What Is A Pull List?: An Intro To Comics

What Is A Pull List?: An Intro To Comics

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Update (1/2/16): I've now added Rat Queens, Wytches, Descender, and Plutona to my pull list. I removed Trees, bc it got really really boring.

Lately I've been very interested in comics. I'm both interested in the format and the strange ecosystem that is distinctly different from book publishing and buying. I've only really mentioned this stuff in passing, but I've gotten several questions about what a pull list is and where to start with comics. Here I am with (basically) everything you need to know.


If you know that you like a comic series and you want to get each single issue when it comes out, you can have your local comic book store "pull" the issues and set them aside for you. This also helps the comic book store know what they should be ordering and it helps the comic creator. Some comic book stores have a minimum amount of comics you can pull, but a lot don't have any type of rules. You'll have to ask them about it. If they aren't friendly or helpful, FIND A DIFFERENT COMIC BOOK STORE.

Here are the series I'm currently interested in enough to have pulled for me.

1. // Harrow County by Cullen Bunn - This is a creepy comic series about a young girl who is apparently a witch reincarnated sort of. The rural setting is super eerie and the "haints" (or ghosts/monsters/demons) are too.

2. // Invader Zim by Jhonen Vasquez - This is a continuation of the old Nickelodeon show, Invader Zim. Like it continues exactly where it left off. If that sets your heart aflutter, go get this immediately. It's as good as it sounds.

3. // Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick - A great feminist comic about a planet-jail where women are sent if they are non-compliant. Features an interesting, diverse cast. Volume 1 comes out in September, so check that out!

4. // Trees by Warren Ellis - Enormous alien structures that look sort of like trees get placed on the earth, crushing cities and people. Then they just sit there quietly. No explanation. This series explores the mystery of these "trees." Volume 1 is out.

5. // Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick - This is a fascinating and surreal mythical Western folklorey story about Death's daughter. It is shocking and the magical realism is great and so is the art and ugh. It's just so strange and beautiful. Volume 1 is out and it's a must read.


The way I started figuring out what comic series to look for was by perusing sites like Panels to see what comics people are currently talking about. From there, I get volumes of them from the library to see if I actually like them before I commit. Volumes are published books that hold 4-6 single issues of a comic in one book. If you find that you just like reading all the issues in a row in a single book, that's fine! You can do that! Some of us (me) are more impatient and can't handle the months and months of waiting for certain series, though.

If you're new to reading comics or graphic novels, here are some volumes/books you should absolutely find at a library or bookstore. Most of these are standalone graphic novels, but they will convert you into fans of the sequential art format, I swear it.

1. // Saga by Brian K. Vaughan - Running series - This. You need to read this. No exceptions. There's no way for me to describe it that would communicate how excellent it is. It's like Romeo and Juliet in space except really, really smart and funny. And with some fantastic creatures and characters. Fiona Staples' art is amazing. DO NOT SKIP THIS ONE. Bonus: It's still running, so you can add it to your pull list once you're caught up with the 4 volumes that are out!

2. // Watchmen by Alan Moore - Standalone book - I'm not into superheroes really, but Watchmen is everything. It's lauded as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, and for good reason. There are flawed heroes and some superb commentary on our world/humanity, the superhero genre, and morality. Absolutely brilliant.

3. // Fun Home by Alison Bechdel - Standalone book - A little nervous about all the space and the heroes? That's ok. You can check out this amazing graphic memoir written by the creator of the Bechdel Test. This book will make you cry. It's about her troubled relationship with her father and his death, the secrets he kept, and her own coming out story. Painful, beautiful, and funny.

4. // Ghost World by Daniel Clowes - Standalone book - This one is really funny and slightly less painful. If your personality is anything like mine, you will love this story of a snarky girl who recently finished high school and is trying to make some big decisions about what to do with her life. The characters are so quirky and judgmental and funny. This is a realistic portrayal of the awkward struggle with the new found control over one's life.

I have some pretty specific taste, so this certainly isn't an exhaustive list of excellent comics and graphic novels! But I hope this helps gets you started on a potential comic reading journey.

Want a more specific recommendation? Leave your likes and dislikes in the comments!

What comic series/graphic novels would you recommend?


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