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December 19, 2017

Go, Read: Asher Elbein And Charles Pulliam-Moore On The CB Cebulski False Identity Fiasco

Asher Elbein wrote a high-quality sourced piece for The Atlantic on new Marvel EiC CB Cebulski's period of writing under a different name and identity that's about as solid as I can imagine for Marvel's lack of participation. The piece does run a more complete statement from Cebulski himself. That statement from the Marvel man-on-point is the subject of Charles Pulliam-Moore's essay here.

imageI agree in broad terms with both pieces, and think they work together pretty well. A statement in Elbein's piece with which I think I'd disagree is that I see Cebulski's hiring more about the ability to recruit, keep and foster talent than as an outreach to fans. It will serve as outreach to fans anyway, as there are many hardcore fans who are invested in comics hires at the high-editorial level more than I think, say, the movie fans I know track and imprint upon hirings at studios and movie development companies. As I've mentioned before, part of Marvel's messaging makes historical sense: an affable personality up top goes a long way in a relatively low-reward industry like comics. If there's access to more international talent, so much the better. Let the pitches fall from the sky. One of them may provide the course-correction desired.

I think there's still more to discuss with the story, particularly in the context of Cebulski's first several months on the job. One thing I hope is that everyone puts their foot down about this being a pseudonym issue. Even suggesting that this was an objection to pseudonym use is cynical modern media-style spin. Almost no one gives a shit about that. That's part of comics. Where concern has been expressed is that this is a false identity issue with deeply unpleasant industry and cultural ramifications, that this is an issue of who in comics gets to defraud their company without being disqualified from a top position and that this is an issue of what kind of culture exists at a company where neither of the first two things seems to matter enough to publicly address them. There's another aspect that interests me that I'll keep to myself for now. I'm sure there are more.

I suspect another thing that needs to be resisted now is the idea that this story, like the Eddie Berganza firing, has concluded because the company at its center has decided that what's been announced and said will have to suffice. Marvel and DC's general absence from their two major stories of the Fall is something I hope will be discouraged by folks continuing to poke them about the very real contextual issues involved. A good start is the kind of writing with clarity that Elbein and Pulliam-Moore provided with the linked-to posts.

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posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

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