It’s another big shakeup at Marvel Comics. Little more than a week after it was announced iconic Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis was leaving for rival DC Comics, Marvel announced on Friday that editor-in-chief Axel Alonso is also leaving the company, to be replaced in the role by C.B. Cebulski.
“C.B. is one of the most well-known, liked and respected editors and personalities in the comics industry. He has a keen understanding of the Marvel brand, and knows the importance of publishing within the larger Marvel ecosystem,” Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley said in a statement. “As our characters continue to reach unprecedented levels of global popularity, we need to ensure our core comic business sets the standard with fresh and compelling graphic storytelling that excites both our longtime fan base and new fans. Marvel has set a high bar for superhero stories for over 75 years, and we believe C.B. is perfectly positioned to take Marvel Comics to new heights.”
Cebulski will be relocating to New York City from Shanghai, where he has worked on “bringing Marvel to Asian markets through localized stories and characters,” according to the publisher. Cebulski will bring that international perspective to his new leadership role.
“Spending these last 18 months in Asia, and introducing more fans here to the depth of the Marvel Universe, I’ve seen firsthand how our comics and characters constantly bring joy into people’s lives all over the world,” Cebulski said in a statement. “I hope to continue capturing that creative magic here at home, and deliver inspirational and entertaining stories that are true to the classic Marvel DNA, but built with an expanding global mindset.”
He also has a reputation as a scout and developer of talent — skills Marvel could very much use these days, having recently lost buzz-y creators like Bendis and Tom King to exclusive DC deals. In fact, Cebulski was the original editor on Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways, a beloved series about a group of diverse young superheroes on the lam from their villainous parents. The first episode of Hulu’s TV adaptation of Runaways debuts on the streaming service next Tuesday.
Cebulski’s promotion comes after a tumultuous year for Marvel. Secret Empire, an event comic that revealed Captain America as a sleeper agent for the Nazi-like supervillain organization Hydra, was not well-received by fans. Marvel received additional criticism earlier this year after an executive appeared to blame the publisher’s flagging sales on diverse characters (in reality, he was reflecting the feelings of a handful of retailers).