If you haven't heard of Sam Alden yet, it's because he's still working on his first graphic novel, as detailed in this interview on a local-news site in Sitka, Alaska, where he's doing a summer fellowship.
This is the sort of article you glance at and think "Huh, this guy will be interesting in a couple of years." Then I took a look at his art blog, Gingerland, and realized this guy's got it going on now. Check it out for some gorgeous black-and-white and watercolor drawings. And then you can read the first few chapters of his work-in-progress, Eighth Grade, as well as some of his other comics. And then, about a year from now, you can say "Oh, yeah, I was reading his stuff ages ago ..."