The Question: Epitaph for a hero by Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan
Just to start, I’m going to count comics on the list. Not the small monthly things, because I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so, but graphic novels are long enough to include. (But I’m going to keep calling them comics, because the term “graphic novel” seems to have been co-opted by self-hating closet cases who don’t want to admit that they read comics.)
I love The Question. Basically, he is a Zen libertarian with no face who solves crimes by meditating (and beating people up – but only after he’s meditated). Epitaph for a hero reprints five issues originally published in the eighties, and it’s just great; groundbreaking stuff at the time, it still resonates today. The main character spends one entire issue buried up to his neck. He doesn’t escape or do anything particularly heroic, he just – to crassly simplify the story – shames his enemies into killing themselves. And the stories get better from then on.
Go out and get this, or one of the other Question reprints. I think you’ll like it.