2010 - Issue Summaries
When the resource mission began, One of our biggest goals was to summarise every comic featuring the X-Men. Back in the early 2000’s trade paperbacks weren’t common and digital comics were still very much in their infancy, so if you missed an issue, you could be out of luck. As I write this, we sit at 7,670 summaries available to read, but in 2010 we hit 5000 summaries online, a huge number given in 2001 there was roughly 2,500 X-Men related comics.
Issue Summaries have always been seen as the entry point to helping at UXN, but honestly as someone that has struggled to even do 45, its an art form unto itself and I have to give thanks to not just everyone that has submitted a summary, but especially to our summary editors whose work to review, give feedback and sometimes help completely rewrite a summary is one of those behind the scenes actvities many don't know about.
For those that like a statistic (ok just me then!), A typical Issue summary is on average 3000 words or a 4-5 page Word document, and thats not counting writing up the credits, notes, character list and brief overview, so it would be remis of me to not give MAJOR Kudos to Daytripper who has to this day summarized 1990 comics!
2011 - Hero teams, Villain groups, Friends or Foes
Among many other wonderful delights, like a family tree on the Summers clan, a profile on not 3rd summers brother Adam-X, and the return to the big screen for our merry band of mutants with X-Men: First Class, 2011 belongs to Canada’s super team, as we ran the Alpha Flight Event month. Among all the usual goodness we also created numerous Team entries and a full Department H directory. Our Team entries have been a staple of the site going back to the original Villain entries created by Peter Luzifer. Our Friends or Foes team entries also date back to those early days but true X-Men teams? Although we did an entry for the X-Corporation in 2004, it was something that we kept putting off for teams that had their own title until New Mutants in 2010.
2012- Secrets behind the X-Men
I could mention that in 2012 we strapped on shoulder pads with pockets a plenty for our X-Force Event Month. I could mention we did our 2nd UNUSUAL SUSPECTS competition to win the chance to choose your choice of a character spotlight (Layla Miller was chosen by the winner elixir86), but instead I’m going to talk about something that came about thanks to someone reaching out to us about a project their friend was working on.
In February 2012, Ulrik Kristiansen contacted me about a series of Articles that their friend, Michael C.T. Andersen, was putting together, looking behind the scenes of the X-Men comics and creators. After reading the initial work, how could we not help bring Michaels work to a wider audience and with some help form the UXN image team, the new regular feature started on 22nd March and ran for 23 episodes, ending in June 2013.
For me this is exactly one of the reasons why I love being part of this team and site, being able to help facilitate some one’s idea and get it out to an appreciative audience. So if you have an idea for something related to Comics that you would love to work on and need a platform, we’re all ears.
2013 - So Much Wolverine
Prior to 2013 there had been any a debate within the team about when we would eventually get around to do a Wolverine spotlight, and with the potential release of the 100th Spotlight on entry, it felt like maybe the time was right.
It had become an in joke within the team about how sick we were getting requests for a Wolverine spotlight, at one point I genuinely believed we may never do it out of pure malice, but after that collar was removed, the seeds of a plan started to take shape and we decided that if we were going to do Wolverine's spotlight, we were going to make you so sick of him, you'll never ask for it again, so the Wolverine Season was set in stone.
From July through to October we gave you so much indepth Wolverine, that I'm pretty sure fatigued set in for some visitors but the team pulled together and got through it and deserved the rest after the event.
if you click the link in this post, you'll see a full breakdown of everything that was done during the Wolverine season. Of course, once Wolverine was done, everyone was asking for a Deadpool spotlight.
2014 - Site Move
While the Wolverine Season was ongoing, in the background we were looking at how we could improve the way we manage the site itself. When I originally created the site in 2000, I used Microsoft Active Server pages (ASP) and had to use a windows server for hosting. All the site code was maintained by me, based on simple scripts from some online tutorials, so you can imagine how painful it was when one of the team asked if we could do X or Y for a new article. The answer was always “Yes!” and then I’d spend a few late nights trying to figure it out. Microsoft replaced ASP with a new language and while I didn’t mind learning a new programming language I was concerned that the site plumbing was overly reliant on 1 individual and don’t get me started on security (True story, the site was hacked around 2006 and 40% of the site content was overwritten, but luckily, I had backups and could fix quickly). So the decision was made to find a suitable content management system to make it easier to maintain and support if anything happened to me and we settled on Drupal because it gave us a lot of flexibility, something typical blog software like WordPress couldn’t do.
Of course we also hand our UXN forums to consider as well (not coded by me thankfully, we used a commercial product for that!) and while Drupal had forum capability, We used the opportunity to free the forums of being tied to just uncannyxmen.net. We already had a separate site for Fan art / Fan fiction ( what was back then “the house of ideas” but became and still exists today as “uncanon.com” ) so it made sense to separate the forum so it could be s general forum for all our sites (to be discussed in a later installment) and unstablemolecules.com was born at the end of 2013.
With the forum moved it meant that for the first half of 2014, the team could get the reworked site up and running using Drupal and in May of that year we were in the new home. There was some pain points and still to this day there are parts of the site that we’d like to update but as an added bonus we could save some hosting costs which also meant we didn’t need as much advertising on the site ( which is why the forum still to this day has no ads – not many sites can say that!).
It also meant that we had a true platform that could be used should we ever want to expand … but that’s a story for a later point
With all that said.. my personal standout moment of the year...Our first UXN video to launch Thunderbird Month!