“Between the velvet lies, there’s a truth that’s hard as steel,” we hear on the song “Holy Diver.” Z2 Comics will pulp that vision into a graphic novel and Ronnie James Dio is the “star of the masquerade.” Z2 is the prime mover of music-based comics and graphic novels, working across genres to bring audiences a diverse experience: from Charlie “Bird” Parker and the origins of the Grateful Dead, through YUNGBLUD Presents: The Twisted tales of the Ritalin Club, to internet sensation turned metal agitpop singer Poppy. They are now paying tribute to one of heavy metal’s most iconic figures, Ronnie James Dio, with Dio: The Holy Diver graphic novel.
Coming out as part of the 2021 lineup roll out, acclaimed horror comics writer Steve Niles floats an original storyline which gets behind the events leading to the powerful moment captured on the cover of Dio’s debut album. “I’m so excited to be writing this book,” Niles says. “I hope I do Ronnie James Dio justice.”
The publisher teamed with the Dio estate to make the adaptation of the classic album Holy Diver, and the artwork by Gene Hunter and Randy Berett it inspired, an official one. “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,” Z2 publisher Josh Frankel said in a statement. “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!”
“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,” Wendy Dio-Padavona said in a statement.
Dio: Holy Diver reunites Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night, October Faction) with Batman: Gotham County Line artist Scott Hampton for an all-new original story. “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.”
The graphic novel will address 30 years of fan speculation: Why is the priest being thrown into the ocean? Who is truly the villain in this scenario? These questions are exclusively answered for the first time within the pages of this 120 page graphic novel. “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,” Frankel said in a statement.
There are currently two editions of Dio’s Holy Diver available for preorder, the standard graphic novel, as well as a limited deluxe edition, which will include an exclusive vinyl edition of this classic album. Z2 will issue the full details over the next few weeks.
Dio: Holy Diver release date is summer of 2021.