Marvel’s New Chief Editor, Who Is White, Posed As A Japanese Writer

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Cebulski edited manga and had been living in Japan on and off since he was 20 years old. That was not reason enough for him to pretend to be a Japanese writer.

 

C.B. Cebulski just started his brand-new role as Marvel’s editor-in-chief. Turns out he has some skeletons in the closet.

Apparently, Cebulski, who is white, used a Japanese pseudonym “Akira Yoshida” while he was writing “a bunch of Japanese-y books” for Marvel comics. The secret was revealed by Image Comics brand manager David Brothers in a tweet as Cebulski flew in from China to take up his new position.

 

The news was then confirmed by Bleeding Cool’s reporter Rick Johnston, who has been looking into Cebulski for more than a decade. In 2006, Cebulski lied to the reporter, telling him Yoshida was a real person and that he often visited offices and conventions. Johnston was also promised photographs of Yoshida, although he never got them.

According to Johnston, Cebulski first adopted the pseudonym after 2004 when he was working as an associate editor at Marvel. During that time, he got a handful of gigs under the name Akira Yoshida. But he was left with a conundrum when an editor at Marvel saw his work, got intrigued and contacted him to write for the company — all without realizing that Akira Yoshida was actually C.B. Cebulski.

This was an issue because it is a policy of Marvel to not pay editors over their salary for writing books for the company. Nevertheless Cebulski accepted the position and moonlighted as a Yoshida for the very company he worked as an associate editor — and got paid for it too. Under the pseudonym, he wrote an array of high-profile comics about Thor, X-Men, Elektra, Wolverine, Soultaker and Fantastic Four.

His comics, many of which featured martial arts, Japanese locations, characters and themes, were billed as “authentic” Japanese depictions. If the world had known Akira Yoshida was actually a white man, it would have posed some problems, including allegations of yellowface, cultural appropriation — and playing up an authentic voice that was not authentic at all.

Cebulski had family in Japan and lived in the country on and off since he was 20. But that does not make him qualified enough to present himself as an authority on Japanese culture.

At that time, Marvel executives used to boast about how they had bagged a rarity — a non-English speaking writer whose writing resounded so well with American audiences, the lack of which was always a problem at Marvel.

Cebulski’s lie became more complex after he made an entire backstory to support his Japanese persona. The writer lied about growing up reading manga in Japan, learning English through his love of American comic book superheroes from his father’s job, working for Japanese publisher Fujimi Shobo and befriending Pat Lee, who helped him kick off his career writing U.S. comics.

His fake personality was also given credence after Aftershock comics editor-in-chief Mike Marts mistook a Japanese translator whom he had lunch with as Akira Yoshida.

Cebulski eventually killed off his persona, resigned from Marvel and started working as a freelancer under his own name, writing for Marvel as well as for Image Comics. But he never revealed the truth about his pseudonym.

Cebulski only confessed earlier this year about being Yoshida to Marvel. After much anger from the company and some sanctions, he was finally made editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, one who had a better international brief than his predecessor.

He then also confessed to Bleeding Cool.

“I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year,” Cebulski told Johnston. “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.”

Of course, his far-too-long-in-coming revelation has done nothing to endear him to the public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cebulski has not apologized for his lies. Instead he gave himself a pat on the back:

 

Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif

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