James Simpkins is the creator of 'Jasper the Bear', the famous bear whose adventures appeared in MacLean's magazine for over 24 years and who is the mascot of national park with the same name. Simpkins studied at the Winnipeg School of Art and began his career as an advertising artist for Beaver Magazine. After serving in the military health service during World War II, he settled in Ottawa and went to work for the Office National du Film.
'Jack the Bear' made its first appearance in MacLean's in December 1948, and Simpkins' single-panel cartoon ran until the artist's retirement in 1972. In addition to 'Jack the Bear', Simpkins made monthly comic strips for The Medical Post, as well as several sequential strips about cavemen.