Marvel Writer Quits Over Editor's Alias: 'Changes the Equation'

Steven DeKnight slams CB Cebulski's 'deep lack of ethics' for once pretending he was 'Akira Yoshida'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2021 8:46 AM CDT
Marvel Writer Quits Over White Editor's Past Japanese Alias
This image shows the cover of Marvel Comics No. 1000, the publisher's 80th anniversary issue, from 2019.   (Alex Ross/Marvel Comics via AP)

"How does this man still have a job?" That was just one of Marvel writer Steven DeKnight's tweets upon hearing some news over the weekend about Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief, and before announcing he's cutting ties with Marvel until the matter is addressed. That revelation, at least to DeKnight: that CB Cebulski, who's white, once assumed a Japanese name to get further ahead in the comics world. NBC News notes that Cebulski owned up to the appropriation back in 2017, admitting he'd published multiple comics under the name Akira Yoshida in the early 2000s.

In fact, Marvel still has a link up to the comics of "Yoshida," many of which centered on Asian themes and characters. Four years ago, as Cebulski took over as EIC of Marvel, the comics news site Bleeding Cool got him to admit he was Yoshida, who up till then was said to be a Japanese translator with experience in manga. "I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year," Cebulski told the site in late 2017, claiming he'd been "young and naive." He also said in a statement that he was "truly sorry for the pain, anger, and disappointment I caused over my poor choice of pseudonym."

Marvel also confirmed at the time that Cebulski was actually Yoshida. Per io9, the ruse was more than just Cebulski assuming a name: He gave in-character interviews, in which "Yoshida" talked about learning English as a kid in Japan by watching TV and movies and reading comic books. Rich Johnston, who'd written the 2017 Bleeding Cool article, noted he'd even spoken with Marvel execs who called Yoshida a "rarity" and claimed they'd met with him at Marvel offices.

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All of this was apparently news to DeKnight, a screenwriter and director who served as the showrunner for Netflix's Daredevil and who's lent his pen to several Marvel comics. DeKnight, who says Cebulski's actions "go far beyond adopting a Japanese pseudonym [and] illustrate a deep lack of ethics," notes he doesn't want the man's life destroyed, but he also doesn't think he deserves the honor of being Marvel's editor. As for himself, DeKnight says that "I love writing for Marvel comics, but this changes the equation," adding he "will not pursue or accept future work until this is resolved." (More Marvel Comics stories.)

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