Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Mystery of Kevin Banks

In the early 1970's Marvel began reprinting some of their kids humor titles from the 1950s, often altering the art of changing characters names. Homer the Happy Ghost by Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo, as well as Lee and Maneely's Dexter the Demon was reprinted, under the name Peter the Little Pest. Li'l Kid's was another title that likely featured 1950s reprints (there was no content info on the GCD) but with the 10th issue new material was published.



Lil Kid's introducing Calvin # 10. Kevin Banks signature along with N. T. 
Image from the Grand Comicbook Database.

For three issues the title changed to L'il Kids introducing Calvin, a humorous strip featuring an African-American child. the cover is signed K.Banks, along with the initials M. T. who may actually be the artist, as Steve Bennett speculates. Interestingly, the splash page has a drawing of the writer and/or artist, which only tells us that he looks like a fairly young man at the time. You can read more about what Steve has to say about the strip and see scans of the interior stories here:



I've never heard anything about the strip nor the artist. I've quizzed folks like Roy Thomas and Tony Isabella, but they don't recall anything.  I've scoured the internet and have come up with few clues. Does anyone know who Kevin Banks is? Was Banks a writer or artist ? Or both? And who was N. T. ? Did he go on to draw other strips? Perhaps work in obscurity at companies like Charlton or Gold Key?  

Any comments or information would be appreciated.  

8 comments:

Barry Pearl said...

I looked him up in Horn's Encyclopedia of comics to no avail.

I know Bill Foster, a great guy and a good authority on African American comics and their creators. Remember the PBS show with "Negro" comics that Jackie was on? He was also one of the comic book authorities.And one of the Board members for the book I was in. I emailed him asking for information. I also directed him to your blog.

carddown said...

The inkers initials are N.T.
Here's a look at another cover with a signature:
http://www.comicvine.com/lil-kids-/37-177432/

Nick Caputo said...

Barry,

Thanks for your assistance. Carddown, thanks for the correction, I will fix that.

Steven Thompson said...

I, too, tried to track this one down a while back to no avail.

I really don't think you can even depend 100% that the caricature of the artist IS the artist. Grass Green, an African-American artist, caricatured himself as white in one of his early seventies stories, for example.

Steven Thompson said...

Who was editing these otherwise reprint titles at the time? That would seem to be someone to ask if they're still around.

Nick Caputo said...

Roy Thomas was the editor at the time, but there was so much product out that he had no recollection of Banks, or who N. T. might have been.

Kid said...

Wish I could help, Nick, but I know nothing about this one. If it was a rush job, the artist may have used the initials of a pseudonym, which will make identification even harder.

Miss Cotton Tail said...

he is my uncle we still have some of the original comics