New Marvel Comics EIC C.B. Cebulski Admits He Wrote As "Akira Yoshida" 13 Years Ago https://t.co/gYxNLNHr0F— Bleeding Cool (@bleedingcool) November 28, 2017
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.
Hey comics journo friends: we should definitely be asking Marvel and new EiC CB Cebulski on why he chose to use the pen name Akira Yoshida in the early 2000s to write a bunch of "Japanese-y" books for them. https://t.co/jXGKZdmyD4— pshaw brothers (@hermanos) November 27, 2017
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.
Also come the fuck on with this apology, @CBCebulski. You're really going to respond to lying about pretending to be a Japanese writer by patting yourself on the back for the global talent hunting you're going to do as EIC now? pic.twitter.com/oJEr5dy33W— Nick Hanover (@Nick_Hanover) November 28, 2017
The thing about Cebulski bums me out because it tells me Marvel is the same tone-deaf comics publisher at the end of 2017 that they were at the start of 2017 and there's not much hope they can even begin to understand the mistakes they've made this year.— Jackalope of Color (@jakebe) November 28, 2017
CB Cebulski’s first official day as Marvel editor-in-chief, and he issues a statement admitting to having broken company rules and having lied to the current executive editor. Oh, and doing it all in yellowface.— Graeme (@graemem) November 28, 2017
akira yoshida is just another number in the list of writers and artists using yellowface to succeed in the literary and artistic worlds— bobby sun ?? (@touchmybobby) November 28, 2017
This Akira Yoshida situation @Marvel is trying to sweep under the rug reminds me of the fake 'nam vet heroes of the past.— Your King Mob (@YourKingMob) November 28, 2017
The Akira Yoshida stuff is the kind of thing that keeps me from buying Marvel books, TBH. I mean, yeah, event fatigue and Nazi Cap and 100 other things, but this makes me feel pretty stupid about thinking the EiC would be a step in the right direction.— Caleb Goellner (@calebandrew) November 28, 2017
Who else loves living in the timeline where editors reject a @leonardchang novel for not being Asian enough, and @CBCebulski can pretend Asian his way to becoming editor in chief? https://t.co/6hLO7y5Y4c— The Nerds of Color (@TheNerdsofColor) November 28, 2017
Marginalized people often have to compromise their identity in order to become "employable" in this economy and @CBCebulski thinks it's fun to try one of ours on. FOR FUN. FOR LAUGHS. https://t.co/A2OKfK831Q— JP (@jessiepeterson) November 29, 2017
NOPE. Marvel's new EIC CB Cebulski wrote for a year under a Japanese pseudonym. That's not the "nope" part. He also claimed the pseudonym, Akira Yoshida, was a real person and faked his way through interviews as Japanese. And THAT's not even the nope part. https://t.co/jCEfc6qWuF— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) November 28, 2017
This Akira Yoshida situation makes me want to find set fire to all the dragon/samurai button up shirts you just KNOW CB Cebulski has.— Paul Chin (@ohyeahpaulchin) November 29, 2017
Cebulski has not apologized for his lies. Instead he gave himself a pat on the back:
Breaking into, and staying in, comics, in any capacity, is just as much about attitude as it is about ability.— C.B. Cebulski (@CBCebulski) November 27, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif