The Dio album Holy Diver is one of metal’s most iconic LPs, not just for its music but for its striking album cover. Now, thanks to a new graphic novel from Z2 Comics, fans will finally find out why a priest was seemingly hurled into the ocean by the demonic figure Murray.
Z2 Comics has tapped horror writer Steve Niles to tell the story leading up to the dramatic illustration on the cover of Holy Diver. Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night, October Faction) is being paired up with artist Scott Hampton (Gotham County Line) for the 120-page graphic novel.
Ronnie James Dio’s widow, Wendy Dio, is fully on board with the project, stating, “Steve Niles tells the story behind the album cover Holy Diver, a story about how you can’t judge a picture by the way it appears, which is what Ronnie wrote many times in his songs; that you have to see inside the person and not judge them by the way they look or by what they wear.”
She continued, “Together with Scott Hampton’s amazing artwork they tell the story of Holy Diver, and I know Ronnie would have given his stamp of approval on this great graphic novel.”
Z2 publisher Josh Frankel added, “We have managed to work with some of the greatest legends in both comics and music, and a Dio graphic novel with a cover by the great Bill Sienkiewicz perhaps sums that up best. This is one of the most iconic heavy metal album covers in history. We are honored to pay tribute to the originator of the universal sign of the music that he has inspired since he first took the stage with Black Sabbath 40 years ago. Working with Wendy Dio directly to ensure it is true to his vision is the next best thing to working with Ronnie James Dio himself, and we have hit a new high note with this one!”
Niles simply stated, “I’m so excited to be writing this book. I hope I do Ronnie James Dio justice.”
In addition to answering the query of “Why is the priest being thrown into the ocean?”, the novel will address the question of “Who is truly the villain in this scenario?”
The Holy Diver graphic novel is available for pre-order in both standard and deluxe editions via Z2 Comics, and is expected to ship in June 2021. The book’s cover artwork, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, and the original 1983 album cover, created by Gene Hunter and Randy Berett, can be seen below.
Holy Diver Graphic Novel Standard and Deluxe Editions:
Holy Diver Original Album Artwork: