Rogues Portal had the opportunity to speak with Carly Usdin, writer of the recently released Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 from BOOM! Studios.
Check out the Q&A below!
Rogues Portal (RP): Where did the idea for Hi-Fi Fight Club first originate?
Carly Usdin (CU): I’ve always wanted to create something about a group of badass teen girls. I had assumed, given my background, that it would be a TV show or a film. But when the opportunity to create a comic book presented itself, everything just clicked.
RP: The comic does a fantastic job of presenting readers with diverse, well-developed characters. What is your writing process like?
CU: I have no idea how to describe my writing process! Diverse, well-developed characters are really important to me, both in what I create and what I consume. I usually put on a mix of my favorite music from high school, write a detailed outline, and see where it goes from there.
RP: I really like that we get to see Chris with her co-workers and at home with her family. Can readers expect to see more of this balance?
CU: Yes, definitely! The great thing about teenage characters (and the frustrating thing about *being* a teenager) is that they have very little control of what goes on around them. They’re usually being told what to do by teachers, parents, or family members. So, despite what adventures they have, they still need to make sure they’re home by curfew and getting to class on time. That was one of my favorite things about shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and something that is really fun to write in Hi-Fi Fight Club.
RP: It’s super cool that many of the main characters are 17, right at that awkward age between teenager and adult. As a 20-something, never quite “adult” individual, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I imagine that it would definitely appeal to younger readers as well. Did you write Hi-Fi Fight Club with a particular audience in mind?
CU: This is a YA, all-ages book. I think our particular audience is people who are teens now, and people who were teens in the ’90s, like me!
RP: Is any aspect of the comic inspired by your own teenage years? If you tell me you were in an all-girl vigilante fight club, I am going to be way jealous.
CU: Ha, I wish! So, in 1998 I was 16 and living in New Jersey. I’m tapping into a lot of my own experiences and nostalgia. I did not work at a record store (I really, really wanted to, though), but I did spend a few years working at Urban Outfitters in college, which is relatively similar.
RP: I am a huge fan of 90s culture, and it seemed like the creative team had a lot of fun with it! Did it require a lot of research?
CU: I lived all of this! My research has mostly been in the form of checking when specific films or albums were released. Since the book takes place in 1998, I want any references we make to be super accurate. And I know [artist] Nina [Vakueva] has been having a blast looking at ’90s fashion imagery!
RP: If you could bring back one thing from the 90s, what would it be?
CU: I’d bring back genuinely funny teen movies, and the art and significance of movie soundtracks! Those used to be such a big deal.
RP: The story pairs so well with the fun, youthful art. What was it like working with your creative team?
CU: I have the best creative team—everyone brings so much to the table. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by such talented artists.
RP: Who are some of your favorite writers (comic book or otherwise)?
CU: Some of my favorites are Grace Ellis, Gabby Rivera, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kirsten Smith, Pamela Ribon, Kieron Gillen, Roxane Gay, Mariko Tamaki, and Michelle Tea.
RP: For readers like myself, eager to see more of your work, what are some of your past or upcoming projects?
CU: Earlier this year I was the showrunner and director for a digital anthology series called Threads, which is now streaming on Verizon’s Go90 platform. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday! And my first feature film, Suicide Kale, is available to rent on iTunes and Vimeo, and stream on Amazon Prime and Seed&Spark!
As you can tell from this interview, Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 is a whole lot of fun that should not be missed. Check out our review!