Here are some comics that are really cool.
I've tried to pick titles that would appeal to the average joe.
If I were preparing this list for actual comic book people the list would be very different.
The criteria that I'm looking at here is concept originality, storytelling style and art.
Here it is in no particular order...
Barefoot Gen by Kenji Nakazawa
The real life account of Hiroshima survivor Kenji Nakazawa.
As a small boy he was the unfortunate witness to unspeakable atomic horrors. At one point he finds his home among the unrecognizable wreckage of his neighborhood. His father and little brother are pinned under the rubble and Gen is too weak to free them before the approaching fire burns them both alive.
Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
In one instant every thing on the planet with a Y chromosome is dead, except for one man and his monkey. Interesting speculations on feminism, Islam, and republican widows.
The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman
There is an evil that is secretly and quietly creeping into our culture and gradually seizing positions of power. Is is shape shifting aliens? No. Is is communism? No. Is it big oil and the pharmaceuticals? Yes, but that's not what Hickman is talking about here. It's the corporate media!!! How are they a threat and how are a handful of snipers going to save us?
Girls by the Luna Brothers
Aliens in the form of naked girls land in a small rural town cut off from the rest of the world.
The naked hotties want to have sex with human men, but they tear apart and eat human women. What do the men do? This is not a comedy, it is a very tough look at the value of life and the gender war.
Astro City: Tarnished Angel by Kurt Buisek
An out of shape and over the hill steel-skinned ex-con, Carl Donewicz is stuck between crime and poverty. Can a comic henchman make an honest living in a world that hates him?
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
In a zombie apocalypse a handful of strangers try their best, to not just survive, but to truly live life. Are the zombies an allegory of the modern American masses?
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
After giving up his days as a vigilante, an aged Batman comes out of retirement to fight gangs, cops, an equally aged Joker, and Superman-pawn of the government.
Planetary by Warren Ellis
A secret society battles the Illuminati while uncovering the existence of hyper-realistic super-heroes, ghosts, aliens, and extra-dimensional monsters.
Miracleman by Alan Moore
What if Superman was engineered by the government complete with an fabricated comic childhood? Then imagine that he finds out. Then imagine that there is another one that is a sociopath.
There is no story here, just art, pages and pages of art. Some top names and very talented upstarts throw in two and four page stories to show off some very creative visuals. In the words of anime director Katsuhiro Otomo, "Some things are not meant to be understood, just felt."