Former Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight is ending his relationship with Marvel Comics over a controversy surrounding the company’s new Editor-in-Chief. Last week, the Daredevil season one helmer took to Twitter to announce that writing for Marvel Comics has been a childhood dream of his come true. He has worked on the upcoming Wastelanders project that’s set to drop in December. However, after that, he declared that he will not accept any additional work from the company and hoped that other creators for the organization would follow suit.
The reason that the man who made Daredevil a hit at Netflix is now done with the very comic book company whose characters he loves so much has to do with Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski. In 2017, Cebulski confessed that, when he was working as an editor for Marvel, he had created a persona named Akira Yoshida in order to write comic books and skirt one of the company’s rules. Gizmodo reports that Marvel, the home of Daredevil, had a rule that prevented its staff from writing in order to prevent any unfair reciprocity between its various departments.
Cebulski initially used the Yoshida persona to pitch stories to Dark Horse, where he wrote Conan and to Dreamwave, where he wrote Darkstalkers. The latter reportedly brought him to the attention of Marvel, who reached out to him to write. Rather than come clean, Cebulski, who is not Japanese, simply kept up the persona of a Japanese man. Yoshida’s credits for Marvel include Thor: Son of Asgard, X-Men: Kitty Pride — Shadow & Flame and the Daredevil spinoff Elektra: The Hand. While a pen name is not unheard of in comics writing, critics like DeKnight note that Cebulski went as far as to give interviews as his Japanese persona, alleging that he was raised in Japan but learned English from American comic books that his traveling businessman father would bring him. Cebulski also claimed to have seen Yoshida around the Marvel offices in order to keep up the lie that he was indeed a real person and not a culturally inappropriate secret identity.
In subsequent tweets in which he addresses his critics, DeKnight acknowledges that his boycott of Marvel is a bit toothless. For one, these revelations came out in 2017. The former Daredevil showrunner admitted that he is just being made aware of it now, but feels, as a comic book fan, that he must do the right thing and shine a light on the issue. Particularly, he feels it’s repugnant that Cebulski would not only appropriate Japanese culture in that way, but would also get a pass from Marvel for skirting its rules. So far, the company has not officially commented on the situation.
DeKnight presided over the critically acclaimed and fan-beloved first season of Daredevil at Netflix. The series ended up launching the ill-fated connected Defenders universe at the streaming giant that included Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders. Unfortunately, Netflix canceled the whole universe including Daredevil, leaving fans with a gaping hole in their TV viewership that no Loki, Falcon and the Winter Soldier or Wandavision can possibly fill.