Culling Your Pull List Can Enrich Your Comics Experience

After a long financial talk with my husband  (boring) I finally saw some reason and decided to stop buying comics. Last week I went cold turkey and didn’t even buy the new Ms. Marvel comic. If you know me, you know how HUGE of a sacrifice that way. Kamala Khan is my hero and I’ve already started buying the necessary materials to cosplay her. This week, even more amazing comics were coming out and I steeled myself against buying any…and then my husband called my from my LCS (local comic shop) on his way home from work and asked me what he should get.

The workers had given him all the comics in my pull list for the last two weeks and he wasn’t going to buy me twenty comics. He read off all the titles to me, and I slowly kicked certain issues from the list. Did I really need to be reading Unwritten: Apocalypse? No, I didn’t have the second issue so why should I pick up the third? Ditto for Alex + Ada (although my LCS was supposed to reorder me a copy of #4). Five Ghosts, Ghosted, and Ghostbusters were quickly relegated to the “no” pile…for reasons, and I even said goodbye to Ryan North’s The Midas Touch.

Writer: C. Willow Wilson  Artist: Adrian Alphona  Cover Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Writer: C. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Cover Artist: Jamie McKelvie

After I rejected many more comics, I was left with 8 titles – an all time low for me considering this was two weeks worth of pull-list. The pile my husband brought home consisted of Deadly Class #3 (It’s murderin’ time), Fatale #21 (The end is near!), Sandman Overture #2 (I didn’t even get both cover options this time), Loki Ragnarok and Roll #2 (I <3 Boom!), Wake #7 (Duh), Sex Criminals #5, Ms. Marvel #2 (OMG), and A Voice in the Dark #5 (It’s seriously good and deserves it’s place among the rest of these comics).

I was initially sad with the small pile of comics that husband handed to me when he got home. Tomb Raider #2 was missing because  my LCS dudes forgot to add it to my pile. C’est la vie. Then I started reading the books I had gotten. Each and every one was spectacular. There were no books that I thought “Wow, that was kinda good, but not great” about. There were no books that made me think I wasted $3.99 and 15 minutes of my life. For an hour and a half I was in comics heaven. 

I had previously vowed not to read mediocre books as a statement to the comics industry, but I never imagined how fantastic it would feel to have those books removed from my pull list. Not that all the rejected books were mediocre, but the remaining books were both the cream of the crop and the ones that meant the most to me personally. Sure I could have picked up American Vampire Vol. 2 #1 – and it would have been fantastic. But that series doesn’t mean as much to me personally as Ms. Marvel or Fatale.

Reading 8 books that were both high in quality and high in my own personal investment was game-changing. There are so many comic books I want to read, and so many new series I want to invest in, but really weeding out the comics that hadn’t made the cut lifted a great deal of the financial burden. I’ve found that if I can limit my comic intake to 5 comics (or less) each week then I can 1) afford to buy comics still and 2) get more out of the experience. 

It’s rare (for me) that cutting things out of my life actually adds to my overall life experience. Rejecting comics from my pull-list over the phone with my husband was like pulling out my own teeth. I had to give up so many of my “babies”, but in the end it was worth it. We’ll still have to see how much self-control I can muster when I’m in the comic shop by myself without husbandly supervision….

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  1. Very good post. I’ve been having this conversation with a friend of mine who has said on repeated occasions how he doesn’t have any titles that “blow him away”. He is stuck in a habit of buying things he’s not wild about “because they may get better”. I keep telling him that he can always go back to those titles if/when they *do* get better, but why spend that much money on something that isn’t giving you enough entertainment for the cost? Yes, you can get into a habit of buying a title and feel bad about giving it up, but sometimes you just have to rip off that band-aid all in one motion.

    I just wrote up my own quick pull list, and I’m probably forgetting something, but it looks like I’m buying about 20 titles per month. Of the list I made, four of them are currently “on the chopping block”, meaning I enjoyed the first one or two issues enough to give them one more month to impress me.

    • It’s really hard to put things on the chopping block, even when you know you need to! The emotional attachment you get to certain titles (even when they drop below your standards) is ridiculous. It’s definitely worth it to rip the band aid off though!

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