Hello Silverwolf’s Den fans! Occasionally, I use this column as a sounding board for my thoughts on comic book culture or the industry in general, and this installment follows that rare trend. This week, we return to the idea of the pull list once again. I talked about my thoughts on constructing a pull list (i.e. the list of comics I buy each month) in the past, but recently decided to gut and restructure it from scratch. So why and how did I make this transition? Read on to find out!
Why the Decision, Silverwolf?
Before I get into how I restructured my pull list, I’m going to focus on the why. First and foremost, as is probably obvious, comics aren’t free. Sure, there are less than legal means to obtain issue without cost, but, as someone who likes to support the industry and deserving creators, I refuse to commit to comic piracy. When I first started reading comics, I picked up only a few a month, but that stack grew and grew until it became a gargantuan mess. As a result, I decided to give myself a comic budget, which I adhered to fairly loosely. Realizing this was a problem, I decided to construct a spreadsheet to keep track of my series and purchases, and ensure I was indeed staying within my limits. On the spreadsheet itself, I gave every series a rating to ensure that, overall, I was only spending money on titles that were actually worth my time and not just following them for the sake of being a completionist. To my surprise, I was not only below budget, but fairly significantly so! Thus, I decided to add quite a few new titles to my regular pull list. Overall, I felt this was great: I got to read the titles I loved, and got to add some great new ones as well! Finally, I’d be on the cutting edge, able to see more connections between individual titles in the same universe! Yeah! And then my free time and wallet started constricting. I thought long and hard about what to do, especially as a number of interesting new series, especially from All-New Marvel NOW! are on the horizon. Therefore, I made the decision to reduce by comic budget and figure out how to re-adjust my pull list.
From the Ground Up
So, where did I begin? First, I decided to pick out some series that, no matter what, I wanted to read. These are series that include a character I like, have an amazing creative team, or involve a story I love following. Obviously, when doing this one might have a tendency to say “oh yeah, I love that one and that one and that one!” Ultimately, I decided to engage in a thought experiment, and assume I only had the money to buy 5 comics per month. If so, which 5 would it be? The list is as follows:
- Green Arrow: He’s my favorite superhero, after all, and the creative team is great.
- Hawkeye: Though it’s declined in quality lately, still a stellar book.
- Quantum & Woody: A seriously hilarious book.
- Superman/Wonder Woman: A great series so far, both in terms of art and story.
- Unity: Been loving this series, and already am excited for the next arc.
With those series I mind, I set about building the next stage of my books. In this case, I thought about what series I liked quite a bit, and would pick up assuming I could add 5 more. These titles were quite good, but obviously a bit lower on the ladder than those I previously mentioned. I chose:
- Amazing X-Men: Great start for a very fun title so far.
- Archer & Armstrong: A similarly fun title; it’s too bad it’s crossing over with Bloodshot meaning I’ll have to buy that series to follow the story, but c’est la vie.
- Red Lanterns: A strong, odd title that fills a special niche in my list.
- Superior Foes of Spider-Man: Another hilarious book that makes me smile month after month.
- X-O Manowar: A very strong title that anchors the Valiant Universe.
Finally, I took a look at my budget. I saw how much under budget I was, and decided, consequently, to add books until I filled that gap or until I felt like I didn’t want to add any more. Ultimately, I ended up with some financial leeway, which I think is good since new series come out all the time that could catch my interest, and the saved funds could help contribute to the trade paperback fun (Saga Vol. 3 is on the way, after all). I selected:
- Action Comics: A new creative team just came on board, so I’m eager to see what they can do, but it’s early enough that, if I had to drop the title, I wouldn’t be crushed.
- All-Star Western: This is a weird, fun, quirky title; I feel it swings between amazingly awesome and mediocre month to month, but I love Jonah Hex so I’ll stay on board.
- A+X: This is a fun, team-up title; obviously, with rotating creative teams some months are better than others, but with the series ending in March I feel I may as well stick it out til the end.
- Batman: Yeah, this is a good title, but some of the arcs feel like they drag and I almost feel it’d be better to read in trade; still, I’ll keep it at least until “Zero Year” ends.
- Jupiter’s Legacy: Infrequently published, but interesting enough to stick around.
- Justice League: As one of DC’s anchoring titles, feels like it’s worth reading since it informs much of the DCU.
- Suicide Squad: It has been a great book under Matt Kindt and Patrick Zircher, albeit one I could drop if I really couldn’t afford to keep it.
- Superman Unchained: A really solid book, but given the constant delays on the title part of me wouldn’t mind dropping it and waiting for the trade if I had to; still, for now, it makes the cut.
With all that done, all that was left were books to drop. With a heavy heart, I big farewell to the following series:
- Aquaman: Yeah, I know I should give the new writer a shot, but Arthur Curry, while cool, isn’t exactly my favorite character; may get it in trade someday
- Batman/Superman: I love these guys…but the series is about to enter a crossover with Worlds’ Finest, a series I don’t read and thus would force me to spend more money
- Eternal Warrior: This series felt like it had tons of potential, but after four issues, none of which remotely impressed me, I felt this just isn’t the book for me. Maybe the next arc will be better, but I’ll wait for reviews of the trade before investing any more here.
- Harbinger: Again, a good series, but I feel the recent arcs have dragged a little bit and figure it works better when read in trade, the way I started reading the series
- Uncanny X-Men: This title has been super inconsistent and, honestly, I was mainly still on board for Magneto who’s leaving for a solo book after next month
With all that in mind, I also chose to add some new ongoings that arrive in a few months.
All-New Marvel NOW!, though oddly named, does promise some rather interesting titles. I figured I’d add a few to my pull list, since there are some fun concepts on the way. I can’t try every book obviously, so I figured I’d add a few that sounded cool but still kept me within budget. And here…they…are:
- All-New Invaders: Captain America…Namor…Steve Pugh…and James Robinson? I am so down for this title! It sounds like a fun idea, which also seeks to dig into Marvel’s Golden Age roster the way only Robinson can. Definitely an exciting sounding series.
- All-New X-Factor: For quite some time I’ve heard great things about Peter David’s X-Factor but, given the large backlog of issues, I never got into it. With this new beginning, including my favorite comic Cajun, Gambit, I am eager to jump on board.
- Magneto: All right, Cullen Bunn, let’s do this. I love your indie work, but your series for Marvel just can’t seem to survive. This one…this one I’ve got a good feeling about. Come on, buddy, let’s keep the Master of Magnetism in his own ongoing for as long as we can!
- X-Force: Like with X-Factor, I’ve wanted to read an X-Force series but always felt too far behind the current story. With Psylocke in the series and an interesting status quo, I think this book may be for me.
There’s a lot to consider when remaking a pull list. Obviously, deciding to “trade wait” as some call it mean I’ll have to wait a few months to read the ongoing adventures of characters I like. Waiting, of course, has some advantages. If I end up wanting to get back into a series I dropped, I can always grab cheap back issues, reduced price issues on Comixology, or can pick up the trade paperback. Still, the one thing I learned is that it’s often necessary to be brutal. I didn’t enjoy slashing some of these titles, but changing things around really forced me to think about what I really enjoy reading and what I’m just following for the sake of my completionist habits. I hope this helped out anyone considering altering his or her pull list! If you have a similar story, or any thoughts on your own pull list, be sure to sound off in the comments!
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