I read comic books when I was a kid, but not regularly. I started getting into graphic novels when I was in high-school, and started collecting my favorites then. Graphic novels are so satisfying because you get closure, which is something that allowed me to continue reading them. With comic books I found I would get frustrated that I had to read 300 some-odd issues from 4 different titles, and so a commitment to the graphic novel was formed. In the grand scheme of things I have only read a few of the great graphic novels out there (right now I'm mostly a DC girl), but these are my top 5 so far. As I read more, I'm sure this list will change, so here is Volume One:
Obvious I know, but how am I supposed to leave this one off?
2. The Killing Joke
The Joker is one of my all-time favorite characters ever created, and this story does the best job of showing how twisted he really is. I have a vintage copy of this, and the 2008 recolored version, and in all honesty I actually prefer the original color.
3. Kingdom Come
Alex Ross is amazing. This story is huge and grandiose, and with Alex Ross's paintings it has a very strong sense of realism and weight.
4. Invincible Volume 1
Ok, I know this is not actually a graphic novel, but C'MON. I can't leave this off my list, it is just too good. The art is fantastic, and it only gets better as the story goes on. This volume also contains a story event so big, that when reading it through the first time, I had to put the book down and walk around my apartment a few times before picking it back up.
5. The Dark Knight Returns
This was the first Batman graphic novel I ever read, and it is still my favorite. Batman is at his most badass in this and so is Frank Miller.