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20th August 2005

Every time the site’s birthday comes around I take a look back at what’s happened on the site and I get amazed at the progress the site has had over the previous 12 months. Then I try to compare it to previous years and a broad grin spreads across my face as I realise we’ve achieved so much in such a short period of time. Of course then I get a little down when I realise there is still so much to do, But I know that as time goes on, everyone involved in the site is chipping away at the tasks they have given themselves and probably before we all know it that rock won’t be very big at all.
Each year there has always been something that I’ve considered to have a major impact on the site in one form or another but this year was different, because so much has happened I can’t pick out one defining moment to symbolise the progress.

Year 1 – Meeting Joerg and setting up the resource direction of the site
Year 2 – Event months and the ever expanding sections and contributors.
Year 3 – Site became so popular we crashed the servers we were on when the X-Men 2 movie came out.
Year 4 – going it alone, moving of our then 'Free' host to paid for hosting, which the on site advertising pays for
Year 5 – read on…

So what happened in the previous year? Well I’m going to do a mini round up of the last year picking out some key advances the site has made. You could say it’s a year in review or a State of the UXN as my American buddies call it, but to be honest I don’t think it is as broad or as in-depth to be called that, so consider this something to read to give you a break from all the good stuff on the site, and maybe make you go wow a couple of times.

Issue Summaries
To date (and this will be out of date within minutes of me posting it on the site I can guarantee it) there are 2581 summaries on the site not including reprints. This time last year we had 1855. That’s an increase of 648 summaries or approximately 1.775 summaries a day. Bearing in mind that the full synopses of an issue summary now works out to at least 5 pages of A4 (assuming you are using a font size of 10pt in MS Word, or whatever you’re preferred writing package is, and it’s a normal 22 page comic), that works out to around 9 pages of text added every day. Or assuming you get 900 words to a page, 8100 words added to the summary section everyday for the last year.

So how are we doing in comparison to the total issues featuring x-men? Well although it’s a moving target because more are added every month, our current estimate makes it to be 3818, again not including reprints (thanks, Douglas). Also for the point of these figures I’m going to assume that marvel produce 250 issues a year featuring the x-men (so about 20 a month + extras) to give us a year on year comparison of how close we are to achieving our ultimate goal of summarising all x-men related issues.

Total Issue Summaries Completed - 2004
Total Issue Summaries Completed - 2005

As you can see this time last year we had just past the magic 50% mark but this year we have made an incredible jump taking us to 68% of the total, passing the two thirds mark. I’m sure you’ll agree a most impressive growth (why when I say that I think of the comic, Giant Size Man-Thing?). So let’s try and predict the future. Taking the previous assumptions into account and that we continue our 1.775 daily rate then we will complete all summaries in…. 3 years 1 month. So at this point I’m really looking forward to seeing how close we are on the sites 8th Birthday. As I said before many factors can change this especially if more people helped summarise those issues (did I mention we’re always looking for extra help, go check the FAQ).

Crossovers – Onslaught Arrives
This time Last year we had 22 crossover entries listed on the site, and this year we upped the figure to 24. This might not seem a lot however it should be noted that probably the largest crossover ever, Onslaught, was done as part of our last Event Month. I make it there are about 10 left to be completed.

Spotlight On
Over the last Year we have added 10 more spotlights to the site, taking the section up to a total of 56 Extensive spotlights on major characters. On top of this we have also updated a further 18 spotlights with additional information of costume galleries and Alternative realities which has been added since we initially added spotlights to the site. Bearing in mind that a spotlight can take an average of 3 weeks to write, scan and edit images before it even goes online, it’s an incredible accomplishment. And to give you a comparison the spotlight text averages around 15-20 pages of A4 per entry.

Custom Figures
Not many people know but the custom figure section was the first section to appear on the site, and has been run by Mark Bowers since that fateful day a couple of months after the site got started. Last year the custom figures section held 2772 figures but over the last year this has increased enormously, with 5030 custom figures listed, that’s over 6 customs added a day!

Marvel like us
One of the highlights for me personally this year has been the fact that we’ve started to get recognition from the house of Ideas. Some of us have known that folks at marvel had visited the site and used us but over the course of this last year, thanks mainly to our intrepid news hound Iceman (Trevor Cates) things went a little further. From the interviews with creators to the “Monday with Marts” column by the X-Men editor and the help we have been able to give them over the last few months; it’s been a fun ride. The icing on the cake though was getting the site mentioned in the letters page of X-Men (2nd Series) #173.

All the above have been some of the highlights of the last year, but there have been other additions to the site that also need a mention including:

Character glossary – hundreds of headshots added, leaving only 228 of the 1749 entries without a face.
Cover Gallery – 4820 covers online, over a thousand added in the last year.
Fan Art – Added earlier this year and already over 110 entries.
Merging Minds – 10 more articles added including the Relationship Map and the Dangler Lists.
Fan Fiction – Continually growing with now over 430 pieces of work for you to read.
About Us – new section giving you some insight on those that contribute to the site.
UXN FAQ – A guide to the Site
Contributors Guide – a guide on how to contribute to the site and who to contact in each section.

And on top of that there are the regular updates to sections like the character glossary, previews and current title information that we do.

So that pretty much wraps it up for now, I hope you enjoyed this look back over the last year and hope I got at least one wow out of you. I’d like to thank all those people that made this last year possible. So here’s to the future and what we can wow you with next year.