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Some of Frank Miller's stuff is good (Batman: Year One) but a lot of his **** is just that: ****. He's been making stuff for so long, I guess that's unavoidable. Alan Moore and Warren Ellis are far superior writers and you should make a point of reading their more popular stuff.
Try and avoid just reading super hero stuff. A lot of it has been beaten to death and the story-lines get so strange and esoteric that they cease to make much sense (This is pretty much the case with every recent Superman comic I've tried to read).
My personal favorites...
From Hell - Alan Moore's take on Jack the Ripper. Be forewarned, it's entirely black and white and the dialogue actually approaches historical accuracy of English around that time period (which means it says a whole lot of nothing much of the time).
Transmetropolitan - One of my very favorite series. Probably Warren Ellis' best work, which is saying quite a bit. Warning: might make you a bit paranoid while you read it.
Watchmen - Of course. Perhaps the most ambitious and amazing piece of work ever in this format. That said, it might not be the best place to start.
Sandman - Neil Gaiman's masterpiece doesn't get nearly enough credit. It's easily on par with his best literary novels and has fantastic artwork.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Probably the best place to start when it comes to Alan Moore. The universe it takes place in is awesome (as is the artwork). Bonus if you are at all knowledgeable about literature around the turn of the 20th century. Don't worry, it's way better than the horrible movie based on it.
Hellblazer - By Jaime Delano. This is a pretty fun series, although I've only ever read bits and pieces of it. Also much better than the movie based on it.
Oh, and if you're at all inclined, you can usually find torrents of .cbr files online. These are scans of comic books designed to viewed in a .cbr reader (there are tons of freeware ones out there). It's usually a good way to figure out if you like something enough to buy it, or to avoid buying it entirely (if you don't mind reading off your computer screen).
It depends on if you're talking graphic novels in the technical sense, or if you're referring to the comics medium as a whole. If you want edgy, then Vertigo is the way to go. Fables, 100 Bullets, and some others are not only R rated, but well written. Marvel MAX is inferior to DC's Vertigo, but Supreme Power would rock your socks off. It's very good, and it's pretty political.
Frank Miller's Daredevil run was great, and you can't go wrong with Bendis or Brubaker Daredevil either.
Andhow is Birth of a Nation? I've been wanting to read that for a while, even if Reggie Hudlin's ****** name is involved. McGruder's my boy, so I wanted to see what he wrote.
"If you have one finger pointing at somebody, you have three pointing towards yourself."