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Bama, James

Entry updated 29 April 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1926-2022) US artist and illustrator, active from before World War Two, in which he served. Some of his work as an illustrator was for sf magazines, beginning with the cover of Out of This World Adventures for December 1950; his work for the Saturday Evening Post was nonfantastic. His first book cover, for the nonfantastic A Bullet for Billy the Kid (1950) by Nelson Nye [but see Billy the Kid], was followed by work for several publishers, mostly nonfantastic as well. His most sustained project as cover artist was a series of over sixty covers from 1964 for the long Doc Savage series published under the House Name Kenneth Robeson, mostly by Lester Dent. Almost all of these cover images feature muscular portraits of Savage himself, usually modelled with a degree of polished exaggeration [see Gallery under links below].

After moving in 1968 from New York to Wyoming, Bama concentrated on paintings of Western figures, specializing in Native American and white men and women, rendering his subjects, highly foregrounded against anonymous backdrops, with a romanticized hyper-realist intensity. By the end of his life, he was very much best known for this work. [JC]

James Elliott Bama

born New York: 28 April 1926

died Wapiti, Wisconsin: 24 April 2022

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