Graphic Novels
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As far as graphic novels go:
Maus I and II (see: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Atlantis/2671/)
The Dark Knight Returns (see: http://www.darkknight.ca/storylines/tdkr.html)
Sandman titles by Gaimen (see: http://www.holycow.com/dreaming/books.html)
The Killing Joke (see: http://www.ryaninteractive.com/comicvault/01_killjoke.htm)
Bone and the sequels by Jeff Smith (see: http://www.boneville.com/)
Cerebus (and 13 sequels) by Dave Sim (see: http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Union/5145/CEREBUS.html
The Tale of One Bad Rat (see: http://www.bryan-talbot.com/bad.rat.home.html)
The Watchmen (see: http://raven.ubalt.edu/staff/moulthrop/hypertexts/wm/)
Camelot 3000 (see: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0930289307/ref=ase_wizardworldcom/107-7721283-2128523)
Saga of the Swamp Thing (see: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0930289226/ref=pd_sim_elt_l1/107-7721283-2128523)
Here are some authors to consider:
Art Spiegelman
Alan Moore
Will Eisner
Neil Gaiman
Frank Miller
Scott McCloud
Grant Morrison
Charles Burns
Daniel Clowes
Kurt Busiek
Important women authors:
Donna Barr
Wendy Pini
Trina Robbins
Colleen Doran
Lee Mars
Rumiko Takahashi
Julie Doucet
Alison Bechdel
Roberta Gregory
Louise Simonson
Ann Nocenti
http://www.rationalmagic.com/Comics/Comics.html is an excellent link that has lists created by title or subject There was also a great article in VOYA, Dec 2000 titled "Recommended Graphic Novels for Libraries." D.Aviva Rothschild's book Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to
Book-Length Comics was also very helpful to me.