by Eli Cross
Marvel Comics and controversy seem to go hand in hand these days. If it’s not one thing it’s another.
After axing Alonso nearly two weeks (right before Thanksgiving no less) and announcing C.B. Cebulski as the new EiC, previous allegations regarding Cebulski began to resurface. The long and short of it, in the mid 2000’s a hotshot new writer from Japan named Akira Yoshida made waves with bunch of Marvel books such as Thor: Son of Asgard, Elektra: The Hand, Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame. Despite no concrete proof of Yoshida’s existence and granting absolutely no interviews, there were those in the industry who contended Yoshida existed. Former Marvel assistant editor Gregg Schigiel recounted the particulars in his Stuff Said podcast episode from last July aptly titled “The Names Have Been Changed” back in July.
It wasn’t hard to put two and two together, but it looks like Cebulski decided to come clean and has admitted to Rich Johnston’s Bleeding Cool that he was, in fact, Akira Yoshida.
“I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year. It wasn’t transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication and pressure. I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then. But this is all old news that has been dealt with, and now as Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m turning a new page and am excited to start sharing all my Marvel experiences with up and coming talent around the globe.”
On the one hand, you have to admire Cebulski for getting ahead of this and come clean– albeit a decade later. On the other hand, it doesn’t exactly sit well that a white man, even with the best of intentions, created a false Asian persona at a time when Marvel hasn’t exactly endeared itself with the public about its stance on promoting diversity. Marvel’s VP of Sales David Gabriel already did enough damage in his ICv2 interview claiming readers were “turning their noses up” at diversity and now this comes along.
In retrospect, the press release detailing CB’s onboarding at Marvel reads quite differently. Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada, who was himself Editor-in-Chief at the time, refers to CB as “C.B.-san,” referencing the Japanese language’s usage of honorifics in what now reads as a culturally appropriative manner.
Although there was apparently much anger internally at the publisher (no surprise there) after pleading his case he was able to stay on. I’m betting Marvel internal is just glad it wasn’t another sexual harassment scandal.
Needless to say, not a great way to start your first day as EiC.