The comic book world was rocked today by news that new Marvel Editor-in-Chief, C.B. Cebulski, has admitted that he wrote under the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida” for two years from 2004-2005 while he was an editor at Marvel Comics.
The first work by “Akira Yoshida” was published at Dark Horse Comics in early 2004, but then he debuted at Marvel with an Elekta miniseries.
He wrote a number of series for Marvel, including Thor: Son of Asgard, Age of Apocalypse, Wolverine: Soultaker and his last stint at Marvel at the end of 2005 was a Kitty Pryde miniseries.
Around the same time, he also did a Conan miniseries for Dark Horse Comics.
At the time, there were a lot of rumors about Yoshida and whether he was actually someone using a pseudonym. When I was first asked about it for my Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed column, I was surprised to find that what seemed like a ridiculous story actually seemed to have some traction. I could not find anyone who had actually met the guy. I talked to Scott Allie, his editor at Dark Horse Comics, who revealed that no, he had not actually met Yoshida in person. All of their dealings were over email.
I talked to Jonah Weiland, because CBR had done pieces involving Yoshida and he told me that no, none of his interviewers have ever spoken to him either, as he insisted on doing email interviews only. This was making this totally ludicrous idea seem plausible!
Then, however, I asked Mike Marts, one of his editors at Marvel, and Mike told me:
You bet–I’ve had lunch with the guy–very nice guy. He’s a very cool guy. When we had lunch he showed me pictures of his immense Godzilla memorabilia
collection–I was jealous!
So I did a Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed about it back in 2005, saying he was a real guy. At the same time, Rich Johnston had also been hearing rumors about it and had asked a lot of his Marvel sources and they all, to a man, insisted that, no, Akira Yoshida was a real guy that they had all met in person.
A few months back, though, Gregg Schiegel, who used to work for Tom Brevoort at Marvel, did a podcast where he basically outright claimed that Cebulski was Yoshida.
Finally, today, Cebulski admitted to Rich Johnston that he was, in fact, “Akira Yoshida,” telling Johnston:
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.
As noted before, Cebulski actually did an interview with CBR back in 2005 as Yoshida, where he came up with an elaborate fake back story:
To begin with, Yoshida grew up in Japan reading manga. Since his father was in international business, he spent parts of his childhood living in the U.S. where he learned English by reading superhero comics and watching TV and movies. As a child, the writer said he always wanted to work in either the Japanese manga or American comics industry. Fortunately, he’s had the privilege of doing both as an adult.
Yoshida started his career in editorial at a small Japanese comic publisher named Fujimi Shobo. It was there that he got to meet writers and manga artists like Ryo Mizuno (“Record of Lodoss War”) and Kia Asamiya (“Silent Mobius”). The company was eventually bought out by a larger publisher, but the contacts Yoshida made proved helpful.
In 2002, he joined Asamiya at a few U.S. conventions and Asamiya was nice enough to introduce Yoshida to some of the American editors he was working with at the time. About a year later, Pat Lee and the Dreamwave team asked him to write a “Darkstalkers” comic series for them. This was never published, but fortunately an opportunity to work on a Hellboy story with Asamiya followed that. Around this same time, Marvel contacted him to pitch for them too. This led to his first series at Marvel, “Thor: Son of Asgard.”
Johnston later noted that the people at Marvel who told him and me that they had met with Akira Yoshida had actually met with a Japanese manga translator who was in town for some reason. Whether that’s true or an attempt to cover for the guys who had covered for Cebulski in the past is unclear (seems awfully hard to believe that they all spent time with a guy who they all just thought was Yoshida, but odder things have happened — like, you know, a Marvel editor writing for Marvel while pretending to be a Japanese man named Akira).
As Cebulski noted in his message to Johnston, Marvel was made aware of his actions (presumably when Johnston posted his piece in July about Schiegel’s podcast), but time will tell whether the comics world will agree that this is simply “all old news.”
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