We ComiConverse with Carly Usdin

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
September 3rd, 2017

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

We ComiConverse with Carly Usdin

This week sees the release of the first issue of Hi Fi Fight Club, written by Carly Usdin, from Boom! Studios. The comic is an all-girl, teen adventure story set in a record store in the late 1990’s. Although this is Carly Usdin’s first comic she is not new to creative projects. She has produced award winning promotional campaigns, on-air music shows and, with her wife Robin, set up their own creative agency and production company. Carly’s first feature film, Suicide Kale, is currently available on various platforms: it’s a wonder that she’s had time to write a comic.

Carly took time out to answer some questions, and to give us insight into Hi Fi Fight Club.

Carly Usdin

Credit: Boom! Studios

Darryll: Hi Carly, firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on the first issue of Hi Fi Fight Club, it is an engaging comic with a number of endearing characters. Plus the buildup was a very well-paced page turner, I want issue two already.

Caryl Usdin: Thank you!

Darryll: On your web site you refer to yourself as a ‘huge nerd’. So, have you always been interested in comics and if so what did you read growing up?

Caryl Usdin: Oh, yes. Growing up I mostly read Batman and X-Men comics and watched Star Trek: TNG, The X-Files, TMNT, Buffy and the Batman '66 reruns that were always on.

Darryll: As Hi Fi Fight Club is your debut comic, I wondered how it come about? How long has this story been brewing and how difficult was it to get to publication?

Caryl Usdin: This story has been brewing, in some form or another, for a few years now. I knew I wanted to tell a story about some kickass teen girls, but I had no idea what format it would take. When the opportunity to work with BOOM! presented itself, everything just fell into place.

Darryll: It is set 20 years ago in New Jersey, did you choose this time and setting for a particular reason?

Caryl Usdin: In 1998, I was 16 and living in New Jersey. So, I'm tapping into a lot of my own experiences and nostalgia. I did not work at a record store (I spent all my money at one by my house, though), but this is my love letter to the Garden State and the pop culture of the late ’90s.

Darryll: What do you find most fascinating about the late 90’s culture?

Caryl Usdin: Everything? [laughs] I lived it and grew up in it, so it's hard to answer that.

Darryll: A quick look at your CV and it becomes apparent that music plays a large part of your life, which is why Hi Fi is set in a vinyl shop I assume. Is there any music specifically that influences you and your work?

Caryl Usdin: Honestly, it depends on the project. I just finished a digital anthology series (it's airing now on Verizon's Go90 platform and is called Threads) and my music references for that were Brian Reitzell's score for Hannibal and a bunch of early 2000s electro. For Hi-Fi, my biggest influences were Garbage, Letters to Cleo, Sleater-Kinney, Tilt, the Cardigans, Veruca Salt, and Poe.

Darryll: A large number of comic creators are obsessed with music and people, such as Kieron Gillen, produce soundtracks to their comics. Is there a chance of you doing something similar? If so, what tracks would be on the Hi Fi Fight Club soundtrack?

Caryl Usdin: Whoops, I did it already!

Darryll: The comic has a cast of ‘music fan’ archetypes who work at Vinyl Mayhem, it’s like a fun version of High Fidelity, but which one do you most associate with and would you say this changed over time?

Caryl Usdin: Each of the characters is a tiny sliver of me, but the character most based on myself is Chris. This hasn't changed; that's always how I planned on writing the series.

Carly Udsin

Credit: Boom! Studios

Darryll: For Chris, the central character in the comic, this is a personal story of acceptance. It’s a coming of age comic. How much of it is based on your own personal experiences? Would you class it as autobiographical at all?

Caryl Usdin: Plot-wise it's not terribly autobiographical, but yeah, I'd consider it fairly personal. The things Chris wants and needs, and the ways she goes about reaching her goals, are all very similar to myself. There are some elements of wish fulfillment in there as well: I wish I had worked in a record store (I did not), I wish I had come out at 16 (it took me a few more years), and I wish I had joined a secret fight club!

Darryll: Issue one is out now but are there any secrets you can tell us about what is coming up in the next three issues? What have we got to look forward to?

Caryl Usdin: Expect twists, turns, Chris and Maggie sharing a meal at a diner, and FIGHTING!

Darryll: And finally, do you have plans to write further adventures with the staff of Vinyl Mayhem or even a different title entirely?

Caryl Usdin: If those opportunities present themselves, I'd jump at the chance. We shall see.

I would like to thank Carly for taking the time to answer my questions. Hi Fi Fight Club is out now so check it out in your local comic store.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson

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