“James Bama was born in 1926 and grew up in the Northeast. He followed his early interest in art through New York’s High School of Music and Art and the Art Students League. Bama is probably best known as the artist who portrayed Doc Savage on over sixty memorable book covers.“
Doc Savage was unlike any other hero before him. He was an adventurer, scientist, humanitarian, and defender of the innocent. Along with The Shadow, The Spider, The Avenger and other heroes in the pulp novels, Doc Savage was a predecessor to the modern-day superhero.”
I discovered Bama’s work through my dad’s book collection. I had started getting into reading Conan, Elric and other fantasy characters through their amazing covers. Just like Frazetta and Conan, Bama created the quintessential Man of Bronze. Bama’s Savage was strong and noble. Every image was an iconic moment of triumph, even in the face of certain danger while the curved typography of the book covers made each novel feel like a feature film.
Here’s the interesting thing… I’ve never actually read a Doc Savage novel. But, whenever I see the covers, I feel as if I’ve read the book. The simple compositions gave that much information.
This is pop culture design at its finest and definitely an approach to creating images that I’ll be exploring more in the near future.