What’s up guys! Happy Tuesday!
After many failed attempts/reboots and cuddling with my dog to not freak out while I waited, I was finally able to get my computer up and running again! Hopefully, this will be the last time my computer revolts against me. This has already been a hectic week with the premiere of the podcast! The first three episodes are already out there on iTunes and Podbean so go check them out! We’re going over a variety of topics concerning Stranger Things in episodes 1 & 2 as well as violence and gaming in episode 3. We’ve been so excited to bring to you guys and we hope you enjoy!
Going right into today’s topic, I’ll be talking about the possible controversy surrounding CB Cebulski, who has just been appointed Marvel’s Editor in Chief. Just a few days later, BleedingCool’s Rich Johnston broke the story that CB had used the name “Akira Yoshida” as a pen name. A cursory Google search will pull up some comics with that author as well as news articles and a joke Wikipedia page. Cebulski started working as a manga editor in 1997 for Central Park Media, an American multimedia company that dealt with East Asian media. He left in 2001 and started doing freelance editing for many titles already under Marvel. Marvel hired him in 2002, first as a writer for Marvel’s Mangaverse and then became an associate editor. In 2006, he left the company for several months to pursue freelance writing and editing, working closely on some Image titles. By the end of 2006, he was back working for Marvel as an editor/talent liason. With this new position, he was able to travel the world and meet creators, who were in their prime or had raw talent, to bring into the Marvel-verse. He brought on creators like David LaFuente, Steve McNiven, Adi Granov and Matteo Scalera, to name a few. He was promoted in 2010 to Senior VP of Creator and Content Development. He oversaw a team to recruit, manage and coordinate the creators and editors. In 2016, he was sent to Shanghai and made Marvel’s VP of International Business Development and Brand Management, which helped develop the Marvel brand in Asia for over a year.
You may be wondering when Akira Yoshida first appeared in all of this. From the start of 2004 to the end of 2005, Yoshida started to appeared in comics, with his first publications being with Dark Horse. A different editor at Marvel liked the work and wanted Yoshida to work for Marvel. He made the jump to Marvel not long after he appeared, writing miniseries comics like Elektra: The Hand and Kitty Pride: Shadow and Flame. He even had a backstory about his life in Japan and America, which basically made a fictional character. Just as quickly as he appeared, he vanished out of nowhere. Apparently, he was set to write something else for Marvel, which fell through with his disappearance. Rumors have always surrounded Yoshida, the man who never appeared at conventions and no one ever talked to on the phone. All interviews were done via email, which was very strange for an up and coming writer. Several people, like Rich Johnston and Brian Cronin, have inquired on whether or not the name was a psuedonym and some wondered if he was even real. Those rumors had been dispeled by Marvel’s senior employees, like Mike Marts, who has stated that he had a meal with Yoshida and talked Godzilla. The man behind the mask remained a mystery for 10 years, even Cebulski was asked if he was Yoshida, which he promptly denied. He chose to wait ten years to admit to something he’d been asked about before, which I find to be interesting because he had a chance before he became EiC to share this and to get it out in the open. Why he said no, I don’t think we will ever know, but it’s food for thought.
The reason I say this is a possible controversy pertains to the fact that the outrage/lack of reaction seems to be evenly matched. The most morally controversial topics is the issue of yellowface and whether or not it could be applied in this case. I’ve been scouring the internet, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and have seen a bevy of responses to that. Some Asian creators have posted about their outrage, stating that it’s taking away from ACTUAL Asian creators and writers and artists, which very fair and probably true, to what extent I don’t know. HuffPost interviewed two Asian writers, Joshua Luna and Trung Le Nguyen, who pointed out some key points about Marvel and their Asian representation, like the white washing of “The Ancient One”. While Cebulski stated that he has already been punished and that he “learned his lesson”, there are many who don’t believe that he has and think that he should step down. There’s also a lot of people, including Larry Hama, who have stated that Cebulski has done a lot of Asian creators at Marvel and they are unbothered by it. While I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes at Marvel, what I can share as a person of color is that I’ve known people who have done phone interviews and then gone to the in house interview and had the interviewer do a double take and look a little take aback because of their race. More food for thought.
The other issues it brings it up is an ethics issue, one with CB and possibly with Marvel. At the time of his first tenure with Marvel, there was a policy saing that Marvel staffers weren’t allowed to write or draw comic books and if they were able to get approved to write, that they weren’t to get paid over their salary. Originally, it was commonplace for staffers to write for Marvel as well but it was seen as bad practice and discontinued. By creating this name, he was able to circumvent the current policy to work as a writer which is really tricky. Again, I don’t work at Marvel or have any insight on the inside, but if he was being paid as Akira, which I’m presumig he was, and paid as CB, he would be bringing home two checks which breaks that policy in half like a Kit Kat. It also put him over others because he could control which pitches Akira wrote and which comics he pitched to write, which meant he could have gotten bigger projects than others because he wanted them. The last issue is whether or not Marvel knew about it. According to BleedingCool in the above linked article, the senior offcials who met with Yoshida apparently met with a Japanese manga translator, at least that’s the story. There’s also a possibility that Marvel knew all about what he was doing, which would explain the random gap in his Marvel career. This is all speculation, again, and some things which popped into my mind when going over this shituation.
Do you think Marvel knew? Do you think that he was racist or did something stupid? Leave your opinion in the comments below! Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all located in the sidebar and to listen to the first three episodes of the podcast!
That’s all I have for this week, oddballs!