Originally posted by BANE:
Well, having read only Marvel and DC and that's all I WILL read...
Heh, heh. Since I hardly read ANYTHING from Marvel or DC these days, we obviously have different tastes (even if I restricted myself to ONLY stuff by Marvel & DC, my copy of The Essential Dr. Strange would be the only place where we're even close to an agreement, which probably wasn't exactly the same Dr. Strange you were referring to since you've elsewhere badmouthed the Essentials series).
My initial list had 28 books. I separated out the positives from the maybes and the positives still had 13. I managed to get rid of one of them, but I refuse to drop it below twelve. So here's my top dozen, in alphabetical order. Some of them are multi-volume stories that I consider to be all one big "novel" -- in those cases I've indicated how many volumes it is (I pretended Cerebus is complete, since it's almost done) and mentioned a single book that is either the best or at least a good place to start. I have two "Love and Rockets" books, one from each of the "main" Hernandez brothers (Mario didn't do much, but without him there never would have been a "Love and Rockets").
And without further ado:
Adolph (5 volumes - A Tale of the Twentieth Century
Alec: Three Piece Suit
Blood of Palomar
Cerebus (16 volumes - High Society)
Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood
Jimmy Corigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
Kabuki (?? volumes - Metamorphosis)
Safe Area Goradze
Sandman (10 volumes - Dream Country)
Some of my runners-up include: Stuck Rubber Baby, Berlin, Bone, The Tale of One Bad Rat, The Cowboy Wally Show, and more.
Watchmen and Marvels were the only books featuring superheroes that made my initial list of 28 -- even counting the fact that those 28 actually represent 80 or 90 current volumes with some of the series still going.
And just to show you that I don't choose this way simply out of snobbery, I own about 4,000 "comic books" (in the traditional definition), of which over half feature superheroes, and about 400-500 graphic novels, at least a third of which feature superheroes. I like superheroes.
I like murder mysteries and spy novels, too, but that doesn't delude me into thinking that "Goldfinger" is on the same level as "Moby Dick."