1. Bone by Jeff Smith
That being said, this book will always be at the top of any list for me. Jeff Smith’s inking, pacing, characters, storytelling, acting…it’s all just so beautiful and cohesive and full-bodied. I believe everything he delivers in Bone. This book is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, and I readily admit that I cried very, very hard during at the end. It’s a wonderful blend of humor, fantasy, and drama, and you’ll fall in love with every character (especially Bartleby) .
It’s lovely, and I will endorse the hell out of it any chance I get.
2. Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist)
Blacksad is a French book by a Spanish creative team. Let me tell you, the Europeans do it right. Fully watercolored pages, character designs to die for, and such beautiful acting and anatomy that it will melt your face. The characters are all anthropomorphised animals, which lends itself really well to characterization and storytelling. The English release by Dark Horse collects the first three episodes, which you should definitely pick up. There is a fourth story out there, but it hasn’t been translated into English yet, and I’m chomping at the bit for it to come out.
3. Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa
Few books can be as relentlessly heartbreaking as Three Shadows is without making me want to throw the book against a wall and bawl into my pillow. It’s about a father trying to protect his son from his fate. The story itself kind of derails about 2/3 of the way through, but fascinatingly so. Like, I don’t mind that all of a sudden we’re following a minor character because the art is so enchanting, and the tone of the book just sucks you in. This is another book that made me cry.
Also, Pedrosa’s character designs, his lines, the character acting, are all so well done, they’ll leave you weeping.