Trimming down your “Pull List”


I’m pretty sure I read a LOT more than most people and specific items that STAY on my pull list would probably be eliminated by other people.  That said, there are some general rules that I use when I want to cut back on the number of titles that I’m buying that should work for anyone.

  • Figure out how many comics you WANT to read each month.
    (You can also make this “How many $ do you want to spend each month)
    This gives you a concrete target that you will use when applying some filter conditions to all the stuff you are currently getting -or- that you may want to get.
  • Look at the bottom of your current “to read’ pile
    Any books that consistently migrate to the bottom are good candidates to be cut.
  • Grade your comics! 
    No, not ‘Near Mint’ or ‘Very Fine’; give them a letter grade:  A, B, C, etc.
    I would not drop a series if it had a single bad issue, but if I read 3 issues in a row that I’d grade a C or lower, that book is on the chopping block.
    I’m a little harsher on new series.  If I don’t think a #1 issue is at least a B, I typically won’t add that series to my pull list in the first place.
    Bottom line is that I try to read stuff I’d personally grade B or higher on an overall/ongoing basis.
  • You don’t need to read every title from a particular Publisher
    Publishers get pretty creative in milking fans for every $ they can, putting out events that weave through multiple books (just because you like the event du jour does not mean you need to read every one of the 10 spin-off series that come out to cash in on that event)
  • You don’t need to read every title featuring a particular character
    Publishers love to crank out multiple titles with popular characters (How many books is Wolverine in every month?  Batman?)  Some are good, not not so much.  Apply the quality rule and grade books/series.  Get the ones you like best, don’t get the ones you think are mediocre at best.
  • You don’t need to collect every issue of a “run”
    Buy books you are enjoying, not just ones to keep your collection intact.  With most comic runs not exceeding 24-50 issues nowadays, having a “full run” is far less meaningful than it once was.
    I’m actually much happier now that books get rebooted/relaunched every year or two or become series of mini-series.  I really don’t feel the need to get every one any more.  I still get a LOT, but I don’t need to get them ALL.
  • Realize that “waiting for the trade” is NOT trimming down your pull list. 
    If you plan to buy the thing down the line as a collected edition, you may as well be buying the comics, you’re not really reducing, you’re postponing.
    Note: It’s different if you just like to read the stories in collected editions, that’s a preference of format, not fooling yourself into thinking you cut down your pull list by just shifting something off to be a TPB buy a few months down the line.

I’m going through another round of applying these principles.  While my goal is to cut down to ~125 books per month (an end result a lot higher than most people aspire to) hopefully the criteria I’ve outlined here can be helpful for people with any size reading goals.

If you’re interested, you can always see what’s on Bob’s Pull List for any given month on the ComicSpectrum website.

Bob Bretall: Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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4 Responses to Trimming down your “Pull List”

  1. draculo says:

    how is a 125 books a month trimming down?? i went from 50+ to 25+ a month. that’s trimming down.

  2. It’s trimming down when you were getting 150 a month ago and 180 a couple of years ago….
    Math is funny that way 🙂

    PS: It’s not a contest to have the SMALLEST pull list, but to have the right number of books you enjoy…

  3. loudlysilent says:

    I agree, Bob! It was a turning point for me when I realized 1) I don’t have to keep buying every issue of a title just because I bought the first few issues, and 2) my life will not end if I didn’t get around to trying a title. I made a list today of the titles I’m currently reading: Let me know if you read any of these!

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