Neverland: Michael Jackson

Exploring the life and death of Jackson, his fame and early success with Motown Records, The Jackson 5 and the reality of the band, his private life and being the best selling US artist

Video Discussion

Jim McCarthy on the Michael Jackson graphic novel ‘Neverland’.

Neverland: Michael Jackson

 

This graphic novel explores the effects of fame on Jackson, his early success with Motown Records, his burgeoning success as the best selling US artist, it visually explores the interactions with The Jackson 5 cartoon series and the reality of the band.

The prologue will show a respected musician James Jamerson (the renowned bassist) bemoaning Motown’s move from Detroit- this I believe sets the tone of Motown as the most successful African-American record label in history and this will segue into the Jackson’s filmed audition for Motown.

This graphic novel takes in Thriller, the biggest selling record of all time; the outside attacks on Jackson, the marriage to Elvis’s daughter, the elaborate costumes, the wonder and fantasy of the Neverland ranch. The last act will be his death in mysterious circumstances; and the fantasy Peter Pan like reverie of his life. I think the book will address the emptiness of fame at that level. To have everything you have desired, to achieve a kind of monstrous uber-success and to somehow lose?

Since Cobain, McCarthy has given Eminem, Tupac and Sex Pistols the comic-strip treatment and is now working on Neverland: The Life and Death of Michael Jackson, due for publication later this year. With artwork by Brian Williamson, the Jackson novel will have a more realistic feel than previous works, he says, but inhabits the same moral universe. All of these tales have a titanic battle of creativity vs celebrity, or good vs evil, at their heart. The difference is that their unlikely comic-book heroes end up losing more often than they win. “They’re all about people from deprived backgrounds who end up finding fame wanting and just incredibly illusory,” says McCarthy. With American Idol and X Factor all over our screens, there’s a story to be told there, but I don’t think people want to listen.

Alice Jones

The Independent Newspaper