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Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!


#1620

It surprises me a great deal that there’s been such reluctance to create new characters like that. For that very reason, the Fast and Furious thing. I think at this point, anyone who doesn’t understand why those movies have had that kind of success should really…reevaluate their life or something.


#1621

Seems like other companies are doing a lot better in that regard too and by essentially stepping away from superheroes. The JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS series was really great and the Archie comics are pretty hot as well. At least they were better than RIVERDALE (which is probably really popular, anyway).

I mean, Jeez, what really saved Marvel’s and DC’s asses in the 80’s? The New X-Men and Teen Titans where half the teams were women and not all of them were whitebread.

But what’s behind the curtain matters now too, and it looks like a bunch of paunchy white guys.

Honestly, I do think part of the problem is that CB Cebulski looks like a cross between Kevin Smith and the Comic Shop Guy on the Simpsons.

MULTIPLIED BY

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That’s it’s own sort of racial profiling, but it doesn’t help to point that out.

Now, when people focus on the actual actions of Cebulski as Yoshida such as going out of his way to hire a Japanese translator to pretend to be the fake person to meet Marvel executives, it looks like something that could not possibly have been “dealt with” professionally. It looks like something Marvel wants to sweep under an oriental rug.

At the same time, what other factors are going on here? Is Axel Alonso one of the sources for the original story “leak?” What other politics are at play in regard to interests who were opposed to the changes?


#1622

What is the actual outrage? Is it just some people on Twitter or is there a legit push to remove him?

I was under the impression that this stuff has been an open secret for a while. I get that the promotion shines a light on it, but I also feel like this stuff has been out there so if you’re just now finding out about it, maybe it’s not that big of a deal to you? It’s a weird thing to have done and pretty icky but I don’t know. I also get the feeling that if you start rattling cages at Marvel in the late 90s and early 00s, you’re going to find some weirder stuff than that.

That said, 1) I don’t necessarily blame people for thinking this is a red flag on his judgement, 2) I am one of the people who praised him above and think he’d do a good job, 3) I also think they should have hired someone outside of the company for EIC. I’m not sure if I agree with the concept of these “Marvel lifers” aside from Stan Lee.


#1623

I do think the more people find out about the details, the crazier it appears. That it was a whole year long and very intentional deception on Cebulski’s part with Marvel really thinking they hired a Japanese person to write Asian themed stories and then basically laughing it off when they found out they didn’t. The first defense from someone at Marvel kinda starts out by essentially saying he didn’t do anything really wrong.

And that is the deeper outrage, though. Not that Cebulski knowingly did something stupid when he was younger, but that Marvel’s leadership doesn’t really have a comprehensive, considered point of view on it.


#1624

I don’t see how an insider can turn things around. Marvel sees quite flat when it comes to ideas, and I’d suggest most of the senior people can pitch ideas or suggestions. So if the ship has gotten so lost, how can any of the current sailors conceivably be the answer to getting them back on track?

I know there’s a great hope that CB has some secret new talent in his pocket that can grow into a new wave of superstars, but that doesn’t really make sense under scrutiny. He’s already promoting all the talent he can find.


#1625

Reading between the lines I suspect the direct hiring editors may have known all along and went with it to bypass the rules. Mike Marts saying he’d chatted at length with him and definitely knew him and then know saying it was mistaken identity with some other random Japanese guy he met, sounds very fishy to me.

I’m just guessing of course but the evidence points a little that way.


#1626

What pisses off Asian creators like Gene Ha and others is that a white guy created an elaborate ruse of pretending to be a Japanese man. It wasn’t just a non de plume but a complete biography and identity.

American comics, especially the Big Two, tend to be very white on the creator side. It is insulting to some Asian creators when a white man pretends to be a Japanese person.


#1627

I’ve reconsidered this.

There’s a few too many factors that now impact it:

  • The key point here is that the role of EiC is a high-profile one and has the lead across the board for the comics. It is questionable as to how much total latitude the role has but I don’t think that matters now for this. People are going to potentially be very wary of new creators with this hanging over Marvel. That new guy? Turned out not to be a new guy, but this old guy who wrote a book you thought was complete crap and swore you’d never buy from again. For pitching creators? Sorry bro, but you lost out to some guy who was actually inside the company with all the advantages that brings.

  • I can well believe that Cebulski learnt from his mistakes of 13 years ago. I’d say he has more than likely made up for that in scouting out new talent. I don’t think those mistakes should be held over him for every job he ever goes for, but if it involves pitching for a story as a writer? That’s where the sword comes down - nope, no go. Which is the issue here - for the last decade he’s been isolated away from that strand, now he won’t be and that’s where the suspicion arises.

  • Should CB be working at Marvel? Sure, so long as it’s the right role. Is EiC that role? I no longer think so. This is going to haunt Cebulski’s entire tenure in the role, with people suspecting his every move. He won’t be able to do interviews supporting a hit new star because the first Q will be: And this isn’t you or one of your mates?

As to fixing Marvel, I don’t think it’ll happen for one reason:

  • With Star Wars, Marvel stumbled on the answer to the vexed Q of how to get people to buy comics from having seen movies. They linked comics to the new films, taking advantage of Disney’s great reboot and it worked. Oh, how it worked! Were it not for this line of comics Marvel would be so worse off.

  • So, with that success, what’s the next logical step? You render your other comics along the same line, following the film’s lead thus giving us the least wanted event of 2016 (only included because this year’s Secret Empire might top it) - Civil War II. Why? Well, the films got to doing Civil War arc so let’s match that. What are they doing next year for linking up to Avengers: Infinity War? Well, there’s this here teaser:

They are not changing the formula, they are doubling down on it. The only reason Marvel have phrased their recent PR in response to DC’s Rebirth is because they had to due to that being such a big hit. Will this next event be Marvel’s Rebirth? PR claims aside, I doubt it:

  • Marvel have clearly decided to make their films primary and the comics secondary. There will still be the odd mid-lower tier gem of a book from them, a handful of titles will still carve out their identity apart from the films, but the big continuity that Marvel depend so much on will, in one way or another, follow the films’ lead.

  • This misses what made Rebirth work, that DC placed the focus on the comics. And not just the comics, just this one book you need to read. You want to buy others? Cool, they’ll work the same way. No difficult to navigate series numbering and re-numbering, no pick-up-this-book- first-to-understand-this-book.

  • DC have changed, Marvel have not and will not.


#1628

On this note, I started working my way through this month’s Previews and the DC section is just crazy.

It’s packed with books I want to read. We are now at a stage where over 18 months after Rebirth they are producing so many good and exciting books that I don’t think I can afford the cost or time to buy everything I want.

I’ll go out on a limb and say this is probably the best overall that DC has been in 30 + years of reading their books


#1629

Ugh if you people (the internet I mean) get CB fired… Hulk gonna smash… u_u

Don’t usually use this word 'cause people get all pissy about it, but this IS retarded. Very much so.

Also:

Well, as I said earlier, I do think this is where other dptms come into play. Marketing probably has a LOT to do with some editorial decisions, such as tie-ing as much as possible with the movies, thus CWII, WWHII, OML ongoing, etc… I mean, on the one hand I guess it’s prefectly logical to do so, but on the other hand, let’s say results, more often than not, leave A LOT to be desired, to put it mildly… =/


#1630

One thing to keep in mind is that projects and events were already on the books and part of Marvel’s strategic plan prior to Cebulski’s promotion to EiC. It will probably be 6+ months before we see the actual output of his direction. We’ll hear about stuff first but it will be sometime before we can read the fruits of his labor.


#1631

Yeah he was only tweeting he was flying back to New York last week. I’m sure Ben is aware of that though and despite the appointment Marvel have already been promising a new start with the Legacy thing.


#1632

Unless this Infinity-themed event is done quick, it’ll be at least a year. As that image I posted was only for the countdown.

Yeah, but what’s changed is how successful Marvel’s SW books have been. I can’t blame them for trying to replicate that but it’s a model where one medium, comics, is secondary to another, moviles.

As for Cebulski, there’s a world of difference between him retaining his current role and not getting promoted and being fired. I don’t think anyone would desire the latter.

No, it really isn’t. It’s about credibility. It’s about being able to trust the info that comes out of Marvel so you know who has written the books you’re buying. It’s about a publisher saying they’re employing A, B, C and this shows their commitment to diversity and A, B , C aren’t a set of invented identities.

It may well be there is nothing technically illegal about a year-long deception involving more than one person, but it’s certainly bloody stupid.


#1633

Yeah, trying to take the approach that this wasn’t a “serious” breach of ethics is not going to win Marvel the persuasion game in the PR or news media arena. Mainly, there is just too much that stinks about it. Under his own name, Cebulski definitely had the talent to deliver Japanese characters increasing the fictional diversity of the Marvel universe. He apparently speaks Japanese, lived there and had worked editing Manga, I believe. It’s a great resume - a guy who’s worked in both American superheroes and Manga and who is very familiar with the culture. Marvel is likely going to hire that guy even if he isn’t Japanese. To be honest, there might not even have been any Japanese candidates who fit that description.

But when it turns out it’s not just a pseudonym or “homage” to Manga, but involved significant deception to trick the employer into believing they had hired a Japanese man (which they promoted as a win for diversity), to trick the news media and readers as well and, on top of all that, may have actually violated the Marvel’s own ethics rules about writing comics and working as an editor, it reaches a really bad level as far as perception. I mean, you can’t blame people for thinking that’s terrible. Even though, personally, I have a lot of sympathy for Cebulski. He sounds a lot like me as far as the interest in Japan and Anime/Manga as well as Western Comics.

Not so much in the act itself, because Marvel may have actually handled the situation seriously when it occurred and no one really cared to print the story at the time.

But when Marvel promotes that guy into one of its most prominent positions after losing or alienating its best writer and, I suppose, firing one of the fan’s favorite EIC’s, then it’s not smart to think this isn’t going to be a big deal. I mean, I’m still just astonished that they didn’t get out in front of it. Were they just hoping no one found out?

Seriously, though, in the persuasion game, Marvel may take the Trump approach and simply say nothing’s wrong, everything’s great and wait it out. Meanwhile, we can look forward to the One Punch Man vs The Sentry crossover!


#1634

It’s pretty tacky of Alonso to do that and pretty gross of Bleeding Cool to cover it as “news”.


#1635

A lot of this has to be politics, right? And I think Bleeding Cool is the press engine for the political infighting coverage and rumors. Seems to be that to me.

Why was Alonso fired? For pushing back against the changes to the classic characters? Why did Bendis leave? Why was Cebulski promoted? I mean, if Cebulski was potentially promoted to revamp the diversity image, and Alonso was fired for wanting to slow it down, then this story politically is embarrassing for Marvel. The promotion is now viewed in the exact opposite light than intended.

Honestly, no entertainment producer wants the press about the company and its people to be more dramatic than the stories they put out, but lately that is true of every one from comics to movies to stand up comedy.


#1636

Was Alonso still that popular?

Having been linked to both the ‘fans don’t diversity’ and ‘artists don’t sell’ PR nightmares must have dented it quite a bit.


#1637

Yeah, lately, he’s probably been less popular, but it didn’t seem like he was doomed.

I’m more talking over time. It’s hard to think of another EIC who has been there when Marvel was producing such consistently good and popular work. Honestly, a lot of his career wins were leftovers from Joe Quesada’s time. Joe may have been the best they’ve ever had since Stan Lee, though.

Still, it is hard to see how Marvel will really actively pull anything out of a hat. I think comics is just a waiting game. You wait for the right talent to show up at the right time and hope the readers are ready for it. Then you take all the credit for it and act like you planned it the whole time.


#1638

I’m going with Jim Shooter. Although in common with Quesada has was tasked with taking over a company on the edge of going bust.


#1639

Shooter is really my generation’s EIC “the most reviled figure in comics”

Chris Claremont Face Down in His Mashed Potatoes

…I pointed out to Chris that Saffel had merely passed along the invitation to the con in Yuckburg and Chris had accepted. Just as the Avengers guys had accepted the offer from WPB. He agreed to go to Phlegmopolis. Nobody forced him. And didn’t the comics fans stuck in that gray and hopeless place deserve the sunshine of his personality to brighten their wretched lives?

That only made him grumpier. Cold…so cold.

“It’s still not fair.”

Finally, having the rest of my life to get on with, I’d heard enough.

“Okay, turkey, where do you want to go?”

“Paris,” he sneered, in a high dudgeon tone that would have humbled Magneto.

“Paris. You got it.”

“You can’t send me to Paris.”

“Stand aside, mortal,” said I in my best Thor impersonation.

I went upstairs to the international licensing department and spoke with Dominique Boniface, a great guy and wonderfully capable co-conspirator. I forget whether we called or Telexed (Telexed! That’s how long ago this was!) our French publishing licensees. I told Dom to offer them a promotional visit by the entire X-Men creative team…

…if they’d do some PR and some extra publishing around the event.

A few minutes later I stopped by President Jim Galton’s office. I said, “Jim, I have a problem. Seems the French publishers would like to have the X-Men creators come to Paris and do a little promotional tour. They’ll get them on TV, get them lots of press and publish some special editions to tie in with their visit. It would cost us about $11,000 to send them. But the guarantees alone on those specials add up to about $30,000.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

A few minutes later, I walked back into my office. Chris was still there, dark energies coruscating around him.

“Pack your bags, monsieur.”

Word spread about the miracle I’d worked. The V.P. of Promotions (“promotions” not directly related to the comics—things like character appearances by costumed actors) came to me in high dudgeon rivaling Claremont’s.

“How do you get away with these things?! I can’t get Galton to part with a dime for anything!”

Very simple. Find a way to make whatever you want to do self-liquidating or, better, turn a small profit, and Galton will approve whatever mad scheme you propose. Nyah, nyah.

So now you know what the heck an Editor in Chief really does. It’s not about creativity - it’s about organization and support.

Also, this is one of the best things a new comics creator can read:

http://storytelling.jimshooter.com