- Tintin in Tibet by Hergé :
This is my absolute favourite book – comics or not. Maybe its the sense of adventure in a Himalayan setting, maybe its the story of friendship that echoes through the book or maybe its sheer nostalgia, the sixty-two pages contained within the jacket are therapeutic to me.
- Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
The story is complex and has heavy socio-political undertones. After every few pages, I feel like I am reading a political thriller instead of a manga. The artwork is gorgeous. In the final chapter, page after page, there are silent scenes of devastation that are terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time.
- Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
If there is a genre bender or a re-invention of comics as a storytelling medium, this will be my top pick. Mazzucchelli’s treatment made me read the book over and over again in order to find out references and foreshadows. His paneling, lettering and chapter dividers are few of the ideas that I haven’t seen in any comics before.
- Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki
Thorougly entertaining and a nice weekend read. The artwork is amazingly dynamic, the fight sequences are a treat to the eyes and the story has its heart at the right place. While most shonen series want the protagonist to become bigger, better and more powerful, here is one guy who has seen enough of power and violence and wants to lead a peaceful life. It’s only that his violent past emerges as his biggest foe.
- Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
Tezuka’s magnum opus is also a long read. It takes the core story of Buddha’s life and creates a whole new fiction around it. The storytelling is top-notch. It was also my first exposure to gag panels interjecting serious events.
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
I hate the movie. I love the book. The whole notion of comics for kids was being rewritten by the likes of Alan Moore. The 3×3 paneling is nicely done by Dave Gibbons. The ending is much better treated in the book and makes sense unlike the movie.
- The Arrival by Shaun Tan
No words. Just pictures flowing into another. Like a silent movie. And emotions. Stranger in a strange land.
- Maus by Art Spiegelman
This historical retelling of Nazi genocide is a difficult read. The experimental artwork is difficult to follow. The subject matter is barely edible. However, once you “get it”, there is a great sense of joy that awaits. It was my first venture into the world of alternate comics.
- Asterix and the Goths by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
They had me at General Electric. Also this album was badly translated to Gothic by Rhetoric himself.
- Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeff Loeb and Tim Sale
I don’t think it’s the best Batman book out there. But for some reason, I keep coming back to this book. I think it’s the artwork that attracts me to this book more than the story. Tim Sale’s high contrast and clean lines really bring the best out of Loeb’s detective noir story.
If I were to collect my favourite books, then for sure the first three would be in that list, too. What are your favourite comic books?