soldiers the game world says they are."

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ronically, there is more potential for a great single-player campaign here than in any previous contemporary shooter from the past five years. While the game does have a “Campaign Mode”, it really shouldn’t be called that as all it is, is a collection of the usual multiplayer modes and maps, but with some voice-over narrative and the odd scripted opening scene. Yes, Titanfall was always created to be a multiplayer game, but the “campaign” could have been so much more than what Respawn has given us. You’ll play it through once simply to unlock the other two Titan classes, but then you’ll never look at it again. Does that matter? Not at all, because the multiplayer on offer is phenomenal. The six-versus-six matches of Titanfall are frenzied. Bolstering the player numbers is a continually spawning collection of AIcontrolled grunts. This means that you get to shoot other players as well as their AI team mates. The AI is dumb as mud, but we get the feeling that’s a design decision to ensure that even the most inexperienced players can contribute. It also ensures that players feel like the super-soldiers the game world says they are. As a Titan Pilot you’re quick, agile and lethal enough to take out a Titan on your own if you have the panache – and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting that right.

Atlas

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A rare glimpse into the creation process, concept art from the early stages of design.

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very player eventually gets a Titan in every match, which means that everyone gets their turn to be the reason other players and AI opponents are scrambling. Titans are on a three minute timer from the start of the round, but by completing objectives and scoring kills against enemy There are three classes of Titan in Titanfall: the Atlas pilots and AI grunts, class is your mid-range model that balances movement you can whittle those speed and armour. The Styrder forsakes armour minutes down for for increased mobility. The Ogre is slow but heavily an earlier “Titanfall”. armoured. Titan weapons are not class-specific. The sequence of calling in your Titan and climbing into its chest is incredibly well animated. You’ll do it hundreds of times during your time with the game, and every time you’ll get this twinge of excitement and feeling of power as the dust clears around your Titan’s impact crater and you leap into the driver’s seat. Titanfall ships with 15 maps that can accommodate all of the five game types. Game types include typical shooter affairs like team deathmatch (called Attrition), and Capture the Flag, but the standout modes are Last Titan Standing and Hardpoint Capture. Adding a bit of a spin to the usual shooter affair, each game mode (aside from Last Titan Standing) ends with an epilogue during which the losing team needs to evacuate the area via a dropship. Respawning is turned off for epilogues, but if you manage to reach the dropship, and if the enemy team doesn’t blow it up first, you can score some bonus XP for a successful extraction. It sounds like a superfluous addition, but the frantic rush for the dropship is a perfect way to wrap up the already frantic match. It also allows the losers to reclaim a shred of dignity by punching out in one piece – as if to say, “You may have won this one, but we’ll be back!” 

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VERDICT

Titanfall is a triumph. Respawn set out to refresh the genre and they’ve done just that, creating appeal for veteran online shooter fans and genre newcomers alike.

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REVIEW / THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME

PLATFORMS PS4 / PS3 / 360 / XONE / PC WiiU / 3DS / PS Vita GENRE Action Adventure DEVELOPER TT Games PUBLISHER Warner Bros Interactive AGE RATING All WEBSITE videogames.lego.com

by Pippa Tshabalala

The LEGO Movie Videogame Everything is (not quite as) awesome.

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The LEGO Movie Videogame is based on The LEGO Movie (what a surprise), and follows the story of Emmett Brickowski, an ordinary construction worker who is supposed to fulfill a prophecy of becoming the “Special”. Without going into too much depth with regards to the plot, The LEGO Movie Videogame is filled with everything awesome. There are some new gameplay mechanics in terms of building as well that change it up a little. Since the storyline is largely focused on construction, it makes sense that the gameplay is too, and although you might be used to other LEGO games that allow you The Lego Movie Videogame features to just build things whenever appearances by Abraham Lincoln, it’s appropriate, this game Michelangelo, Gandalf and Batman. separates you into “Regular This combination of historical and Builders” and “Master fictional figures makes everything Builders”. Regular builders need to awesome. You know it does. use plans in order to build objects, which are often separated and spread throughout a level, so you need to wander around collecting the pieces before you can begin.

loved LEGO Marvel Superheroes. I mention is because it’s the last LEGO game I played before this one, and it was so much fun that it kind of redefined and set the standard for me of LEGO for the near future. The LEGO games in general are charming, filled with off-beat humour, sometimes challenging but never particularly difficult puzzles, and yet they are stimulating and entertaining enough that they’re fun for the whole family. The adults get the off-colour jokes, and the kids just love the fact that it’s LEGO come to life. It’s a win win situation.

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Master builders on the other hand can build things without plans, which is much more in line with the way we usually understand building in LEGO games. They also have additional skills that allow them to take selected objects within the environment and combine them to create awesome LEGO sets. Unfortunately while it has You’ll find that the game follows the the makings of everything plot of the movie quite closely and awesome, it’s quite as such you should watch the movie formulaic and has lost some before playing if you don’t like spoilers. of the charm that is normally present in the LEGO games. You still play as a variety of different characters, who all need to work together in order to be able to complete challenges and progress through the level, but it unwisely sticks so closely to the movie that there are no utterly surprising moments that is so typical of the LEGO franchise. Luckily the mini-games stop it from becoming stale, and provide a welcome diversion that keeps you playing just that little bit longer. A rather cool touch is the fact that EVERYTHING is made out of LEGO. And I do mean everything! Water, smoke, scenery. You can’t look anywhere without finding a LEGO brick. It’s charming and fun in appearance. Of course the best part of any LEGO game is co-op play. There’s no better way to get maximum enjoyment out of it than by playing with a partner, or even better, your kids who will delight in every LEGO brick smash up (because let’s face it, we all spend way more time running around breaking things than actually playing). 

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VERDICT

The LEGO Movie Videogame certainly isn’t a bad game. In fact it’s quite a fun game, but after my last experience of LEGO Marvel Superheroes, A little disappointing overall. Still worth the time if you’re a fan of the LEGO game franchise.

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INFAMOUS: SECOND SON

by Marco Cocomello

PLATFORMS PS4 GENRE Third Person Action Adventure DEVELOPER Sucker Punch AGE RATING 16

inFAMOUS: Second Son Karma's still a bitch!

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wrong? The D.U.P are a group of mercenaries that take over Seattle in order to hunt down and capture the Bio-Terrorists, a.k.a Conduits. Sucker Punch hit F5 (that’s refresh for those people unfamiliar with computer jargon - Ed) on Second Son, and the game has little ties to the previous two inFamous titles on PS3, and when the story does refer to its predecessors, it’s quite self-contained, and you never feel compelled to play through the first two to recap the events. The events of Second Son take place in the city of Seattle, and it’s pretty wet, all the time. This is where the PS4’s architecture shines, the city is absolutely stunning, reflections on the puddles of water in the roads, volumetric fog, and long draw distances - it’s all there, and it’s all well executed. Seattle is well constructed and houses all the popular landmarks that Like the previous game, whether you will find yourself familiar with if you choose good or evil changes the you know the city. It’s bustling with abilities that Delsin has at his disposal. people, cars and businesses operating during the day, and markets and restaurants are busy at night. Second Son does not run in real-time, rather each mission you start will change the time of the day until you start another.

he PS4 has just added another great title to its library, and this time around it comes in the form of the openworld, superpower mash up, inFamous Second Son. Everything you know about the inFamous series is back – a wellcrafted city to explore, huge pretty explosions, and that feeling that you are finally enrolled in Xavier’s School for the Gifted. Delsin Rowe is the hero, (or villain depending on which path you choose) this time around. After gaining conduit powers by accident, he sets out on a mission to track down the leader of the D.U.P, a cold hearted woman named Augustine. She holds the power to heal his friends, and with his brother Sheriff Reggie at his side what could go

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different powers, making Cole from the first two seem extremely restricted. Combat is approached differently depending on what power you have at the time, and running around shooting missiles, and smoke bombs is rewarding, especially when everything just blows into pieces. Traversing the city also depends on the power you have equipped, Neon is the fastest way to get around, whereas smoke is the most stylish way, allowing you to take in the sights and bathe in the visuals. The city is full of side missions, which are not the most varied in the series, but do keep you busy. These vary from blast shard collecting, which is used to upgrade your skills, to hunting down secret agents that are hiding in a crowd of people. All these side missions contribute to the total D.U.P control in each of the cities districts, Both Delsin Rowe, the protagonist, once you have lowered the control you and his brother Reggie, the local Sheriff, are able to take on a control mission are Akomish Native Americans, whose which involves you destroying some territory is in the state of Washington. helicopters or killing some mercenaries, once this is done you will unlock a fast travel option to that district.

elsin is a rebel at heart and you are always waiting for him to make another wisecrack, or a snide remark. The PS4’s capabilities allow for some amazing facial emotions such as frowns and smirks. It all helps bring the characters to life. Delsin’s powers are another huge change in the series, instead of the typical elements like previous titles, Second Son includes the extraordinary abilities. Smoke is the first power obtained which is focused on close-combat and large explosions thanks to its missiles whereas Neon is good for sniping and slowing down time for precision, from a distance. There are more powers to obtain during the game with their own unique design, disadvantages and advantages. It is the first time that there has been such a large “unconventional” selection of

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The voice of Delsin Rowe is Troy Baker, also known for his roles as The Joker in Batman Arkham Origins and Joel in The Last of Us.

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ike all inFamous titles, Karma plays a huge role in the game. How you approach the city, missions and the people results in a different way of playing. I played through the game only choosing the good option, and the citizens of Seattle praised me all the time, taking photos of me and cheering when I walked past. Your decision will change the abilities that you can unlock for combat, as well as the side missions and main missions you undergo. The Good way will see the player breaking up drug cartels, whereas the Evil way will see you destroying protestors and killing police walking by. The Karma system is great but it should be used more, and have harder decisions to make in terms of the main story. The story does not take long to complete and it’s thanks to the side missions that the game lasts as long as it does. The side missions get repetitive after a while, and taking over a D.U.P stronghold to commence the main mission lacks diversity. Enemies get tougher and more intense but it feels like you have done it all before. The characters you come into contact with during the game feel underused – they have a great backstory and personality that never gets focused on, and sometimes the powers you get from them seem a bit over-the-top. In a nutshell inFamous Second Son is a great game that ends too quickly. It has a great deal to explore, if you don’t get bored quickly. I will play it again with Evil in mind just to see what happens, and I recommend that you do too! 

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VERDICT

inFAMOUS Second Son is a worthy addition to the franchise. It shakes things up a bit with a new character and alternative powers, while at the same time employing a formula that Sucker Punch know works well.

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REVIEW / I Kill Giants

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OBJECTS OF DESIRE

FEATURE / The Golden Mile: London Comic Crawl

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DRAWING CONCLUSIONS

03/03 Drawing conclusions

Tokoloshe, Devil Goats and Fluctuating Grammar: The Modern Mythology of a Daily Newspaper.

by Ray Whitcher Over and above being a total comic geek, Ray also writes and draws his own comic, lectures in Multimedia Design and breaks bones whilst playing squash.

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Or its headlines, to be exact. We've all seen them - garish red borders, black backgrounds and SHOUTY, WHITE TEXT always featuring an exclamation mark - the headlines of; let's call it The Constant Fun (because being sued isn't) newspaper appears on most street lamps and corner stores. Have you ever actually taken the time to read the words emblazoned upon these effigies of ignominy, though? I'd like to think of myself as a connoisseur, if you would, of South Africa's ever-ubiquitous and most popular daily newspaper's headline posters; hosting a small but pristine collection of some of their finest work. To me, the Fun's headlines weave a glorious narrative in their simple, alarming phrases, oft free of the repressive constraints of grammar in favour of colourful slang and unintentionally hilarious content. Now, I'm probably sounding utterly condescending and judgemental, but bare with me here because this deserves your full attention, which sarcasm can garner far better than niceties in this instance. Think about this though; because what platform tells the stories of the everyman better than a newspaper? In spite of print's gradual death, most people rely on the medium far more than TV, radio or even the internet. A newspaper is easilyaccessible, cheap and targeted specifically at its readership's demographic, meaning that if it's going to sell well, it has to tell stories that people want to hear. The Fun's true strength comes from that virtue, because it tells the stories of everyday people in a way that's relatable and meaningful to its reader. Whether the stories are actually factual isn't really the point...

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So, as I perform my everyday commute down 1st Avenue in Linden, I delight in my morning entertainment of the headlines, because I'm not just an English nerd, but also someone with questionable sanity. So when I read them, it's not in my boring, squeaky Ray voice, but rather in the eTV 'Friday Action Night' announcer's voice.

"KARATE GOAT HATES ME!" Now, read it in the announcer's voice... "KA-RAHTEEEEE GOAT HAAAATES MEEEE!" Isn't that just wonderful? Did it not cheer you up immediately? That's powerful stuff! More powerful than a curse on a widow's panties or rude tokoloshe. Every day I get to read about ghost toilets or murderous farm animals, about guys getting their 4-5's (ask your parents, kids) stolen by monsters or people doing inappropriate things with poltergeists. It's a veritable goldmine of the creative wealth of our country, told by our people in all the earnestness that an exclamation mark and all-caps can muster. In fact, I'm actually amazed at the stories those simple little phrases can tell. In three or four words you can be transported into a storyteller's greatest dream, an adventure of poorly phrased words so beyond the sensationalist fare of other newspapers that you can't help but feel compelled by their shameless sincerity. There's magic in something that reads: "HE LAUGHED AT DEATH - AND DIED!" –(you know I’m reading this in the eTV voice now right – Ed) it has a subject, a predicate, a scenario and even a dramatic plot twist that fully grabs you even though you have no idea of what's going on, but immediately casts you into this glorious world of over-exaggeration and excitement. So go on, next time you're sitting in your car on a busy suburban road, cast your gaze to a newspaper that could only make your day sunnier, even if for totally unintended reasons. 

You may laugh at that, but do me a favour; read this (actual) headline in your own voice:

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Can Spidey actually swing from a web?

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've always envied Spider-Man's ability to swing between skyscrapers with careless abandon, able to flit here and there without any issues. Imagine, you'd never be stuck in traffic or late for work or school, you could ensnare the odd mugger on the way with a well-aimed shot or even choke on the smog-belt of the Jozi skyline as you hurtle around Ponte Tower. Canny bungee-cord equipped hijackers might become an issue, but hey, what's a wallet when you can swing from webs? The question, though, is would that actually be possible? Would the webbing actually be able to support the weight of a plummeting body in the throes of gravity, or simply snap like a fine thread? Also, what about the inevitable member

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of the public the falls from a tall building or is dropped by a malfeasant villain and gets caught mid-swing? Kakalios* reminds us of Newton's second law of motion: F = ma, which means that a force is needed to change an object's motion, so whether that force is gravity or friction, it needs to be applied to keep something moving. So Spidey basically swings in a half-circle arc with his webbing, relying on gravity to pull him downwards, his weight to propel him forwards and the tensile strength of his webs to support his weight (which increases due to gravity) and possibly the weight of others that he may be carrying. So essentially (after some complicated math), if Spidey weighed approximately 73kg's, his webs would need to support a

*Savant-like author of The Physics of Superheroes (2005).

minimum of 136kg's as momentum and gravity increase his mass at the parabolic apex of the swing. That sounds pretty hectic, but scientists have found that a web only 1cm thick could theoretically stop a full-speed fighter jet as it lands because it could support upwards of 9 tonnes of force. That means that Spidey could swing from those webs with weight to spare, stop a moving train (as seen in that terrible 2004 film) and even weave a bullet-proof shield, because at the diameter that he uses, the webbing would be 5 times stronger than kevlar (the armour used in bullet-proof vests). So, can he swing from a web? Very much so! 


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SPLICED COMICS / FEATURE /

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LONDON COMIC CRAWL

vid by Chris Sa

s by akin e s / p ho t o

aworan

t movie a h t , w o n ? You k t insane pub d n E ’s d l he Wor ecide to do tha ving a pint t n e e s u d and ha t h Have yo oup of mates g i n e u have n o o y r f n g i i t a s i b where at 12 pu ly should watch f you that g n i p p o o l crawl, st e? No? You rea out. For those ter at t a m n b e a o h talking ack to t tural and at each b , ’m I m e t a h h w ?! A of a cul t i b no idea cool is that film a r o de the f u l n c o n i d w n d o l o have, h visited L mage which wou n race. The y l t n e c e a i hand. I r grimage. A pilgr own to the hum re circuit pil kn s to creative mic book crawl le of the comic ur stores. co lden mi ged to go to fo o g greatest e h t s om e e o a d w n a a o t y m s n y plan wa lit y I onl r having too ma stuck in a a e r n I . on tores fo s a result I got . s in Lond r u o f k er y nd a t ho s e I blame me to look at, a comics and gee or of ar t, m u things f u n i t m e c on space-ti

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Gosh! Location / 1 BERWICK STREET, LONDON W1F 0DR Online / WWW.GOSHLONDON.COM Time spent / 45 MINUTES Gosh! was first on the epic journey that lay before me. The store has been around for a quarter century and is best known for their wide variety of graphic novels, which range from the mainstream superhero affair to the small press independent graphic novels too. With so many books from all over Europe and the

States we spent a good 30 minutes just perusing the shelves and discovering gem after gem of great material. If you enjoy the medium of graphic novels and art then this is the place to be. You won’t find many single issues of comics here, but with so much variety of graphic novels who cares.

RATING /

The Vintage Magazine Shop Location / 39-43 BREWER ST, LONDON W1F 9UD Online / WWW.VINMAG.COM Time spent / 50 MINUTES Not strictly a comic book shop, The Vintage Magazine shop was a place of pop culture heaven. It has been around since 1980, it’s red storefront blending in perfectly with the London town aesthetic. A shop much like our very own Spliced Magazine wherein it had something

for everyone. From Dr Who Tardis souvenirs (and everything else Dr Who you could ever want, seriously they love Dr Who here), to vintage movie/comic/war propaganda posters, used books and magazines, retro furniture and vinyl records, it had it all.

RATING / 115


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LONDON COMIC CRAWL

Forbidden Planet London Location / 379 SHAFTESBURY AVE, LONDON WC2H 8JR Online / FORBIDDENPLANET.COM Time spent / 105 MINUTES The London Forbidden Planet store has become the flagship store of a national chain of stores throughout England. It opened in 2000, and quickly became known as the world’s largest science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer. A life-size statue of Christopher Nolan’s Batman greets you at the front door, and from that moment you know your bank account is going to take a serious beating in this place, and after spending a ridiculous amount of time in this store we have to agree. Spanning two levels it’s a wall to wall geek-topia. The upper level consists of every figurine, statue and action figure you could possibly ever want or

RATING /

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need, ranging from DC and Marvel collectibles, to Plants vs. Zombies beanies and mini figures, to Minecraft EVERYTHING. Seriously, I’ve never see so much Minecraft merchandise in one place before. It was amazing. After a good 30 minutes of walking around saying “Oh my God, I need this!” at every statue and figurine I encountered it was time to go into the belly of the beast. The lower level contains more single issue comics and graphic novels than I have ever seen in a single store. Shelf after shelf of beautiful comic covers in a sea of colour welcomes you. The store is so well known and sought after that there are even alternate comic covers made especially as a Forbidden Planet

exclusive. There was a jarring moment however when looking through comic after comic on an endless expanse of shelving when it dawned on me that not one was in a protective plastic sleeve They’re all loose on the shelves, which we can only guess is to encourage people to flip through them before deciding on a purchase. The store was unlike any I had ever seen before. A true megastore of geek culture, it somewhat lacks the more intimate nature of a smaller store where the owners get to know you by name and discuss comics with you, but that’s not really what a place like Forbidden Planet is about. I’d go back to London just to spend an entire day there.

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Orbital Comics Location / 8 GREAT NEWPORT STREET, LONDON WC2H 7JA Online / WWW.ORBITALCOMICS.COM Time spent / 60 MINUTES The final stop on the comic crawl was Orbital. Located in London’s West End, now in its tenth year, the store has become synonymous in central London as a comic shop that stocks thousands of back issues, the latest imported comics as well as staff that have insightful suggestions on which artists or writers you should be reading. There is even a section of the store dedicated to those die hard manga and anime fans, with countless comics, figurines and trading cards to choose

from. Original comic art adorns the walls of Orbital for the collector with a few extra quid to spend. Orbital hosts regular signings by comic art and writing legends, as well as special events such as exhibitions whereby you can purchase original comic art allowing you to own a piece of comic history. Not as big as Forbidden Planet, Orbital has that comforting and familiar feel when you walk in. You’re with people just like you, who like the same things as you do, it feels like home.

RATING /

The "real" final stop Location / COVENT GARDEN, 1-3 LONG ACRE, WC2E 9LH Online / WWW.FIVEGUYS.CO.UK Time spent / 60 MINUTES After all that walking to comic stores and browsing through what feels like a million comics, what better way to end the day than with a big juicy burger and fries. Enter, Five Guys, Burgers and Fries, the most insane burger joint you’ll ever see. It’s said that there are 250,000 possible ways

to order a burger at Five Guys which has earned it a cult following starting in the States and reaching the UK. It’s probably ones of the biggest and tastiest burgers I’ve ever eaten, if you find yourself in London do yourself a favour and pay them a visit.

RATING / 117


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ISSUE 04

REVIEW / I KILL GIANTS

I Kill Giants

by Ray Whitcher

(And tug at heartstrings)

PUBLISHER / Image comics  GENRE / Fantasy  WRITER / Joe Kelly  ARTIST / J.M. Ken Niimura

I VERDICT / 9

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have spent the last 20 years reading comics and graphic novels. Admittedly, half of those years were just me looking at the pictures, but still, I was involved with them in one way or another. In all that time, only two have ever managed to make me genuinely and sincerely cry - We 3 and I Kill Giants.

be delivered as: "Why yes, it is, but some of it is honest about the fact that it's only trying to make money by thrusting breasts, explosions or exploding breasts in your face."

That's where IKG is so very different, from the way protagonist Barbara is realised to the very heavily metaphoric scenery Comics are enigmatic beasts that is depicted in this young that rely very heavily on the girl's world and even the combination between visual titular giants; every scratchy "...every scratchy (visceral) and written content line, splash of ink and line, splash of ink and to drive their narratives. So, overt stylisation is so overt stylisation is so understandably, it's really resonantly beautiful in difficult to find a perfect its simplicity, that it can't resonantly beautiful combination of the two, help but be engaging. in its simplicity, that but sometimes, some true Combine this with truly it can't help but be gems slip their way under smart, realistic dialogue the commercial radar and and you enter a strange engaging. " into our hearts. dialectical quandary between the sharpness of the writing The 2008 title I Kill Giants, and the simplicity of the art, but written by Joe Kelly and illustrated that is why this book is so magical. by Jim Ken Niimura, is most-decidedly one of those gems. The multi-award winning title is so IKG follows a brief part of 5th-Grader Barbara's unpretentious and raw in its approach that it’s life. The self-proclaimed giant killer generally almost off-putting at first. Niimura's art is rough, fits into your typical social outcast clique, with sketchy, but most importantly, honest. Now, you'll her particular quirks (like wearing various animal ask/decry/bemoan/indifferently ignore: "That's ears as an accessory or smart-mouthing people) awfully subjective, isn't all [comic] art honest?" isolating her from the 'socially-acceptable' school and my answer would be calmly/loudly/patiently crowd. Ever the opinionated rebel, Barbara often spends time at the Principle's office due to various instances of overt opinion-making, but treats each visit as more of a professional courtesy than something that may actually have repercussions for her. When she's not annoying classmates, getting into fights with bullies or antagonising authority figures and therapists; the young Giant Slayer patrols the coastlines, setting traps for any potential giant attacks.


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REVIEW / I KILL GIANTS

This, of course, doesn't sit all that well with the people around her, who unabashedly believe her to be mentally unstable. Her older sister is too stressed and busy to deal with the problems that Barbara is facing and/or causing, their mom is only mysteriously alluded to and there is a terrible secret looming in the upstairs section of their home. All of this leads up to an incredibly beautiful emotional climax as the readers start getting pummelled with plot-twist after plot-twist. The reader grows and develops alongside Barbara as we slowly garner more insight into the young girl's troubles. Her courage is incredible, she never shies away from a challenge and when you eventually see the battle between Barbara and the titular giant, you will fall in love with her spirit and tenacity. A lot of this is owed to Niimura's art - it appears so naĂŻve and rushed initially, but boy does it get glorious when the eponymous giant storms Barbara's coastal neighbourhood.

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The book is pure expression and heart exhilarating from beginning to end and so moving that I was in tears by the end. The insight into the human condition, what it means to truly be an outcast and the consequences thereof, but more importantly, the sacrifices we have to make for our own beliefs sometimes will hit you hard. Whether it's pride that holds us back, or fear, or weakness, it doesn't matter; but when we seek solutions by working with our faults and not against them, we can all kill our own giants. Do yourself a favour and read this book comic fan or not, it's a revolution that really should not be missed.  

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ISSUE 04

REVIEW / REVIVAL

Revival

by Ray Whitcher

Zombies are so year 2000

PUBLISHER / Image comics  GENRE / Rural Noir  WRITER / Tim Seeley   ARTIST / Mike Norton

M VERDICT / 8.5

ost of us have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one at one point or another, be it a grandparent, friend or sibling - we know the pain and the heartache that fills the inevitable void that their death leaves within us. What would you do then, if that person came back to life? Not as a brain-eating rotting corpse, but exactly the way they were when you last saw them. They speak the same, act the same, everything, except that you distinctly remember them being dead. Originally entitled Thanksgiving, the premise of Image Comic's 2013 title Revival offers that exact premise - the 'revivers' are not zombies; they are living, breathing people that simply and mysteriously stopped being dead one day and resumed their lives. This has of course stirred up a fervour of massive proportions, with people believing that it's a miracle, others claiming it's a curse and the US Government treating it like a disease. All that the people of the small town of Wausau, Wisconsin know, though, is that the dead are now living again and that their town is the centre of the world's attention, as well as a quarantine zone.

" This is high-tension comic drama at its best."

Written by the massively talented Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Ant-Man/Wasp and WILDCATS) and illustrated by Mike Norton (Green Arrow/ Black Canary, Young Justice and Battle Pug), this relatively under-the-radar title grabs you by the face and pulls you into the story, refusing to let you go as you follow sisters Dana and Em Cypress as they delve further and further into the

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twisted underground world of the 'revivers', from exploitation to murder and everything in between. Dana is a young, single mother and policewoman, whilst younger sister Em is a student; the former trying to earn the respect she desperately yearns for from her father, whilst the latter is a star achiever with a deep secret that changes the life of her sister forever. What starts out as a simple encounter with a 'reviver' sets off a chain of events that will unhinge the town forever. We soon discover that 'revivers' are essentially invulnerable, so when an elderly woman begins to pull her teeth out because of the sheer mental torture that comes with being dead and then alive again, she simply grows them back, only to pull them out again. The rather disturbing scene culminates in her sitting in a room filled with her own teeth, not an easy sight, but it makes you wonder what kind of mental torture it would be to come back from the certainty of death. Meanwhile, ghostly apparitions are being spotted in the forest, a quagga-like horse inexplicably dies as blood gushes from its mouth and a certain truck is desperately trying to escape the barricade around the town. This is high-tension comic drama at its best. Seeley has crafted a world so engaging that I almost read the entire 11 volume collection in one sitting. His characters are beautifully crafted, real human beings and the claustrophobic small town American setting only serves as enrichment to the macabre horror hiding within the idyllic, snowy forests. The people are scared, distrusting of the 'revivers' and locked in their own town by a never ending curtain of police, media and televangelists, quick to claim the 'miracle' for their own benefits.


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ISSUE 04 LEFT / Apart from the beautiful interior pages illustrated by Mike Norton, each chapter has its own piece of art introducing it by cover artist Jenny Frison.

Norton's art is also enrapturing, with massively expressive, flawed characters in detailed settings. The big hero of the team for me though would be cover artist Jenny Frison - her work is spellbinding, especially so on the deluxe edition hardcover version that sports a remarkable illustration of protagonist Em, blood dripping from her hands and a skull-emblazoned hoodie obscuring her face. Together, the team creates an extremely polished, meaningful and hard-hitting series that

goes against most comic tropes and conventions and contributes something rather marvellous into the fray. The news I'm most happy about though, is that there is going to be a crossover series between Revival and another beloved Image title Chew is currently in the works - cannibalistic food psychics and mentally-disturbed revivers? Yes please! All in all, any comic fan should own this book, but I can especially recommend it to fans of the Walking Dead series or people looking for an intelligent and crafty comic series. Next time you frequent your local comic store, skip the capes and look for this gem. Oh, and do yourself a favour and buy the deluxe hardcover edition. Seeley's original character sketches and Frison's cover gallery are worth the extra bucks alone. Also, this is an ongoing series, so be sure to keep up to date with the latest issue. 

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Objects of desire BOWEN DESIGNS THOR STRIKE DOWN STATUE The mightiest warrior of Asgard is beautifully represented here in this gorgeously sculpted statue of Thor, God of Thunder. He strikes his hammer Mjolnir on the ground, sending up lightning bolts, and is clad in his classic outfit, with his cape billowing out behind him. The sculpture stands 15 inches tall and brings the mighty Norse god to life. FIND IT AT Smallville Comics www.smallvillecomics.co.za RRP: R3,800

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ISSUE 04

OBJECTS OF DESIRE

This month we went big! With a combined height of 28.5 inches these Marvel statues will take your breath away.


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OBJECTS OF DESIRE

ISSUE 04

BOWEN DESIGNS IRON PATRIOT PAINTED STATUE The Iron Patriot is of course, similar in look to Iron Man himself, but with a colour scheme more reminiscent of Captain America. The armour features superhuman strength, flight, heat seeking missiles, lasers, flamethrowers and high tech communications systems. If you’re a Marvel fan you’ll love this high quality polystone statue. It’s incredibly detailed, and stands 13.5 inches tall making an amazing addition to any collection. FIND IT AT Smallville Comics www.smallvillecomics.co.za RRP: R3,500

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SPLICED MAGAZINE /

THE LAST WORD

ISSUE 04

Kids these days, I hate them. It’s Saturday 08:00 am and I’m staring, miserably, at a picture of a cassette tape next to a pen. It’s been posted to Facebook and headlined: ‘if you know how these two are related you’re a true 80s kid.’ by Leani le Roux

I’m on Facebook because I couldn’t sleep in – maybe it was because house alarms were going off here in suburbia or it was the neighbour’s goddamn chicken again. Or because grown-ups are genetically predisposed to get up before nine, no matter how much they drink. Welcome to your life. Ah, so let’s feel better by stalking people on Facebook. But then you look and your feed is exclusively dedicated to posts of babies or weddings. Where’s the good stuff? Answer: Not on Facebook. Reason: You’re old and the cool kids have gone elsewhere. We’ve all felt the creeping sense of has-been. Even Facebook is desperately trying to stem the tide of young accounts opening elsewhere. It’s throwing billions at Oculus VR, Whatsapp and the like. All I can do is open accounts where these whippersnappers are double-tapping each other’s duckface selfies. So here’s what I’ve seen:

Leani le Roux is a 30-yearold business owner of Wordsmack Publishers and is already feeling her age. In between yelling for the neighbour’s chicken to shut up, she’s attempting to make African science fiction the Next Big Thing. Check her out on Twitter @leaniw and buy a book for god’s sake, it makes you clever and interesting: www.word-smack.com.

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Snapchat is plain damn confusing and the brief glances of poor quality pictures can surely only have one use: that of sending blurry pics of your boobs to some boy not worthy of seeing them anyway. Then there’s Vine. I spent an entire morning shooting a video of some of my books creeping along my bookshelf. It was awesome. It was meaningful. I used my tired old brain to fashion a tripod out of a pot and my iPad cover. And then I looked up and realised I have a job and a life and never went back. I’m on Instagram, I blog, I follow blogs, I signed up for social media sites that follow interesting blogs or conversations, I’m on Quora, Medium, Reddit, and non-event Google+. Even Mxit (which is apparently, like, SO uncool), where the app checks all

300 phone numbers stored on my phone and came up with zero friend suggestions. And just in case you think I’m a creep, I’m technically doing this for work – my business is publishing three Young Adult novels soon, so I’m calling it market research… But to my second point. Remember how we’d enjoy a certain sense of bravado when some asshole tagged you in something totally inappropriate, for all the world to see? Yeah, these kids don’t do that. They’re already experts at using social media as a personalized, tailor-made public relations machine. They find their ‘look’ or their competitive advantage and they exploit it. They identify with a star, a writer, singer or movie and make it part of their brand. And they’re using that social media power to make money or get free stuff. As a market, they’ve really asserted themselves. I speculate that it’s because they have smartphones and credit cards. With opinions and money they’re pandered to by publishers and Hollywood. By the way, check out Divergent and how the world is going crazy for it. And its incredible success was driven by teenage girls who use the term ‘squee’ at least once a day. I am incredibly, depressingly, intimidated by them. I don’t know what will happen to the Instagrammers and bloggers I’m trying desperately to like me. Will it be over once they discover they have to pay rent, tax and that the hangovers start to last for two days? Maybe this is a short-term relationship. But I’ll be there, pandering to them, even when their time for connecting pens with tapes has arrived. 


THE END Illustration by Keron Grant. Go to kerongrant.net for more. 125


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Spliced issue 04 april/may 2014