How Long Is Your Pull List (Do You Have One At All?)

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The humble pull list–the act of asking one’s comic shop to hold a copy of an unpublished comic for one’s own potential purchase. We began discussing them last week when we asked how our number heard of a pull list, who explained it, and in how much financial detail. This week, question two!

Do you still have a pull list now?

Wendy Browne: I had been mostly out of the comic industry for a while and have no store nearby. When I discovered Ladies Night at the store an hour away, I got involved and got on their pull list specifically for graphic novels and trades. Some are the books we read each month, but others are series I am interested in and want to see on my bookshelf. I try not to get too carried away with the list, so I only end up with two or three to pick up each month. If I wasn’t regularly attending Ladies Night or involved with WWAC, my comic industry knowledge would be limited, and I wouldn’t have a pull list at all.

Claire Napier: No, not a regular one. I have subscriptions to two series on Comixology, which is sort of the same, except I can cancel it and nobody gets hurt. I also occasionally order something specific at my local comic shop; I asked the proprietor to make sure to get a copy of the 2016 Prince of Cats reprint for me, for example. Then due to a mixup in email addresses I never got a notification that it had come in, so I assumed that it hadn’t. So the next time I went in, at Christmas (the book was released in October), he looked at me so sadly that I died. I died, of guilt, for betraying this poor man. But it was an accident! I bought the book, obviously (I wanted it), and I also asked him to get in some back issues of Island, because I want them on paper, and I like my local comic shop. Honestly, that’s a sizeable portion of my decision to order there instead of eBaying it or whatever; he’s a really nice person who’s proactive about inclusivity. But most importantly, I made the decision to order there because I’m finally in a position to know, bar catastrophic emergency, that I will be able to pay for the books, as long as they come in within six months. This is not usual for me, it’s not regular. A pull list hasn’t ever made financial sense for me, but it’s absolutely never made psychological sense for me either. It makes me worry; it preys and weighs on my mind, because it’s a major chunk of my usually rather short-term budget, and because it’s something I have to do. I have to go there, and do that, and say thank you. I’d just rather not, tbh. The shop’s a whole other town away and I don’t like social obligations.

Ray Sonne: Hell no. I have my few, precious ongoing exceptions that I can keep track of by myself (currently Midnighter & Apollo, Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Wonder Woman, and in the near future, every book from the Wildstorm imprint). These actually get purchased twice, once in ongoing and once in trade. Every other series gets the honor of being purchased solely in trade format, getting an accessible position on my bookshelf, and being treated the same as any other book from the publishing industry.

Megan Purdy: Last year I subscribed to Midnighter and Vision on Comixology, and that’s the closest I’ve come to having a pull list in maybe ever? No, that’s a lie. Back before Civil War I, I subscribed to Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Wonder Woman, because my local shop closed and no other stores were carrying them consistently. Civil War wholly killed my interest in those books, though. Wonder Woman was just collateral damage. So it’s been pick and choose for me ever since.

Sergio Alexis: I do currently have a pull list; it makes my life a lot easier, since I can just walk into the shop, have them hand me comics, and get myself that physical goodness. I don’t like digital goods and I do like physical ones. It’s super hard to get the niche indie stuff I like physically without a pull list too. I have considered dropping more for trades, since trades are objectively better, but I can’t stop myself.

Kat Overland: Yes, because I’m pretty bad at keeping up with what’s what, and I still sometimes want to read crossovers. My shop dudes are great and often will put titles they’ll know I like in my box to make sure I see it, though they’d never be mad if I end up not picking it up. I also like it because they’ll add trades to my pull list, so if it’s popular (say, Saga or something) I have a reserved copy even if they sell out of the copies on the shelves. I also get a discount on every purchase I make there even if it’s not from my pull list. They also call me if I don’t show up for a month, which is a good reminder to get my life in order. However, one of the big reasons I was still buying Marvel series at my shop was because they came with free digital downloads. That meant that if I had to purge my collection it would be fine because I’d still be able to read the book whenever I wanted. Now that Marvel’s doing away with that my motivation for keeping a long pull list is diminishing, and I was initially only buying physical copies because I like supporting my shop.

Rosie Knight: I’m still keeping my no pull list tradition going. If I hear about a book I like I’ll go and pick it up, and if I want to pre-order a book I just let me local comic book shop (LCS) know and make sure they’ll be getting enough copies that I can pick on up. Though I hate the model of pre-ordering stuff as a rule, so I usually just read trades and attempt to pick up any series I really love in single issues.

Melissa Brinks: Yep! I like the convenience, I like my shop, and I won’t go anywhere else (I’m a creature of habit, but also of supporting small businesses when other, similar businesses have treated me like garbage), and they’ve never once had a thing to say about me dropping a title. Maybe it’s because I usually pick up another in its stead?

Cathryn Sinjin-Starr: Ha ha ha, NO. Remember I said I’d try it out with two titles? That went horribly. It turned out one title was on back-order (which I wasn’t told when I ordered or I wouldn’t have done it!) or had been delayed, but no one felt the need to call and tell me that. So I had to ring continuously to find out if they were in, even though I was told I’d get a call for updates on my pull list. That never happened. Then, months down the line, they emailed me to say I had a number of issues waiting for me, even though they had told me before that I hadn’t? I was disillusioned at this point, having not only done pre-orders on other products, but also worked in a store that did them, and KNEW this process could work. And here, it just wasn’t.

Jamie Kingston: I have “the pull list” emails from ComiXology, which I almost never look at. I’m almost entirely digital now due to several factors. I lost my whole floppy collection to mildew in storage that was not climate controlled as promised. There are shamefully few stores where I live now that are conveniently located enough to visit, and none have attractions like Ladies Night that I know of. Fewer still have webpages so I can investigate LCS attractions.

Jamila Rowser: Not in a physical shop, only on Comixology. I had to cancel my pull list a few years ago, because I moved to Germany for a little bit. When I was in Germany I switched to a Comixology “pull list” and never looked back. Moving made me realize how much space single issues take up, and they don’t even stack up nicely on a bookshelf like a TPB. So I lost the desire to own physical floppys; I’d rather buy the trades of the series that I really like. Over the years I’ve become much more responsible with my comics budget and don’t subscribe to as many titles as I used to. But it’s not just money that has made me pull less comics, the more woke I become to comics culture, the less direct market comics I read. I pull about nine titles on Comixology, and literally none of them publish every month because they are all Image Comics and these creators are late with the comic or take a lot of breaks.

Susan Tober: I do, but it’s only three series in floppy (Monstress, The Wicked + The Divine, and Lazarus) and the manga series that I’m following. It’s a lot easier for me because I can just run in and get given the stuff I’m buying that month, no faffing necessary. I am a couple of things on Comixology (Bitch Planet, Mystery Girl, Mage Killer), because they’re series that I discovered after their runs started, and I didn’t want the trouble of seeing if I could get physical copies of back-issues.

Alenka Figa: I do! I get Giant Days, The Wicked + The Divine, Bitch Planet, Gotham Academy, and just added the upcoming Steven Universe comic! I also swap comics with some former coworkers who work at a place across the street from my LCS, so picking stuff up turns into a handy swap trip. Since starting grad school I have been bad about keeping up with stuff, but no one seems to mind? I generally end up adding things, like the Steven Universe comic, because they feature artists who started out self-pubbing and have been picked up by bigger publishers. Otherwise, if people are raving about something because of queer rep or well-done diversity, I might check it out. Ultimately, I will always put the majority of my dollars toward self-pubs.

How do we compare to you? How do you feel about your responsibility towards your pull list, and the responsibilities to your custom that the shop, publisher, etc. must foster? Let us know in comments, via tweet, and in blogs and articles on your own sites. Then meet back here in a week for question three: How do you feel about having to rely on solicits for pre-orders and building your pull list? 

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About Author

The rock that drops on your head. WWAC Chief Comics Ed. Find me at claire.napier@wwacomics.com

2 Comments

  1. I have 5 things on my list, 4 for me and 1 for my boyfriend. My LCS is super awesome, very very women friendly, and ten minutes away from my house with free parking. The stuff I get in floppies is stuff from smaller publishers that I want to support, titles with backmatter I like (like the Papergirls letter section), or stuff I just don’t want to have to wait for trades. I switch things out if series aren’t working for me anymore but I am usually right at 5 books a month. We get trades online just because you can’t beat the pricing, so I like also having my list because it gets me in and supports my local shop.

  2. I read all my comics digitally these days, and have been for some time, so no pull list (besides the Google Docs list I wrote up to list all of the books I’d like to read).

    I didn’t have room for keeping a large pile of single-issue books, and the LCS near my old apartment (in my old city) didn’t have everything I wanted. Digital’s also convenient and cheaper, between Marvel Unlimited and my local library finally getting Hoopla’s digital comics service.