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Your top 5 independent graphic novels...

I suggest Rocketo very fast artwork but rather complex story
The Crow
Madman vol. 1
Project Super Powers
Kirby Genesis
Masks (I know it's not finished yet)
I've not read enough to make a real list, but I'll tell you what I've enjoyed.

1. Planetary - It's been collected into 4 tpbs (I think) or several hardbacks, and I think an Omnibus. It's fantastic and worth every cent you spend on it.

2. Umbrella Academy - These are two separate minis in two tpbs, so if you wanted to pick up vol. 1 alone, that'd be fine. The art took me a second to get used to (by Gabriel Ba I think it was) but once I started reading the story, it just amazed me. The second volume was just as good as the first and the writer kept talking about a 3rd volume, but it's never showed up. I dont' really expect it to, but these two were fantastic enough alone that it's fine if another one never comes.

3. Project Superpowers - I don't think this is for everybody, but I loved it. It starts with a single tpb, which is a stand alone story. If you like that, you can read the 3 tpbs starring 3 solo characters from the PSP line (Black Terror, Death-Defying Devil, and Masquerade) all three of which are good, especially Black Terror. Those are followed by Project Superpowers Chapter 2, which is my favorite of the line and is collected in 2 tpbs I think. In addition to those there's a volume called Meet the Bad Guys, which takes place just prior to Chapter 2. There's also the ongoing Black Terror series, which continue from the 4 issue mini that I mentioned earlier (starting with issue 5).

If you want to try these, neither Masquerade or Meet the Bad Guys is important to the ongoing story, but the rest all flow into one another. So PSP Chapter 1, Death-Defying Devil, Black Terror vol. 1, then PSP Chapter 2. That's the core story, though the rest are just as good. Black Terror vol. 2 takes place somewhere in the middle of PSP Chapter 2, and it effects things in the second half of PSP Chapter 2. I'm guessing you can read it between Chapter 2 vols. 1 & 2, or just prior to 1. It won't ruin anything from the main PSP Chapter 2 story.

4. Kirby Genesis - I enjoyed this. It was supposed to be a big line like the Project Superpowers line, but it got canceled. still, the main mini was completed and enjoyable. The gist is that the writers took a bunch of old, unused character designs that Jack Kirby created and crafted a story around them set in modern day. It was pretty awesome.

5. Y the Last Man - Techincally Vertigo, which is DC, but it's still kind of an independant book. I kinda sorta downloaded these years ago and loved them, couldn't stop reading them. One day, I'll pick up all the trades. I think there's 8, though I could be wrong.

6. Invincible - This is over 100 issues in and still coming, but I recommend the first 25 issues or so, which I think was the first 3 or 4 trades. They were really really good. I stopped reading after that due to finances and when I came back on board years alter (around the 80s issue number-wise) it wasn't quite as good. But I definately recommend those earlier issues.

I'd really like to recommend Sojourn from Crossgen but I can't. It was fantastic, but also unfinished when Crossgen folded. Very disappointing that the ongoing story was never concluded.
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