The Dark Menace of the Universe

Are you a Dark Menace? Here's your chance to find out.

Tom Filsinger, a game entrepreneur and psychology professor, has published a memoir on creativity called 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 The Dark Menace of the Universe, Filsinger tells the inside story of how he created card games like Champions of the Galaxy and Legends of Wrestling.He discusses how he proposed a wrestling game to the WWF in 1984 only to be rejected in favor of a Milton Bradley game, and how this rejection inadvertently led to the creation and success of Champions of the Galaxy. He also discusses the pros and cons of owning and operating an independent game company.

The Dark Menace of the Universe has received enthusiastic reviews, including one from legendary comic book creator, Stan Lee, who created Spiderman, Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, among others. On the back cover of the book, Lee says: "What a great idea for Tom Filsinger, a man who's both a psychology professor and a game creator to write about the psychology of creativity. Tom makes every page of this absorbing memoir a thought-provoking reading experience."

In addition to being the owner of a game company, Filsinger is also an Associate Professor of Psychology in Jamestown, New York. In The Dark Menace of the Universe he brings together his scholarly interests and game entrepreneurship. "I use the expression 'The Dark Menace of the Universe' to refer to creativity in general. Creative people are often misunderstood by others and I analyze why this might be the case."

The release of The Dark Menace of the Universe celebrates twenty years of game success for Filsinger Games. Champions of the Galaxy, a sci-fi wrestling card game, was first released in 1986. Over 30 expansions have followed since that time. Filsinger Games released another card game featuring real-life wrestling stars called Legends of Wrestling in 2000. In the same year Filsinger was featured in an article in Entrepreneur magazine called 'Start a Fan Club' which described the loyal fan base for Filsinger Games products.

Filsinger began teaching psychology in 1980 at Northern Illinois University. Since then he has taught at five colleges in three states, finally settling down with his family in Jamestown, New York in 1989 where he teaches psychology at Jamestown Community College as well as being the Co-Director of Social Sciences and Coordinator of Psychology.

Filsinger uses examples from the lives of famous creators to shed light on his subject, including anecdotes from writer Stephen King, jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton, cartoonist Gary Larson, and others. Filsinger further explains, "Creative people often face resistance from others for their ideas and their art. In The Dark Menace I analyze the psychological mechanisms that underlie this resistance."

Who knows...maybe you're a Dark Menace too.


What a great idea for Tom Filsinger, a man who's both a psychology professor and a game creator, to write about the psychology of creativity. Tom makes every page of this absorbing memoir a thought-provoking reading experience.
--- Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, and many more Marvel Comics characters.

With galactic irony, Tom Filsinger exposes the fact that he is anything but a Dark Menace. Rather he boldly illuminates the nebulous phenomenon of human creativity with passion, clarity, candor, and scholarly expertise. His personal anecdotes are entertaining, humorous, and most important, inspirational.
--- Ken LeSure, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Cleveland, Ohio.

Dark Menace offers a fascinating look into the mind of a man who I feel is one of the most talented game designers the industry has ever seen. Tom has been a huge inspiration to me and having the opportunity to glance at the inner-workings of his thought processes is priceless.
--- Cynthia Celeste Miller, President, Spectrum Games.

The tone of this book is most amiable and enjoyable to read. Filsinger's psychological and educational theories are well supported with research in the writings of major pillars of our culture and very well supported with personal anecdotes as well. The author's charisma sweeps one along with a self-confidence that is truly awe-inspiring.
---Robert Plyler, Reviewer, Jamestown Post-Journal.

I was thoroughly engrossed in The Dark Menace of the Universe and believe it will prove to be an inspiration to those creative folk and dark menaces who have an offbeat hobby or passion that others just don't understand. For a book heavy on psychology, The Dark Menace of the Universe reads easily with the author bringing up fascinating points about creative people trying to cope with a world where beasts sense vulnerability.
---Evan Ginzburg, Author, Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn.

The Dark Menace of the Universe is much more than just a look into game design. It's so much more, in fact, that it's hard to categorize. Take one part memoir, one part entrepreneurial handbook and one part theoretical essay on creativity, stir them all together and Dark Menace is the result. One of the main themes is the concept of the "Dark Menace," the creative person who sometimes clashes with society because of his or her propensity for thinking outside the box and unwillingness to play by the rules.
---Nick Tylwalk, columnist, SLAM Sports.

Fans of Champions of the Galaxy will probably get the most out of this book, and I'd generally and widely suggest their picking it up, but people interested in reading about creativity and the game industry in general may be interested as well, thanks to Tom's interesting writing style, and the experience with which he approaches all of his topics. It's an interesting read, and it's going to stay on my bookshelf.
---Shannon Appelcline, RPGnet.

Tom Filsinger has been described as having the effect of 20 diesel locomotives with a neon presence and a peerless imagination. Just the qualities one needs to inventChampions of the Galaxy, a card game based on of all things, wrestling. His new book, The Dark Menace of the Universe describes his life as a game impresario and college professor. It's also a philosophical book about creativity and the psychology of popular culture. It's compulsively readable, just what you'd expect from a runaway train.
--- Suzanne DeGaetano, Mac's Backs Book Store, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.


1. What is a Dark Menace?
2. What a Mess of a Start
3. Creativity Starts Young and Probably isn't a Choice
4. "The Referee Doesn't See it"---But My Grandparents Did
5. Heaven on Earth: The Marvel Age of Comics
6. Toward a Definition of Creativity
7. Moving on Up...Or so it Seemed
8. The Glory Era of Basement Wrestling
9. The Creative Person
10. Creating Champions of the Galaxy: The Early Days
11. My Secret Identity as a College Professor
12. My Collaboration with Game Artists
13. Authoritarianism and the Fear of the Dark Menace
14. Meeting Leslie and Our Unique Engagement
15. The Creative Process
16. The End of Champions of the Galaxy?
17. Branching Out: The Convention Circuit
18. The Psychology of Creativity and Culture
19. The Ups and Downs of College Teaching
20. Creativity in Organizations
21. Living in Jamestown and Raising a Family
22. Family Life and Creativity
23. Creating Legends of Wrestling
24. Counting Down to the Big Day
25. Nine Rules for Being a Dark Menace

Appendix 1: My Thoughts on Selected Game Characters (over 60 characters discussed)
Appendix 2: My Thoughts on the Game's Main Storylines

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