BY AARON BLOCK

[As a prelude to his monthly comic book column, “The State of My Pull List”, Aaron explores his comic reading habits, and the pleasures of a pull list.  Follow “The State of My Pull List” here.]

For a dedicated comics reader, the pull list is a kind of contract with your preferred retailer, who agrees to hold issues of the books you read each month if you agree to buy them. This ensures that you don’t miss a book you’re interested in or dedicated to, and it helps retailers streamline their ordering process by keeping track of how many customers read which books. It’s a cozy system, and generally keeps everyone pretty happy.

Personally, I haven’t kept a pull list in years. Not that I don’t read enough comics to warrant a list—I read about fifteen to eighteen books a month, which is roughly 4% of the industry’s monthly output (not accounting for all the underground and self-published material out there). I’m sure my local store (the excellent Comicopia in Boston, MA) would cheerfully accommodate my near constant dropping and adding of titles, and picking up a stack of comics at the end of every month would certainly keep me budget-conscious. There are plenty of reasons to recommend this relatively simple decision.

But I like scanning the new arrival shelves for my favorite books every Wednesday. I like balancing a light week with oddities or one-shots I might not otherwise have picked up. I even like discovering that one of my regular titles has sold out, and the subsequent searching other stores in the area to find it. I feel like a hunter-gatherer, facing a raw landscape every week, never entirely sure what I’ll bring home to my hungry family (who, in this metaphor, is… also me). I prefer to be active and engaged, like those proud people stalking the landscape, using their keen senses to track their prey. Unlike them, I experience very little risk of death involved in buying comics, but that doesn’t diminish the satisfaction I feel walking to the subway with that robust brown bag tucked under my arm.

For me, then, a pull list is less a prediction of what I hope to buy any given week, but rather a record of what I did end up buying. And so this column will be a monthly review of that record, coming to terms with what I read, what I liked and disliked, trends worth noting, and other ephemera. With any luck it will convince you to pick up a stellar book like Mark Waid’s Irredeemable or Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, but if nothing else I hope it will give you 4% of insight into versatile, creative rich medium.

[Read the first full issue of “The State of My Pull List” here.]

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