So where do I pick up one of these graphic novels?
Best way to do it I've found is Amazon. On Maso's suggestion (we talked about this a few months ago) I picked up the first volume of The Sandman. I used the 'buy new or used' feature and bought from some other seller and it turned out being like seven or eight dollars after shipping. No big deal, I figured, to try something new out.
I was hooked. I rushed back to Amazon and bought the other nine volumes and voraciously devoured them as they arrived. It's one of the most compelling stories you'll ever read, even if it's done in a comic-book setting.
But you might try the library. I know my local library has a small section of graphic novels . . . they might just have something worth looking, and then it's free.
Any of the series I mentioned are great ones (and very adult - we're not talking about spandex-clad Double-D divas running around fighting lizard-men or the like).
The Sandman is about one of the seven endless - the oldest beings in existence, older than the gods, older than anything. He is Dream, ruler of the Dreamland. His books run the gamut of starting as really gripping horror stories to very complex, layered (and emotionally compelling) fantasy. I defy the average person to not be almost in tears at the end of book 9. Just ask Maso - he'll back me up.
Ex Machina is a strange combination of political intrigue and thriller. It's about the world's only superhero, who, after saving the second tower from the plane on September 11, is elected mayor of New York. It's absolutely fascinating, and deals much more with his time as mayor and the issues involved with it than the superhero aspects.
Y: The Last Man is the story of Yorick, the last male human being left alive after a plague wipes out all of mankind (literally the man part) in seconds. It tells of him trekking across the country, trying to survive, and the doctor who travels with him, trying to figure out why he survived. And there's government agents. And there's a monkey named Ampersand. Totally great.
Fables is the most childish sounding of my favorites, but one of the most rewarding - probably the best comic still in production right now. It tells the tale of all the mythical creatures from all those fairy tales we heard growing up that have been exiled from their magical lands and have to live in New York. Sounds like the plot to a silly kid's movie, but it's NOT FOR CHILDREN. I promise. A little too graphic, thanks. But you've got Snow White as deputy mayor of Fabletown (their hidden community), The Big Bad Wolf as sheriff, Goldilocks is a homicidal maniac, Little Boy Blue is totally badass . . . you get the idea.
Those last three are all still in production, but I'm far too lazy and cheap to buy comics every month as they come out - I wait until they're collected in the graphic novels (usually 4-9 issues in a book) and buy them then. I know there are plenty others out there I want to read (like Lucifer, a spin-off of Sandman, about the devil after he leaves Hell for greener pastures, or Preacher), but I'll probably hold off until those other three finish.
Like I said, they're totally worth checking out. Believe me, I never thought I would be an ardent supporter of comic books. Never in a million years. But there's so much good stuff out there.