R.I.P. Michael Jackson: Comic Book Fan, Collector -- And Almost The Owner Of Marvel Comics

From trips to the comic shop to a collection of some of the most impressive comics-related memorabilia around, Jackson made no secret of his affinity for comics -- going so far as to almost buy Marvel Comics in the late 1990s.

Late last year, Jackson even dropped by Los Angeles comic book shop Golden Apple with his three children to pick up a pile of issues to add to his collection. Hidden behind a pair of massive sunglasses and veil, Jackson had his children wear masks on their way into the store to hide their identities -- including one mask designed to look like Mike Allred's "Madman" character. His appearance prompted a bit of a commotion, but reports claimed that both he and his children happily left with a stack of comics new and old.

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.

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.

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