JASPER THE BEAR

JASPER THE BEAR

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE OF PERSON\S\SIMPKINS James, Maclean's, 21 Mar 1994, 55.jpg                          Simpkins with Jasper. Photo, Phil Snel, Canapress. Maclean’s, 21 March 1994: 55.

“The first time I ever set eyes on him the bear was nailing a “No Hunting” sign to a tree.”                                                                                                                                James Simpkins. “How I was trapped by Jasper the bear for Maclean’s Magazine.” Maclean’s, 6 July 1963: 15.

Created by James Simpkins, it first appeared as a nameless panel in Maclean’s magazine, 15 November 1948. In the following issue 1 December 1948, it became “Jasper”. It remained a feature in Maclean’s until September 1974 and the magazine began changing its format from a monthly general interest publication to a newsmagazine in 1975. It was syndicated as a cartoon strip by Canada Wide Services from 1967 to 1974 while it continued to appear as a panel in Maclean’s. It was also the subject of five books. Journalist Peter C. Newman remarked that “Jasper” captured our national character so well, that “… someday we may even change our national animal emblem from a beaver to a bear.”

“Jasper” was conceived in response to Maclean editor Jerry Anglin’s request that Simpkins “…develop an animal character that would be distinctively Canadian …”. However, he didn’t want any “Bertie The Beaver” cartoons. The character was initially a polar bear, but Jerry suggested its wry sense of humour was more suited to that of a friendly black bear. He also gave the character its name. As can be seen “Jasper” was much shaggier and behaved more like a bear in the early issues of Maclean’s. As time passed he became much sleeker and behaved more human. Although “Jasper” does not talk to humans, he does talk to other animals and he understands human speech. Simpkins always pictured him as a brown bear, but printing considerations at Maclean’s made “Jasper” black. It was only when he was also portrayed in a strip that he finally appeared in the colour that Simpkins wanted.

In 1962 Jasper was adopted as a mascot by Jasper National Park in Alberta. James designed a “Jasper” with a tartan cap and scarf for the Jasper Curling Club. This designed was emblazoned on their sweaters. He appeared in effigy in all gala town functions. ”Jasper” spanking a tourist appeared on a park poster warning against feeding bears. A statue was erected outside the train station. In 2004 it was moved to Patricia Street because of vandalism. Later it was transferred to the Jasper Sky Tram location where it remains today. A new statue of Jasper has been erected on Connaught Ave. just north of the tourism centre in downtown Jasper. In 2005, in celebration of Alberta’s centennial, a “Jasper the Bear” coin was issued.

A few examples of the large array of “Jasper” merchandise including, buttons, decals, figurines, glasses, greeting cards, mugs, pillows, plaques rugs are shown below.

MEDIUM:

BOOK GRAPHIC:

Content story & Cover book front :

Jasper and the Cubs. Car., James Simpkins. Copp Clark Publishing Co., 1970.

BOOK GRAPHIC COLLECTION:

Content panel & Cover book front & dust jacket front & back:

Jasper. Cart., James Simpkins. Ryerson Press, Oct. 1954.

Content panel & Cover front & back:

Jasper. Cart., James Simpkins. McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1972.

Content panel & Cover wraparound:

Jasper. Cart., James Simpkins. Burns & MacEachern Ltd./ Rinehart & Co., Inc., 1960.

BOOK TEXT & GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:

Cover book back:

Canadian Children’s Annual, 1977. Ed., Robert F. Neilson. Art Dir., Mary Tach. 1976: Illus., James Simpkins.

Content:

Activity:

Children’s Annual, 1977. Ed., R. F. Neilson. Art Dir., M. Tach. 1976: Hi! Welcome To Jasper’s Game Forest.” Writ., William Ettridge. Illus., James Simpkins. Canadian: 36-39.

Story:

Canadian Children’s Annual, 1978. Ed., R. F. Neilson. Art Dir., M. Tach. Potlatch Publications, 1977: “Jasper’s Cubs”: 140.

PERIODICAL TEXT ANTHOLOGY:

Cover:

Maclean’s 18 February 1956.

Maclean’s 27 April 1957 “With Jasper’s apologies to Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.” Illus.,  James Simpkins.\

Maclean’s July 1963. Illus., James Simpkins.

Content:

Illustration:

Maclean’s, 1 Dec. 1950: “Never Get Friendly With A Friendly Bear.” Writ., Fred Bodsworth. Illus., J. Simpkins: 23.

Maclean’s, 6 July 1963: “How I was trapped by Jasper the bear for Maclean’s Magazine.” Writ.& Illus., J. Simpkins: 15-17.

POSTER:

“Jasper: Seasons Greetings/Meilleurs voeux, Cart., James Simpkins. no date.          1155 mm h X 860 mm w.

MERCHANDISE:

Colouring Book:

Jasper’s Journey Across Canada/Le Voyage de Jasper à traverse Le Canada. Writ. & Illus., James Simpkins. Irwin Specialties/Irwin Toy Ltd., no date.

Greeting Cards:

“For Your Birthday A Great Big Bear Hug.” Hallmark.

“Going On A Trip? Don’t Forget… Come Back When The Cash Is Gone.” Hallmark.

“Having A Wonderful Time Wish You Were …. HERE!” Hallmark.

“Heard You Were Sick Bear Up Get Well.” Hallmark

“I’m Enjoying A Holiday. Never Caught So Many Fish”. Hallmark.

“Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men and Animals.” Hallmark.

You forgot our date. No information.

Postcard

S-148. Photo, John Sutton. Double L Color Productions: circa 1960’s.

S-156. Photo, G.L. Gibbons. Double L Color Productions: circa 1960’s.

SOURCE:

Periodical text:

Maclean’s, 6 July 1963:                                                                                                                  “How I was trapped by Jasper the bear for Maclean’s Magazine.” Writ.,                                   J. Simpkins: 15-17.                                                                                                     “Jasper 1948 … Jasper 1963”: 51.

Maclean’s, 21 March 1994: “Grin and bear it”: 55

Taddle Creek, 41, Summer 2018: “Distinctly Canadian.” Writ., Conan Tobias. 33.

GALLERY:

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, Maclean's 6 July 1963, 51.jpg                           Maclean’s 6 July 1963: 51

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR Maclean's Jan 1969, 74.jpg                                            Maclean’s, Jan. 1969: 74

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER, Maclean's, May 1973, 64.jpg                                  Maclean’s, May 1973: 64.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER, Maclean's,Sept, 1973,42.jpg                                    Maclean’s, September 1973: 42

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, an original, pen & ink, water colour .jpgOriginal, pen & ink, watercolour

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, 19 June 1971.jpg Canada Wide Syndicate, 19 June 1971

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER Greeting card, Hallmark _0001.jpg Greeting card, Hallmark

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, Postcard, circa 1960's, John Sutton.jpg                                      Postcard S-148. Photo, John Sutton. Double L Color Productions: circa 1960’s.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, Postcard, circa 1960's, W.J.L. Gibbons.jpg  Postcard S-156. Photo, G.L. Gibbons. Double L Color Productions: circa 1960’s.

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE CARTOON\IMAGE CARTOON J\JASPER THE BEAR, Taddle Creek, 41, 1.jpg                                New Statue. Taddle Creek, 41, Summer 2018: 1