R.I.P., M.J.

The late Michael Jackson had several San Diego connections, aside from performing and recording with once-local bassist Nathan East.

The official Michael Jackson Moonwalker 3D comic book, based on a long-form 1988 video, was published by Blackthorne Publications, then located near Grossmont College. Released in 1989, six years after the breakthrough of Thriller, and falling between Jackson’s 1987 Bad album and the 1993 child-molestation scandal, the Moonwalker comic was a flop.

“We got involved with a distributor to the gift-store industry who promised all kinds of access to sales outlets, but unfortunately they never came through,” publisher Steve Schanes told the Reader in 2003.

Revolutionary Comics publisher Todd Loren said that Schanes told him the Moonwalker comic incurred a loss of at least $50,000. Loren published the UNofficial Jackson bio comic in 1991, under the banner of Hillcrest-based Revolutionary Comics, before he was murdered around a year later.

In August 2005, rumors of Michael Jackson sightings at Carlsbad’s Chopra Center for Well Being proved true. “After the verdict clearing him of child molestation charges,” said Deepak Chopra at the time, “Michael and his children spent a week with me in San Diego.… Michael is eccentric, but I know he’s not guilty of a criminal offense. Let’s not forget that Michael is an independent person. He confuses people. He’s sexually, racially, and culturally ambiguous.”

Clairemont High grad Jennifer Batten lived in San Diego between 1969 and 1984. She did three world tours playing guitar for Jackson and performed with him in a 1993 Super Bowl performance.

Finally, local MJ impersonator Dev Gregory has updated her profile on the Gig Salad website to read, “Dev was Michael Jackson’s dance double on E! TV’s True Hollywood stories.… Now, with the passing of the greatest performer of all time, Dev brings Michael back to life.” She also upped her $500 performance fee, which now ranges from $500 to $2000. Says Dev, "I will travel anywhere overseas for a minimum of $2000."

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