Think back to the last time you spent two years working on a project. Most of us find it hard to stay focused on a task for more than two hours, but graphic designer Scott Modrzynski dedicated himself to recreating every single character that ever appeared in the Uncanny X-Men comic book series.
Fully embracing the “X” in X-Men, Modrzynski’s site, Unnecessarily X-Essive, features a staggering lineup of X-shaped caricatures of characters pulled from the 545 issues of Uncanny X-Men that ran from 1963 to 2011. And we’re not just talking mutants, the site also includes all of the minor characters appearing in every issue, from random civilians to police and military personnel.
So what made Modrzynski decide to dedicate two years of his life to this monumental undertaking? Initially he didn’t intend to go so deep into the rabbit hole, but it sounds like he could be the ultimate completist. “I got the idea a few years back when I had done something similar with WWF wrestlers,” he says. “I never intended for it to take so long, but once I get going, OCD kicks in, and found myself going back to older issues to add the most minor of characters I had previously skipped.”
During this odyssey, Modrzynski gained a greater appreciation for Marvel comic book artists like Dave Cockrum and John Byrne, and the immense creativity and diversity of characters they brought to the series. But as he worked his way through the Uncanny X-Men, Modrzynski found Marvel’s dedication to originality eventually dwindled: “The attention to character detail—Wolverine is really short, Colossus’s square jaw—began to sag in the ’80s, and fell off a cliff in the early ’90s, as artists homogenized the appearance of everyone.”
Despite those disappointments, Modrzynski still thoroughly enjoyed this project, and found that reading through the Uncanny X-Men archive was like breaking open a time capsule full of countless wonderful memories from throughout his life. Just be aware, you might need to set aside two years yourself to fully load and browse this exhaustive gallery.