C.B. Cebulski was appointed the new editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics earlier this month and he’s already under fire after admitting to Bleeding Cool that he wrote under the Japanese pseudonym, Akira Yoshida, from 2004 to 2006.
Yoshida was brought onboard to bring “authentic” Japanese voices to Marvel comics, including “Elektra: The Hand,” “Kitty Pryde Shadow and Flame,” “Thor: Son of Asgard,” “Wolverine Soultaker,” “X-Men / Fantastic Four,” and the relaunched “X-Men: Age of Apocalypse”.
He also wrote the Dark Horse series “Conan and the Demons of Khitai” under the pseudonym.
Using a pen name is common among many writers, but with the revelation that Yoshida was a Caucasian man, it came with allegations of appropriation and many other problems.
“He was hired by some to provide an authentic Japanese voice,” Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston wrote. “And as much of a massive fan of Japanese culture as Cebulski was, with family in Japan and living in Japan on and off since he was 20 years old, and who began his professional comics life editing manga — he just wasn’t that.”
In addition, Cebulski wrote under the pseudonym due to Marvel’s policy that prevented staff from writing or drawing in Marvel titles for more pay.
“Previous to Joe Quesada being made editor-in-chief, editors used to write comics for other editor’s departments, often reciprocated, and it was seen as a corrupt practice,” Johnston added. “If C.B. Cebulski was getting other editors to hire him as a writer, he had an advantage over others. And that also meant that he may be lying to his employer — or that his employer was making an exception.”
In 2015, writer Brian Cronin published a post debunking Yoshida rumors after Marvel editor Mike Marts claimed he met him in person. But it turned out to be a Japanese translator who was visiting Marvel headquarters on an unrelated matter.
The rumors resurfaced in July, and once again on November 26, with the following tweet:
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
Cebulski then reached out to Johnston on Tuesday and confessed, saying:
“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.”
Comic fans chimed in via Twitter:
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
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 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
So this white guy who is now Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief is a fuckin weeb who wrote a bunch of overly stereotypical Japanese culture inspired comics under the name Akira Yoshida. Really now, really. REALLY. https://t.co/pW8FYYcKjJ
— En Tze (@en_tze) November 28, 2017
Marvel confirmed the rumors, telling the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, “We can confirm that this story is true, but we don’t have a statement at this time.”