HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O! Your Favorite Girl Gang of Music-Loving Vigilantes is Back!

Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva reunite to bring you their newest graphic novel, available March 31, 2020.

Through publisher BOOM! Studios, writer Carly Usdin and artist Nina Vakueva bring you HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O! their follow-up to Heavy Vinyl: Riot on The Radio. It’s the summer of 1999 and the crew of the record store, Vinyl Destination, is back for a new adventure. The tension over Y2K is soaring and the girl gang vigilantes must fight to save the Internet, save the world of music, and prevent the total collapse of modern society…all while balancing their personal lives.

Smart Girls had the opportunity to talk to writer and filmmaker Carly Usdin about the creation of Heavy Vinyl, her inspirations, and her love of comic books.

Carly Usdin (photo by Robin Roemer)

Smart Girls: How did you first meet and come to collaborate with artist Nina Vakueva?

Carly Usdin: The wonderful folks at BOOM! Studios initially introduced me to Nina and her work. I immediately thought her style was perfect for the book. It’s been a really wonderful experience getting to collaborate over the past few years.

SG: What and who were your creative inspirations? Did you have favorite comic books or graphic novels growing up?

CU: I was definitely a comic book nerd growing up. I was mostly into Batman and the X-Men, but I read just about anything I could get my hands on. I was also a big fan of comic strips like Snoopy and Calvin and Hobbes. My creative inspirations growing up were ’90s teen comedies, Christopher Guest films, shows like Buffy and the X-Files. I was (and still am) completely obsessed with Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

SG: What was the inspiration behind Heavy Vinyl?

CU: My biggest inspiration for Heavy Vinyl was the film Empire Records. It’s one of my all-time faves and was a hugely influential film for me when I was in high school. Other inspirations include The Baby-Sitters Club series and Sailor Moon.

SG: How did you come up with Y2K as a subject for the sequel?

CU: So Heavy Vinyl Vol. 1 ends at the end of 1998. I didn’t want to jump ahead too far, but I did want things to have a little room to breathe. So I thought back to my life and the big cultural events of 1999. Two massive things that happened that year were the introduction of digital music and file sharing via Napster, and the panic caused by Y2K. Y2K feels almost silly in retrospect, so I thought it would be fun to insert the Heavy Vinyl girls right into madness. This is the untold story of why nothing really happened on January 1, 2000.

SG: What are your thoughts about the growing prevalence of women in the comic book and graphic novel world and where do you think that will lead?

CU: Keep it coming! More women and more queer folks making things, especially comic books and graphic novels. There are limitless stories and points of view, so there should be no end in sight. I hope this continues and we get new stories and characters to fall in love with.

SG: What do you like about using comic books and graphic novels as a means for storytelling?

CU: I’m new-ish to creating comic books and graphic novels. I’m a filmmaker and while I love that world, there are lots of limitations due to budget and time. But writing comics has allowed me to keep my ideas limitless, and that has been so much fun. I’m so lucky I get to do this, I really never thought I would.

HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O! will be available March 25, 2020 at local comic book shops, and March 31, 2020 at bookstores, or at the BOOM! Studios webstore.

Carly Usdin is the creator and writer of two comic book series for BOOM! Studios: The Avant-Guards and Heavy Vinyl, which was nominated for a 2018 Prism award, honoring the best in LGBTQAI+ comics. Carly is also a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her first feature, Suicide Kale, won the Audience Award for Best First Feature at Outfest 2016. In 2017, she served as showrunner and director for the scripted series Threads. Carly has spent years making short-form narrative and branded content as well as award-winning promo campaigns. She recently completed post-production on her short film Misdirection, created as part of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women (class of 2019), and is currently developing several projects through her production company, Scheme Machine Studios, which she owns with her wife, photographer and producer Robin Roemer.

HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O! Your Favorite Girl Gang of Music-Loving Vigilantes is Back! was originally published in Amy Poehler's Smart Girls on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

HEAVY VINYL: Y2K-O! Your Favorite Girl Gang of Music-Loving Vigilantes is Back!