Gary Panter was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas. He studied painting at the East Texas State University and moved to Los Angeles in 1977. In the early 70's he drew posters and band fliers for the likes of The Germs and as well as creating the early adventures of his punk/nuclear/hillbilly alter ego, Jimbo.
In the 1980s, he was the set designer for Pee Wee's Playhouse, where he won three Emmy Awards. Returning to comics in the early 1990s, Gary drew seven issues of a Jimbo comic book.