I've loved all the graphic novels that my friend St. Murse has lent me, but Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (2009) may be my favorite of them all.
This book starts with a lightning bolt -- Asterios Polyp is in a sad state in his apartment in New York City when it is struck by lightning and burns to the ground. He grabs a few objects and his wallet, and buys a ticket on a bus as far away as his money will take him which happens to be the aptly named Apogee, NY. Asterios wasn't always so sad and random. In fact, he used to have a successful career teaching architecture and he used to share his life with his wife, Hana, an artist. The story of how everything went wrong and how everything got to be sort of right again is told through flashes back and forward through the journey of Asterios Polyp.
That isn't even the start of it, though: Mazzucchelli's drawings are both straight-forward and complex, his use of color and the way his drawings reflect the philosophies of the book are genius, and the structure of the story is just perfect. This is a hefty and satisfying book to hold, and one that you will read way faster than you intend, so just plan on reading it twice. At least.
[p.s. Holiday travels and a long-reading book have disrupted my posting for the past few weeks, but I should be back to normal pretty soon.]