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CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – The Pull

One of my favorite things about comics when I first developed a weekly habit more than 20 years ago, was learning about the idea of a PULL.

The idea that I could put titles on a list and people would modify order numbers of books, and assure that I got a copy of something pulled aside before it ever went on a shelf made me pretty excited. It also probably made me feel kind of powerful and in control – at a time (16!) when I was anything but.

Over the years, especially since I started writing this column, a lot of people have asked me what’s on my pull and I’m never really shared it. Maybe it seemed just a shade too intimate? Like going through my underwear drawer or something? Silly, I know, considering I’ve talked about way more personal things here over the years, including recently admitting that I have sometimes watched soap operas.

Anyway, I closed my pull last week and it was almost physically painful to do it – saying goodby to so many years of having a pull. There has never been a time in my life when I was actively reading comics that I didn’t have a pull, so this is new ground for me. And mostly I don’t like it! I did it simply because I live in Manhattan and there just isn’t room in my apartment for a weekly pull of print comics to fill up every nook and cranny of space. So I’ve moved to digital for most of my books and then double-buying the stuff I really cannot live without having when the trades come out.

So, in honor of the too-painful closing of my pull last week, here is what was on it — by publisher and alphabetically — as well as a list at the bottom of things removed in the last few months — enjoy the peek into my now closed underwear drawer! A strikethrough simply means the title was canceled (or ended) while I was pulling it.

SHNH The Pull smaller

Click to enbiggen!


Adventure Time



Angel & Faith


Buffy Season 9

Conan The Barbarian


Mind Mgmt

Star Wars

The Massive


Animal Man


Dial H

Justice League Dark

L’il Gotham


My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic





Mara (limited series)

Pretty Deadly



Sex Criminals

The Walking Dead


All-New X-Men

Avengers Assemble


Daredevil: Dark Nights (limited series)


Captain Marvel


Journey Into Mystery

Powers/Powers: Bureau (Icon)

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man

Ultimate Comics X-Men

Uncanny Avengers

Uncanny X-Men


Young Avengers


American Vampire


The Wake (limited series)



Bandette (Monkey Brain)

Harbinger (Valiant)

Princeless (Action Lab)

Quantum & Woody (Valiant)

Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)

Stumptown (Oni)


Avengers Arena, Batman Inc., Batman & Robin, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Demon Knights, Gambit, Red She-Hulk, Uncanny X-Force, X-Men Legacy, and many others that are escaping me at the moment. There were also of course dozens of books that I tried over the last year (<cough>Katana<cough>), and would have liked to add to my pull, but that never quite made the cut.

Looking back over this list I’m reminded of what a reversal I’m seeing on the Marvel/DC part of the pull. Pre-New 52, I was pulling about four DC books for every Marvel, now the reverse is closer to true. But what I’m struck most by I suppose is the fact that not only do I find myself happiest (at a glance) in both the quantity and quality of the Image books on my list, but the fact that the non Marvel/DC books actually make up more than 50% of my pull. That’s kinda cool, and something the teenage me never would have imagined.

So what about you? Do you love having a pull? Will you ever give it up? Even if you go digital you don’t HAVE to as they have subscription services, so if you move to digital someday will you get a “digital pull.” What’s on your pull? What helps keep it there? How often do you take a good hard look at exactly what’s on it? Sound off in the comments!





Interesting topic.

I had a pull once, for about three months, when I was a teenager. It didn’t work out. I was indecisive. I kept changing my mind about titles by the time they arrived.

I haven’t had a pull since. I probably should have one, because the only comics I buy regularly are always out of stock by the time I get to the comic shop and I end up having to buy them online and pay stupid shipping costs. But, part of me feels like it would be too big of a commitment again and it would make it harder to drop titles as quickly and easily as I’m apt to do.

Jeez, how do you afford that much? I haven’t had a pull since I moved to New York precisely because I don’t get enough books per month to qualify for one at my store. (There’s a minimum. I still qualify for the discount program, though!)

Kelly, which of the following new Marvel superheroine titles have captured your attention and interest- She-Hulk, Black Widow, Elektra, the relaunched Captain Marvel and the hinted but as yet unannounced Ms. Marvel.

When I lived in CA a few years ago, I had a pull at Earth-2.

After I moved to Iowa, I pretty much stopped because logistically Pulls are kind of a hassle. Knowing what you’re going to be enjoying 3-4 months ahead of time is nearly impossible and swapping books in or out either leaves you or your LCS with books you don’t want.

My “Pull” at this point is the Transformers and GIJoe books, and Atomic Robo. Because my shop wouldn’t order those otherwise. Everything else I buy comes off the racks and if they’re out of something, I don’t get it.

I’ve had a pull for about 25 years, and I am on the verge of ending it and going digital. As a long time collector, I’m simply out of room. I’ll be sad, but I don’t have a choice. I’m not going to rent storage for my books. Sometime in the next moth or so, my weekly Wednesday run will come to an end.

I had a pull list from ’93 to ’05 when my comic shop closed down. Despite being out of state (collage) during 5 of those years it was pretty convenient until internet ordering really took off.

Now though, I’ve completely given up on getting weekly comics. I’ve gotten burned too many times so I just trade wait for ones I’m interested in and I’ll pick up others if I hear good things about them.

I still have my pull list. Have had one basically non stop since the 90s. Going to the shop on Wednesday morning and picking up my books and talking with the ppl in the shop is a highlight of my week. I get about 10-15 books a week the majority being marvel and DC with some other publishers mixed in.
Space has become a problem. I recently turned in 30 long boxes to my LCS for store credit and will probably do something like that every couple of years to keep from being overrun by longboxes


Sorry, had to go there. ;)

Your list is much longer of course, but we have a lot of the same titles. If you count mine and my wife’s as one list (since it’s usually a single purchase), it looks like you read everything we do. Cool.

Oh wait, we also get East of West and Fearless Defenders.

I will redo my pull list every couple of months.6 months or so. Or when my shop has a promotion about updating your list.Luckily my shop doesn’t have a problem with you putting a book or 2 your not interested in anymore back on the shelf,as long as it’s not a regular thing that is.

I have a mix of mail subscriptions and pulls, and a super nerdy method of deciding which method to go with. I have a spreadsheet that calculates the average weekly price of each title and if it goes above $1 or so I’ll drop it from my pull and just get a subscription. My LCS doesn’t give discounts for pulls (is that normal?) so it’s significantly cheaper to get it through the mail, the downside being I don’t usually get it for a week or more after it’s released.

I don’t buy digital comics. I only read Marvel anyway, so if I don’t want to collect something, but I still want to read it, I just wait for it to come onto Unlimited.

Why do people not find the term ‘pull’ even slightly uncomfortable? Being from Australia, the term means a very different thing (back in Melbourne, I had a ‘standing order’.)

For instance – the first time I went in to the Beguiling in Toronto I was asked ‘Do you have a pull?’ and I had to ask ‘Sorry, what?’ 4 times before it hit me what the guy was asking, because yes – I heard the words, I just couldn’t believe I was being asked such a personal question alongside my first purchase of Canadian comics! I guess I just didn’t see the sign in the front window that said ‘Start a pull. Get a free box of tissues.’

That said, I haven’t had a ‘pull’ for a long time, (hyuk hyuk) but I still manage to buy everything I want just going to the store once a month. (Except Locke & Key. The single issues, if I didn’t go in on the day, disappeared fast. So I just gave up on it.)

What this means though is I can just try whatever and give up on it after one issue if I want, and not have to have that awkward ‘But this is a low selling title and we’ve already ordered the next two issues for you’ conversation. I got the first few X-Men, for example, but dropped it as soon as I saw that crossover trade dress on issue 5 (4? I forget.) As for my regular buys, while I don’t actually have a ‘standing order’, it would look like this:

Rachel Rising, Chew, Saga, Ultimate Spider-Man, Skottie Young’s Oz, Takio, Six Gun Gorilla, FF, Atomic Robo, Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth, Astro City, the Mysterious Strangers, Rat Queens, Great Pacific, & Li’l Gotham.

Caanan, you nut, just go root for a sports team, why don’t you! :)

My pull list for this month was just four books: Hawkeye, Daredevil, Batwoman (which I’m dropping for next month) and Saga.

For December my pull will grow to about 9 books, 3 DC (Animal Man, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman), 4 Image (Three, Saga, Pretty Deadly and Rocket Girl) and Hawkeye and Daredevil from Marvel. I’ll probably buy Wood and the Dodsons’ X Men and a couple random other comics too. My monthly budget is roughly €35.

Dang it, Thompson, I was going to cull my list a bit in January and do something similar to this. Always stealing my ideas, you is.

Interesting list. I agree with you that it’s almost inconceivable to me today that my non-Big Two list is so much larger than my Marvel and DC stuff. I’m sure no one at DC and Marvel will take any kind of information from this, though.

@Greg: I think the usual practice is to give a discount on all orders over a certain amount, though my LCS gives a discount on all orders.

Mine varies at times, especially for the BIg Two. In the last 6 months, I’ve dropped almost all DC titles with the exception of Superman Unchained and Astro City. Since Astro City is really a Vertigo book, the Superman book is it. I don’t know how long I’ll get it because I’m not much of a Jim Lee fan. I’m still buying at least 10 Marvel titles but the further the company and characters get away from the how I “knew” them, the more titles I will drop. I buy all the Valiant titles, two Dark Horse books, three from IDW, and two from Image.

A running joke at my Comic Book Shop is that my pull list is usually doomed for cancellation: if I like a book, it won’t be around long! I haven’t pulled a printed copy in years, but there’s still a bunch of limited series, or books that came out then disappeared: just added Ballistic, and I don’t know when the next issue of that is.

Right now, I’m getting all the B.P.R.D./Hellboy books and spin-offs, Astro City, Dark Horse Presents, the Star Wars, Satellite Sam, Red Team, Ballistic…I’m waiting for Amazing X-Men, and need to add Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. My son’s books are on my list, too: Spongebob Comics, Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, and we share Regular Show.

I realized recently that almost everything on my list is retro, retro, retro: The Spider, The Shadow, Miss Fury, Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Rocketeer/The Spirit, Shadow/Green Hornet, Shadow Now, Shadow Year One, Codename: Action, King’s Watch, Red Sonja, Legends of Red Sonja, Batman ’66, Captain Midnight, Lords of Mars, Afterlife with Archie.

There are other series I read, but I get those in trade. I do find it funny that the only Big Two series I buy in single issues is Batman ’66.

The only “pull” I currently have is all IDW: “Transformers: ReGeneration One”, the current Danger Girl mini “The Chase”, and John Byrne’s follow up to his “Trio” mini “Triple Helix”. I thought I would have their Ghostbusters title on as well, but three is enough for me. Other than that, no modern DC/Marvel dreck. If it’s anything from those two, I go right to whatever quarter bin is around. You ever made that kind of trip, Kelly?

I try to keep my pull on a $15-$20 budget; I realized when I got married that I was spending too much money on comics I didn’t really need or enjoyed, but bought just out of habit. I don’t have any problem planning out my pull months in advance (in fact, I enjoy it in a nerdy way…)

Right now I’m getting Manhattan Projects, Mind Mgmt, Trillium, Animal Man, and Sandman Overture when it starts this week. I’ll be adding Iron Patriot and Silver Surfer when those come out.

I had a pull list in high school from about 2002-2004. I recall I had Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, JLA, JSA, Spectacular Spider-Man, and a bunch of others I’m forgetting. Then I went off to college 6 hours away, was short on time and money, and I lost interest in collecting at that time.

Then I began working in Manhattan (Actually that was 5 years ago yesterday) and would go to Midtown Comics occasionally and pick up whatever looked good, but never had a pull. Comics changed too much in the 4 years I was away at college and I never had the urge to catch up on what I missed.

Captain Marvel
Fearless Defenders
Avengers Assemble
East of West
Infinity (yeah yeah, I know you guys are sick of events, but I’m a sucker)
Pretty Deadly (new)
Rocket Girl (new)
Red Sonja (new)

Captain America (still love Cap but not feeling Remender’s plots. I’ll catch up on Unlimited)
Journey Into Mystery (series canceled. dammit)
Jupiter’s Legacy (couldn’t get into it, I don’t think it lived up to the hype)

my wife:
Young Avengers
Sex Criminals

Stuff our 3 year old daughter has grabbed from the shelf (we let her pick out a book on her visit):
Adventure Time
My Little Pony
Star Wars
Sesame Street

I find myself NOT adding to my pull list as time goes on. Part of it is because stuff I like keeps getting cancelled. (Journey Into Mystery was canned about a month after I added it.) Another part is because the quality of books is always in flux: a book I’m enjoying now may no longer be enjoyable with a creative shift. (I have Earth-2 on my list right now. Will I like the new writer? I don’t know.) I also don’t want to screw over my retailer, as I know they typically order books based on what people are pulling. If I later change my mind, I may be saddling him with a book that he wouldn’t have ordered but for my pull.

I currently go to a shop where they seem to have plenty of stock, so I don’t seem to be unable to get an issue if it’s not pulled for me. That’s not true everywhere, though.

@ danno

Good job. I was thinking of doing something similar, “My internet is broken, there are no hate messages here”
or something.

@ buttler

No Haunterd Horror?

I forgot to mention that this is the first time in 30-odd years of comic buying that I have had a pull list, and I’ve only had it a few months. And I do it less because I’m afraid they’ll sell out than because the store offers a discount if you have more than a certain number of titles on your list.

I have this unfortunate belief that the continued success of the store, the titles, and the publishing field in general rests squarely on my shoulders. So I end up buying a lot. And I know that all the creators advise that doing that is the best way to keep lower-quality books on the shelves, but I can’t help it. I’m too on-board with supporting the hopes and dreams of comics creators, and I can afford it.

My store gets lots of copies of everything, so I don’t really need a list with them. Still it’s satisfying to walk in and have exactly what I want in one nice stack. I always review Diamond’s shipping list Wednesday morning, just to be sure. I still browse for awhile, usually picking up something new. If it’s a light week, maybe a new graphic novel to tide me over.

I love having a pull list as can still remember having to pray the comic I was looking for was on the spinner rack back in the 1970s. Fortunately, as a DC fan, I had a lot better chance than my Marvel loving brother. I’ve been using a pull list since early 1991 when I was in college. With a 35% discount and lots of room (despite already owning 18,000 back issues) I don’t see me ending my pull list any time soon. The biggest threat at this point would be DC switching to an all digital or OGN model. That would be the end of me buying any new comics material. What gets a book on the pull list and keeps it there is the character or the team. If I loved you as a kid, chances are really good you’re on my pull list. If I hated you back then (X-Men, Thor, Daredevil, Green Arrow) there’s no chance it’s on there now. It usually takes a change of character to drive me off a book I’ve been with for a long time, for instance, the only issues of Tim Drake’s Robin I don’t own are the ones starring Stephanie Brown. Spider-Man is my favorite Marvel character, but I’m not reading his stories in 616 or Ultimate format at this time.

My current pull list

Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth
Rocketeer / Spirit: Pulp Friction

Star Wars
The Star Wars

Invincible Universe
Jupiter’s Legacy
Super Dinosaur


Unlike everyone else, my non DC pull list is melting away. A few years back, BOOM! accounted for 8 comics a month with Waid’s two “I’ books, the Stan Lee line and Pixar. Even my Image list is shrinking.

Astro City
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril

Adventures of Superman
Batman: Black & White
Batman ’66

Batman and Guest
Batman/ Superman
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Earth 2
Forever Evil
Rogues Rebellion
Justice League
Justice League of America
Justice League 3000
Wonder Woman
Worlds’ Finest
Superman Unchained
Superman and Wonder Woman
Teen Titans

dropped or ended in 2013
Batman Inc.
Batwoman (after issue #17)
Green Lantern New Guardians
DC Universe Presents
Blue Beetle
Green Team
Legion of Super Heroes
Superman Adventures
Young Justice

Captain Haddock

October 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

You misspelled “embiggen”. I don’t see why you would, its a perfectly cromulent expression.

I have had a pull list for over 25 years now, but at no time have I ever had as weird a pull list as I do at the moment. Even a couple years ago I would never have imagined a time when my pull list would include just one Marvel title (Hawkeye), just one title published by DC (Astro City), but four – four – titles from Archie (Life with Archie, Afterlife with Archie, The Fox, Archie). Funny the odd roads comic reading can take you down.

I also have Alter Ego on my pull pull list for what it’s worth.

I’m a big fan of the pull list, since my shop usually will sell out if you don’t have a pull. Plus, they give you a discount, and I don’t get to visit every week, so it’s nice to be able to stop by at my convenience and buy what I want. They never hassle me if I want to drop a book.

Right now, I’m reading:
Uncanny X-Men
Cable and X-Force
All New X-Men
East of West
Uncanny Avengers
Young Avengers
and I think I’m going to add Velvet

The New52 and Marvel Now! detroyed my standing order (I stand with Caanan on that word, afterall, I’m still in Melbourne).

I went to trades for almost everything, the exception is made with smaller print books that for some reason I think my single order will help then survive even though it means one less trade sale.

Currently I think I have ordered (in trades)
Ultimate Spider-Man
Dial H (and I guess that’s gone now dangit)
World’s Finest (is that dead yet?)
Rachel Rising
Adventure Time
The Manhattan Projects
East of West
Atomic Robo

I used to have a massive monthly order, all Spider-Man related titles, Avengers and related, a handful of DC, I’d be the one buying all the limited series of my favourite heroes.

I just completely burned out on neverending, serial storytelling, and the massive creator changes that occured.

A few heroes I didn’t want to give up because I still liked what they were doing, but beyond that, I’m now far more likely to only buy something that I know will have an end.

I switched to a digital pull in September of 2011 when DC went same day digital although I still had “mini-pulls” for books that still weren’t in digital like Rachel Rising. Until then I had a pull at multiple comic stores depending on where I was working or living. Sometimes I used a hybrid of online and day of depending on how excited I was to read a book. Despite having gone all digital I still go to the LCS on average once a week mostly just to peruse the shelves to see if there is anything have missed or to buy floppies for the kids. I have mixed feelings on digital pull. On one hand I like being able to read my comics anywhere I am on Wednesday – even on vacation. I also like not having comics everywhere and having to dig through piles to find them (I actually had to buy comics twice for 3 Chicks because I had misplaced them). But I also miss the thrill of opening the comic – I love digital but opening a physical object and a digital one are not quite the same. I’ll never go to all digital for traditional books for that reason. I also miss the discounts I got from having a pull – I don’t know why I could get a 20% discount at the LCS but have to pay full price for digital.

DC is still a big part of my pull but has been slowly dropping – the cross overs make it too expensive to keep up. Image is a lot easier because of the lack of crossovers.. And I’ve been pulling more Marvel over the last two years.

I’ve had the same experience. Three years ago I was a majority-DC collector (20 or so monthly titles), and over the course of the past two-plus years have diversified my mix of books. It was partly because of what I experienced as a loss of interest by DC in telling quality stories with characters I loved (a.k.a. the rolling cluster that is the New 52), partly because I discovered the work of Matt Fraction (thru Casanova) and Kieron Gillian (through Journey into Mystery), and found their other work, and partly because Image is just rocking things right now.

The other thing that’s completely transformed my collecting is digital–the one good thing that seems to have been kicked into gear by DC’s relaunch. I buy almost everything digital now. It did take a while to adjust to reading non-paper format books. When I started reading digitally, I’d tear thru books way too fast for reasons I didn’t quite understand (I suspect it was because I’m used to a daily routine of racing thru volumes of technical reading plus news content online, to the point where my current online reading habits were driving my comics reading in the same format). Now that I’ve more or less conditioned myself to read books at a more relaxed pace (when the content allows), the enjoyment gap between digital and print has all but disappeared.

Right now I read:

American Vampire
East of West
Pretty Deadly
Sex Criminals
Wonder Woman
Young Avengers

The only things I have being pulled right now are GIJoe ARAH, Transformers MTMTE & RID, Popeye Classics, Peanuts, and Captain America. Included the new Popeye until it ended.

The only constant in my pull list over time has been GIJoe ARAH. When I learned of comic shop pull lists somewhere in the late 80s (which had discounts at the time … not so these days, in my experience …) it was the first title on my list.

The interwebs have changed things so much, it’s crazy.

Nowadays, managing a pull list online (for hard copies) is super easy. I purchase at a reasonably high volume (~20 titles), but since I’m comfortable waiting around to read them “whenever” and not rushing to the store to get them each and every week, I can choose a delivery service that’s cost-efficient and convenient. I’ll get my books a month later than everyone else, but I honestly don’t care… With the savings off the cover price and free shipping costs, I save some $35 every month.

Are you going to continue reading Conan after Brian Wood leaves, Kelly?

I kind of doubt I will, even though I’ve liked Fred van Lente’s work in the past.

She only has one Icon book on her pull list. I’m sure if she had more, she would have had a separate category for Icon.

In Britain I have never encountered the term “PULL” in this context though most comic shops do standing orders (some do it better than others).
This means if you want something obscure they don’t normally stock (maybe something from Antarctic Press) they will get in a copy for you.
If you want a copy of something they already stock then they’ll put aside a copy for you … if they get enough copies…so I had difficulty getting Andreyko’s Manhunter because 4 other people also had standing orders and the shop was only stocking 3 copies…

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