When television viewers were first glimpsed Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, the title character of ABC’s “Castle” series, the crime solving novelist had just killed off his first reoccurring fictional creation, Private Investigator and freelance C.I.A. Agent Derrick Storm. In the world of “Castle” Storm had been the star of eleven prose novels and his creator saw fit to retire him. The writer then began a series of novels featuring a new character, Police Detective Nikki Heat, three of which have been released to the public with a fourth currently in the works.
The adventures of Nikki Heat have resonated with fans, but as it turns out Castle wasn’t quite done with Derrick Storm. The writer has revived the character for a serialized novel, the first part of which is now available digitally, and last year fans of “Castle” were finally introduced to Derrick Storm when Marvel Comics published “Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm,” an original graphic novel and “adaptation” of the first Derrick Storm adventure by writers Brian Michael Bendis and Kelly Sue DeConnick with artist Lan Medina. This October, Bendis and DeConnick return to chronicle the second chapter in the life of Derrick Storm with “Richard Castle’s Storm Season,” an original graphic novel featuring art by Emanuela Lupacchino. CBR News spoke with DeConnick about the project.
CBR News: Kelly Sue, how did it feel to collaborate with your good friend Brian and introduce the world to Derrick Storm? And how does it feel to be able to return for a sequel with “Storm Season?”
Kelly Sue DeConnick: GREAT. I learn so much from Brian professionally, it’s a real privilege for me. Also, he gets really, really uncomfortable when people say nice things about him — like toe-fist uncomfortable — so as his dear friend, I feel obliged to go on at some length not only about his talent and generosity, but also about what an incredible father and family man he is and how his lovely bald head is shaped just so that it reflects the light and shines like the work of a intern who just found the lens flare button in Photoshop.
Also, I wish he would he would wear a bike helmet. That part is real.
As for how it feels to return to do “Storm Season” — it’s awesome. I am super-proud of this book and this team and incredibly grateful to both Brian and to Andrew Marlowe [creator and show runner of “Castle”] for the opportunity.
“Storm Season” is the second graphic novel inspired by “Castle,” a television series which has some serialized elements to it, but is generally more episodic. Is that the case with the Storm graphic novels? How new reader friendly is “Storm Season?”
Entirely. If you read “Deadly Storm,” I expect you’ll have more fun as you’ll catch a few Easter Eggs and you’ll have more context for a few of the references, but if you didn’t read “Deadly Storm” — even if for some insane reason you don’t watch “Castle” (Why? Why would you not watch “Castle?” You know it stars Nathan Fillion, don’t you?) you won’t be at sea. No prior knowledge is required.
When we left Derrick Storm at the end of “Deadly Storm” he was very much a changed man. He had come into money and was making a successful living as a private eye. He was also about to embark on his next mission as a freelance operative for the CIA. How much time has passed between “Deadly Storm” and “Storm Season?” What kind of physical, emotional, and financial shape is Derrick in when we first see him in “Storm Season?”
About a year and a half passes between the last page of “Deadly Storm” and the first page of “Storm Season.” Derrick’s doing well physically and financially, but he’s coming up on the anniversary of Clara Strike’s death and it’s affecting him more than he expected.
The synopsis of “Storm Season” suggests it’s a bugging that sets the events of the novel in motion. Is that correct? If so, will the initial portions of the story be tonally similar to some classic surveillance/espionage stories such as the movie “The Conversation?”
What a great film! It’s funny you should mention it because when Brian and I talked about Carl — Storm’s father — that very film came up. As far as the tone of “Storm Season” goes, though, I’d have to say more “Bourne” than “Conversation.” Suspense is definitely accurate, but it’s also a heavy action book. LOTS of action.
Where do the events of the bugging lead Derrick? In terms of plot and themes what is this story about?
Plot-wise, Derrick is hired by a deadman to track down his sister and in the course of the investigation he comes face to face with a few ghosts of his own.
Theme-wise, it’s about just that — ghosts, literal and figurative.
Speaking of ghosts, earlier you mentioned Clara Strike, the woman who brought Derrick into the world of espionage and died on their first operation together. However the synopsis of the Storm novels in the back of “Deadly Storm” and the book description on Amazon suggest that Clara has some part to play in this story. Is that true? Will we learn more about the woman she was and still possibly is?
BOO! That’s a hint.
Interesting. Who are some of the other returning supporting players in this story? “Deadly Storm” suggested Storm’s father Carl had a pretty interesting history. Will we learn more about him in “Storm Season?”
Carl turns up in “Storm Season” with a new dog! He has a minor role this time, but Carl’s a charmer and can’t help but steal the show when he’s on the page. We also see more of Sassy and Rebecca — Rebecca actually has quite a big role this go ’round. And Storm’s current handler, Helen Pierce, gets a chance to show us more of who she is, too. I have a lot of fun writing Helen. Helen is not nice.
What about the new characters we’re meeting for the first time in “Storm Season?” Can you tell us about some of the foes and friends Derrick will run afoul of in this story?
Let’s see — a Russian mobster, a mysterious con artist, an artist and activist, an African dignitary and a wealthy CIA widow.
Artist Emanuela Lupacchino will bring all these characters and your story to life. What do you feel she brings to this story in particular?
Ema is so, so great. I have no idea how I got this lucky. She’s the perfect choice for a book that’s got to carry this balance of action and emotion — she’s a natural actor, her characters nail every facial expression (and my “Captain Marvel” editor will spare no expense telling you that I tend to overwrite descriptions of facial expressions) and she can do that while also translating the fight choreography in a way that’s both visually exciting and crystal clear. I love her.
The only regret I have is a fear that she’s going to get so huge when this book comes out that I’ll never get to work with her again!
Finally, you’re working on the second of 11 books in the Derrick Storm series. If “Storm Season” resonates with readers would you like to come back for the next book, “A Calm Before the Storm?”
YES! If they would have me, then unequivocally YES.
“Richard Castle’s Storm Season” by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Brian Michael Bendis and Emanuela Luppachino goes on sale in October.