C.B. Cebulski, Marvel‘s new editor-in-chief, has admitted to having written comic books under the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida”. From 2005 to 2006, Yoshida – in fact Cebulski – was responsible for authoring books for various characters and properties, including Thor and Wolverine.
Over the past few days, rumors circulated that Cebulski, who is white, had written comics as Akira Yoshida, and had therefore impersonated a Japanese man. Yesterday, Cebulski confirmed the rumors, on the first day of his tenure as EIC of Marvel.
Bleeding Cool received confirmation from Cebulski himself when Rich Johnston, the site’s founder and chief writer, reached out to him. In his reply, Cebulski said, “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.” If the first half of Cebulski’s statement excuses him, to a degree – he was young and naive, and he learned a lot from the experience – the second half tries to put the entire ordeal behind him. “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,” Cebulski said.
Johnston has long followed the Yoshida case, which was indeed strange: Johnston explains that the man people believed to be Akira Yoshida was in fact a Japanese translator. The ruse ran deep; when Cebulski retired the Yoshida pseudonym, he resigned from Marvel only to be rehired under a new contract that allowed him to write comics as a freelance author. He then wrote books for both Marvel and Image Comics. According to Johnston, Marvel was largely in the dark about Cebulski’s alter-ego, but had found out about his run as Yoshida by the time it appointed him EIC.
Cebulski’s saga is reminiscent of a similar story from 2015, when Michael Derrick Hudson, a white poet, had a poem featured in that year’s “Best American Poetry” anthology under the pen-name Yi-Fen Chou. Hudson’s poem was included even after he revealed his true identity to Sherman Alexie, the anthology’s guest editor, who went on to defend the poem’s inclusion on the grounds of its artistic merit. No rhetorical or intellectual acrobatics, however, can excuse the particularly duplicitous brand of cultural appropriation that Hudson and Cebulski committed.
Now that Cebulski’s deception is out in the open, it’s unclear if Marvel will let it slide – as it did by promoting Cebulski in the first place – or come down more harshly. However, to regain the trust of readers, and to back up its push for diverse characters and authors (a push that some have considered halfhearted), Marvel has a clear responsibility to act.
Source: Bleeding Cool
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