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Wednesday April 22, 2009 8:15 pm

CHRIS ULM: The Ultraverse and Appy Entertainment




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Video Games

APPY3
Chris Ulm was the guy who came up with the idea of the Ultraverse. I should know - I watched him do it. When Bob Jacob merged his Acme Interactive with Malibu Comics and became co-president with Scott Rosenberg, he wanted some ideas about what Malibu could do in its post-Image Comics years. “And bring me steak, not sizzle!” he demanded like a little kid who wanted the biggest piece of birthday cake.

Ulm pitched a couple of ideas. One was “Hire Jim Shooter” (which the company almost did, 2 1/2 times over the years). The second was the idea that became the Ultraverse (though its working title was the Megaverse, until we discovered that it was already a trademarked universe). Ulm served as Editor-In-Chief of the Ultraverse and co-created Rune with Barry Windsor-Smith.

After Marvel bought Malibu Comics, Ulm and took a look at his employment agreement and realized he could do something else. He went north and jumped into video games at Oddworld Inhabitants (check out Abe’s Exoddus and Munch’s Oddysee!). After Oddworld, he went to work farther south and joined the game company Sammy which later spun off into his own High Moon Studios (where he worked on the Bourne franchise and created the Darkwatch vampire western video game). Last year, he stepped away from Sammy and with some of his Sammy pals, including one-time comic book writer Paul O’Connor, launched Appy Entertainment – a game company that makes applications, apps, for the iPhone.

 

So, is there a point to this? You bet there is. Chris Ulm, CEO of Appy Entertainment, has just launched the company’s first iPhone application from their Secret Worldwide Headquarters. Appy Newz is the name of the app and you can read about it here at Appy’s blog.

There’s also info on how you can download the fun and funny app from the iTunes store for a mere $1.99. Here’s “The Skinny” on Appy Newz: with the ease and comfort of touch-screen technology you can mix and match a variety of bodies, poses, locations, objects and highly customizable faces to create your own faux tabloid newspaper cover that mocks your friends, family and snarky buddies. And if you’re too lazy to press buttons, Appy Newz can generate random covers on your behalf in seconds with Appy’s “Shake It To Make It” technology! And when you’re done, you can email your masterpiece to everyone you know!

If you want to see what some early adopters have done, you can check it out here.

Is there something here for comic book fans too? You bet. Ulm the CEO is still Ulm the funny book fanatic and he’s not about to abandon his first love. Appy Newz also lets you create comic book-inspired tabloid covers as well – you can cut off the heads of your favorite Marvel or DC characters and plop them into “delicate” situations, viral emailing to ensue.

How long before the zombies show up is anyone’s guess, but at $1.99, Appy Newz is half the price of a standard Marvel or DC comic book yet provides hours of oh-so-good fun.

Disclaimer #1: Chris Ulm and I once created a project with Jim Balent.

Disclaimer #2: I had lunch with Chris at the 2008 Comic Con International.

Disclaimer #3: He had a hamburger.

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