Today is Michael Jackson's birthday, and in addition to cranking up Off the Wall, we're celebrating around here by remembering that time that the King of Pop almost bought Marvel Comics so that he could play Spider-Man in a movie. Seriously: That was a thing that almost happened.

One can only imagine what Marvel would've been like under the ownership of Michael Jackson -- they'd probably have more than one bathroom, and maybe a Ferris wheel and some chimpanzees to boot -- but alas, we'll never know. What we do know, however, is that one time, Michael Jackson and Stan Lee hung out at Stan's offices, presumably bonding over a mutual love of aviator shades, and it was all caught on video. Press pause on Thriller and check out the historic bro-down after the cut!

Even though it only clocks in at just over four minutes, there are enough amazing things going on here to fill an hour. The video itself identifies the setting as Marvel Studios, but the big 7th Portal poster and the reference to webcasts makes me pretty sure that it's actually the Los Angeles headquarters of the short-lived Stan Lee Media, circa 2001. If nothing else, that would explain the gigantic portrait of Stan Lee that Stan Lee has in Stan Lee's conference room at Stan Lee media.

You know, I never did understand why people thought Stan had a big ego. If I'd co-created Spider-Man, Michael Jackson would be touring my off-shore lair in a volcano shaped like my own head.

Also worth noting: Stan's tone of voice when he announces that he's going to kidnap Michael Jackson, which -- by Stan Lee standards (or Stan-dards) -- lacks just enough of his typical bombast that it actually sounds like he's dead serious and this is about to turn into a wacky crime caper built around getting back all the money that SLM lost in the dot-com crash. Don't worry, though, he's back in form by the time he starts talking about how he's the only man who owns a bank vault.

Either way, it's a pretty enjoyable meeting to watch, if only to see Michael Jackson walking around with a bunch of souvenirs while Stan Lee tells him not to bump his head in his portrait studio.

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