Howard Simpson, who also uses the pen name Poppy, got his bachelor in fine arts from the Tyler School of Arts. He was a commercial artist during the 1980s, working for Action News, Bantam Books, Sony and various Fortune 500 companies. After contributing to some fanzines, he also began to work professionally as a comic artist, starting with contributions to DC comic books like 'Green Lantern', 'The Outsiders', a couple of 'Secret Origin' titles and 'Young Alstars'. He was an inker on Dark Horse's 'Captain Crusader'. In the 1990s, he worked on First Publising's 'Grimjack' and 'Munden's Bar', Heroic Comics' 'Captain Thunder and Blue Bolt', 'Icicle' and 'League of Champions' and Topps' 'Ray Bradbury Comics: Martian Chronicles'. He also worked as a penciller, inker and background artist of several of Acclaim's Valiant imprint series, such as 'Turok', and illustrated 'Timon and Pumbaa' stories for Disney Adventures.