Comic Culture: Tips to Keep Your Pull List Lean
I have a confession to make. I am usually pretty good at keeping my pull list lean and mean, but lately it has become increasingly harder to do so with the abundance of new indie titles starting, as well as all the promising mini-series being churned out left and right. I am not made of money, nor do I have the time to read a large quantity of books every month. So, with those things in mind, great care needs to be taken to pick and choose books that I am at least 80% sure I will like to keep my pull down. There’s really no time for me to just “try” a book out to see if it sticks. Those books are, more or less, reserved for trade waiting. Thinking about my methods, as well as the number of books on my pull (usually around 10) got me wondering about how other people approach their pull lists. Seeing images, as well as reading lists online of the massive hauls people pay for each month perplexes me because it seems like a lot of commitment (both financially as well as time-wise). This led me to one nagging question.
When does your pull list become so bloated that it’s more of a chore to read your monthly haul than the joy it should be? Is it 10 books, 20, 30, or more? Now, this “magical” number is obviously different for everyone, and I am sure that your specific number will fluctuate from time to time as well. This may be the result of a life change, or even as simple as an increase or decrease in allocated “comic” funds. But, that withstanding, one thing should always remain a constant. If the number of books you are reading each month becomes too much to handle, then it might be time to trim the fat. Reading comics should be fun; it should not feel like a job. And because of that, here are a few useful tips that I came up with to keep your pull list down.
- Set yourself a budget/goal that you want to spend every month and STICK to it. Doing so will force you to really examine what you’re buying, in order to keep the gems and ditch the rest. This is probably the hardest to do for most people.
- Books that always end up at the bottom of your “to read” pile, should be cut. By putting them at the bottom of your pile, you’re basically saying maybe someday I’ll read this book, which in turn (in my mind) is a waste of money.
- Trade-wait mini-series. Unlike ongoings, falling behind on these isn’t really a big deal, because depending on the size of the mini, the trade is usually just around the corner, and they are also self-contained. When they’re done, they’re done. This is personally something I need to get better at.
- Books that are mediocre (in the middle, towards the bottom), that you kind of enjoy, should be cut as well. There are too many good books out there to simply “settle.” These books would also be good candidates for trade waiting.
- Realize that it’s ok to NOT know everything that happens in every series (specifically the Big Two). Truly examine if you are reading a book because you enjoy it, or simply because you have to be in the know so you can make sure you have an opinion about “x” book even though it might be garbage in your eyes. This can become tricky with crossovers and events, because a lot of titles will feed off each other, but then sometimes they don’t. If you want to go back later and read about Forever Evil for example, the trades will be there waiting for you. Don’t hop onboard if you are not 100% psyched for the event/crossover/book etc. You work hard for your money, so spend it wisely.
- DON’T stick with a book just because it’s a character you love if the book isn’t up to snuff. By doing so you are telling the publisher you like what’s going on in the book, when in reality you are just going through the motions. Say it with me, “It’s ok to drop a book.” And yes, even if it’s Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. etc. There is no law that says if you are a fan you have to ALWAYS be reading their book. That thought is frankly a little shortsighted.
- Consider going digital. Comixology regularly runs sales on lots of different books, as well as marks things down (depending on the publisher). These sales and markdowns are a good way to get more bang for your buck, which in turn allows you to read more books! This is obviously hard for die-hard paper readers to do, as well as a big financial commitment up front to buy the e-reader. But, in the end is worth it (imo). Also, it is possible, but not quite the same experience to read digital comics on a computer. And, who doesn’t have a computer these days? So, one could always take that route as well.
Well, how did I do? Are there any on that list that I am missing? Feel free to hit me up on twitter or in the comments below and let me know. But, before we close out for the week I just want to reiterate one thing: don’t waste your hard-earned money on mediocre. You’re all better than that and there are comics out there better than that. We all vote with our dollar, and I vote by buying the best. And, you should too.
FYI: Also, make sure to check out this week’s Comic Shoot, where Tyler and Derek manage to examine pull-lists as well. It’s pretty entertaining, but don’t just take my word for it. Check it out!