Listen up, true believers. Marvel Comics just can’t seem to keep its head out of its ass. Barely recovered from the moronic Secret Empire storyline, and with sales declining, Marvel is no doubt desperate to let its film and television arms run smokescreen as it attempts a course correction. But that went out the window when they named an Editor-In-Chief in C.B. Cebulski who used a fake Japanese identity, not just as a pen name, but to carve out a niche for himself as a writer of “authentic” Japanese experiences in order to break into the business. As reported by BleedingCool, Cebulski’s first writing credits were under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida.
Cebulski used that name to get his first gigs with Dreamwave and Darkhorse, and he was soon writing write multiple comics for Marvel. Not only did he write straight hero comics like Thor: Son of Asgard, but helped write comics that drew on “Yoshida’s” real Japanese experiences. Writing for Elektra, Wolverine, and Kitty Pryde, Cebulski got to learn about “writing, communication, and pressure” and make a name in comics while indulging his Japanophilia.
An elaborate fiction was created to maintain the facade. Everyone at Marvel said they knew “Yoshida,” even though they could never identify him. CBR even has a bizarre profile of “Yoshida,” interviewing him about his writing and origins in comics.
Failing At Damage Control
The response on all sides has been worrying. Cebulski calls it “old news,” as if he had just written a bad comic instead of impersonated a Japanese man. Marvel’s handling of it has been, unsurprisingly, terrible. The company is using the bullshit “it was handled internally” excuse to try to gloss over the controversy.
Even the comic news media has taken a weird stance on this. Headlines call the story “strange,” and often frame it as just some fact about Cebulski’s background, something we can move past. But it is not some minor issue we can ignore.
In a world where so many authentic PoC and international voices are trying to break into comics, some bland white dude getting to coast on a fake identity is beyond worrying. This isn’t some mistake that he made. This is something Cebulski built his career on. Beyond the apologies and corporate speak, the fact of the matter is this: the career of Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief is built on a racist lie.