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The new Image Comics series Midlife asks what one middle-aged man can do to make the world better

Spoilers: Said middle aged man is fireproof

Image credit: Image Comics

What does it take to be a good man, never mind a good hero? That’s the question at the heart of Midlife, a new Image Comics series from the creative team of Brian Buccellato and Stefano Simeone — a superhero series that wonders if a 50-year-old schlub can make it good after all this time, if he really, really tries.

Describing the series as “a combination of grounded, humorous, dark, and absurd,” Buccellato explained to Popverse that the new series is “weirdly" personal: "I’m fifty-two. Squarely in Generation X. I have a grown son, and two young daughters. And while I do have experience writing about superheroes, sadly I’m not one. Midlife is an attempt to put someone like me in the shoes of a hero. A guy who simultaneously feels too old to be a hero, but too young to be fifty. Fifty?! Come on! A Gen-Xer who grew up idolizing Christopher Reeve’s Superman — an icon of truth, justice, and hope —only to come of age in a world of cynicism, lying politicians, and job instability. A place without heroes to believe in. So, our guy will have to learn on the fly because the world depends on it. And he will. Because his generation is adaptable, resourceful, and underestimated.”

As it turns out, Ruben Kwan — the hero in question - is someone who’s got good reason to want to make himself better: he’s about to become a father for the second time in his life. Of course, in the process of trying to improve himself, Ruben accidentally discovers quite the unexpected improvement: he’s fireproof. So… what next…?

“Ruben is determined to make [his daughter] proud by using his powers for good, but he also wants to be a present father and husband and correct past mistakes with his eldest son,” Buccellato said. “That’s already a lot on his shoulders… and what he doesn’t know is that his super-natural ability is a genetic gift with a mystery that has have global ramifications he will unravel over time.”

Ruben’s DNA is something very personal beyond just sharing an age with his creator, the writer revealed. “There is also a personal reason why Ruben is half Chinese and half Puerto Rican... I am half Puerto Rican and want to incorporate that in the stories I write. And my firefighter brother-in-law, who is just as much a part of Ruben's DNA, is Chinese. So, I MASHED us together as the inspiration for Ruben,” he explained. “Diversity and representation are important elements that I wholeheartedly believe should be reflected in modern storytelling. The world we live in is diverse and so our stories should be too.”

Midlife launches this October from Image Comics; enjoy the exclusive preview from the first issue, below.

Also due from Image Comics soon, the Legendary Lynx, making her long-awaited return to comic books (despite having never actually been a comic book character before; it’s complicated.)

Graeme McMillan

Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.


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