Tag Archives: Chris Ulm

Rune 1 with autos

Finding a Rune 1 that has been autographed is not that hard … Barry Windsor-Smyth did 10,000 of them by himself. But I don’t think I had ever seen one that also had co-creator Chris Ulm’s signature, along with inkers Alex Bialy and John Floyd.

This was an eBay score, just a few bucks counting shipping. It didn’t come with a certificate, but it looks legit to me.

I’ve always thought it must piss off the creators when they see books they signed popping up on auction sites, but once I get them in my mitts I give them the proper respect. Somebody has to collect this stuff.

UV Creators: Chris Ulm

It’s hard to imagine someone had more of an impact on the Ultraverse than Chris Ulm.

Ulm was there from the beginning as one of the founding partners at Malibu, and helped develop the foundations for the comic universe. He graciously took the time to answer a few questions about the Ultraverse and what he is doing today.

What was your job title at Malibu and what were your responsibilities?

I was the Editor-In-Chief and a founding partner of Malibu, helping to build the company from its earliest days (along with Scott Rosenberg, Tom Mason and Dave Olbrich). As regards the Ultraverse, I came up with the original idea for a writer’s based universe and recruited the original founding fathers and supervised the in-house editors and writers. In addition, I co-created Rune (with Barry Windsor-Smith) as well as a bunch of other characters.

Do you have a favorite memory from working on the Ultraverse?

Too many to count. Working with the original founders and developing a universe based on a comprehensive background and enormously inventive characters was the high point of my career in comics. I really enjoyed the speed at which we could build an entire universe and bring it to life and I think some of the characters are true classics that I hope we will see again in the future.

What is your favorite Ultraverse-related project that you worked on?

I really liked all of them, to be honest. I enjoyed the characters a great deal and felt personally driven to make sure the creative teams were able to do their best work, despite a tough publishing environment and lots of competition (Dark Horse had released their superhero universe at the same time). I am very proud of the body of work that makes up the UV.

Mostly, I miss the speed at which we could bring new characters and concepts to market and the terrific creative talent it was my privilege to work with. Malibu was a special place and as I have progressed through my career as a creative director, game maker and storyteller I am reminded daily that companies like Malibu are very few and far between.

Do you have a favorite souvenir or collectible from the Ultraverse that you kept all these years?

I’ve got all the comics in bags as well as the toys and CD Romix! Probably my favorite is the Ghoul action figure. Everybody needs one.

What are you up to these days?

Today, I am the CEO of Appy Entertainment, a game company that is “Deadly Serious About Stupid Fun.” We make original games for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad which have been downloaded over 8 million times. We view the app market as a place where new ideas and concepts can take root, much like the comic book industry in the 90’s. Check out Zombie Pizza, FaceFighter, and Trucks & Skulls to see what we are up to!

Rune and Conan

Rune was created by Ultraverse Editor-in-Chief Chris Ulm to be one of the lynchpins of the Ultraverse, a bad guy on the level of Doctor Doom or Lex Luthor. Barry Windsor-Smith was brought into the project later and he and Ulm redeveloped the character. They plotted the issues together with Windsor-Smith providing the art and Ulm the dialogue. (Edit: Info courtesy of Tom Mason)

These were some of my favorite books that the Ultraverse put out, especially the early ones that were drawn by Windsor-Smith.

After Marvel bought up the rights there were a couple of crossovers involving Rune. Conan seemed like a natural fit.

There was one book where they shared the title (Conan vs. Rune), and Rune appeared in issue No. 4 of the monthly Conan book (along with a small flashback appearance in No. 5) and Conan The Savage magazine.


These are a little tougher to find since they are pretty far off the beaten track. If you can’t find them in a cheap lot they are readily available at places like Mile High or mycomicshop.com, but they’re going to charge you a few bucks.

It’s better to be patient on eBay.

The Conan The Savage magazine is pretty cool. It’s black and white inside which looks perfect for the content. I wish they had done more books like this for Rune (there are a bazillion Conan black-and-white magazines).

Storing it is kind of a pain since I don’t have any magazine boxes. I just keep it flat in a closet with a few other magazines.

One of the cool things about the original Conan series, the one that started in the late 1960s and made BWS famous, is the ninth issue.

There on the cover is a flying bluish guy that looks kind of like Rune. It isn’t, of course, but maybe the idea stuck in his head as a prototype for later use.

In any case it doesn’t belong on an Ultraverse checklist but I’ve had my eye out for a cheap copy for a while now. In nice condition those early Conans can be pretty expensive.

Mantra Ultra-Limited Archive Edition

This is definitely one of the harder-to-find books. They made 500 of them but they don’t really look that special so I would imagine that many of these are languishing in comic shop budget bins or stuck in closets. You see one on eBay once in a great while. I got mine, like so many other Ultraverse books, on accident. I bought a silver Mantra hologram cover and this book was thrown in as a freebie. Nice!

Its value is hard to define. I would pay $5 if I saw one at a convention or comic shop, maybe $10 depending on how my day was going. And for me that is a lot. There are very few Ultraverse books for which I would pay more than a buck or two. Not that I don’t want them, but I will probably see them somewhere else for a very low price. If you’re patient, all this stuff is cheep. Er, cheap.

The thing to distinguish this book as an “archive edition” is a unique stamp that you can barely see on the right side of the cover (it says “Mantra Archive Edition“). And if there were 5,000 of each Ultra 5,000 print run, well, here is what happened to 500 of them.

The certificate is signed by Mike Barr and Chris Ulm. The cert says the book came in a ProGard but mine is just in a regular bag and board.

Edit: Snarky bits removed …