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There’s Gonna Be a Dio/ Holy Diver Graphic Novel

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One question which every metal fan will surely ask sooner or later is: “What the shit is a Holy Diver???”

Fortunately, in a 2004 interview with Sam Dunn, Ronnie James Dio explained the meaning of the lyrics:

“The song ‘Holy Diver’ is really about a Christ figure who, on another place — not Earth — has done exactly the same as we’ve apparently experienced, or are supposed to have experienced, on Earth: dying for the sins of Man so that Man can start again and be cleansed and do it properly.

“So the same thing happened on this other far distant planet. And all the people on this planet are calling him the Holy Diver… because he’s about to go to another place, to another planet, another world, to do what he did on this place: save people from their sins, or absolve them from their sins, by having himself killed.

“And the people are saying ‘Don’t go’… It was meant to show just how selfish humanity is. That this one form of humanity on this one world said, ‘No no no, don’t go there and save anybody else. Stay here. We need you. You’re ours.’”

So the song is basically a sci-fi/fantasy reimagining of the messianic myth. Sounds like it would make a pretty good graphic novel, don’t it?

Well, the folks at Z2 Comics sure thought so! They’re reuniting the writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and artist Scott Hampton (Batman: Night Cries), the team behind 2005’s Batman: Gotham County Line, for a 120-page Holy Diver graphic novel. And unlike some upcoming projects inspired by legendary late singers, this one has the approval of said singer’s estate.

Having said that, it’s not clear if Holy Diver the graphic novel will follow the narrative of “Holy Diver” the song: according to the press release, it will tell an “original storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic album covers” (originally created by Gene Hunter and Randy Berett). That same press release goes on to promise that it will “definitively” answer such questions as “Why is the priest being thrown into the ocean?” and “Who is truly the villain in this scenario?”. Wendy Dio calls it “a story about how you can’t judge a picture by the way it appears.” (So I’m guessing the demon is the good guy, or at least has understandable motivations for throwing binding that priest in chains, throwing him in the water, and then whipping him with another chain).

In any case, the first released sample of Hampton’s art looks friggin’ beautiful, if considerably different from the style of the original album cover:

The Holy Diver graphic novel won’t be out ’til next Summer, but you can pre-order it now at this link. There’s a standard edition for twenty bucks or a deluxe edition (below) for a hundred.

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