The first recommendation I have for you is the first story which made me sit up and take notice of good writing in a genre where I rarely took notice of the actual writing.
I was a big superhero-based comic book fan for my middle school years, my favorite issues populated by gritty guys and gorgeous girls whose art captivated my eyes for hours on end. Comic books have story as a major component, of course, but it never* occurred to me a comic book could have good writing in it.
This changed after finally getting my hands on a copy of The Sandman: The Doll’s House written by everyone’s favorite British-turned-Midwestern writer, Neil Gaiman. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the art at first glance and I probably wouldn’t have bought the book if it hadn’t been on clearance for $5.99, but paging through I found the story compelling enough to take it home, read the entire trade paperback (my first of many TPB purchases) cover to cover, and crave more. Lucky for me, Gaiman produced nine volumes of the engrossing world of Morpheus the Sandman, and the series gets pulled off the shelf at least once a year for a solid read.
The Doll’s House is the second TPB in the series but it remains my favorite. Pick up a copy and see a serial killer convention, one man’s wager to live forever, Shakespeare’s inspiration, a living nightmare who stalks the earth, characters with upcoming prophetic fates, and Morpheus, the lord of dreams, as he enters the waking world. If you, like me, only thought comic books were for babes, bullets, and bulking muscles, The Doll’s House will change your mind in an instant.
Read it and apply what you’ve learned to your craft.
* “Never” is unfair to Larry Hama, writer of the G.I. Joe comic books from Marvel, which I credit with helping me propel my love of reading in my elementary school days.
[tags]reading recommendation, Neil Gaiman, Larry Hama[/tags]