What is it about?: In a dystopian and distant future, the private detective John Difool receives the incal of light (l'incal lumière), a white pyramid with extraordinary powers. The Incal is sought by many factions who want to use it for their own interest.
In escaping, Difool becomes involved against his will him into an adventure bigger than himself and he will become the savior of two galaxies.
Note: I love the whole series which was in 6 volumes. It has definitely been an inspiration for "The 5th element", directed by Luc Besson.
What is it about?: On December 6, 1992, an apparent nuclear explosion destroys Tokyo and starts World War III. By 2030, a new metropolis called Neo-Tokyo has been built on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, but is gripped by political strife, anti-government terrorism, and gang violence. While riding in the ruins of old Tokyo, Tetsuo Shima, a member of a biker gang led by Shotaro Kaneda, is injured when his bike explodes after Takashi--a psychic child with wizened features--blocks his path. This incident awakens psychic powers in Tetsuo. From this moment, Testuo powers will grow and eventually become uncontrollable.
Note: The beginning is the best but I love the whole story. I have the French version in 13 volumes. It has already been adapted in an acclaimed animated movie. There have been some plans to adapt it in a live action picture but I'm not sure if it is a good idea...
What is it about?: It is is a biography of the author's father, Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. It alternates between descriptions of Vladek's life in Poland before and during the Second World War and Vladek's later life in the Rego Park neighborhood of New York City. The work is a graphic narrative in which Jews are depicted as mice, while Germans are depicted as cats.
Note: Both volumes are huge classic. Spiegelman deservedly received the Pulitzer prize for this comic book.
What is it about?: This story is set in the distant future, where chaos reigns and where many factions are locked in a perpetual struggle, the power is in the hands of a family of powerful emperors, living on a planet made of gold.
Meta-Barons are males from the same lineage and are considered the most powerful warriors of the universe.
Each generation of the family has its Meta-Baron and the legend tells that each son is always more powerful than his father. For this reason that at the age of 16, the son must defeat his father and kill him in single combat. Mutilation is a also rite of Meta-Barons.
Note: The Meta-Baron was one of the main character in "L'incal" (see n.1) and this is thus a spin-off. It is the most beautiful comic-book I have ever seen. The beginning is the best but all 8 volumes are worth reading.
What is it about?: It follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The strip depicts Calvin's flights of fantasy and his friendship with Hobbes, and also examines Calvin's relationships with family and classmates. The dual nature of Hobbes is a recurring motif; he is a live anthropomorphic tiger to Calvin, while other characters see him as a stuffed toy.
Note: This entry is for the whole serie. I have read many of them and I don't know which one is the best.
What is it about?: The central plot of the trilogy, set in 2023 Paris, follows Alcide Nikopol who returns from a 30 year sentence spent orbiting the earth under cryopreservation to find France under fascist rule following two nuclear wars.
Note: The whole trilogy is great but the beginning, as usual, is the best. It has already been adapted in a movie "Immortel(ad vitam)" which was pretty good.
What is it about?: It takes place in Basin City, almost universally referred to by the nickname Sin City, a fictional town in the American west. It tells the story of different characters, all caught up in violent corruption.
Note: Probably with Akira, the most famous entry on this list. I have read all of the them but the first 3 volumes are the best. It has been adapted to the silver screen with great success and it is usually considered the most faitful comic-book adaptation ever.
What is it about?: Ghost World follows the day-to-day lives of best friends Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer, two cynical, pseudo-intellectual and intermittently witty teenage girls recently graduated from high school in the early 1990s. They spend their days wandering aimlessly around their unnamed American town, criticizing popular culture and the people they encounter while wondering what they will do for the rest of their days. As the comic progresses and Enid and Rebecca make the transition into adulthood, the two develop tensions and drift apart.
Note: I first saw the movie and my sister gave me this book as a gift for Christmas or something. Even though, the movie is very good, the comic book is a totally different beast. I just love the tone and I think it is very original.
What is it about?: From Hell takes as its premise Stephen Knight's theory that the Jack the Ripper murders were part of a conspiracy to conceal the birth of an illegitimate royal baby fathered by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, slightly modified: the involvement of Walter Sickert is reduced, and Knight's allegation that the child's mother was a Catholic has been dropped.
Note: Again, I saw the movie before reading this but this time, I bought the book and gave it to my sister for Christmas or something. Honestly, although I did enjoy the movie, it was nothing great and it definitely didn't do justice to the book. The book is a really spellbinging, dark and lugubrious detective story. I though it was pretty awesome.
What is it about?: The series is set in the post-apocalyptic future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds and takes care of her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst, which leads to her becoming a Hunter Warrior or bounty hunter. The story traces Alita's attempts to rediscover her past and the characters whose lives she impacts on her journey
Note: I have read the whole thing and again the beginning is the best but it is still a great story. A live action version of this comic book, Battle Angel, could be the next movie directed by James Cameron but it is still only a project right now...
What is it about?: It chronicles the adventures of Mike Blueberry on his travels through the American Old West. Blueberry is an atypical western hero. he is not a wandering lawman who brings evil-doers to justice, nor a handsome cowboy who "rides into town, saves the ranch, becomes the new sheriff and marries the schoolmarm". During the "Mister Blueberry" cycle, he gets involved in the historical events of Tombstone.
Note: My favorite part is the "Mister Blueberry" cycle going from vol. 24 until vol. 28. It has already been adapted in live action with the movie Blueberry which was not bad.
What is it about?: Lucky Luke, a wandering cowboy capable of drawing a gun faster than his shadow, fights crime and injustice, most often in the form of the bumbling Dalton brothers, Joe, William, Jack and Averell, and sometimes even their mother, Ma Dalton. He rides Jolly Jumper, "the smartest horse in the world" and is often accompanied by Rantanplan, "the stupidest dog in the universe", a spoof of Rin Tin Tin, usually guarding the Dalton brothers at their jail yet never preventing them from escaping.
Note: I have not read all of them but they are usually pretty good. They have been adapted in animated movies (some good and even great), for example, La ballade des Dalton, and some bad live action adaptations, see Lucky Luke...
What is it about?: The series follows the exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. They do so by means of a magic potion, brewed by their druid, which gives the recipient superhuman strength. The protagonist, the titular character, Asterix, along with his friend Obelix have various adventures.
Note: I have not read all of them but they are usually pretty good. They have been adapted in animated movies (usually pretty good), for example, Astérix et Cléopâtre, and a live action trilogy with Gérard Depardieu which I'm not that crazy about.
What is it about?: Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in French). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash, cynical and grumpy Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol) and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond).
Note: I have all of them and they are all great fun to read especially when you're young. Next year, there is a new animated version directed by Spielberg coming out, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, and I'm really curious to see how it will look like.
What is it about?: Watchmen depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s, helping the United States to win the Vietnam War. The country is edging towards a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement, and eventually leads them to confront a plot that would stave off nuclear war by killing millions of people.