1. The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman. The story starts with a group of snipers at a WTO protest. One of them wings a protester, and the media descends. That's when they start killing reporters. This has been my favorite graphic novel for a few months now. Hickman does both the art, and the story, and it works flawlessly. It includes a number of sidebars that you can choose whether or not to read. I was most excited by a list of media controversy. He takes to task writers like Jayson Blair, but points out that you just can't hate on Patricia Smith. Amen, Hickman.
2. Maus by Art Spiegelman. The only graphic novel to ever win The Pulitzer. It's the story of an artist whose parents were put in concentration camps during World War Two. Part Holocaust memoir, part story of a father's relationship with a son, it's an amazing story.
3. Daredevil: Parts Of A Hole by Dave Mack, artwork by Joe Quesada. I'm not a huge Daredevil fan. Dave Mack is not my favorite writer. I would probably punch Joe Quesada in the face for his editorial decisions over the last ten years. But, damn, this is a great title. It's mostly the way the art and the words emerge from the page. Not your standard panels, and right to left reading. The art also takes the cliche off of the Blind Man opens the eyes of a Deaf Woman, who opens his ears idea. It was good enough that I went back and read the preceding volume by Kevin Smith (Guardian Devil), which is nearly as good.
4. Invincible The entire series by Robert Kirkman, art by Ryan Ottley. Imagine if Superman were written by one person, and just had one continual story, not a jillion different appearances in six different titles every month. A Superman whose history you could follow from beginning to end. That's what Invincible is. A teenager finds out he is a superhero, and his father, who's viewed as a superhero by the entire world, is actually bent on destroying the planet. The first trade "Family Matters" is a bit slow, but after that, every volume is amazing.
5. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 Story & art by David Petersen. Cute little mice can also be bloodthirsty tyrants, double crossing bodyguards, and noble adventurers. The art is amazing, the story is consistently good.
6. Origin by Bill Jemas, Paul Jenkins, and Joe Quesada. Marvel's "Greatest Story never Told": the origin of Wolverine. While I find most Wolverine titles poorly written, or confusing, this one is well-crafted. Told from the perspective of a young girl who befriends a little wussy boy names James Howlett, who, upon seeing his father's death, watches bones grow out of his hands. It's not an automatic kid gets powers becomes badass, the layers of suppression, and fierce will, make the character much more than the two-dimensional fighter he's often depicted as in X-Men comics.
7. The Walking Dead, another Robert Kirkman title (this one with art by Tony Moore). This is the story of a world overrun with zombies. But, instead of focusing on the zombies as villains, it focuses on interpersonal relationships, and what happens to American Society in a post-apocalyptic world. With zombies. But, really, the zombies are just window dressing, as in most stories, the most evil characters are the humans.
8. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Covers by David McKean, art by a bunch of people. This is the story that got me back into reading comics/graphic novels. It's mythical, it's adventure, it's moral, it's funny, it's just entertaining. There are eleven volumes under The Sandman Title, two Death books, one book about Destiny, a couple of one-off spin-offs, and a whole related series by Mike Carey called Lucifer, which follows the devil after he gives the keys to Hell to The Sandman.
9. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Three stories that start out being unrelated, but you know will be woven into each other by the end. A young boy of Chinese descent has to deal with his horrible stereotype of a cousin; the mischievous monkey king grows tired of being the laughing stock of the gods, and must be dealt with; and a boy of Chinese descent tries to fit in in an American school, while interacting with a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) new student. I had a pretty good idea of how they would be drawn together at the end. I was wrong.
10. Bone by Jeff Smith. Three creatures from Boneville end up in a forest with Stupid Rat Creatures, dragons, and humans. Kid-friendly, and just generally awesome. Also check out his Shazam! and The Monster Society Of Evil
The Maxx by Sam Kieth
Plastic Man: On The Lam by Kyle Baker
Thirty Days Of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Regifters by Mike Carey
Y The Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
Fables by Bill Willingham
Hellboy by Mike Mignola
Avengers Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis
Astro City by Kurt Busiek.
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Stephen King/Peter David
Titles that other people swear by that I cant get into:
Goodbye Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
anything by Alan Moore
Preacher by Garth Ennis
The Death of Superman (really? it's so boring)
Powers by Brian Michael Bendis
Current comics not enough people are reading:
The Sword by The Luna Brothers
Pax Romana by Jonathan Hickman
Omega The Unknown by Jonathan Lethern and Farel Dalrymple
Echo by Terry Moore
X-Factor by Peter David
The Dark Tower: The Long Way Home Stephen King/Peter David