In shocking news, Marvel’s new editor-in-chief, C.B. Cebulski, admitted today that he masqueraded as a Japanese person for a year writing comics under the pseudonym “Akira Yoshida,” as first reported by Bleeding Cool, and then picked up by Vulture. Under the name Yoshida, Cebulski wrote Marvel comics featuring Wolverine, Thor, and Kitty Pryde in stories set in Japan and having to do with martial arts from 2005 to 2006.
The con began when Cebulski needed to establish a writing career while still at Marvel. He started out with smaller gigs like writing “Conan and the Demons of Khitai” for Dark Horse Comics and then got noticed and hired by another Marvel editor.
Doing so violated Marvel’s ethics policy against letting editors write or draw comic books but by using the name Yoshida, Cebulski was able to skirt this rule while seemingly adding a layer of authenticity to telling Japanese-influenced stories. Marvel even boasted of this appearance of diversity, saying that it was uncommon for a non-Anglophone writer to succeed in the US.
Cebulski also presented a fake backstory as Akira Yoshida when interviewed by CBR, claiming to have grown up in Japan and the US and to have worked for Fujimi Shobo, a Tokyo-based publisher. In reality, Cebulski himself has family in Japan, has lived there before and now resides in Shanghai, China. A few months later, Yoshida disappeared — Cebulski ditched the name and then became a talent scout for Marvel in 2007 under his real name soon after. Rumors circulated around, especially as Johnston prodded Marvel editors, including Cebulski, about whether Yoshida really existed.
A 2015 post by Brian Cronin debunking Marvel urban legends found that several editors had never spoken with Yoshida before, which suggested that the rumor was true, but Marvel editor Mike Marts then claimed that he had lunch with Yoshida who showed him a Godzilla memorabilia collection. That man was a visiting Japanese translator and not the fictional Yoshida, according to Johnston, which leads us to the troubling fact that the editors couldn’t tell the difference.
Then in July this year, a former Marvel editor released a podcast short story vaguely about the comics books giant, with all the names changed around, calling C.B. Cebulski, C.J. Cregg, for the West Wing character. It hinted at the Akira Yoshida pseudonym and started the rumors swirling again until Cebulski admitted the hoax to Bleeding Cool today.
What’s also troubling is that Cebulski so far appears unaccountable for his masquerade. The current Marvel editor-in-chief confessed to executives internally that he was Yoshida and told Johnston today that, “this is all old news that has been dealt with.” The timing of his more public confession this time around is coincidental with Cebulski’s first day as Marvel head.
A report by The Hollywood Reporter when Cebulski’s promotion was first announced last week noted how the man had few writing credentials to his name. Now we know why.