Better late than never, right!? Thanks to the help of others, I was able to obtain and read a majority of the comics that were released for FCBD 2016, and have finally been able to compile a list of my top picks, along with descriptions under each entry. Enjoy!
10. 2000 AD Special FCBD 2016 Edition
One of the best things about reading 2000 AD comics each year for FCBD, is that you get a host of great short stories from all kinds of writers, and this year's edition is no different. If you can't decide what you want to go for this Free Comic Book Day, this could actually be a great place to start, due to the sheer variety of sci-fi and dystopian stories you get.
9. The Phantom: 80th Anniversary Special FCBD Edition
For those who may not already know, The Phantom was one of comic book's first superheroes, and the first ever to wear a skintight costume (which you all know became a staple of superheroes going forward!). Original Phantom comics and graphic novels are not so easy to collect, especially if you're not made of money. For that purpose alone, I welcome this release, as well as the others we've seen over the years. The stories in this issue are taken from "The Charlton Years" of the comic's run. Well worth the time. It even includes some insider information, perfect for those wanting to learn more about this classic hero.
8. Lady Mechanika #0 FCBD Edition
I make it no secret that I have become a big fan of Joe Benitez's Lady Mechanika series. Although this is a reprint of the original issue #0, I still consider this a great read. If you enjoy steampunk, with a well-thought out action plot, then look no further.
7. Dark Horse: Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens FCBD 2016 Edition
While it is of course true that you would have to be a fan of these three properties in order to properly appreciate the stories within, I do believe the interior stories are quite well done. Of particular note is the Firefly/Serenity story, which recaps the series in more of a child-friendly way. It's a charming perspective for what's now become such an iconic sci-fi series. The Hellboy story is extremely short, but Mike Mignola still continues to impress, even now. While I don't know if I'll be coming back for more comics involving Aliens, this story shows me that I'd likely be missing some interesting material in the process.
6. Mooncop: A Tom Gauld Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition
Drawn & Quarterly has put out many wonderful family-friendly books over the years, and the work of Tom Gauld is clearly no exception. It includes a simple, yet intriguing story about (you guessed it) a cop on the moon, before we get some wonderful short stips, full of satire and humor up the wazoo. This has something that just about everyone can appreciate.
5. Captain America #1 FCBD 2016 Edition
We all knew it was only a matter of time, but Steve Rogers is returning to take his place as Captain America in Marvel's latest entry. The story in this is more of an introduction piece (or another issue #0, if you will), but provides a pretty good set of material to catch you up on the basics of what's been going on while Steve was away. Also included is a teaser for another big event from Marvel, Dead No More. Saying anything more would be a spoiler (including the writing team!), but know that this is looking to be something quite huge, based on the reveal within the last few pages. Between this and Marvel's Civil War II prologue, I consider this to be the better of the two releases.
4. March Trilogy Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition
Following the events of civil rights leader John Lewis himself, this comic compiles bits of all three graphic novels in the March Trilogy. I would have never imagined the comic medium bringing a story like John Lewis's to life, and yet here we are. This is one of those cases where I found myself quite pleasantly surprised. A little history among the sci-fi and fantasy never hurt anyone.
3. Rom #0 FCBD 2016 Edition
While no longer under Marvel, it is quite refreshing to see Rom getting a reboot after all this time. This preview issue from IDW pulls all the stops, with plenty of action, and surprisingly good humor throughout. Even if you've never heard of Rom before now, and never read a Rom comic in your life, I would still recommend this title. If anything, it serves as a way of learning about all the fun you've been missing out on.
2. Archie #1 FCBD 2016 Edition
For those who haven't already heard about the Archie reboot, you may be happy to know this is not your grandparent's Archie! Mark Waid and Fiona Staples hit gold with their wonderful art and storytelling here. The sheer realism and tone of this comic make it a gem worth reading if you haven't picked it up previously. It would have been a shoo in for number one, if not for...
1. Love and Rockets Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition
Fantagraphics has put out many wonderful comics over the years, but Love and Rockets is the cream of the crop. As a celebration for the upcoming reboot in July, this comic includes short stories representing some of the series' best material. With the ability to simply take you out of your own life, and stick you into the perspective of others, it's hard to argue about the top choice. This is just the dose of realism you need to keep the medium alive, and show that comics can be about so much more than you once realized. This will never not be number one.