Born in Chicago, Jim Gary worked at the commercial department of King Features Syndicate, where he illustrated book covers for adventure novels. In the mid-1930s, he worked with Stephen Slesinger on series for Whitman Publishing. Influenced by Milton Caniff and Alex Raymond, he illustrated the cowboy comic 'G-Men' and adaptations of Boris Karloff series. For Popular Comics and Crackajack Funnies, he drew the adventures of the Chinese detective 'Mr. Wong'. From 1939, Jim Gary was the artist of the 'King of the Royal Mounted' comic. Created originally as a Sunday page by author Zane Grey and artist Allen Dean in 1935, Jim Gary took over the comic from Dean's successor Charles Flanders. A daily feature had already been added to the Sunday page by that time, and Gary drew both until 1955. He was also the assistant of Fred Harman on 'Red Ryder' between 1938 and 1962.