Educator, Coach and Mentor Now a Special Footnote in MLB History

By Raymond Rolak

John Paciorek, a native Detroiter and longtime educator in California was featured on the Monday, June 29th “CBS This Morning” show. Paciorek, 70, is now a veteran and well-respected consummate baseball instructor at a private school in San Gabriel, California. He has been teaching and coaching for over 40 years.

CBS producer Chris Spinder and reporter Lee Cowan showcased a man who is much more than the sum of his stats. (Baseball speak) The feature ran five and a half minutes.

Award winning author Steven K. Wagner and John Paciorek in Dodger Stadium. Photo courtesy of Rolco Sports & Entertainment

Award winning author Steven K. Wagner and John Paciorek in Dodger Stadium. Photo courtesy of Rolco Sports & Entertainment

Growing up in a working class predominately Polish-American neighborhood, Paciorek became a famed Detroit Catholic League High School sports phenomenon in the early 1960’s. While playing at Hamtramck St. Ladislaus High School, he developed a life-stream that took him all the way to Major League Baseball, albeit with a special twist. Most of all, he has become the answer to a unique Major League Baseball trivia question. This folklore starts with the question, “Who has the all-time best lifetime MLB baseball batting average?”

On September 29, 1963 against the New York Mets in his first Major League game for the Houston Colt 45’s, John Paciorek went 3 for 3 with two walks. Batting in the seventh spot for Houston, he also had three R.B.I.’s and scored four times. His career 1.000 % batting average is considered a special footnote in baseball history. He had a perfect day at bat and in the field for the National League club. There are plenty of players with a 1.000 % batting average (one or two hits). But none has three hits like John Paciorek. Only John Paciorek.

At the time, the 18 year old outfielder developed a serious back injury in the off season and never made it back to the Major Leagues. The Colt 45’s beat the Mets, 13-4 in that game and serendipitously another native Detroiter played shortstop for the Mets, Al Moran. Moran was a few years older and had attended Detroit Catholic Central High School. Harry Craft, the Houston manager submitted a unique starting lineup in that game. He started 8 rookies as his position players.

“John carved out this fame because of that one special game,” said former teammate Rusty Staub. Staub was a six-time All-Star and 23 year MLB veteran. “No one was a better athlete than he was. He was certainly a star in the making.” Staub and Paciorek were roommates with the Colt 45’s.

“It was the last game of the season and the crowd was only 4,000 but they made noise every time I came up to bat. By my last at bat, they sounded like 50,000 people as they were so loud,” John remembered fondly.

Younger brother Tom was another outstanding athlete but had more baseball notoriety because of his 18 year MLB career. Tom also is a beloved personality in Chicago for his longtime award winning television broadcasts with the Chicago White Sox. Tom was renowned for his lively and entertaining Polish-American memories growing up in that same Polish household in Detroit. Tom brags about learning Polish as a second language from the Sisters of Saint Francis at St. Lad’s and will recite counting to ten at any request. All five of the Paciorek brothers excelled in sports when they played in the Detroit area. John, Tom, Mike and Bobby shined at St. Lad’s and the youngest Jim, did the same at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Jim went on to the Milwaukee Brewers and had an extended career playing professional baseball in Japan. Mike played in the Dodgers system and has a second career in the movies, most notably in the 2005 remake of the “Bad News Bears” starring Billy Bob Thornton.

During the special CBS interview feature, Hall of Fame baseball manager, Tom LaSorda had high praise for the Paciorek brothers. LaSorda said, “Everyone had scouted John and the Dodgers would have loved him but Houston was an expansion team and they gave large bonuses. They were collecting young prospects by the bushel baskets.” LaSorda added, “You know, this young man at that time (John), had everything going for him, you could see a great career with him. No telling what he could have accomplished.”

John Paciorek was All-State in high school in three sports, football, basketball and baseball. Many of John’s early coaches set the stage and were great examples for him. Besides being tutored at a young age in baseball by his father (John), while at St. Ladislaus High School, John Radwanski started developing modern training methods that Paciorek noticed. Radwanski went on to become a school administrator and in 1962, St. Lad’s baseball was led by Robert Samaras, Ph.D., who went on to a fine collegiate coaching career. Samaras applied a humanistic psychology approach. He later became a motivator, author and well-respected baseball and basketball innovator. These were seeds planted for Paciorek, without John realizing it. Recently, Samaras reflected about John, “John looked as a sure thing. He never complained and he always tried to play through his back discomforts. He was a champion. Because of his perseverance, he made every team that he was on, much better.”

Paciorek started getting notoriety in 1960 playing American Legion Baseball for Detroit Beaudry Post-126. He was a shortstop then and was playing against older age competition. John still excelled. Things started really heating up and got into high-drive in the summer of 1962. Phil Frakes, as coach of Detroit Citizen’s Insurance team had a national reputation in elite youth baseball circles. His goal was to win the national championship every year. He built his 1962 national championship team around John. Paciorek really came to prominence as a baseball pro prospect when he was named MVP for leading the Detroit Citizen’s Insurance team to the National Amateur Baseball Federation national championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Morris Moorawnick, a famed sports statistician of celebrated reputation called him, “The next Mickey Mantle.”

Former Minnesota Twins pitcher, Bill Zepp, a teammate of John’s on that 1962 NABF national championship Citizen’s Insurance squad said, “John was only 17 and he overshadowed all the 18 year olds. And as he prepared for his Major League chance through hard work, one could tell he was determined. Besides outworking everyone, in my opinion, his best attribute was that he could run. Many a times he bunted and beat out a hit. He was fast and he worked on his speed.”

Fred Lauck, a retired attorney and former American Legion Baseball competitor while playing for Detroit Edison Post-187 said, “John was younger than most of us but he could just do things on the ball diamond better, no matter how hard we tried, he still dominated.”

Dick Honig who played shortstop on the 1962 NCAA University of Michigan national championship baseball team and who is currently an international baseball consultant and equipment supplier (Honig’s Whistle Stop) was a special coach and tutor for that championship 1962 Detroit Citizen’s Insurance team. He said recently, “It might be an overused cliché but John Paciorek was a man playing among boys. He was that good and more. He had a complete game.”

Paul Richards, the general manager of the expansion Houston Colt .45s, came to Michigan in 1962 to persuade Paciorek to sign a professional contract with Houston. Tom Paciorek reminisced, “None of us had ever been to a restaurant before. They took us to this fancy restaurant in Detroit. We ate steaks, and when they asked John if he wanted anything else, he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take another one of those steaks.’”

After the successful summer season with Detroit Citizen’s Insurance, John accepted Houston’s offer of $45,000, an enormous amount of money for the son of an auto factory worker. From that bonus, $15,000 went to help pay off the family house. He also got himself a powder blue Chevy Malibu convertible to drive to his minor league assignment team in Arizona. At the insistence of his father, the Colt .45s included a scholarship fund to someday pay for John’s college education. John started taking classes at the University of Houston when he was placed on the disabled list because of his back problems. He started working on his degree. John eventually graduated in the 70’s with a Physical Education teaching degree from the University of Houston. His first teaching job was at the Jewish Community Center in Houston.

John Cullen, famed coach at Detroit Benedictine High School said in his memoirs, “In 1960, I had my ace, Fred Fleming pitching against St. Lad’s and John Paciorek. As a high school sophomore, Paciorek hit one so far and high at Jayne Field in Detroit, I know the ball is still up there as a satellite.”

Award winning journalist and author, Steven K. Wagner just released a new book on John Paciorek, “The Rise and Fall of John Paciorek, Baseball’s Greatest One-Game Wonder”. This volume will hold a special fascination for anyone who loves the game of baseball. Besides the great nostalgia, there is a story of hope and inspiration for young players aspiring to find their baseball greatness. The book chronicles interesting Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles baseball history. The anecdote that chronicles the reunion of brothers John and Tom and Detroit baseball personality, Pinky Deras, when they crossed paths in Modesto after a California League game is not to be missed. The entire book is an enjoyable read for lovers of baseball nostalgia all with a great peek at the 1960’s ‘Golden Age of Baseball’.

John said, “I have no regrets, no hard feelings. Nothing ever happens by accident. And I was relatively free from bad things happening, except for the back problems. People think oh, that’s the worst thing that could ever happened. It’s not. I lost a spouse to breast cancer. But since, I think everything that’s happened to me since then, has been good. No regrets.”

Wagner added, “Baseball imitates life. We all win and lose, and baseball is the same. Some make it to the Hall of Fame, some play only one game. When the dust has settled the important thing is that you do your best, strive for excellence and everything else will take care of itself. We’re not all Hall of Famers, in life or in baseball.”

Wagner concluded by saying, “In all my interviews with John I never got the impression that he believed his accomplishment was that big a deal. He is very down to earth and believes–to his credit–that the work he does with children holds far more value. Many kids where he teaches have no idea what he accomplished, and that is a testament to his modesty.”

Best of all, for all those children that Coach Paciorek has influenced, he has earned an honored and respected title. “Mr. Paciorek, YOU ARE A GREAT EXAMPLE.”

The book, “The Rise and Fall of John Paciorek, Baseball’s Greatest One-Game Wonder” by Steven K. Wagner and Breakaway Books, Halcottsville, N.Y. 12438, is available at Amazon or any book store.


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Simply Grand Concert Series – Art Song Treasures of Poland on March 22, 2015

From WVIA: WVIA’s next Simply Grand Concert on March 22, 2015 features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, Art Song Treasures of Poland

PITTSTON, PA (WVIA) – WVIA’s next Simply Grand Concert features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, “Art Song Treasures of Poland.” The live concert will be held on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at the WVIA Public Media Studios in Pittston, PA. Seating is free, but limited. To make reservations call 570-655-2808 or reserve seats online.

ArtSongPolandWVIADr. Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki, soprano, has performed abroad and throughout the tri-state area in opera, concert, and recital. Her opera credits include appearances with the Grande Theatre of Geneva, Switzerland in productions of Parsifal, Albert Herring, La Boheme, and Boris Godunov, the latter of which was televised throughout Europe. She has been a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera, the New York Lyric Opera, Mostly Opera, the Ossining Chorale, the Pittsburgh Chamber Opera Theater, the Ridge Light Opera, Stony Hill Players, the New Jersey Concert Opera, and the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, among others. Dr. Nowicki earned a Doctorate of Education in College Teaching and Vocal Pedagogy from Columbia University Teachers College. The topic of her doctoral research is the history of Polish music leading to the Polish art song of the 19th century. She is devoted to bringing this virtually unknown song repertoire to wider audiences. Recital venues have included New Jersey City University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Northeast Theater of Scranton, and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City among others. She was featured on WQED-FM radio in Pittsburgh in a program entitled: Oginski to Szymanowski: The Polish Art Song of the 19th Century. Dr. Nowicki also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Wilkes University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Carnegie-Mellon University. As a music educator, Ms. Nowicki has taught chorus and voice at Washington and Jefferson College, Teachers College Columbia University, Carnegie-Mellon University and music in several public schools, including those in Madison and Millburn, New Jersey. Ms. Nowicki resides in Scranton, Pennsylvania with her husband the Rt. Rev. Bernard Nowicki, bishop of the Central Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church. Their daughter, Berit Elizabeth, resides in Northampton, MA.

Dr. Carol Ann Aicher earned a Doctorate in Education at Columbia University Teachers College and holds a Masters of Music degree in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music as well as the Piano Pedagogy Certificate and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance with a minor in Music History from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Carol Ann currently teaches graduate pedagogy at the Manhattan School of Music. She was previously an assistant professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Aicher also frequently presents workshops, lectures on pedagogy, and adjudicates various festivals and competitions. As a pianist and collaborator she has performed at many venues on the east coast; Longwood Gardens, Strathmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall. She is half of the Oberlin Piano Duo, an ensemble that specializes in music for four hands, one piano. Carol Ann is also part of a two piano team with her husband Douglas Lane.

The WVIA “Simply Grand Concert Series” showcases the talent of regional classical musicians. Since the series began in 1990, dozens of regional musicians have been featured. The concerts are recorded for broadcast on WVIA-FM before a live audience in the Sordoni High Definition Theater at WVIA Public Media Studios.

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PIASA Call for Papers

The Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences (PIASA) and the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto are pleased to invite proposals for PIASA’s 73rd Annual Conference to be held at the University of Toronto, June 11-13, 2015.

Proposals are solicited for sessions or individual papers dealing with Polish or Polish Diaspora or comparative topical sessions that include a Polish-related presentation along with other groups. Sessions are also encouraged from those whose fields of interest are in business or the sciences. Sessions including presenters from more than one nation are encouraged. Each session is scheduled for 90 minutes to accommodate three papers or about 20 minutes per paper. The conference language is English and all conference rooms will be equipped with AV for the use of PowerPoints and CD/DVD presentations. It is expected that acceptable conference papers will be published in The Polish Review subsequent to the conference.

To submit a paper or complete session, please send the name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation, and tentative paper title for all presenters to James Pula, Chair of the Program Committee. The deadline for proposals is April 1, 2015.

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Polish American Historical Association Announces its Annual Awards

Los Angeles, January 30, 2015 – During its 72nd Annual Meeting in New York, at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) announced the winners of the organization’s annual awards. Consul General, Hon. Urszula Gacek welcomed the guests and recounted the history of PAHA and its role in the documentation and promotion of Polish American history and culture. Established in 1942, PAHA is the premier international scholarly association dedicated to the study of Polish emigration and immigration to the Americas.

The Mieczysław Haiman Award, offered annually to an American scholar for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans, was presented to Dr. Neal Pease, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for his extensive record of valued publications in the field of Polish and Polish American history. A recipient of PAHA’s Swastek Prize, as well as a Past President of PAHA, Dr. Pease serves on the Board of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, and is the editor of its journal, The Polish Review. Simultaneously he is a member of PAHA Council and of the editorial board of the Polish American Studies.

PAHA presented the Oskar Halecki Prize that recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States to Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk, Poland. She served as the editor of East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations and Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). This outstanding two-volume work, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe that examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. Dr. Mazurkiewicz’s effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies – and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.

The Amicus Poloniae Award that “recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community” was given to Ms. Terry Tegnazian, the co-founder of the Aquila Polonica Publishing dedicated to issuing books about Poland in World War II. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Terry Tegnazian became interested in the Polish experience of World War II while reading memoirs of key Polish Underground leaders. She was moved by the stories of the Poles’ incredible courage during World War II — an aspect of the war she had not previously been aware of. In addition to being a hands-on publisher involved in all aspects of each Aquila Polonica title, Terry has written about Poland in World War II for the Wall Street Journal Europe and the Warsaw Business Journal, she’s been interviewed on national television, and has presented numerous lectures in a wide range of venues including colleges, museums, and libraries.

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, of Moonrise Press, Los Angeles, received the Distinguished Service Award “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.” Dr. Trochimczyk is PAHA’s Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. She created and expanded the organization’s internal and external online and print communications including the newsletters, marketing materials, a blog, and social media. A member of the PAHA Board since in 2009, Dr. Trochimczyk previously received the PAHA’s Swastek Prize in 2007 for the best article published in the Polish American Studies, “The Impact of Mazowsze and Śląsk on Polish Folk Dancing in California” (Vol. 63, No. 1, Spring 2006). A music historian and a poet, Dr. Trochimczyk published six books on music and five of poetry, including, most recently, Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (co-edited with William Śmiałek, Routledge, June 2015) and a poetry collection, Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014) based on her parents’ childhood memories of WWII.

PAHA’s Creative Arts Award “recognizes the contributions in the field of creative arts by individuals or groups who have promoted an awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas” and was presented to Mr. Adrian Prawica, director and executive producer of the film The Fourth Partition: Chicago (2013). The documentary tells a unique and rarely talked about history of Chicago’s Polish Community at the dawn of the 20th century. It examines economic and political reasons for the migration of over 4 million Poles to the United States between 1870 and 1920 and focuses on Polish immigrant workers in heavily industrialized Chicago neighborhoods, their community, as well as their political activism, which aided Poland in her fight for independence during WWI.

The Swastek Prize “awarded annually for the best article published in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association” was presented to Dr. Leonard Kurdek for “The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Call Northside 777’: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice” from Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013). The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans: “A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples.”

The Skalny Civic Achievement Awards “honor individuals or groups that advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or that have made significant contributions to the Polish or Polish-American community and culture.” There were the following 2015 Skalny Award recipients.

Dr. Karen Majewski was recognized for her unwavering efforts to revitalize Hamtramck, one of America’s oldest and most interesting Polonia’s communities located in the heart of Detroit. Majewski was elected Hamtramck’s first woman mayor in 2005, since then re-elected twice (2009, 2013). Former executive director of PAHA, she has also organized exhibits devoted to the Polish presence in Detroit, published works related to the Polish-American identity, and served as the Curator of Polish and Rare Books at Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. Dr. Majewski has previously received the 2004 Halecki Award and the Kulczycki Prize for her book Traitors and True Poles: Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003). She is a Piast Institute Fellow and a Board Member of the Dekaban Foundation.

Mr. Timothy J. Kuzma of Pittsburgh was honored with the Skalny Award for his many faceted, highly productive, and forward looking work as President of the Polish Falcons of American fraternal, his guidance in making the Falcons publication an outstanding fraternal vehicle promoting the Polish heritage that it is, and for his impressive work in making the March 2014 Polish American Summit of national Polonia leaders a success.

Mr. Frank Milewski of New York – Chair of the Anti-Bigotry and Holocaust Documentation Committees of the Polish American Congress was recognized with the Skalny Award for his continuing and longtime efforts as a Polish American Congress activist in New York, notably his time-consuming work of monitoring American mass media for themes related to Poland and the Polish American community, correcting errors, and fighting defamatory comments in a professional and informed manner.

Dr. Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm received the Skalny Award for her role in advancing knowledge and appreciation of Polish history and culture in the United States. Ziółkowska-Boehm is a Polish born writer who now lives in the United States. Her widely acclaimed works published in English deal mostly with the Polish experience in Second World War.

Dr. Alex Storożyński was presented with the Skalny Award for his past leadership of the Kościuszko Foundation. Due to his efforts and incentive, the Kościuszko Foundation moved its operations and communications system to the 21-st century. Modernization, enhanced efficiency, greater outreach must also be paired with his widely read and very well publicized biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko which has generated renewed interest and appreciation of Kościuszko as an American and Polish hero of historic stature: The Peasant Prince:Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution.

The Graduate Student Research Paper Award “recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences” and was presented to Rachel Rothstein, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville, for a study entitled “Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign.”

The Award Ceremony ended with an announcement of the new leadership of the organization which will lead PAHA through 2015 and 2016. THE OFFICERS: Dr. Grażyna Kozaczka of Cazenovia College was elected the President, Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdańsk – the First Vice President, Dr. John Radzilowski of the University of Alaska-Southeast – the Second Vice President; and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk of Moonrise Press – the Secretary. She will continue serving as PAHA Newsletter Editor and Online Communications Director. Dr. Jim Pula of Purdue University North Central will continue in his role as Treasurer and Dr. Pien Versteegh of Avans University, The Netherlands, as Executive Director. Dr. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann of Eastern Connecticut State University will be the new Editor of Polish American Studies.

The COUNCIL MEMBERS will include: Dr. M. B. Biskupski, Central Connecticut State University; Dr. John Bukowczyk, Wayne State University; Dr. Mary Erdmans, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Ann Gunkel, Columbia College-Chicago; Dr. Iwona Korga, Józef Piłsudski Institute; Dr. Dorota Praszałowicz, Jagiellonian University, Kraków; Dr. Marta Cieślak, Independent Scholar; Dr. Czesław Karkowski, Hunter College and Mercy College; Dr. Stephen Leahy, Shantou University, Shantou; Dr. Thomas Napierkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (Past President, 2013-2014); Dr. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; and Mr. Robert Synakowski, Syracuse Polish Home.

ABOUT PAHA: The Polish American Historical Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture. Founded in 1942 as part of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, PAHA became an autonomous scholarly society in 1948. As an affiliate of the American Historical Association, PAHA promotes research and dissemination of scholarly materials focused on Polish American history and culture, and its European origins. PAHA publishes a newsletter and a biannual scholarly peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Polish American Studies (available from the University of Illinois Press; with past issues on JSTOR). The organization sponsors an annual conference, in conjunction with the American Historical Association, which serves as a forum for research in the field of ethnic studies. PAHA has over 600 international members, including both individuals and institutions; membership is open to all individuals interested in the fields of Polish American history and culture, and immigration studies. In 2011, PAHA sponsored the critically acclaimed Polish American Encyclopedia, published by McFarland and edited by Prof. James Pula.

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Motor City Comic-Con Features Polish Artists

25th Anniversary of Motor City Comic-Con to Feature Polish Artists
By Raymond Rolak

comiccon_poster-image2014Popular pop-culture art along with new-media will be just some of the exhibitions presented at the 25th anniversary of the Motor City Comic-Con, May 16-18, at the Novi Suburban Collection Showplace. Located just west of Detroit the event will have a variety of celebrity presenters along with creative poster artists and world class cartoonists.

William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame will be the highlighted attraction. Shatner has a strong body of work in film and television including T.J. Hooker and Rescue 911. Films include The Brothers Karamazov (1958), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), The Kidnapping of the President (1980), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon I (1993) and Miss Congeniality (2000) just to name a few. He also received two Golden Globe Awards for his performance on the long-running hit series Boston Legal.

Chris Claremont, John Barrowman along with famed wrestling personalities Brett Hart and ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan will also be special featured guests. Longtime and nostalgia television performers will include Richard Anderson, Katie Cassidy, Ernie Hudson, Kristanna Loken, Kent McCord, Lindsay Wagner, Billy Zabka and Burt Young of “Rocky” film fame.

Mike-Bocianowski_Profile-photoOne of the popular comic artists to be featured will be Michael Bocianowski of Erie, PA. Bocianowski has developed a mix of cartoon animals and dragon fantasy stories that are playful for both children and adults. His main animation character is a creature called ‘Yet’ who communicates with fantasy dragons and can only say “meep”. He trained at the Art Institute of Pittsburg and Edinboro University. Besides his comic characters, Bocianowski specializes in graphic novels, which run about 100 pages.

Another highlighted comic artist is Agnes Garbowska, who was born in Poland. Fueled by creativity and imagination along with a passion for comics, she went to work for the storied Marvel Comics Publishing Company. She currently has released a well-received illustrated book, “You, Me, and Zombie.”

Bill Sienkiewicz – born Boleslav Felix Robert Sienkiewicz – is descended from the Nobel Prize-winning Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz. He grew up in rural New Jersey, taught himself anatomy to better his sketches and worked construction to put himself through the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark, New Jersey. He is acclaimed for his graphic novel Stray Toasters, which earned an international reputation and cult status across the industry. He is also well known for his work on the revamping of Marvel Comic’s “Elektra.”

Other featured artists are Carolyn Nowak of Ann Arbor and Karl Slomski who trained at the Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Art. and Emily Zelasko is a Metro Detroit based comic book creator and quirky character artist. She has collaborated on the series “Jinx.”

Timothy Zulewski creates whimsical and spooky artwork that has been compared to Tim Burton and Edward Gorey. Zulewski has worked on children’s books, toy packaging, animation, and new media branding. He is well known in the sporting world for his contributions to the Fathead designs.

Saturday will be costume day for this, the 25th anniversary of the show. Guest judges will be Dan Phillips and Alloy Ash. Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with the comic book professionals, there will be previews of upcoming feature films, portfolio review sessions and debuts from video game companies.

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