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How to Deal With Cutting Your Pull List

When your pull list has gotten out of control, what do you do to cut back?

Having a pull list at your local comic shop (LCS) is a pinnacle moment in a comic book reader's life. You've moved up from casual to regular reader. You're one step deeper into the world of comic books. It truly is this really exciting moment. Every week, you walk into the shop, and the awesome comic shop employee, behind the counter, pulls out your comics for you. The employees start to know you by name, and you may strike up more conversations with them and other costumers. Having a pull list lets the retailer know you appreciate them, and in turn, they appreciate you.

As time goes on and you start finding more and more things you like, your pull list will grow, and at some point, you'll be faced with a question every comic book reader hates: "What should I drop?" You'll panic. You'll freak out. It's the moment in your comic reading career that will haunt you for years to come. The first time you have to cut back on your pull list.

I'm fighting every urge to not buy everything in this picture, right now

My pull list is an on-going battle between my wallet and my want. At one point, I had 75 books on my list. I was reading everything and anything I could get my hands on. The obvious problem with this scenario is the cost. If I wasn't getting a discount from my LCS, I'd be shelling out $224.25 a month, if all the books were $2.99, which wasn't the case. Continuing on with the magic of math, that comes out to $2,691 a year. As this time, around 2006, I was making very little money at a dead end job and finishing up college. What I'm saying is that I ate a lot of ramen during this year. I wasn't the worst though. There were a couple of guys, at my LCS, buying almost every single issue offered through Diamond. They were spending around $200 a week. While having to shell out the cash is probably the biggest problem with having a large pull list, it isn't the only problem.

The other problem with a massive pull list is that you start to develop this collector mentality. There's this little voice in the back of your head saying "you need it all. You need to complete it!" Whether it's the completion of a volume, a writer's, or an artist's work, it's something that many, if not all, comic book readers and collectors face. The hardest thing to do when faced with an over-barring pull list with a collector mentality is figuring out how to cut back on your list without crushing your own soul.

This is an example of a book you don't drop from your list.

1. Breathe

Take a moment and take a deep breath. What you're about to do it tough, especially when you love comic books oh so much. It's not the end of the world, but it may feel like it.

2. Print out a copy of your pull list

This is your first step. This is the most important step. You need to be able to see the amount of books, in a list that you're reading. 70 books is just a number, and it really won't mean as much as seeing them all printed out in a list. It will feel overwhelming, and it will make it easier to cut books.

3. Determine what your favorite books are

These are your go-to books for a good time. Figure out what you like the most. These are the books you will not cut. Be serious about it. Don't throw your hands into the air and yell "I can't cut anything. I love all my books!" Go back to step one if you can't get out of that mindset. Don't think about numbers either. Just pick out your favorites and take it from there.

4. Determine what your least favorite books are

This should also be easy. What do you buy every single month that sits on the bottom of your reading pile that you either don't read or you just skim through? We all have a couple of those books on our pull lists. The book isn't bad enough to drop, so you can't rationalize dropping it. These are the first books coming off your pull list.

5. Realize that the rest of your list is things you refuse to give up on

This is what the rest of your list contains. Books you may or may not be enjoying that you simply won't cut because you either love the characters or the creative teams, or if you're like me, books you refuse to give up on because you have a complete run of the series. This is where that "collector mentality" gets in the way of logic. We want to cut back on comic books and on our pull lists and save some cash, yet we come up with illogical reasons why we have to continue reading them.

6. Understand you're going to miss out on some things

After you've cut down your cut list, you're going to be real tempted to jump back on once something mildly interesting happens in that book. Do yourself a favor, don't go back. You have to get used to the idea that you're going to miss out on things. Separate yourself from the "collector mentality" because that will be your downfall. Have some willpower like that darn tootin' Hal Jordan!

CAP DIED?! When in the heck did that happen?

7. Never look back

Forget this whole ordeal ever happened. It will be good for you, in the long run. Move forward as a reader and add and cut from your list when needed. Remember that you control your pull list. It doesn't control you. Only read what you love and try and step away from that collector mentality. It can be your worst enemy.

Now, it's time to take your first step into the future and change up your pull list. Whether you need to make room for a new series or just save a little green, following these steps should help out. To a non-comic book reader, this all may seem a bit out there and maybe even out-right insane, but comic fans know that sometimes, your pull list takes over, but at least now you have a way to fight back against the collector mentality.

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, comedian, host of the podcast "Mat & Lewis Vs The Internet," (on itunes too!) and currently has 30 books on his pull list, not counting the series he only buys in trade.

182 Comments
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Edited by anthonygiu

@scarletbatman: Yeah those were my least two favorites. I am thinking about pulling Superman/Wonder Woman and Justice League 3000 as well. I am hoping Action Comics at least picks up.

Posted by Catsnlynne

So far I have 15 on my Pull List

1. Action Comics

2. Aquaman

3. Batgirl

4. Batman

5. Batman and Robin

6. Earth 2

7. Flash

8. Green Arrow

9. Green Lantern

10. Justice League

11. Justice League of America

12. Nightwing

13. Superman

14. Superman: Unchained

15. Wonder Woman

And when Batman/Superman comes out that will be on my pull list too. Is there any that anybody can recommend adding or would recommend removing?

Keep Earth 2, Green Arrow, and The Flash. Get rid of the rest.

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

I only read the best books that i enjoy reading. No room for B.S. boring books in my pull list

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

Oh god I have a problem, the following is next week ALONE.

I should really pay close attention to this article.

June 26

=======

LAST OF US AMERICAN DREAMS #3 $3.99

BATMAN SUPERMAN #1 $3.99

BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #21 $2.99

DJANGO UNCHAINED #5 (RES) (MR) $4.99

INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US #6 $3.99

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21 $3.99

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #5 $3.99

WAKE #2 (MR) $2.99

BOUNCE #2 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

FATALE #15 (MR) [DIG] $3.50

FIVE GHOSTS HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY #4 [DIG] $2.99

JUPITERS LEGACY #2 CVR A QUITELY (MR) [DIG] $2.99

JUPITERS LEGACY #2 CVR B HITCH (MR) $2.99

JUPITERS LEGACY #2 CVR C JOCK (MR) $2.99

LAZARUS #1 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

LOST VEGAS #4 CVR A LEE [DIG] $3.50

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR A ESQUEJO (MR) [DIG] $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR B CHEGGOUR (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR C EISMA (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR D FORBES (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR E IRVING (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR F MOORE (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR G ROSSMO (MR) $3.99

MORNING GLORIES #28 CVR H WILSON III (MR) $3.99

SEX #4 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

SEX #4 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

THIEF OF THIEVES #15 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

THINK TANK #8 (MR) [DIG] $3.99

AGE OF ULTRON #10AI $3.99

ALL NEW X-MEN #13 NOW $3.99

GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #4 NOW $3.99

SECRET AVENGERS #5 NOW $3.99

ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #28 $3.99

UNCANNY X-MEN #7 NOW $3.99

X-MEN #2 NOW $3.99

Damn dude, you seriously need to cut down your pull list. and why are you buying so many of the same books? You seriously need to. I don't even buy that many books a month.

Edited by gridlock464

Hey Matt, first off a great article! I work in a LCS, and even for people who work at a LCS its struggle to strike that balance between what you want and what you can afford. It’s always an ongoing struggle to figure out what you absolutely need and what you’d like to buy. My pull list is right around 15 monthly books & a couple of Minis

@bunkerbuster05 I wish I had more subscribers in my store like you. So many subscribers just dump titles back on the shelf and don’t say “hey this book just isn’t doing it for me anymore” let’s face it there are tons of reasons to fall out of love with a book, open communication is always a huge plus in any relationship, talk to the people at the LCS, knowing what regulars/subscribers want helps us to order books. My biggest priority is making sure my regulars are happy.

Posted by Noir56

My comics pull list has been reduced non-stop every month to the point of practically a few titles per weeks, even per month (excluded certain comic-related art books, etc.).

DC is pretty much messed up since New DC debut 2 years ago due to its inconsistency with roster of writers/artists. Marvel Now has been (yawning) so-so.

Independents remain strong, I'm sticking with them.

Posted by adamhollander4

In australia, a 3.99 book costs $6. Its absolutely outrageous.

Edited by MurrayClack

I went from buying 30-odd books a month to just buying TWO - neither of them DC or Marvel.

I gave up on Marvel a few years ago after that "Brand New Day" fiasco (plus, getting tired of event, after event, after event)

And after buying Batman (and related titles) for 33 years, I DROPPED it like a hot potato

I am now down to "Jupiter's Legacy" and "Star Trek"

Remember, DC and Marvel are RELYING on the people who "Buy out of habit"

One trick that would help me decide to drop a title was to go to the back issue bins, and if there are plenty of copies of the book stickered around cover price (like all the New 52 titles), that means NO ONE ELSE is interested in that title, so don't feel guilty about dropping it.

Posted by TheDarkPacman

breathing....breathing....NOT WORKING!!!!!! (loved this article, thank you my people!)

Posted by ScarletBatman
Posted by ChocolateFrogs

The collector mentality is what got me in trouble for keeping Wolverine and the X-Men for too long. But I finally dropped that and sorted out my pull list.

I think the two biggest ways to convince yourself to drop titles is 1) Unless it's a big event, most titles are just fun and games (that can be picked up as trades or googled for the jist),* and 2) A certain title really does suck and you don't need to read it. Eventually a better writer/story will come along and you can pick it up again then (see: N52 Green Arrow #17+ by Jeff Lemire).

*This is actually why I'm thinking of dropping my 3 subcribed X-Men titles after Battle of the Atom (unless something shocking happens at the end) and trying a few non-tights and capes titles from Image, Dynamite, etc (see: The Wake, Saga)--basically things that aren't just powered heroes fighting each other every issue, as awesome as they are. (I'll keep Batman Zero Year because Snyder, and Guardians of the Galaxy for the new movie.)

Posted by RedR0bin

I definitely feel like I am giving away one of my children when I make cuts to my pull list, but I have compromised with buying trades of the titles I cut.

Edited by SmoothJammin

I don't drop more than 30 bucks a month on comics

Edited by DCWarFan73

I honestly buy most of my stuff in trades and I have my monthly pull list at 3 titles (Winter Soldier, Hellboy, and Justice League Dark are the current titles I like to get in book form).

Captain America

The Phantom Stranger

Astro City

with the occasional Lobster Johnson one shot I pick up as well.

I've been saying it for months there are too many titles out there - and too many titles with the same characters - how many Bats comics do we really need? That is why I cut down on my Batman purchases.

At $3 and $4 a piece how do they expect us to support this industry with more than 3 or 4 a month is a decent amount of money and an economy that is on it's last leg/.

Posted by inferiorego

There's been a couple people who have said something along the lines of "download them for free :wink: :wink:"

Don't do that. Sure, you can magically make yourself feel good about it by saying "I'm taking money away from the Big Two! Corporations are evil!" But you're really taking money away from the creators. Books get cancelled when no one reads them, legally.

I can't afford trips to Hawaii, but you don't see me sneaking onto a plane and staying in unused hotel rooms... wait... that doesn't sound half bad.

Edited by XSpectreGreyX

Currently, I have 19 in my pull list. There are some books I'm late to, so I'm waiting for the trades. I've been tempted to add to my pull list, but I take caution and think to myself "is this really worth it? Do I care enough about what this book has to offer?" A lot f the time, it's my excitement getting the better of me.

That said, I'll likely be adding to it. Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman are definitely going in, and Justice League 3000 eventually.

Posted by Adriell2124

God. It's not my pull list at this point, it's the back issues I still want to read. NEXTWAVE, Secret Avengers, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Winter Soldier, Secret Warriors, Green Lantern, American Vampire, Astro CIty, DC: The New Frontier, Atomic Robo, Starman, and Suicide Squad.

Edited by Tyrannotaur

My main problem is as soon as I drop 2 titles, 3 more will come along that interest me. Or in the case of Catwoman; it's a title that I really don't like the writing in, but they have a cover artist I love and I really like the character, so I have a tough time dropping it.

Plus I'm dreading September. Does DC really have to make all those villains books 3 dollars? I mean really? I wanted to get all my favorite villain's issues but thats gonna be a small fortune.

Edited by nappystr8

I've gone through several phases of drops at this point and it never ever gets easier. I was planning another pull list cut in the near future, but I looked at this weeks releases and it's almost $40 of stuff. So I'm probably going to have to make some cuts a lot more imminently. If it weren't for Marvel's double shipping I'd probably be alright. So it's probably mostly Marvel I'm going to drop.

Posted by Battle_Forum_Junkie

@inferiorego:

I'm thinking I might have to cut down on what I get every month... :(

But this was very helpful.

Thanks.

Edited by Wolverine08

I'm never cutting anything from my pull list. Never!

Online
Edited by kimi74

With every delivery of comics the first thing l do (after confirming each comic against the receipt) is sort them in the desired reading order. I notice pretty quickly if a title is ending up on the bottom regularly..

Posted by MissJ

I'm so bad about this. I've switched about 60% of my reading to digital, but I'm still accumulating So. Many. Books.

Staff
Posted by Sharkbite

I'm around 100 titles per month. My job can support it, but that wasn't always the case.

Some things to consider as well, when you're forced to choose between titles that you find "good enough". The ones that hold your interest and you enjoy reading, but they're not your absolute favorite.

What's the print schedule like?

A comic like Kick-Ass or Runaways can get to the point where they only publish an issue every 2-3 months. That's actually good for the pocketbook; counting that as one of your books is really only like having a half of a book. In contrast, something like an X-Men title might publish 2 issues a month, basically every month. Cutting that is the equivalent of cutting 2 books.

Price?

A 3.99 book is more expensive than a 2.99 book. This one should be a no brainer, but most often I don't even glance at the cover price. Or I justify it that "it's just a dollar". But three 3.99 books is the same thing as four 2.99 books. If you absolutely cannot make up your mind, listening to George Washington and letting him make the decision will result in the fewest number of titles needing to be cancelled in order to fit back within your budget.

What's your habits?

If you're one of those persons who has to have all the tie-ins, then avoid the books that constantly want to tie into books you don't otherwise pull. Look at standalone titles that don't do crossovers, or ones that only cross within the books you already pull. (If you're the type who wants 7 Avengers books every month, great, but otherwise maybe you'd be better off just sticking to the core Captain America or Iron Man book).

Posted by djotaku

Had to do this when my daughter was born. Went from $100/mo in books to $6.

Batman by Scott Snyder

Saga by BKV

That's it. Everything else, I put trades on my wishlist so people can get it for my birthday or Christmas.

Posted by kbrackie

Does anyone subscribe to these comics from the publisher?

Posted by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

I have read comics for a long time..... But I don't know or really get what a pull list is?!

Posted by Wolverine08

@banestrokelobogrundybatarrow:

A pull list is a list of comics you want your comic shop to hold for you each month. People get pull lists so they don't have to worry about coming to their comic shop to see their favorite titles sold out and unavailable to them.

Online
Edited by Raw_Material

Cool topic. Kinda helped me figure some stuff out. I recently dropped all the Green Lantern series after Geoff Johns and the creative team left, including 'Threshold' (which I only reached to issue #3). Dropping all 5 titles was a huge stepping stone into cutting down my pull list, but also a heart breaker considering I've been following Green Lantern sense Geoff Johns took authority of the title and created a masterpiece of stories within. Cutting down on the GL titles definitely made a great impact on my comic book budget.

Edited by clayscarface

@thefirstlantern: I did try Aquaman: The Trench. It was pretty good, but I can't get over how everyone IN THE BOOK is making fun of Aquaman. I get that it's sort of a cultural thing that people mock him, but I thought he was pretty sweet after like 3 pages, and from what I hear they're still doing the same thing in the book today. Idk, I just don't see how you can expect an audience to take your character seriously when you don't even want to.

I've also tried Batgirl, Batwoman, and Harbinger and have been pretty impressed. Harbinger's got a lot of growing to do, but I think it could turn out pretty well (and I like supporting any company that's not the big 2). Uncanny X-Force was also awesome, I'm still waiting to try out the NOW! run. Biggest disappointment for me so far was Superman. Volume 1 was terrible. Only thing keeping me on that is Rocafort joining.

Edited by LockeFaraday_815

I so have that collector mentality I just keep adding,I'm up to 33 now. I wanted to cancel Vibe and Katana after issue 2 but because they were part of JLA I felt like I needed them or I would miss something like there might be some crossover from the 3 and id end up picking them up anyway.Great suggestions calling my LCS now and canceling them.