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How to Deal With Cutting Your Pull List

When your pull list has gotten out of control, what do you do to cut back?

Having a pull list at your local comic shop (LCS) is a pinnacle moment in a comic book reader's life. You've moved up from casual to regular reader. You're one step deeper into the world of comic books. It truly is this really exciting moment. Every week, you walk into the shop, and the awesome comic shop employee, behind the counter, pulls out your comics for you. The employees start to know you by name, and you may strike up more conversations with them and other costumers. Having a pull list lets the retailer know you appreciate them, and in turn, they appreciate you.

As time goes on and you start finding more and more things you like, your pull list will grow, and at some point, you'll be faced with a question every comic book reader hates: "What should I drop?" You'll panic. You'll freak out. It's the moment in your comic reading career that will haunt you for years to come. The first time you have to cut back on your pull list.

I'm fighting every urge to not buy everything in this picture, right now
I'm fighting every urge to not buy everything in this picture, right now

My pull list is an on-going battle between my wallet and my want. At one point, I had 75 books on my list. I was reading everything and anything I could get my hands on. The obvious problem with this scenario is the cost. If I wasn't getting a discount from my LCS, I'd be shelling out $224.25 a month, if all the books were $2.99, which wasn't the case. Continuing on with the magic of math, that comes out to $2,691 a year. As this time, around 2006, I was making very little money at a dead end job and finishing up college. What I'm saying is that I ate a lot of ramen during this year. I wasn't the worst though. There were a couple of guys, at my LCS, buying almost every single issue offered through Diamond. They were spending around $200 a week. While having to shell out the cash is probably the biggest problem with having a large pull list, it isn't the only problem.

The other problem with a massive pull list is that you start to develop this collector mentality. There's this little voice in the back of your head saying "you need it all. You need to complete it!" Whether it's the completion of a volume, a writer's, or an artist's work, it's something that many, if not all, comic book readers and collectors face. The hardest thing to do when faced with an over-barring pull list with a collector mentality is figuring out how to cut back on your list without crushing your own soul.

This is an example of a book you don't drop from your list.
This is an example of a book you don't drop from your list.

1. Breathe

Take a moment and take a deep breath. What you're about to do it tough, especially when you love comic books oh so much. It's not the end of the world, but it may feel like it.

2. Print out a copy of your pull list

This is your first step. This is the most important step. You need to be able to see the amount of books, in a list that you're reading. 70 books is just a number, and it really won't mean as much as seeing them all printed out in a list. It will feel overwhelming, and it will make it easier to cut books.

3. Determine what your favorite books are

These are your go-to books for a good time. Figure out what you like the most. These are the books you will not cut. Be serious about it. Don't throw your hands into the air and yell "I can't cut anything. I love all my books!" Go back to step one if you can't get out of that mindset. Don't think about numbers either. Just pick out your favorites and take it from there.

4. Determine what your least favorite books are

This should also be easy. What do you buy every single month that sits on the bottom of your reading pile that you either don't read or you just skim through? We all have a couple of those books on our pull lists. The book isn't bad enough to drop, so you can't rationalize dropping it. These are the first books coming off your pull list.

5. Realize that the rest of your list is things you refuse to give up on

This is what the rest of your list contains. Books you may or may not be enjoying that you simply won't cut because you either love the characters or the creative teams, or if you're like me, books you refuse to give up on because you have a complete run of the series. This is where that "collector mentality" gets in the way of logic. We want to cut back on comic books and on our pull lists and save some cash, yet we come up with illogical reasons why we have to continue reading them.

6. Understand you're going to miss out on some things

After you've cut down your cut list, you're going to be real tempted to jump back on once something mildly interesting happens in that book. Do yourself a favor, don't go back. You have to get used to the idea that you're going to miss out on things. Separate yourself from the "collector mentality" because that will be your downfall. Have some willpower like that darn tootin' Hal Jordan!

CAP DIED?! When in the heck did that happen?
CAP DIED?! When in the heck did that happen?

7. Never look back

Forget this whole ordeal ever happened. It will be good for you, in the long run. Move forward as a reader and add and cut from your list when needed. Remember that you control your pull list. It doesn't control you. Only read what you love and try and step away from that collector mentality. It can be your worst enemy.

Now, it's time to take your first step into the future and change up your pull list. Whether you need to make room for a new series or just save a little green, following these steps should help out. To a non-comic book reader, this all may seem a bit out there and maybe even out-right insane, but comic fans know that sometimes, your pull list takes over, but at least now you have a way to fight back against the collector mentality.

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, comedian, host of the podcast "Mat & Lewis Vs The Internet," (on itunes too!) and currently has 30 books on his pull list, not counting the series he only buys in trade.

182 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for combatspoon86
Edited by CombatSpoon86

I've adopted this strategy all too well. With having friends doing the 3.99 marvel books, they give me their codes so I don't miss out a thing. So far it's working well and keep my pull at 15 books or under a month.

Avatar image for sammo21
Posted by Sammo21

I normally always have a few books I could shave off. Recently I dropped Deadpool but I am pretty sure that I will be dropping Red Hood and the Outlaws as well...adding to the long list of DC titles I have cancelled in the last year and a half.

Avatar image for squalleon
Posted by Squalleon

Awesome article! It was a nice change of pace and i am sure it will help lots of people :-)

My pull list is already down to 5 :-(

  1. Superman Unchained
  2. Batman
  3. Justice League
  4. Green Arrow
  5. All new X-men

i wanna add the Suicide Squad but my least favorite book is already very good(all new x men).

Avatar image for kantrip
Edited by kantrip

Brilliant advice. Thanks so much. I do need to cut somethings off.

Avatar image for bunkerbuster05
Posted by bunkerbuster05

I went through this last month. My pull list was at 65 books. My budget was at 30.

It was hard. I have a good relationship with the employee of my LCS, so we sat down and talked about what is important and what I am keeping just to complete a collection.

I'm now at 25 books, give or take a limited series or two.

Avatar image for saoakden
Posted by saoakden

I'm going to have to do this real soon.

Avatar image for Pokeysteve
Posted by Pokeysteve

I don't worry about this because I'm fairly picky about what I read. For example today was my biggest week of the month and I only took home 4 books.

Enjoyed the article though and my favorite part was when Hal got a legit shout out hahaha.

Avatar image for queenfrost_
Posted by queenfrost_

Orrrr if you are cutting back due to money constraints there are...alternative ways ;)

Avatar image for longbowhunter
Posted by longbowhunter

If Image would stop putting out so much great stuff it would go a long way towards me managing my pull. Seriously though, I have to weed my list every few months. I just tell myself to sit this one out and wait to pick up the back issues online if its a series I've already started and dropped. If its a new series I can watch the reviews and pick it up in trade.

Avatar image for andy_117
Posted by andy_117

Hey, guys, no offence, but only your comic book reading is a "career". XD

Avatar image for savagedragon
Edited by SavageDragon

I cut mine down to about 10 ongoing books a month. Then I have the series that are ending and the series I read in trade.


The Wake



Astro City


Superman Unchained

Titles that are ending soon


Demon Knights


Morning Glories

Ultimate comics Spiderman


Avatar image for darklydreamingdeadpool
Posted by DarklyDreamingDeadpool

it's a sad moment when you realize, your wallet isn't as big as your comicbookfanatism........ i allready wer'e at this point where i had to drop some titles......


Avatar image for dj1107
Posted by DJ1107

Do what I do read trades

Avatar image for sinestro_gl
Posted by sinestro_GL

Avatar image for dagmar_merrill
Posted by dagmar_merrill

@sammo21: Deadpool has gotten better and better as of late.

Avatar image for bloggerboy
Posted by bloggerboy

That awkward moment when you read the first caption and notice Superman: Grounded in the picture.

Avatar image for e1000
Posted by E1000

@queenfrost_: agreed.

Sadly, I have to rely on that. Reading single issues in France is so expensive ! retailers make the conversion 1$ = 1 € which means I pay my Avengers title 4€, which is 5$.

So my pull list is simple : Avengers. Then some N°1s just to get an idea (Ten Grand was awesome).

Then I pick up "damaged" trades on Amazon wich cost something like 8€ for a full trade (I got New avengers : the sentry trade for 3€!)

Avatar image for foxxfireart
Posted by FoxxFireArt

Damn, over two-grand a year?

Pull lists would probably be easier to manage if the cost of digital comics wasn't so high. You could reduce your costs while still keeping up with your favorite stories.

I understand the purpose of the pricing is to avoid hurting comic stores, but it's still ridiculous that digital media has physical print pricing. There should be a point at which digital comics get much cheaper. I went to look into buying a trade paperback for X-MEN: SUPERNOVAS on Comixology. That came out in 2008. The physical media version is $22 (on Amazon) and Comixology has it for $19.99. Here the hilarious part. The Kindle Fire version is $9.99. Amazon has better digital pricing.

The thing I love about manga series is the reasonable pricing. Most series put out maybe 3 to 4 volumes (160-200 pg. per vol) a year, at an average pricing from $8-10 a volume. Some series only put out two volumes a year. It makes is really easy to follow various series.

Avatar image for redlantern23
Posted by RedLantern23

My sweet spot is 10. I'd love 4 to 6 more but hey a guys gotta eat.




Superior Spider Man

Thor: God Of Thunder


Green Lantern

Superman Unchained

Swamp Thing


Occasionally I'll treat myself to a classic TPB as well.

Avatar image for jonny_anonymous
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

My advice is if you really have to make some big cuts to your pull, drop the hugely popular books on your list. Books like Batman, Green Lantern and Spider-Man aren't going anywhere any time soon so just pick them up in trade. However if you love a books like All-Star Western or an indy book they might not make it to it's next trade if pepole stop buying it monthly.

Avatar image for billy_batson
Posted by Billy Batson

I'm fighting every urge to not buy everything in this picture, right now

I thought you hated Grounded?

My advice is if you really have to make some big cuts to your pull, drop the hugely popular books on your list. Books like Batman, Green Lantern and Spider-Man aren't going anywhere any time soon so just pick them up in trade. However if you love a books like All-Star Western or an indy book they might not make it to it's next trade if pepole stop buying it monthly.

Yeah, this.


Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Edited by RedheadedAtrocitus

Very informative! I may just have to try this considering I may have to just shun all my other holds and become strictly a DC guy with all the new stuff I wanna be getting.

Avatar image for dondave
Edited by dondave

I'm happy I don't have to deal with this

Avatar image for mickeymayhew
Edited by mickeymayhew

In the 90s I couldn't bear to stop buying anything; now I can be quite ruthless, and drop a title after two or three issues of mediocrity. The only titles I stick with come hell or high water are the core X-Men titles

Avatar image for queso6p4
Posted by Queso6p4

I'm fighting every urge to not buy everything in this picture, right now

I thought you hated Grounded?

@jonny_anonymous said:

My advice is if you really have to make some big cuts to your pull, drop the hugely popular books on your list. Books like Batman, Green Lantern and Spider-Man aren't going anywhere any time soon so just pick them up in trade. However if you love a books like All-Star Western or an indy book they might not make it to it's next trade if pepole stop buying it monthly.

Yeah, this.


Definitely agree with this.

Great article! This can come in handy to both new and more established readers alike. This should actually be required reading, imo.

Avatar image for donfelipe
Posted by DonFelipe

My advice is if you really have to make some big cuts to your pull, drop the hugely popular books on your list. Books like Batman, Green Lantern and Spider-Man aren't going anywhere any time soon so just pick them up in trade. However if you love a books like All-Star Western or an indy book they might not make it to it's next trade if pepole stop buying it monthly.


Plus, when focusing on mini-series your pull list will never get too long while long running ongoing series will always be collected in trades eventually; especially the popular characters and books from DC and Marvel like Jonny said. I'm not following too many ongoing titles at a time and usually stop following them after 2 maximum 3 arcs or in less than a year; except for Saga (and I really appreciate the fact BKV and Fiona take breaks every now and then though waiting from April to August right now feels terribly long).

Avatar image for 2chimcha3
Edited by 2chimcha3

I only have 6 books on my list as of now so this doesn't apply to me. Wish I could read more though.

Avatar image for jacobin_wisdom
Edited by Jacobin_Wisdom

Well, gee...

I think I've reached the point where I gotta have a pull list, and whittle everything down. Might as well do that after that trinity wars storyline is concluded.

Avatar image for the_stegman
Posted by The Stegman

I have over 30 titles...something must change.

Avatar image for adamhollander4
Posted by adamhollander4

Thank you so much for this article. Helped me personally a lot.

Avatar image for kfhrfdu_89_76k
Edited by kfhrfdu_89_76k

Good article.

I`ve never had this problem, because I have never had a pull-list. I do spend quite a bit of money to comics (or maybe not), but it`s not a big problem for me.

Orrrr if you are cutting back due to money constraints there are...alternative ways ;)

Libraries, for example.

Avatar image for samuel_simmons
Posted by Samuel_Simmons

I'm somewhere close to 15 on my pull list, but new series make it grow faster than it shrinks like when a mini ends or a series gets canceled.

Avatar image for fhiz
Posted by Fhiz

...there will still be weekly podcast questions of "What should I cut?!"

Spoiler alert: Not Batman, All New X Men, or Hawkeye.

Avatar image for that60sguy
Posted by That60sGuy

@inferiorego great article Mat.

I had actually just finished typing up my list in order of preference so I could make cuts when I came across this article. Weird!

I'm resorting to buying more trades and dropping anything outside my top 15. I often give new series' one whole story arc to decide whether to keep, trade or drop but some you just know you won't like after #1.

Right now my comic buying looks like this:


The Superior Spider-Man (x2 thank you Slotttttt!), X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, All-New X-Men, Daredevil, Batman, Archer & Armstrong, Uncanny Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Shadowman, Justice League of America, Savage Wolverine, Harbinger, Green Hornet, Green Lantern, X-Men, Six-Gun Gorilla, Masks, Peter Panzerfaust, Superman Unchained, Scarlet Spider


The Spider, Indestructible Hulk, Thor: God Of Thunder, New Avengers, Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Batman & Robin


Avengers Assemble, Avengers, Avenging Spider-Man, Cable & X-Force, Deadpool, Uncanny X-Men, Avengers Arena, Green Arrow, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Batman Inc., Dial H, Action Comics

Avatar image for dreamfall31
Edited by dreamfall31

I keep mine at an even 10 normally. There are ones I'd like to get, but the ones I have are too good to take one away for another!

Avatar image for i_like_swords
Edited by i_like_swords

My system is now 7 books and one TPB a month. I almost always break that system, but it's working so far. Problem is, there are a whole bunch of Valiant books I need to pick up, which means replacing some Marvel Now stuff. I also want to collect Luther Strode because I love Justin Jordans as a writer (he writes Shadowman too funnily enough). THIS IS SO DIFFICULT. I'm going to have to drop New Avengers and Invincible. No biggie there. That means I have space for Shadowman and Bloodshot. Then there is Ninjak and Quantum & Woody. So I'd have to replace Daredevils limited series and either Cap, Deadpool, Hawkeye or GOTG. I DON'T WANT TO REPLACE ANY OF THEM BUT THE TWO VALIANT TITLES I LISTED ALSO LOOK GREAT. HELP ME.

Okay.. I took a breath. I have it worked out. I will be willing to sacrifice Daredevils limited series, Deadpools Marvel Now, New Avengers, and Invincible Universe.

My current list will be as follows when all titles are out.

Marvel Now - Captain America, Hawkeye, Guardians of the Galaxy

Valiant - Shadowman, Bloodshot, Quantum and Woody

Image - The Legend of Luther Strode

I can pick up Daredevil and Deadpool in trades, along with the Marvel NOW series I have missed. All will be okay..

*Is bankrupt and drowning in every title I mentioned in 2 months time*

Avatar image for strider1992
Edited by Strider1992

Valiant - Shadowman, Bloodshot, Quantum and Solace

Some one has been watching James Bond!

Avatar image for hawkguy
Posted by Hawkguy

Dropped 5 books this week. I currently spend $30 a week, but thankfully my summer job will keep me going until next summer.

Its hard... It really is, I wish I could buy every damn book but my shocker was next week, 15 books...

And another problem I have is wanting to backtrack the new books I'm reading. When I started TMNT, at around issue 18, I hunted down all issues, 1-17. It was a tough time and I shelled out a ton of money but my OCD couldn't be satisfied any other way.

And now with Batman/Superman, Quantum and woody, eternal warrior and other series coming out its gonna be time to do some more dropping!

Avatar image for i_like_swords
Posted by i_like_swords

@i_like_swords said:

Valiant - Shadowman, Bloodshot, Quantum and Solace

Some one has been watching James Bond!

Oh lord. I meant Woody. Quantum and Woody. Hahahaa

Avatar image for ganthetsward20
Edited by Ganthetsward20

You guys are really helping me to sit down and look at my pull list and decide what's worth keeping and dropping. That math while not completely accurate for me was a wake up call I need to cut back on my books.

Avatar image for mrforms
Posted by MrForms

I cut back on a lot of Marvel titles. I'm now only getting a few series (Spider-man, Avengers, Daredevil) and I get the rest of my Marvel stuff from Marvel Unlimited.

Granted Marvel Digital Unlimited is NEVER up to date (always a couple of month behind), but it saves me a TON of money that I can inject on some titles from DC, Image and the rest. For 50$ a year, you get thousands of comics, can't beat that!

Avatar image for the_mouse
Posted by The_Mouse

having done this recently i can sympathize, but when the choice between being able to afford food or comics is before you, the choice becomes easy...mostly...well i mean there's always instant noodles..>.>

Avatar image for ccraft
Edited by ccraft

Before I switched to digital I always had a hard time with my LCS, rather it ran out on a comic title I wanted or Diamonds messed up on the order and it would take weeks before the comic finally arrived.

I used to have 12 comic titles on my Pull list, then I dropped a few , and now I have 7 on my pull. I also made this Collect Later list, kinda like my 2nd Pull list, I would add comic titles to that list to ''collect'' later or just to remember what comic titles I like. I would also add comics that I'm interested in (like 1-4) but don't have the money to get them, yet!

When I started comics (around the 10th issue the new 52, June 2012) I developed that collector mentality, so I was spending a ton of money to collect a certain series, like I spent $64 on Ebay for Grant Morrison's run on Batman.

Since I switch to digital I was able to get more comics cheaper, Comixology has sales every week, most recently they had over 200 issues of Superman on sale for $0.99 (so I got 1-5, on my collection list)


Collect Later List

My Comic Collection

1. Superman: Brainiac
2. For Tomorrow
Digital: I have 4 of 12 collected
3. Superman: Secret Identity
Digital: I have 2 of 4 collected
4. Kingdom Come
5. Superman: Red Son
6. Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
7. The Shadow: Blood & Judgment
8. X-O Manowar: By the Sword
9. X-O Manowar: Enter Ninjak
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Change is Constant
Digital: TMNT series is freaking awesome!
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past
13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Sins of the Fathers
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Krang War
15. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan
16. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series
17. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series
18. Vol. 1
19. Batman: The Court of Owls
HC: Talons are one of my favorite new villains of n52
20. Batman and Robin: Born to Kill
HC: My favorite arc of B&R, Nobody was a great arc.
21. Batman: Detective Comics: Faces of Death
HC: The first arc was good, and I liked the 2nd arc of Scarecrow.
22. Deathstroke: Legacy
TPB: This is my favorite depiction of Deathstroke
23. Aquaman: The Trench
HC: Used to be my least favorite Justice League members until now.
24. Teen Titans: It's Our Right to Fight
25. Vol. 1
26. Vol. 1
27. Catwoman: The Game
28. Green Lantern: Sinestro
29. Vol. 1
30. Red Hood and the Outlaws: Redemption
Digital: vol 1
31. Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth
32. Green Arrow: The Midas Touch
TPB: I hated this arc, dont get this. Wait until Green Arrow #17
33. Batman: Earth One
34. Batman: Hush
35. Batman: The Killing Joke
36. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
TPB: Spilt Dr Pepper on it 5 mins after I bought it, you cant tell though..
37. Gotham by Gaslight: An Alternative History of the Batman
38. Batman: Batman and Son
HC: If you like Grant Morrison and Damian read this. This is the first introduction of Damian.
39. Batman: The Black Glove
40. Batman: The Resurrection Of Ra's Al Ghul
41. Batman: R.I.P.
HC: Was a hard read, it needs to be read 2 or 3 times I suppose...
42. Final Crisis
TPB: The Death of Batman, is this the end of TDK?
43. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne
HC: Very interesting, some people hate it, I liked it.
44. Batman: Heart of Hush
45. Batman: Gates of Gotham
46. Joker
47. Batman: Venom
TPB: I really liked this, Batman on Venom! Must read before Knightfall.
48. Batman: The Cult
TPB: Was one of my favorite pre new 52 comic! Bane broke the Batman, but Deacon Blackfire broke his spirits.
49. Batman: Time and the Batman
TPB: Haven't finish it yet, way too confussing..
50. Vol. 1: Batman Reborn
TPB: Havent read it yet
51. Batman: Bloodstorm
TPB: Wasnt very good, interesting, but not good...
52. Rebirth
53. Civil War
54. Avenging Spider-Man: My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends
55. Death of Captain America: The Death of the Dream
56. Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
57. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man
58. Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates
59. Deadpool: Monkey Business
Avatar image for _black
Edited by _Black

I buy almost exclusively trades. I just don't have the time or money to have a pull list =/

Avatar image for gotham331
Posted by Gotham331

Is time for me to re-organize! I want to add Batman/Superman and maybe superman unchained. It's time to say goodbye to Nightwing and maybe Action Comics.

Avatar image for projector
Edited by Projector

Oh god I have a problem, the following is next week ALONE.

I should really pay close attention to this article.

June 26









WAKE #2 (MR) $2.99

BOUNCE #2 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

FATALE #15 (MR) [DIG] $3.50





LAZARUS #1 (MR) [DIG] $2.99










SEX #4 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

SEX #4 (MR) [DIG] $2.99


THINK TANK #8 (MR) [DIG] $3.99


ALL NEW X-MEN #13 NOW $3.99





X-MEN #2 NOW $3.99

Avatar image for lvenger
Posted by lvenger

There are so many books I want to read but since my dad pays for my comics, I don't want to spend too much. As such I limit my pull list to 7 titles a month:

  • Superman Unchained
  • Batman (to be replaced by Batman and...)
  • Green Lantern
  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Wonder Woman
  • Indestructible Hulk
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Avatar image for kennybaese
Edited by kennybaese

I made the decision a long time ago that I buy comics to read, not to collect, so I buy a large majority of my books in trade on Amazon (for a usually pretty hefty discount). Since I read a lot of DC, this can be a bit frustrating since their trades come out so much later than the single issues, but it's what works within my budget. And, because I buy books without a collecting mindset, I only keep the books around that I know I'll want to read again, so it keeps my bookshelf manageable.

However, I do like to support my local shop as well, so I maintain a pull list of about five books there. Usually, they're devoted to either runs of a book that I really want to have as it comes out (like the initial Johns/Lee run on Justice League) or books that intrigue me but probably won't sell well (like The Movement or Animal Man). By limiting the pull list to five books, I still have comics to read every month, but I don't have to really tighten my budget to support it.

Currently, I'm getting Animal Man, Green Arrow, The Movement, Green Team, and Earth 2. I'm thinking, though, that I'm going to be dropping Earth 2 now that Robinson is leaving the book and replacing it with something else. Hawkeye maybe.

Avatar image for g_money_christmas
Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I need to cut down too. June 26 is a real killer. I can't even get everything until I get paid. It's going to be really bad when I have kids and have to cut it way down: /