Boston and Shaun is a web comic, drawn by Shaun Reveal. It concerns a young boy named Shaun, and his pet dragon, Boston. Whilst it may sound like a third-rate Calvin and Hobbes (and in early episodes does resemble this, in part), it would be a gross understatement to say that Boston and Shaun is far stranger than Bill Watterson's creation.

Some of the early strips make attempts at mainstream humour; the first, dated 15 November 1999, has Boston sat behind Shaun. Shaun points at the sky and says, "Boston, someone took a bite out of the moon". In the next panel, we see Boston cover a burp. The final panel has Shaun saying "More I think about it, more I think that a dragon could do it".

Mildly funny, but hardly the stuff of brilliance. Later on, the humour goes out the window in favour of..... what, exactly? Early signs of Boston and Shaun's "WTF" strangeness are already apparent in the second strip, whose first panel features Boston shouting "Merge Attack!!!!" and Shaun yelling out in horror.

It all gets weirder from there. Frankly, it's very hard to explain it properly using words alone. The rather basic, stencil-like artwork of the early strips 'improves' in some areas (it's perhaps telling that, even in the beginning, Boston the dragon is more convincingly drawn than the human characters). Firstly we get some computer-generated gradients; later, the strip appears in full (and hideously garish) colour.

Accompanying these changes is the strip's rapid descent into downright bizarre incomprehensibility. It would probably be misleading to resort to clich├ęd comparisons with LSD or other drugs; Boston and Shaun's messed-up oddness is far more complex and psychological.

These include an obsession with something called 'fatting', Shaun turning into a dragon himself and travelling in Boston's mother's pouch, and increasingly shaky use of grammar and spelling. There seem to be strong furry undercurrents at play here, but that isn't the half of it. One thing that comes over strongly is the impression that, whilst the strip often makes little sense, there is an alien form of coherence behind it that probably makes perfect sense to the author. I suspect that explaining this would be very hard, and probably pointless, so he chooses not to bother.

However, we can probably conclude that, on some level at least, Mr Reveal has some seriously weird issues playing around in his subconscious. For example, do I really need to point out that the character Shaun has the same name as the author?

Finally; is Boston and Shaun any good? Well, artistically, it's a matter of taste (personally, I find the visual style and use of colour way too much like a children's book done in Deluxe Paint). Story-wise, the strip is so bizarre, I'm not sure that it's the right question to be asking.

Quite honestly, all the description in the world can't convey what Boston and Shaun is really like; the only way to find out is to see it for yourself.


Bibliography and Further Reading

  • Home Page:- http://www.bostonandshaun.com (Ironically, I haven't checked this recently as it requires Flash, which I killed off after one-too-many animated banner ads)
  • First Episode:- http://bostonandshaun.keenspace.com/d/19991115.html
  • Second Episode ("Merge Attack!"):- http://bostonandshaun.keenspace.com/d/19991116.html
  • 'Something Awful' article:- http://www.somethingawful.com/articles.php?a=2385
  • Picture:- http://us.vclart.net/vcl/Artists/Italo-R.S.-Marques/White_Gallery/Sunblaze.jpg

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