Dave Shelton was born in 1968 in Leicester, where he also grew up. It was »Good Dog, Bad Dog«, featuring Kirk Bergman und Duncan McBoo, two canine detectives who embark on a manhunt in a big city, that established his reputation. The comic was first serialized in 2008/2009 in the weekly edition of »DFC« as well as in the Saturday features section of the »Guardian«. »A Boy and a Bear in a Boat« (2012), for children between the ages of nine and twelve, whose constellation of characters brings to mind Yann Martel’s »Life of Pi«, tells of a bear who sets off on an adventurous boat trip with a young boy. The bear likes exotic sandwich toppings (sardines, bananas and pudding) and playing his ukulele, which he considers »free on-board entertainment«. What’s more, the bear doesn’t like making plans, as he believes that a captain has to be able to react to every situation as it arises. However, when they are down to one last sandwich, they have to try to catch fish to survive; they catch increasingly larger fish until they suddenly hook a sea monster. The boy becomes increasingly frustrated with the bear and starts picking a fight with him. When the bear vanishes from the boat, the boy panics; he realizes that they do need each other after all. Their adventure brings them closer. The horror story »Thirteen chairs« (2014), for children aged 12 and older, tells of Jack, who has to decide if he should enter a room in a big house or not. When he finally does, he discovers twelve strange figures, each of whom is sitting in front of a lit candle. There’s one empty chair waiting for him. Jack sits down and listens as each character recounts a story of death and doom, murder and revenge. They share sagas and legends, tell of demonic creatures, ruthless businessmen, sailors and penmen. Once a story is finished, the narrator blows out his candle. Finally there is only one candle burning; Jack is surrounded by darkness. Finally he realizes which horror story he has to tell. The thirteen short stories are filled with suspense and vividly described, each one raises questions that we expect to be answered by Jack’s story, which also solves the mystery of why these strange characters have gathered here.
Dave Shelton won the Branford Boase Award in 2013 for »A Boy and a Bear in a Boat«. He lives in Cambridge, England.