As the story goes, Michael Jackson was a huge fan of Spider-Man. To the point that, in the 1990s, before the first movie starring Tobey MaGuire was made, Jackson wanted to make a Spider-Man movie, and even play the lead. Stan Lee has said that Jackson once approached him, looking to procure the rights to Spider-Man, but when Lee told Jackson he would need to go to Marvel, the story goes that Jackson then considered buying Marvel outright.
Recently, Popcorned Planet spoke with Michael Jackson’s nephew Taj, and the nephew has confirmed the story that Jackson did enter into a legitimate attempt to purchase the comic publisher, not simply acquire the rights to Spider-Man, claiming that his uncle had specifically mentioned the plan to him, although nothing ever came of it.
It was Marvel and I remember that. I remember being with my brothers and him talking about purchasing Marvel. He wanted to do that with Stan Lee. They had been talking and discussing that. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, I think they were shut down from doing that. I don’t know the reasons why but they were adamantly in the process of doing that.
The most interesting piece of information here may not be the confirmation that Michael Jackson tried to purchase Marvel, but that, according to Taj Jackson, he tried to do it with Stan Lee. It’s not a bad plan, if you’re going to buy a comic publisher, you’ll want to be sure you have people with experience in that working alongside you.
For a once-considered-legendary pop star to own a comic publisher like this would seem impressive on the surface, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, given that Jackson’s legacy has since been devastated in hindsight by resurfaced allegations he’d committed child molestation, that’s why this would’ve been more an embarrassment than a triumph. Besides, something tells me Jackson would have no better idea how to market and sell their products than anyone else currently in charge of publishing arms in the medium. He would not have taken any of the crucial steps needed to improve their business model, and chances are high everything would’ve just been “business as usual”.
I do know it’s regrettable when an actual basket case latches onto the real legends, and sadly, that’s what Jackson did back in the 90s with Lee, who should’ve known better than to associate with somebody who turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, though Lee’s obviously not the only one who ever got deceived by a phony. I have no idea what the exact reasons were for alleged business negotiations to buy the company halting, but based on what’s been told about Jackson since, that’s why it’s for the best somebody with as sordid a record as his didn’t buy the company.
Originally published here.
But, if we’re to believe what’s said about Jackson, who was of black background, wishing to play Peter Parker, it would suggest an early example of social justice advocacy in which a white protagonist could be race-swapped, made all the more bizarre when you think about how Jackson’s skin color changed, though as this CNN report notes, it’s not entirely clear whether it was due to a disease called vitiligo or cosmetic surgeries. As for the people in the past who wanted to cash in on Spider-Man, I’d read reports in the past about hack moviemakers like Golan-Globus who tried to get hold of the permits for such items (they were behind a straight-to-video Captain America adaptation), and it certainly wouldn’t have worked if people like them had overseen such a production, so why should we assume it’d work with Jackson? It all sounds in retrospect like an example of loonies taking advantage of pop culture icons for the sake of their own ambiguous goals, and if they had gotten their mitts on Spidey, chances are it’d all amount to a sour defeat.
I do think Marvel as a publisher belongs in the ownership of better, smaller sources than Disney is turning out to be. But Jackson for one would not have made a good candidate based on what was researched about him in the Leaving Neverland documentary. So it’s decidedly fortunate such a man never bought it out.