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Marvel's new editor-in-chief admits to writing comics under Japanese pseudonym

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Nov 28, 2017

A week and some change after it was announced that C.B. Cebulski would be taking over as the new editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, he's in the spotlight again. Cebulski, replacing Axel Alonso, admitted to Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool News that he had indeed written comics for several months under the Japanese pseudonym Akira Yoshida in the mid-2000s.

During this time, Cebulski was an associate editor for Marvel, back when it was not allowed for employees to write or draw comic books for the company. Adopting the alias Yashida was a way he could circumvent this policy.

Under this pen name, Cebulski wrote comics (which he also edited) either set in Japan or containing overt Japanese influences, such as X-Men: Kitty Pryde - Shadow & Flame and Wolverine: Soultaker. His statement to Bleeding Cool confirmed the rumor, which had begun over 10 years ago, while also highlighting how the guise of Yoshida helped Cebulski grow as a writer. The statement was made to Johnston on Cebulski's first day in the office as Marvel's EIC:

“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.”

While many writers, from Benjamin Franklin (Silence Dogood) to Stephen King (Richard Bachman), have adopted false literary names over the years, this particular one has some accusing Cebulski, a white man, of using "yellowface" and "cultural appropriation" to further his career, first at Dreamwave (Darkstalkers) and Dark House (Conan), and then at Marvel, where the editor who recruited Yoshida had no idea he was actually Cebulski.

According to Johnston, many at Marvel, including Cebulski himself, insisted that Yoshida was an actual person who visited the office, had lunch with staff, and attended comic book conventions. However, Johnston writes, the person the others (those not being Cebulski) thought was Yoshida was simply a Japanese translator who had visited the office. The fraudulent writer even had a whole story about his "background" at CBR in March 2005.

Cebulski left his editing job at Marvel in 2006 and was later re-hired the same year in a more flexible, freelance position, where he could write books under his own name for Marvel and Image. As a result, Akira Yoshida vanished into the pages of history, until he assumed the role of editor-in-chief at one of the most recognizable publishers in the comics industry today.

Johnston added that many began to wake up to the ruse after Bleeding Cool recently ran a story about a podcast containing a thinly veiled retelling of the Yashida story. After that, he writes, everything came crashing down. Apparently, many at Marvel had already gotten wise to the ruse, so Cebulski came clean and "pled his case internally to the highest authority at the company," so as to not be fired.

With the success of its movies and television shows, all eyes are on Marvel in 2017, meaning that the strange tale of how one editor hoodwinked an entire company and readership was bound to come out. 

(via Bleeding Cool)