The Problem with the Pull List

A few years ago, I was still a pretty casual comic book reader. I’d pop into my local comic book store every once in a blue moon, or I’d buy a trade paper back, but I wasn’t keeping up with any titles regularly. Then DC’s New 52 happened, and I decided I wanted to try reading stuff on a monthly basis. And hey, while I was trying out some of the New 52, why not jump back into Ultimate X-Men? It was the first comic I really read, back when volume 1 was ongoing, and it seemed like a good point to jump into Marvel again too.

That is, until I got to my comic book shop the Wednesday it was released, and found that it had sold out. There were no copies on the shelves.

They offered to hold a copy for me, and asked me if I wanted to start a reserve bag. And that’s where everything went downhill.

My name is Angel and I’m a comic book addict.


Dear God, why?

Three titles on my list turned into seven, then ten when I realized I’d get a discount for having ten titles in my bag a month. I added another, and another until no person without unlimited free time would be able to read all of these titles. At this point, my pile of to-read comics is nearing 100 strong, and yet I still haven’t stopped buying. Because what if I finally catch up with the New 52’s Catwoman and I love it? Then I’d regret taking it off of my list.

But as my pile of comics continues to grow by the month, it makes me wonder whether some people I know, who have been making the switch to digital only subscriptions have got the right idea. Thanks to sites like Comixology, it’s becoming easier and easier to keep up with titles without even having to go to a comic book store.

But here comes the dilemma. Those of us who are comic readers more so than collectors– I’m somewhere in the middle– might think this is super convenient, but is it actually hurting local comic book stores? That fear is part of the reason I’ve resisted going digital-only (that and I’ve recently gotten into collecting variant covers and getting my favorite artists to sign my favorite issues). I love my local comic book store. I’ve been going there on and off for about ten years now (only regularly in the past two years or so) and I’d hate to contribute to any business they might be losing.

So while I’ve got this unwieldy stack of comics that just keeps growing, it makes me hesitant to stop pulling titles, because honestly, without a reserve bag, I’m afraid I wouldn’t make it to the comic book store but once every few months. And I do love the convenience of having my LCS keep a list for me and not only keep track of what I’m reading, but periodically pull titles similar to what I’m already reading.

But holy crap, you guys, the stack just keeps growing.

What do you guys think? Where do you stand on this?  Are you pro or anti-digital? Please tell me I’m not the only one with an out of control pull list.

About Angel

A 30 year old everything-nerd living in the southern United States. I devour films and British television like it's my job. My first love is Marvel and the X-Men, but Batman and all of his little helper birds are quickly weaseling their way in.
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9 Responses to The Problem with the Pull List

  1. Chantaal says:


  2. Angel says:


  3. @OverlordOf_Evil says:

    I feel your pain A. My LCS Pull List is 59 titles long for this month (February). !!! Now, my LCS (@ComicTown by the way) is super cool. They know I live roughly an hour away (yep, I live out in the sticks) so they pull every week and know I’ll be in at the end of the month to pick up “my stash”. Plus, since I’ve been a loyal customer for… oh God… 17 years? now they give a 30% off-the-top discount. Super cool, like I said. On top of this convenience I have the luck of having a job that is a lot of sit-and-wait-for-the-phone-to-ring down-time, and it’s a night shift so things can be pretty slow. That gives me the luxury of being paid to catch up on my “To Read” pile. Even with all that, it has occasionally grown to ridiculous proportions, but I’ve always managed to *eventually* catch up with it. I see the appeal of digital comics. Their convenient. I could switch from carrying a briefcase full of comic books to a Kindle or iPad or whatever to work. But I’m a collector at heart. My comic collection is… big. Like 14K+ big. I’ve occasionally sold off a few books or titles, but for the most part I’ve kept every issue I’ve bought. And there’s my big issue with digital comics. Once I buy it & read it I’m left with… nothing. Just the memories of a good (or bad) read. Now, do I go back and re-read many comics? No. Do I think my collection is someday going to be worth millions of dollars and allow me to retire to a Donald Trump-like level of comfort? No. So why don’t I go digital? Because I’m a collector. AND because I have a pretty decent job that affords me not only the luxury of reading comic books, but also the money to buy them all, physically, abd in doing so spread some of the wealth back into the community (both “local” and “comcis” variety). So, my vote is always going to be to buy physical comics. If you don’t want the burden of having them then taking up your entire atic or basement or garage or storage unit or whatever when you’re done with them, donate them. I’ve done some of that too. There are great organizations out there distributing comic books to children’s hospitals, our troops overseas, etc. And it actually can make a nice Charitable Donation deduction in your annual tax return. So there are perks on both ends. Support you comic shop, the local community, the comics industry, the people in need, our troops, and yourself. Don’t go digital. All just IMHO, of course.

  4. B says:

    I’ve tried the digital thing for comics and I just can’t, which is weird because I love my Kindle and love reading books on it. I just feel comics are different. I like to hold them, tell them that I love them and all that jazz.
    B recently posted..Is It July Yet?My Profile

    • Angel says:

      I’m the same way! I love the digital experience, and they’ve done some great things with it recently (there was this one AvX issue that was digital only and kind of perfectly laid out), but there’s no substitute for holding the actual book in your hands.

  5. Katrina says:

    Oh man. It is nice to hear that I’m not the only one who feels this way. You’re summarized my thoughts on the whole situation nicely. There are two other factors for me. I still haven’t found a digital reading experience that I actually like. I may have to try a newer iPad or Kindle Fire since I haven’t tried the newest generation of either. Also, I lend out a lot of books to other people to read to get them interested in comics. There isn’t a way to do that digitally.

    • Angel says:

      I’m a pretty big fan of the way Comixology works, and I’ve heard good things from other people who’ve used it, but I haven’t personally tried it on a tablet or e-reader yet.

      And I hadn’t even thought about lending out books! As much as I love the convenience of digital downloads, I’d hate for that aspect of everything to be lost in the process.

  6. Silvia Salinas says:

    I switched to digital when I moved to Chicago. My apartment is tiny and there’s just no place for me to store all the comics I tend to read. I specifically got an IPad to read comics on it, with the thought that I could put the comics I finished reading onto my external hard drive when I’m done with them. (Because I want to keep them!) I just found out that I can’t put them on a hard drive and if comixology goes out of business, any comics I’ve deleted are pretty much lost to me. Now I’m torn. I think that’s messed up. I bought the comic. I should own my copy of the comic. *sigh* I do enjoy reading the comics on the IPad. The guided view is awesome and the art looks beautiful. If I get out of Chicago and get a normal sized living area, I think I’d go back to the printed copy though. I enjoy visiting my local comic book shop.

  7. Kam says:

    As far as comic pile-up, digital is a little too easy to have the same thing happen. Especially when DC has it’s regular 101 & now 201 sales you can end up with a lot of comics you never going to be able to catch up with. As a long time buyer and now seller of comics I have seen a lot of this… as good as it is for my business to have a customer bring up 50-60 titles every week I have to wonder what’s actually being read. I love the medium that comics are and more than anything else I like being able to put a comic in someone’s hand or simply sell good books. While I appreciate the collecting side I always advise customers if you’re not actually reading a certain book, drop it. Culling is good for the soul and your bank account. It’s been my experiences of Standing Orders/Pull-Lists customers that add and add more comics until it obviously becomes too much. Their return trips become less frequent; when they come in they only pick up so much of their stack until they simply don’t come back at all because it’s all become too much. So we lose a customer and they lose that joy that they at one time had with the product/experience. Never be afraid to drop a title if you’re not reading it or enjoying… or just need to reign the whole thing it back in. No it’s not always easy, but it is rewarding.

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