Marvel Comics recently announced they’re replacing their editor-in-chief with long-time employee C.B. Cebulski. The company has been through turmoil in the last several years as comic sales have steadily declined, with a large portion of their audience balking at the large percentage of books promoting extreme left-wing politics.
Marvel’s recent “Legacy” event was supposed to change that, but the company maintained the same creative teams who had created their politically correct problems, and the stories didn’t improve. The recent Captain America reboot opened with a story filled with identity politics and people rising to support Cap because he “punches Nazis,” which has been a theme this year in left-wing circles to justify violence against those on the right.
The failure of “Legacy” may have been the last straw for the former EIC’s tenure, as the announcement came very shortly after the new wave of books launched. When Cebulski was named, it had a lot of comic readers scouring the Internet to find out who he was, and if he looked like he’d be able to right Marvel Comics’ sinking ship.
Most comic professionals praised the move. Longtime Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis said, “Creators, you’re about to be treated and fed SO [sic] well. This is a great day for comics. All in it together!” Christos Gage, writer of Netflix’s “Daredevil” season one, said, “Excellent choice in [Cebulski] as new Marvel EIC. He loves comics and comic book creators.” Even Marvel’s most vocal of critics seemed pleased with the move.
It didn’t take long for the gossip entertainment news to attack Cebulski, however. This week, Cebulski is the victim of manufactured identity politics outrage, in an attempt by the media to get him fired before his work as editor in chief even begins. Bleeding Cool, IO9, and the Huffington Post, outlets notorious for hyper-partisan clickbait, attacked Cebulski over the fact that 13 years ago he used a pseudonym to write a few books for Marvel. If it sounds like something not even worth mentioning, you’d be right, but it has the leftist outrage machine calling for Marvel to remove him.
Who Is C.B. Cebulski?
Cebulski is a long-time manga, anime, and comics editor. He started his work not in American comics, but with Central Park Media, as an editor for teams translating Japanese comics into English when the anime craze was exploding in the United States in the early 2000s.
His work drew the attention of Marvel, which hired him to create manga versions of some of their best-known superheroes in an attempt to expand their comics line to an international audience. The stories created in the Marvel Mangaverse were highly regarded and are well-loved to this day.
With his success, Cebulski became a salaried staff member of Marvel’s editorial. At the time, according to Bleeding Cool, Marvel Comics didn’t allow staffers to write or draw on their books, presumably as a separation of powers to try to ensure they would be objective about the content they produced as editors.
Yet Marvel and Cebulski really wanted some of his written work on comics. To get around this, they created a pseudonym. While perhaps it was against Marvel’s written policy at the time, various people at Marvel seemed to be aware of the pseudonym and published the books without any controversy at the time.
Akira Yoshida, Rising Star
The comic industry is very small, and it’s filled with different contract language and exclusive work clauses, predominately controlled by Marvel and DC Comics. Cebulski clearly created Akira Yoshida to get around the issues with the tricky contract language so he could further his passion in writing comics. The name references his love of Japanese culture, with Akira the name of one of the most popular manga and anime of all time, and Yoshida a nod to Shiro Yoshida, or Sunfire, one of the only Asian characters in the X-Men.
Cebulski worked on several comics under this name as a writer for Marvel, including very highly regarded “Thor: Son of Asgard,” “X-Men: Age Of Apocalypse,” and “Wolverine: Soultaker.” These comics were some of the finest produced in the mid-2000s. Marvel was happy with the work, the readers loved it, and there were no public problems.
Cebulski also wrote as Yoshida for some other comic companies during the time, including Dark Horse, in which he penned a miniseries of the classic character Conan, The Barbarian. We can only speculate as to why the Yoshida pseudonym disappeared in 2006. It could have been getting too big, and his duties in editorial prevented him from taking on more work, or Marvel may have wanted him to focus more on what he’d been contracted for on the salary end, but the Yoshida pseudonym disappeared from comics.
Why Is There An Issue Now?
With his new role as editor in chief, Cebulski is now under public scrutiny as a minor celebrity, which he didn’t have to deal with as vice president of international brand management and development. With his close ties to Asian creators and culture, including family overseas, Cebulski has lived in Shanghai, China, away from the American outrage press for the last several years.
The complaints began earlier this week, when a Marvel competitor took a public swipe on Twitter to try to harm Marvel’s brand. According to Bleeding Cool, Image Comics Brand Manager David Brothers called on journalists to look into the Akira Yoshida pen name, in order to stir up controversy. Bleeding Cool obliged, as did several other left-wing clickbait sites.
They framed Cebulski’s pen name as an attempt to pose as a minority to get jobs because of diversity initiatives. It became an immediate identity politics issue, as even though Cebulski lives in Asia and has family there, he is Caucasian. The social justice lynch mob took to Twitter and immediately branded him a racist because of his love of Japanese culture.
Like usual in these situations, the outrage is so clearly manufactured. The paper trail comes from a business competitor incentivized to harm Marvel Comics, and the media sources amplifying the outrage are well-known for their fake news. But it also makes no sense.
Given the history of how the Akira Yoshida name developed, Cebulski didn’t need to manufacture credit with Marvel Comics to obtain a writing job. He was already fast-tracked on the inside. He was already well known for helping in the international arena because of his love of Asian culture and contacts there. The cries of cultural appropriation ring false, and this is a glaring example of hypocrisy.
The non-story aspect didn’t stop some of the more extreme social justice advocates in entertainment from chiming in. Multi-award-winning author Alyssa Wong ranted on Twitter, swearing about Cebulski and accusing him of “racism,” “hurting people,” and causing “real harm.” She didn’t list specifically how he did any of this, but bizarrely followed up by saying “repeat offenders often mask their bad behavior with intentional Niceness [sic].” His crime is he’s too nice?
It’s hard to make sense of what harm he apparently perpetrated. Her rant concluded with a call to purchase work by real Asian-American authors, making her selective outrage appear to be little more than a self-promotional tool. Los Angeles Times writer Jen Yamato went on to accuse Cebulski of “cultural appropriation.” A story that never should have been in the spotlight has gone viral.
What Does This Controversy Really Mean?
No one in the media has mentioned the most interesting part of this phony controversy. If the accusations are that Cebulski created a pen name with a minority flair to get ahead, it has wider implications for the social justice crowd’s false narratives. This shatters their long-time narrative of minority discrimination in the arts in two ways.
It exposes hypocrisy based on identity. The same people condemning Cebulski hailed various female writers for their bravery in breaking through in the entertainment industry by taking pen names to appear as men. One of the most famous examples of this is Dorothy Fontana, who took the name D.C. Fontana so she wouldn’t be singled out as a woman, and could therefore write for Star Trek. She wasn’t called a misandrist or accused of appropriating male culture, but hailed as a hero because of identity politics.
It exposes a discrimination against white males. If the media is right that Cebulski had to use a minority moniker to get a job, it means white men aren’t considered for the work, or at the very least, minorities are preferred. Therefore, pro-white racism in entertainment doesn’t and didn’t exist as far back as 15 years ago. We’ve had a whole generation with no white-biased race preferences, and the media is hyping racial divisions for far more nefarious purposes than they let on.
The media and the entertainment establishment bashing Cebulski will never understand the underlying hypocrisy of their thoughtless outrage, as there’s no logic or actual goal to this story other than an attempt to destroy Cebulski for being a white man. His love and care for Asian culture is apparent in his work, and it’s his work that matters.
We can only hope he’ll bring some of the fun and epic content of the Japanese manga industry to American comics. For now, who cares if he wrote under a pen name? Thousands of writers do. Let’s see how he does at the job of editor in chief before judging him.