2016 in silly back page jokes

It's all over...

Every month we're obliged to come up with a back page joke, thanks to a magazine tradition that dates back decades. It is, in all honesty, enormously stressful—while we have about 28 days to produce a magazine, it's somehow almost impossible to nail this back page until the last day of deadline, mostly because we try to joke about something in the issue itself. Sometimes, we come up with a joke the day after we're supposed to go to press. Nonetheless, it gets done. Last year, we reviewed our back page jokes month-by-month, and found that only about half of them were good. This year, we think we've done slightly better. Ultimately, you can decide. Here's 2016 in silly backpage jokes.

January 2016: Star Wars Battlefront

Chris T: This was an opportunity to be a terrible pedant about Star Wars, which is something that I feel a personal obligation to pursue at every opportunity. I don't want you to read this and think that I'm not a fan of gonk droids, mind. They're in my top five favourite droids that say one thing over and over. Gonk.

Samuel: I think this idea was mine and Andy wrote it. These are all fair criticisms of Battlefront. It gets super daft whenever a hero turns up and they start bouncing around. The Jedi costume/lightsaber thing on Hoth was one of the things I got pedantic about. John did an amazing job of replicating the look of the crawl.

Phil: A reader emailed to correct every joke we made here. An excerpt: "Meanwhile, the evil lord Darth Vader takes time out of his busy schedule to hunt the smuggler (AND REBEL GENERAL) Han Solo, as he did in The Empire Strikes Back, on some volcanic planet that was mentioned in Return of the Jedi and—despite claims by ridiculously overrated reviewers—HAS had an on screen appearance in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron which a lot of people conveniently chose to ignore." Star Wars is a very serious thing and we were wrong to make fun of it.

Andy: Neeeeeeeerd.

February 2016: Far Cry Primal

Phil: The initial plan for this resulted in one of my favourite ever emails, when Samuel asked our art editor, John, "Can you strap an owl to this man's face like it's a pair of binoculars for All Over this month?" It looked terrible, though. It was just an owl in front of a man's face. That's not a joke.

Samuel: Oh God, I remember looking at the owl binoculars in utter despair, convinced we'd never come up with anything better and that the magazine had actually broken under my watch. Luckily, Phil came up with this far better representation of Far Cry Primal's weird animal powers at the 11th hour.

Phil: The text here is actually based on a misquote. Darwin himself rarely said anything so pithy, though, so I bastardised it anyway. For a while I worried that some pedant would email to point out the mistake. But Darwin isn't as important as Star Wars, so nobody did.

Tony: I still say we should have gone for an owl strapped to a man’s face.