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.
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.
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!
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.