If, like me, you still buy your weekly comics at your Local Comic Shop on a regular basis, then you’ll be familiar with what a pull list is. If you’re not familiar with the term, a pull list is a list of comics you want your LCS to hold for you to ensure you get the comics you want; the LCS will use the list you give them to pull the comics from their shipment.
Pull lists are a fantastic tool to ensure you get the comics you want each month, and that you don’t miss an issue of a comic you really want. They also help your LCS to order enough comics to ensure Pull List customers get the copy they want, plus an extra copy or two for the shop rack (depending on the comic, however, there may be no rack copy, hence the importance of the pull list). I’ve been a fan of the pull list for almost fifteen years across a few different comic shops in two different countries, because I’m able to rely on m comics being held for me; a very convenient thing when I sometimes go a couple weeks before each visit to the comic shop.
So why is the pull list a bad thing? For publishers and retailers, it really isn’t. But for you, it can be?
Having a pull list is a great way to ensure you don’t miss the comics you want to read, and don’t really have time to locate all the comics you want in any given week. However when you’re committed to buying comics from a pull list it can tie you to a series far longer than any non-pull lister would be. Have you ever stuck with a comic that hasn’t been resonating with you longer than you should have in the hopes it get better simply because it was on your pull list? I have. Several times, in fact. I stuck with 2002’s Weapon X until it was cancelled, which was far longer than I would have done had I just been picking it up off the rack (initially the series was fantastic, and I hoped for a return to form, but instead it trailed off and got gradually worse until it was cancelled at issue #28). I also dropped all of Marvel’s Ultimate line when I’d finally had enough; yes, Ultimate Spider-Man was still going quite strong, but due to the lines propensity to have cross over events, I decided to drop the whole line (for better or for worse).
The real downside to having a pull list is something I realized fairly recently. With my refusal to read any part of Secret Wars or Convergence, I’d decided to pickup something I don’t normally read, to take the time to actually look at the shelves of my LCS and see what comes out on a weekly basis, and hopefully I would find a gem.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I did.
The Fox, along with Howard the Duck, are two of the most fun comics I’ve read in a long time. There is no underlying current of darkness in the first issue, no shock value hunting violent encounters, but a story that sings of the Golden Age of comics. The Fox will be added to my pull list both so that I don’t miss an issue, and so that my LCS knows to order at least one copy in. This is useful for comics that aren’t as popular as Detective Comics or The Amazing Spider-Man; if your LCS doesn’t know you want to read C.O.W.L. there is an excellent chance that they may not order enough copies in (which would be a shame as it’s a fantastic comic). You could chance it, but why bother?
Pull lists are a fantastic thing, but don’t let them stop you from having a look around every once in awhile. If a title you read is stuck in mediocrity then there is probably a better one out there for you.
After all, comics should be good, and there are so many out there that are.