A friend put me onto a good thing the other day. She's been reading a manga series called "Lone Wolf and Cub" and recommended it to me. I was hesitant because I have never been impressed by manga art. But I am glad that I picked up the first few books of the series.
LWaC is the creation of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima and runs to around 8700 pages. Created in 1970, it chronicles the saga of a Ronin (Samurai without a master) called Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro who he wheels about in a cart. Ogami Itto is an assassin with an unknown mission that is revealed over 28 volumes.
I personally think that the Sandman series is the most amazing piece of creative work that I have ever seen. Though I have read but the first two volume of LWaC, it seems to be comparable. The premises are different and comparisons cannot and should not be made, but the cinematic artwork of Kojima San and the multi-layered storytelling of Koike San makes this one of the most compelling pieces of visual art I have ever seen.
The storyline is set in the Edo Shogunate period (14th-16th century) Japan. Each volume contains 3-4 short stories that move the saga along. Thus far, each story has had a different structure to its telling. It is remarkable to me that they were experimenting this boldly with visual narrative back in 1970. Small wonder that it is a winner of the Eisner award.
In summary, to those looking for something different, something that will be hailed as one of the masterpieces of the 20th Century in a few hundred years, I cannot recommend this one enough.