Several of the most awesome things I've recently finished reading, are Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Both of these were created and originally published in the 1980s and helped spark a revival in the popularity of comics and graphic novels in the West.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
If you think comics and graphic novels are for kids, then I dare you to read this. Apart from the fact that you'd be very much mistaken if you believed it was all for kids, the characterisation for The Joker in the recent film The Dark Knight is based off of Miller's Joker in this novel (and Alan Moore's Joker in The Killing Joke (also a must read)).
Batman: The Dark Knight shows us just what happens after Batman retires from crime fighting and how it doesn't really work out. Some of it's a bit dated, but it is over 20 years old. Supposedly Miller's yarn was responsible for reviving the Batman franchise.
WATCHMEN - "the most celebrated graphic novel of all time"
In anticipation of the movie adaptation of this that's being released next year, I found myself reading Watchmen last month. I've never read a graphic novel with plot that was not easy to guess. When I finally realised where the story was going I got goose bumps.
What was so fantastic about this graphic novel is that it's not really about superheroes; it's about vigilantes (all of the characters, except for one, do not have powers) and how the world reacts to them. Alan Moore is a really good storyteller and it's no surprise that the work he's done with Dave Gibbons over the years represents some of the best of English comics ever created.
Oh, I saw the trailer for Watchmen, when I went to see The Dark Knight, and that's when I realised that I needed to read the graphic novel.
Official Watchmen movie website
WATCHMEN - trailer version 1, with some guy at the end almost peeing himself