Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman, art by Dave McKean, 117 pages
An acclaimed filmmaker is dying, and he doesn't have much time left. He has refused all attempts by his doctors and friends to prolong his life, even long enough for him to write and produce his next film, a highly anticipated apocalyptic movie set in 999 A.D.
It's a simple enough premise, though Gaiman and McKean have created something here that pushes the boundaries visually and philosophically. The images and text weave together in unexpected ways, questioning and referencing everything from the Bible to socially accepted ways of dealing with death. It's a beautiful, though not easy-to-read, tale of death and coming to terms with one's own mortality. If you're new to graphic novels, I wouldn't necessarily suggest this as a jumping-off point, though I'd definitely include it as one to read.