REVIEW: ‘Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!,’ Original Graphic Novel – Softcover

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! is published by BOOM! Studios, written by Carly Usdin, pencils by Nina Vakueva, inks by Irene Flores with Lea Caballero, colors by Natalia Nesterenko, and letters by Jim Campbell. In the year 1999, four teenage girls live their lives like all teenagers: working at the local record store, getting a handle on dating, and helping run a secret organization dedicated to stopping corporate tyranny over the music industry. You know, teen stuff.

Sometimes the right story just comes along at the right time. As I write this review, it already feels like the umpteenth day of isolation. While I sit here, the world feels complex and scary. As if there is nothing any one person could do to make a significant difference. And while many of us are doing all we can (listen to the CDC people), it just doesn’t get to be so simple. Sometimes we need a wonderful piece of fiction that lets us escape into a simpler world; one that lets good people avert disaster and one in which everyone gets to live happily ever after. Sound good? Then I have a book to tell you about.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! provides that simpler story. It poses a charm and fun to it that I haven’t experienced in years. Its protagonists manage to be equal parts, fun, smart, cute, and badass. Usdin has crafted the funnest cast I can remember reading in a book.

While Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! is an ensemble tale, the bulk of the story is told through the lens of Chris. Chris completely embodies so much of what I think of when I think of youth. Excited, positive, and with all the desire to do all the things! Though there’s going to be a bit of fumbling as she figures out just how to do all the things. From performing on stage and throwing down with goons, to meeting her idol and learning the ins and outs of dating, Chris is that awkward, but hopeful, person that embodies the best of the teen years.

Even though Chris is the epicenter of this story, she is by no means the only memorable personality therein. All of the core crowd in Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! all but demand to be noticed. They each come across as genuine and authentic. These aren’t flawless ideals or over-the-top stereotypes of what a teenager is. Rather, Usdin chooses to populate her story with personalities that anyone can be related to. Their doubts, fears, and stumbles allow them to shine all the brighter by the book’s end, something a lot of fiction often forgets. The other thing that makes the story of Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! stand out so magnificently is its use of setting.

Placed in the year 1999, the writing takes full advantage of its place and time. Everything from dial-up modems, to asking Jeeves for advice is used to truly capture the setting. And while its setting is ever-present, it’s not nearly as brazen or forced as other recent attempts to use the time period have been. As someone who was 18 when the story takes place, I appreciated so much of this book’s setting.

While the writing is superlative, Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!‘s art is just as well executed. Vakueva’s pencils tell the story in a fun upbeat way that goes hand in hand with the writing. The design of each character runs in perfect tandem with the setting, as well as the personalities they portray. Coupled with the bright vibrant colors lent to the panels by Nesterenko, the reader is treated to panel after panel of pure delight.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! provides its readers with a wonderful story about four girls, loving life, playing music, and standing up for what’s right. Mix in a bit of teenage coming-of-age struggles and you have an absolutely delightful tale. I fervently hope this isn’t the last time these girls grace the pages of a comic. Though it may not be 1999 anymore, stories this fun, hype, and positivity, will never go out of style.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! is available now wherever comics are sold.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!


Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! provides its readers with a wonderful story about four girls, loving life, playing music, and standing up for what’s right. Mix in a bit of teenage coming of age struggles and you have an absolutely delightful tale.

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