I've been reading woodcut novels lately (many of which were given to me as birthday gifts by regular blog-reader and dear friend JOHN HERTEL), and if you're a comics fan, I highly recommend you pick up a few as well. The precursor to the modern graphic novel, most of these wordless books were completed between the first and second world wars. While they range from emotionally potent to downright corny, on the whole they show a generous amount of inventiveness.
Lynd Ward's work is probably the most famous of the woodcut novelists, and I've read a few of his books, GOD'S MAN, MADMAN'S DRUM and a couple of others, but while I marvel at his technical facility as a draftsman, I find his stories somewhat overwrought, simplistic and occasionally hard to follow.
Personally, I much prefer the work of Frans Masareel. His novels like THE CITY, PASSIONATE JOURNEY and THE SUN read much more like poetry, or even a visualization of music, rather than as prose. I love reading his work--I've never read anything like it before.
His work, along with Ward's, is reprinted in GRAPHIC WITNESS, a compilation of some of the best woodcut novels. Also reprinted in the book are novels by Giacomo Patri (the exceptional WHITE COLLAR) and Laurence Hyde (SOUTHERN CROSS).
SOUTHERN CROSS has also been reprinted in the past year by Drawn and Quarterly in quite a beautiful edition, and it's well worth getting. Like Ward, Hyde attempts to tell a complex and structured story, and while it's operatic in its tone, it actually succeeds in being emotionally potent. I've found his work, and particularly the work of Masareel to be quite inspiring.