A little more than a week after Marvel announced C.B. Cebulski would be replacing Axel Alonso as Editor-in-Chief last November, the publisher was faced with the dilemma of him admitting to using the pseudonym and persona “Akira Yoshida” to write multiple comic books series in the mid-2000s, primarily for Marvel. Having mostly avoided the subject previously, Cebulski has gone on record to address his actions in a piece for CBS This Morning.
“I’ve always wanted to write and tell stories and it was a different time in cultural politics,” he said to CBS. “And I made some very bad choices at that time, ones that I regret and that I’ve since made amends for and have been working to, you know, really kind of put behind me.” In the CBS interview, Cebulski didn’t elaborate what the “amends” entailed.
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“We’re 100 percent committed to diversity… Marvel is the world outside your window and we want not only our characters but our creative talent to reflect that world and it hasn’t been an easy road to be honest with you,” he added, when speaking to Marvel’s current publishing efforts.
The incident drew backlash from fans who felt it was cultural appropriation and downright dishonest of Cebulski to have faked his identity, especially at a time when Asians weren’t getting much work from Marvel. Some creators and industry executives, including Marvel’s VP of Content & Character Development, Sana Amanat, defended his character.
In recent years, Marvel has increased visible representation in its stories by introducing new characters such as Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, Riri Williams, an Indian superhero called Trinary, and the latest addition to the Champions, an Inuk known as Snowguard.
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“Going back to the ’60s when Marvel were created it was created by a number of white men here in New York City who were working in our studio… But now, we do not have any artists that work in Marvel. All our writers and artists work — are freelancers that live around the world so our talent base has diversified almost more quickly than our character base has,” he concluded.