When James Bama was a six years old, he went to see the classic Universal monster movies: Wolfman, Frankenstein and Dracula. “They were seriously done and beautifully crafted,” Bama said. He was so scared afterward that he had to sleep in his mother’s bed.
When he later became a professional illustrator, he got the the assignment to illustrate the plastic model box covers. He used movie stills as reference for Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and Dracula.
But parents complained that the actual plastic models didn’t live up to the painted covers. So starting with the Mummy, he worked instead from reference photos of the completed models. Despite the truth in advertising, the painting based on the actual model might not be quite as successful at presenting the fantasy.
In all, Bama did 23 model covers, contributing to the Baby Boomer’s monster craze of the 1960s.
Full story and large color reproductions in: James Bama, American Realist, published by Flesk Publications.