Each day, Dustin invites readers into the lives of the Kudlick family, who have welcomed the strip’s 23-year-old namesake back into the house after college for “just a little while.”
Mind you, the Kudlicks are not a dysfunctional family — rather they are highly functioning with mother (Helen), father (Ed) and daughter (Megan) suddenly living again with devoutly dysfunctional Dustin, who at 23 is unemployed, unmotivated and unable to see any of that as a problem.
An inveterate dreamer, Dustin refuses the prescribed route to success — working his way up. Instead, he insists he will patent an invention…join the PGA Tour…or take his comedy act to television. Until then, he works temporary jobs for a day or two — sometimes a week — and then quits or is fired and the process begins anew. One day, he’s a meter maid, taking down soccer mom SUVs. The next day, he is a private detective investigating a cheating spouse: “I have to follow some lady around the golf course…her husband thinks she’s moving her ball.”
Though Dustin is the star, the stripis what creators Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker call a “sitcomic” that often explores relationships of cast members, even in Dustin’s absence. Kelley notes, “Between Dustin’s temp jobs, Helen’s radio show and Ed’s law practice, the strip has plenty of fresh air pouring in. The only thing about Dustin that’s predictable is that it’s different every day.”
Dustin was named “Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year" by the National Cartoonists Society for 2010.
At 23, Dustin Kudlick is a recent college graduate who majored in English because he already spoke the language. Unencumbered with ambition, Dustin’s goal is to find a career that yields the greatest pay for the least amount of effort.
As a successful general practice lawyer, the family patriarch sets a high bar. His second job is encouraging Dustin to move onward and upward — but he’d settle for out.
Sunny and self-assured, Helen is Dustin’s enabler, forever defending him to his father. An unapologetic shopper, Helen hosts a successful call-in radio show.
Studious and disciplined, Meg is everything her older brother isn’t.
The salty owner of TurboTemps, a one-Cajun-woman employment agency, Simone provides Dustin with temporary job assignments and unending criticism.