This year marks Under the Glacier’s 20th anniversary with the Comox Valley Record.
We’re lucky Disney gave Bob Castle an offer he could refuse.
“I was approached by Disney but I never took the gig with them because in between pictures, you had to go work in the theme park. As much as I love Walt Disney and I can draw Mickey Mouse like that,” he said, snapping his fingers, “the thought of walking around a theme park in a Goofy costume, or Winnie the Pooh, or something, wasn’t very appealing.”
Born and raised in Courtenay, Castle says he has been drawing for as long as he can remember.
“It’s all I ever wanted to do, was be an artist. But artists starve, so I had to seek employment in other places and do this on the side.”
He earned his degree in graphic design in the mid-80s, while working at the mill in Campbell River, where he stayed for 31 years, dabbling in art as a side gig.
“The Record was the first one to publish me,” he said. “In 1994 they started printing the odd cartoon and then in 1995 I went into the office and said ‘look, I can just pop these out as much as you want.’ So they gave me once a week then moved me to twice a week. It was 1995 when they said ‘we need a name for the cartoon’, so Under the Glacier was born.”
Castle is a self-professed news junkie, which is somewhat of a requirement for an editorial cartoonist.
He’s not afraid to tap into any political topic, but likes the grassroots politics the best.
“One of the things that makes this area so good is that people are so passionate about it. People are very aware of their surroundings, whether it’s coal mining, or the Lorne Hotel, or what have you.”
He said that although the mayors of the Comox Valley take their share of ribbing, he knows that at the municipal level politicians are in it for the love of their community, and it shows.
His favourite target? The Comox Valley Regional District.
“They just make it so easy sometimes,” he said, laughing. “They are just handing this stuff to me on a silver platter. It’s easy being a political cartoonist when you got those guys in your area.”
When asked if there was one cartoon in the past 20 years that stood out as the most controversial, Castle did not hesitate.
“Years ago the SPCA announced they were going to stop euthanizing cats so I did a cartoon that involved a guy with a pitbull at the SPCA, wanting to help with the cat control policy, and this landslide of letters came in. I never knew there were so many cat lovers in the Valley. I touched more of a button with that one than any other.”