Next Castle Comic Returns to Original Graphic Novel Format

Marvel Comics has announced a fourth Castle graphic novel tie-in. (The show is produced by ABC Studios, which, like Marvel, is a Disney company.)

Castle: Unholy Storm cover

Castle: Unholy Storm will be a 112-page hardcover released May 6. The creative team is new — instead of two writers and an artist, we have writer Cullen Bunn and artists Robert Atkins and Will Sliney. (Atkins drew the previous volume as well.) Cover is by Carlo Pagulayan. All are about Derrick Storm, the tough-guy character that fake successful novelist Richard Castle created (and killed off) before the events of the TV show. Here’s the provided plot description:

Derrick Storm is back, and he has a new, deadly case to solve. When the daughters of four high-powered international businessmen are discovered dead in New York, the NYPD scrambles to bring the murderer to justice. But when a fifth girl is found mutilated in a pool of her own blood, her prestigious French family hires Derrick Storm to run his own investigation and find the real killer. Storm has only one lead — a strange symbol drawn in blood. Storm enlists the help of the beautiful and daring Clara Strike, his CIA handler. Together they uncover a deep web of deception under the guise of mysticism and devotion.

The three previous Castle graphic novels were Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm (by Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Lan Medina, September 2011), Richard Castle’s Storm Season (by Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue Deconnick, and Emanuela Lupacchino, October 2012), and Castle: A Calm Before Storm (by Peter David and Robert Atkins). That third one was actually serialized as a five-issue miniseries before being collected in July 2013, while the previous were original graphic novels (OGNs). (It was also the only one I could bother getting all the way through, since David brought a welcome sense of humor to the story.)

I find it intriguing that, at a time when some comic shop retailers are arguing that OGNs are horrible for their market, Marvel has decided against serializing this volume. One would presume that if the miniseries-then-collection approach was financially successful, then the publisher would continue it. However, in this case, I suspect the audience for a (non-SF, non-monster) TV show tie-in is better found in bookstores. The sales figures (all estimates) bear me out.

IssueEstimated SalesSource

I can’t give you an estimate for the fifth issue, because it didn’t sell well enough to be in the top 300.

These numbers are terrible for a Marvel comic. I’m not sure it justified the print and distribution costs, since periodical comics are typically cancelled when they get down into the low double-digit thousands. (Depends on the circumstances, but a book selling under 15,000 is generally thought to be in danger.) But there are enough fans of the show buying the tie-in novels (five so far, with all but the first debuting in the top ten of the New York Times bestseller list, as the first graphic novel did as well) that the book format is presumably much more successful. Some comic store owners may not like graphic novels, but one of the world’s largest branding companies prefers the format to serialization for its audience and franchise product.

2 Responses to “Next Castle Comic Returns to Original Graphic Novel Format”

  1. Marvel Expands TV Graphic Novels With Revenge Secret Origin » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] impressed with what Marvel publishing is doing with their original graphic novel TV tie-ins. The Castle line appears to be doing very well, and it was no surprise to hear that they were doing a Once Upon a […]

  2. Metafiction Sends ABC Down the Rabbit Hole With Derrick Storm Series » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    […] him concluding at the beginning of the Castle show. (And I’m not even mentioning the various comics and graphic novels with the character.) Those books are spy thrillers, so I haven’t read […]




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