Author Topic: James Bama appreciation thread!  (Read 2898 times)

Hepcat

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James Bama appreciation thread!
« on: April 09, 2012, 03:21:52 PM »
James Bama was born in Manhattan in 1926 and graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York before joining the Army Air Corps. After the end of WWII, he resumed drawing studies at the Art Students League. He worked as a commercial artist for fifteen years with Charles E. Cooper Studios beginning in 1951. Both flexible and fast, he carved out a lucrative niche for himself doing illustrations for movie posters, paperback covers for Bantam and other publishers, and both covers and interiors for the sweat magazines.

But it's the box art he did for the Aurora monster model kits beginning with the Frankenstein in 1961 for which he's best known in certain quarters, including UMA, today:







 

This James Bama picture initially appeared on the poster inserted into the Aurora kits to advertise the company's monster building contest.





It was later used as part of the box art for the Aurora Gigantic Frankenstein kit as well as for the cover of the 1965 Famous Monsters of Filmland Yearbook.

Here's a list of the Aurora monster model kits with James Bama's artwork:

Frankenstein
Dracula
Wolf Man
Creature
Mummy
Phantom of the Opera
Customizing Monster Kit
Customizing Monster Kit Featuring the Vulture & Mad Dog
Godzilla
King Kong
Bride of Frankenstein
Witch
Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Dracula's Dragster
Frankenstein's Flivver
Mummy's Chariot
Wolf Man's Wagon
Addams Family Haunted House
Munsters
Gigantic Frankenstein
Monster Colors (paint set)

More pictures of his Aurora box art can be found in threads such as these:

http://www.universalmonsterarmy.com/forum/index.php?topic=13241.0

http://www.universalmonsterarmy.com/forum/index.php?topic=17099.0

This book published in 2007 provides an excellent overview of not only his Aurora monster model kit artwork but his other work as well:



 cl:)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:27:20 AM by The Drunken Severed Head »
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Flower

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 10:14:36 AM »
Nice write up!

I too like James Bama ...  8)
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Unknown Primate

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 01:09:11 PM »
One of the greatest!
" Perhaps he dimly wonders why, there is no other such as I. "

Hepcat

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 04:03:42 PM »
But the Aurora box covers are not James Bama's best known work. The 62 covers that James Bama did for the Doc Savage paperbacks published by Bantam Books from 1964 to 1972 are instead the ones regarded as his signature pieces.

   

Here's a website that displays them all:

James Bama Doc Savage Covers

 8)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 01:21:50 PM by Hepcat »
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ChrisW

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 06:54:49 PM »
Gotta love Bama.

One correction Hep - Mort Künstler did the "Forgotten Prisoner..." artwork.

Flower

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 08:21:39 AM »
Didn't Mort also do the artwork on the Mad Mad Mad Scientist Lab game?
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" ...  Albert Schweitzer

Hepcat

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 08:32:52 AM »
Gotta love Bama.

One correction Hep - Mort Künstler did the "Forgotten Prisoner..." artwork.


Yes, you're correct. I goofed.

 :(

Didn't Mort also do the artwork on the Mad Mad Mad Scientist Lab game?


Yes, Mort did that one too and it's my single favourite monster related item!



 8)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:37:21 AM by Hepcat »
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Hepcat

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 09:33:12 AM »
Here's a picture I lifted from the net of the rarely seen Aurora Monster Colors set for which James Bama did the box art:



 8)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:36:21 AM by Hepcat »
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Zardoz

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 01:42:16 PM »
Great thread for a great artist !!!!

Illoman

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 10:07:52 PM »
Hepcat, were did you find that poster of the six paintings with Bama's name underneath them? Very nice!

Hepcat

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 08:43:36 AM »
I found the poster at the Morbid Monster site:

Morbid Monster

 cl:)
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LundyAfterMidnight

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 10:41:58 AM »
Yup, one of the Big 3, w/ Basil Gogos & Jack Davis, artists who made our monster memories.
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Illoman

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 11:17:19 AM »
I found the poster at the Morbid Monster site:

Morbid Monster

 cl:)


Thanks.

Hepcat

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 12:12:41 PM »
James Bama also did quite a few fantasy/science fiction covers for Bantam paperback books unrelated to Doc Savage. Here are a few:



The Frankenstein he painted for the Bantam paperback appeals to me more than even the one he did for the Aurora Gigantic Frankenstein kit. A fan combined this painting of Frankenstein with one of Bama's Doc Savage renderings to create this magnificent faux Doc Savage cover:



The fellow actually did a whole series of these faux Doc Savage covers:

Doc Savage Fantasy Covers

Bama's most iconic science fiction cover though was perhaps the one he did for the first paperback adaptation of the Star Trek television series:



Bama initially did the piece for a NBC print ad to promote the new Star Trek series which ran in publications such as TV Guide. Bantam Books then bought the rights to use the artwork for the cover of the Star Trek paperback. Oscar Dystel, the president of Bantam, was heard to say at the time "Why can't we get artists to do covers like these?" Ahhhhh, Mr. Dystel sir, this Bama fellow actually already....

 ;D



Edited by moderator at the request of the poster to fix error.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 12:42:05 PM by The Drunken Severed Head »
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Illoman

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Re: James Bama appreciation thread!
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2012, 12:32:45 PM »
James Bama has been amazing me with his work for over forty years. My older brother collected the Bantam Doc Savage paperbacks, so I got to see a lot of Bama artwork growing up. A while back I was lucky enough to get this 1977 exhibition catalog, signed by Jim: