Wednesday December 06, 2017

Why Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski's pen name is raising questions in the comic book world

C.B. Cebulski wrote a number of Marvel titles under the pen name Akira Yoshida.

C.B. Cebulski wrote a number of Marvel titles under the pen name Akira Yoshida. (Marvel Comics)

Listen 16:05

Jeff Yang, co-editor of two Asian-American comics, helps us break down a real case of a secret identity at Marvel. Less than a day after the comic book publisher promoted a promising employee named C.B. Cebulski to editor-in-chief, it was revealed that the fresh young talent had a secret. He once pretended to be a Japanese writer, using the pen name "Akira Yoshida" to write Japanese stories. But Cebulski is not Japanese, he's a white American man. 

In this bizarre and complex story, Yang explains why the controversy surrounding Cebulski is raising questions about cultural appropriation in comics. "[Comics] is an industry that's always been about putting the fantastical on paper. The diversity of comics isn't just about race and ethnicity. It's about species, dimensions... the challenge has always been about getting the people behind the scenes. Getting voices and creators who tell those stories, who reflect that diversity, and reflect that infinite possibility." A self-described "geek of all trades", Yang joins Tom Power on q to discuss this case of secret identity and the issue of using pen names to assume new identities. 

Produced by Vanessa Greco