toylandcover.jpg[ENGLISH] Free online comic book, The Dufus Detective, now in its second season, has found a unique way of integrating topical news with farcical comedy. Initially geared toward a college audience, this photo web comic is now attracting a much wider demographic. The Dufus Detective is a free monthly comic book of 15 to 20 pages found at www.dufusdetective.com. Its creator, RJ McDonnell, designed the first season’s comic plots, advertising, and services specifically for a college audience. In spite of the fact that the marketing efforts were focused almost exclusively on this group, the profile of its free subscriber base is remarkably homogeneous.

Now in its second season, The Dufus Detective has as many subscribers who are over 25 as under. This unexpected development has substantially altered the plot lines to accommodate the interests of their audience. The comic now focuses more on timely news items than on college student interests.

For example, in the current holiday issue, Santa Claus hires The Dufus Detective (Lance Dilfro) to stop a man who is selling Chinese toys coated with lead paint. Earlier in the second season, Lance prevented a US arms manufacturer who lost out on a bid to the US Government from selling his wares to one of our enemies. In his own way, Lance draws attention to serious issues and manages to resolve problems with much help from his sister and friends.

Besides the comedy writing and timely topics, McDonnell attributes a large measure of the comic book’s success to the real-life brother and sister team of Ryan Luczak and Kristen Brooks, who are the photo-web models for Lance and his smart sister, Yvette. Both are very attractive and exceptionally expressive. Kristen is currently appearing in TV commercials and works as a DJ at Scranton’s top radio station, ROCK 107.

The second season saw Yvette’s comic book husband, Jake, have his National Guard unit recalled to Iraq. “Besides the change in plot lines, I believe Jake’s involuntary recall to active duty did the most to connect with our audience in the heartland, as well as soldiers, parents and siblings of soldiers,” said McDonnell.

At a time when more and more people are getting their news from programming like, “The Daily Show,” and “The Colbert Report,” The Dufus Detective scores one for the low potential, high achievers of the world. “We just never imagined that this type of online humor would resonate with such a diverse audience,” McDonnell said.


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