A Marvel Writer Pretended to Be Asian, Now a Showrunner Is Leaving

Daredevil

Credit: Marvel/Marvel Wiki Fandom

Back in 2017, Marvel writer C.B. Cebulski, a white man, drew large criticism when he admitted in an interview that he had written comics for Marvel under the name Akira Yoshida in order to get more work. Cebulski had long denied that he and Yoshida were the same person, but was eventually forced to come clean as it became apparent that he could not hide from reality — but his admission didn’t seem to hurt him, since he was then promoted to Editor-in-Chief for the comic book giant.

Wolverine Comic
Credit: Marvel

Writing under a pseudonym is not unheard of amongst writer’s circles. Major authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have written under a pen names in the past. However, according to reports from outlets like The Atlantic, Cebulski’s lie did not end with the name — Cebulski also created a fake backstory for Yoshida and had a Japanese translator pretend to be the writer in order to meet with Marvel executives.

Akira Yoshida comic
Credit: Marvel

Cebulski had been working as an associate editor at Marvel and living in Shanghai when he created Akira Yoshida and used the pseudonym to write a variety of comics for companies like Dreamwave and Dark Horse. Then Marvel came knocking because they wanted an authentic Japanese voice who could write comics that appealed to American audiences — a code that they had been struggling to crack.

Marvel has a strict policy of not allowing editors to write comics for the company at the same time, so Cebulski kept up the Yoshida charade so he could get around the rule and do both. Even though Marvel eventually found out the truth, the company allowed Cebulski to remain an Editor-in-Chief and simply gave him, what many are calling, a slap on the wrist.

Wolverine Soultaker
Credit: Marvel

While Marvel has known about this for years, it appears that not all who work with the company were similarly aware. One of those people who was unaware was Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight. DeKnight was an Executive Producer on Daredevil in 2015 and has recently been writing short stories for Marvel including the Conan and Wolverine stories. He also wrote Wolverine and Black Widow stories that will be a part of the Wastelanders Weekend that will take place in California this December.

Wastelander
Credit: Marvel

Upon learning about what Cebulski had done, DeKnight asked how the man still had a job. From there, upon doing more research and learning that Marvel knew and didn’t do anything, DeKnight became more upset, eventually saying that he would no longer work with the company until they rectified the situation.

Completely unacceptable. Writing for Marvel is a childhood dream come true. My next issues come out in December. But I can’t in good conscience accept any additional work until this is resolved. I hope other creatives will follow suit.

Something very small is happening now. I love working with Marvel but will not pursue or accept future work until this is resolved. I hope other more high profile creatives in the comic book biz will follow suit.

Some were quick to point out to DeKnight that Cebulski was not the first writer to work under a pen name. While DeKnight conceded to that, he claims that Cebulski did not just work under a pen name. DeKnight believes that Cebulski committed “cultural identity theft” and fraud simply so he could get ahead, and that Cebulski’s career was built on one huge lie. He also called for Cebulski to step down, effective immediately.

You don’t get to build your career on a lie this big and horrendous and get to keep the position the lie helped you secure. At least you shouldn’t, in my book. Step down and rebuild. That’s how you truly apologize.

The editor and writer from Bleeding Cool, who originally wrote about Cebulski and Yoshida being the same person, tried to defend Cebulski, saying that Cebulski didn’t create Akira Yoshida to get ahead and that he got in a lot of trouble with Marvel when the truth came out. DeKnight questioned just how much trouble Cebulski got in, considering he still got the Editor-in-Chief position.

At the time of publication, neither Marvel comics nor Cebulski have made a statement about Cebulski’s position or how the company is addressing DeKnight’s departure.

What do you think about this very complicated situation? Let us know in the comments!

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