Tom Filsinger (
February 11, 1957— ) is a creator, author, professor, and entrepreneur. He has founded two companies, Filsinger Games and Filsinger Publishing.
Filsinger is the creator of "
Champions of the Galaxy" and "Legends of Wrestling" role playing games. He is also a psychologyprofessor and author of "The Dark Menace of the Universe", a memoirand treatise on creativity.
Filsinger was born Savvas Athanasios Tsagarakis, a descendant of Greek immigrants. His grandfather Tom Tsoulis and family came to America from Greece in 1917 and settled in Cleveland,
Ohio. Tom Tsoulis' daughter Sophie married Christos Tsagarakis and bore a son, who was later to become known as Tom Filsinger. His father skipped town, reuniting with him only briefly 29 years later. His mother married Eugene Filsinger who later adopted her son, who changed his name to Tom Filsinger. In 1968, Tom's family moved to Lyndhurst, Ohio. Tom grew up with an interest in professional wrestlingand comic books.
After graduating from high school, he attended
John Carroll University, a Jesuitcollege in University Heights, Ohio. He went on to graduate school at Northern Illinois Universityin Dekalb, Illinoisand majored in social/personality psychology. After earning a master's degree, he began his career as a psychology teacher. He met his wife Leslie in February 1988, and they were married by the end of the year, finally settling down with his family in Jamestown, New Yorkin 1989.
In 1984, Tom Filsinger proposed a wrestling game to the World Wrestling Federation only to be rejected in favor of a Milton Bradley game. This rejection inadvertently led to the creation and success of "
Champions of the Galaxy", a sci-fi wrestling dice-and-card game that can be played alone or with two or more friends, and which features hundreds of characters from the future of professional wrestling.
"Champions of the Galaxy" was first released in 1986, and over 30 expansions have followed since then. Because of this, Filsinger has been able to collaborate with some exceptionally talented artists through the years such as Chuck Carter (one of the artists who created the computer game Myst) , Darryl Banks, Scott Rosema, and Hannibal King.
The most prolific "Champions of the Galaxy" artist is
Brian Michael Bendis, one of the biggest names in the comic book field. Filsinger Games also released another card game featuring real-life wrestling stars called "Legends of Wrestling" in 2000, illustrated again by Chuck Carter and later by several artists including Sonny Strait.
In 2007 Filsinger Games expanded the reach of its games by releasing a computer simulation version of "Champions of the Galaxy" called COTGonline.
Tom further expanded his horizons in 2003 when he created and marketed "Countdown to Our Wedding Day", the first calendar in a new line of "Countdown to the Big Day" products. The calendar debuted at Atlanta's Mart in January, 2003 and is currently sold at gift shops throughout the United States. Tom's goal is to increase distribution and expand the line of calendars to include several other titles. The next calendar in the series, "Countdown to Baby's Due Date", was released in 2008 and written by Dr. Thomas Andrews.
In 2005, Tom released his first book, "
The Dark Menace of the Universe". The book is an analysis of creativity as it relates to rebellion and culture. The book also describes how Filsinger Games carved out a successful niche in the independent game industry. In Tom's words the book is "a rallying cry for creative Dark Menaces everywhere."
Filsinger Publishing released a book of political humor by comic book legend
Stan Leein 2008 called "Election Daze". The book features photos of famous politicians such as Barack Obamaand Hillary Clinton, accompanied by funny captions. "Election Daze" is projected to be the first in a line of humor-themed books authored by Stan Lee. By mid-April the book had charted at Number Two for Hot New Releases in political humor at amazon.com.
In September, with the 2008 election in high gear, Filsinger Publishing released an e Book version of "Election Daze", as well as partnering with Genus Corporation to release the book on i Phone. Both ventures marked the first time that Stan Lee had released a book in these emerging areas.
Tom jokes that in his secret identity he is a mild-mannered Associate Professor of Psychology at
Jamestown Community Collegewhere he has served as the Director of Social Sciences and Coordinator of Psychology. He has taught at five colleges in three states. In 1998, the New York State Education Commission approved a certificate program created by Tom called Psychology of the Workplace, the first of its kind in the state. Students can earn the certificate online as well as in face-to-face classes.
Tom has been featured in magazines such as "Entrepreneur", and was selected as one of the 50 Most Interesting People by "Cleveland Magazine". He has also been interviewed on television and radio shows both nationally and internationally, as well as making guest appearances at numerous comic book, game, and wrestling conventions.
Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics, has worked side-by-side with Tom and remained a supporter of Filsinger Games and the Countdown series. Lee wrote the introduction to "The GWF Files: The Second Edition" and a review of Tom's book.
*Filsinger, Tom. "Dark Menace of the Universe", New York: Brust Books. A memoir and treatise on creativity. 2005.
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