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Patton Oswalt, Jordan Blum Unveil ‘Minor Threats’ Spinoff Comic ‘Barfly’ (Exclusive)

With their comic Minor Threats, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt and TV writer Jordan Blum found unexpected success with their title focused on the travails of underappreciated and overlooked D-list villains.

Now, a background character in the comic that is about background villains is getting his moment in the spotlight.

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From the World of Minor Threats: Barfly teams up the duo, who created Hulu’s stop-motion Marvel series M.O.D.O.K., with comics author Kyle Starks and artist Ryan Browne, the illustrator of indie hit Eight Billion Genies. It tells a coming-of-age story about an insect monster-man, seen previously as a silent but oh-so-cool-looking humanoid fly in a punk jacket in certain panels of the Threat comics. Now, he is searching for his identity in the criminal underworld of Twilight City. Dark Horse Comics is publishing the four-issue mini-series starting in July.

“Barfly was literally just a background character that people fixated on and that Kyle Starks expanded on,” says Oswalt, whose co-stars in Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire, which opens tomorrow. “It’s a very funny but also kinda tragic noir crime tale.”

Threat artist Scott Hepburn first drew a fly character sitting at a bar known as The Lower Lair, the home of a slew of supervillains, lowlifes, and scumbags. Then he kept on putting the character in various backgrounds.

“Not only did readers respond, but we did too,” Blum tells THR. “We were like, ‘What is that guy’s deal?’”

Starks, the author of such comedically acidic horror comics such as I Hate This Place, leads writing duties with Oswalt and Blum. Barfly also goes by the name of Sh!teater, described as a loser and a lifelong minion who lives to serve his criminal master. The story posits the question of what happens to a henchman when he no longer has anyone left to hench for?

Browne is handling art duties. The first issue will also feature a main cover art by Threats co-creator Scott Hepburn, with three variant covers featuring art by Browne, Martín Morazzo, Dan Hipp, and one more to be revealed at a later date.

A love letter to the superhero genre, Threats debuted in August 2022 and took on tropes and themes of the genre by telling its story from the perspective of the D-list supervillains. The initial mini-series proved to be a surprise hit with readers and critics, and Oswalt and Blum used the success to create a universe. A spinoff titled The Alternates, under a From the World of Minor Threats banner, was released last fall and was co-written by Tim Seeley . Minor Threats 2, a straight up sequel to the first volume, begins in April.

Being the comics geeks they are, Oswalt and Blum, while thrilled to be writing their own stories, are gleefully willing to let creators they admire into their sandbox.

“You know how some people collect action figures? We’re collecting creators and artists that we love,” says Oswalt. “It’s really flattering to create something and then have someone else whose work inspired you love come in and say, ‘Hey, that think just lit a spark in my head.’ That is just such an ultimate feeling for us.”

The first issue, now available to pre-order from your local comic shop for $4.99, will hit July 10. Check out a preview of some interior pages from the first issue as well as the covers below.

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