Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski has admitted to using the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida” to write multiple comic books in the mid-2000s, as reported Tuesday by Bleeding Cool. This revelation has caused waves on social media, with observers questioning both the business ethics implications of Cebulski using a pen name as a writer while employed as a Marvel editor, and criticism that a Caucasian using a Japanese name to write manga-influenced comics is tantamount to yellowface; especially given the continued lack of diversity among creators in the mainstream North American comic book market.
Marvel declined comment on the situation when reached by CBR.
Cebulski was announced on Nov. 17 as Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, following Axel Alonso, who had held the position since 2011. On Sunday, Image Comics Brand Manager David Brothers tweeted that comics journalists should ask why Cebulski used the Yoshida pen name to “write a bunch of ‘Japanese-y’ books” for Marvel at the time.
“I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year,” Cebulski told Bleeding Cool. “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.”
According to Bleeding Cool’s report, the Yoshida alias was likely first used for a Darkstalkers project from long-defunct publisher Dreamwave that never saw the light of day, but led to a Marvel editor approaching “Yoshida” for work, not knowing he was Cebulski. At the time, Marvel’s policy was that editors on staff couldn’t also write or draw comics for the publisher.
Akira Yoshida is credited as writing several high-profile comic book series between 2004 and 2005, mostly for Marvel but also Dark Horse Comics. Titles by “Yoshida” include Thor: Son of Asgard, Wolverine: Soultaker and Elektra: The Hand for Marvel, and Hellboy: Weird Tales and Conan and the Demons of Khitai for Dark Horse. Cebulski’s last credit as Yoshida was Conan and the Demons of Khitai #4, released in early 2006. Right around this time, Cebulski’s writing career under his own name began to take off, with comics such as Marvel’s New Mangaverse and X-Men Fairy Tales.
Cebulski’s run as Akira Yoshida even included an email interview with CBR in 2005, which included fictional biographical details such as “Yoshida” starting his career at Japanese publisher Fujimi Shobo, and traveling to conventions with artist Kia Asamiya to meet American editors.
Suspicions that Yoshida was an alias can be traced back to at least 2005, as CBR’s Brian Cronin tackled the subject for an edition of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed. At the time, it was deemed false, due to veteran comics editor Mike Marts’ account that he had met Yoshida. (Bleeding Cool’s report states that it was likely a Japanese translator visiting the Marvel office mistakenly identified as Yoshida.)
Along with his writing credits, Cebulski has held a number of staff positions at Marvel in his more than 15 years at the company, including Vice President of International Business Development & Brand Management. This is his first week as Editor-in-Chief.
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