RIP Michael Jackson
Just to add my little bit on the passing of Michael Jackson:
Just like any other kid in the 80s, I listened endlessly to Thriller, watched the associated videos nonstop on MTV (in the olde times when the station played videos) and collected way too much random MJ memorabilia. I was lucky enough to have my family take me to see the Jacksons Vistory Tour in 1984.
Anyway, in 2000, I was working as a digital artist at Stan Lee’s newly founded internet entertainment production company, Stan Lee Media, in Encino, CA. Internet animation was huge at the time and Stan Lee Media was one of the leaders so we had a lot of celebrities come and visit the studio. One day it was Michael Jackson. Prior to his visit some employees had overreacted when a previous big name visited so all of the staff was given a quick talking-to on how to act (or not to act) around celebrities. So we waited down in the studio for a possible walk-through, while MJ was upstairs on the corporate level, apparently discussing getting in on Marvel Comics. I just read this today in a Splash Page MTV article about the loss of Michael Jackson the comic fan. Here’s an excerpt:
Possibly the most notable connection between Jackson and the comics world, however, is how close the star came to owning Marvel, one of the industry’s “Big Two” publishers, in the late ’90s. As chronicled by The Comics Journal in an August 2005 article, Jackson met with Stan Lee and Peter Paul of the newly formed Stan Lee Media to investigate the possibility of buying Marvel Comics.
“After we built SLM into a public company with a market cap almost twice Marvel’s, we talked with Michael Jackson about teaming up to buy Marvel,” the article quotes Paul. “I have a videotape of Michael in our offices for over two hours, seeing what we were doing.”
Jim Salicrup, a former Marvel editor who was a writer-editor for SLM during the Jackson meetings, told TCJ that at one point, Jackson asked Lee, “If I buy Marvel, you’ll help me run it, won’t you?”
While the deal eventually fell through, it certainly offers an interesting “What If?” scenario for comics fans — and an indication of exactly how close the worlds of Jackson and comic books often overlapped.
Some time later MJ and his entourage of bodyguards walked through the art studios. (EDIT: A Google search shows that MJ’s visit to Stan Lee Media has been well-covered and evidently documented on several YouTube videos. (1, 2)) I had seen other celebrities come through such as Dick Clark and a few people from the X-Men movie, but it was Michael Jackson!
Anyway, that’s my 2¢ added to the media onslaught surrounding his passing.
We’ve lost a great performer and entertainer.