Steven S. DeKnight, who was once screenwriter on a live-action version of Akira, has just learned for himself that current Marvel Comics EIC C.B. Cebulski once used the pseudonym Akira Yoshida to get comic book work. And has stated that "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."
Steven S. DeKnight was the creator, head writer, and executive producer of the various Starz TV series Spartacus as well as developing Jupiter's Legacy for Netflix before leaving the show. DeKnight previously worked on Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel. He also wrote for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic series, and served as a consulting producer on Joss Whedon's television series Dollhouse. He was showrunner for Daredevil after Drew Goddard but was replaced by Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez for the second season, and directed Pacific Rim: Uprising. And now he has been writing Marvel comic books, short Conan and Wolverine stories, and the Wolverine and Black Widow issues of the upcoming Wastelanders event coming in December.
After a long period of dogged persistence, in 2017 Bleeding Cool eventually broke the story that C.B. Cebulski used the Akira Yoshida pseudonym to get writing work at Marvel Comics a decade previously with a full confession from the man. He told me then "I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year. It wasn't transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication, and pressure. I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then. But this is all old news that has been dealt with, and now as Marvel's new Editor-in-Chief, I'm turning a new page and am excited to start sharing all my Marvel experiences with up and coming talent around the globe."
Not everyone was as willing to turn the page quite so fast, of course. At the time of the deception, it was a way for C.B. to get around restrictions for a Marvel editor wanting to write comics but still keep his editorial job. Later, after I was finally able to get it confirmed, it raised allegations of "yellowface", of cultural appropriation, of taking away potential work for others. However, a number of Asian and Asian-American comic book talents defended C.B. Cebulski as he was seen as an editor who had gone out of his way to hire and recruit Asian and Asian-American talent for the books. And C.B., who got his start working in US manga, worked and lived in Japan, and also worked for Disney China, had been instrumental in East Asian publishing deals, such as the new Spider-Man/Iron Man comic from Viz Media and the Deadpool stories in Shonen Jump.
But yesterday, Harley Quinn writer Tee Franklin tweeted a reminder about the Cebulski/Yoshida situation, that Steven S. DeKnight quote tweeted, saying "How does this man still have a job? Completely unacceptable." Replying to people who pointed out that this was old news, he said, "I had no idea. I love writing for Marvel comics, but this changes the equation. Drastically. There are so many great editors there. To allow a man who climbed to the top through cultural identity theft to remain in that position is unconscionable… Hopefully, it won't die down this time until something is done about it. I, for one, will be contacting my editor — who could not be more lovely — to loudly protest this miscreant's continued employment. I hope other creatives will do the same. High-profile creatives need to speak out. Not only in comics, but in other mediums as well." Stating that he will be contacting Marvel, he wrote "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." And as to observation of his work recruiting other Asian and American-Asian voices to Marvel, he writes "The good does not outweigh the bad, in my opinion. If you reach the top through deception and cultural identity theft, then everything you touch is tainted." As for his current Marvel Comics work, "Loved every minute of it. Was looking forward to doing more, but this revelation, unfortunately, makes that impossible for me" while telling Tee Franklin "My head is on fire. Thank you for speaking up about this." He continued tweeting "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… 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" and concluding "A rotting fish stinks regardless of the cause of death. He obviously knew what he was doing by pretending to be an Asian man. And reaped the benefits."
Marvel Comics certainly believes the matter is resolved. I understand Cebulski was severely reprimanded when this came out internally, and reparations had to be made. What Steven S. DeKnight will demand of Marvel, whether other creatives will follow suit at this late stage, or what Marvel editorial will say to Steven S. DeKnight is, as yet, unknown. But this is New York Comic Con weekend, stuff always goes down one way or other. You should see what happened in the Twins pub the other night, when certain comic creators were ejected over a not… unrelated issue. Steven S. Knight's Wastelanders comic books will be published by Marvel Comics in December.
WASTELANDERS WOLVERINE #1
(W) Steven S. DeKnight (A) Ibrahim Moustafa (CA) Josemaria Casanovas
STEVEN S. DEKNIGHT LEADS THE RETURN TO THE WASTELANDS OF OLD MAN LOGAN!
The super villains united and took out most of the world's super heroes decades ago, and while the man known as LOGAN attempted to live a life of peace, he had to pop the claws once again to do what he does best! But saving the day looks different with the Baby Hulk under his care. Is Logan doing the right thing by protecting the progeny of the HULK or dooming what's left of the war-torn world? Logan may not have long to ponder if he is crushed by the ADAMANTIUM ARMOR of his newfound enemy DOWNFALL!
Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil season 1 showrunner, WOLVERINE: BLACK, WHITE & BLOOD) teams with fan-favorite artist Ibrahim Moustafa to tell an all-new story of WOLVERINE in the days after the conclusion of the original OLD MAN LOGAN, as he fights once again to save the people of the Wastelands who have been crushed under the heel of the RED SKULL and BRUCE BANNER! PARENTAL ADVISORYIn Shops: Dec 01, 2021 SRP: $3.99
WASTELANDERS BLACK WIDOW #1
(W) Steven S. DeKnight (A) Well-Bee (CA) Josemaria Casanovas
WHO IS THE BLACK WIDOW?
The LIZARD KING has grown monstrous and deadlier than ever as the lord of his southern domain. But when rumor breaks that critical information is believed to be stored in his impenetrable fortress, only the greatest spy of all is up to the infiltration: the deadly BLACK WIDOW! But who is she, and how has she survived this many decades in the Wastelands undetected? Witness her first appearance in the Old Man
Universe! PARENTAL ADVISORYIn Shops: Dec 15, 2021 SRP: $3.99