The Ritual of the Pull List

My boyfriend and I recently took our relationship to the next level. We established a pull list together at our local comic book shop. Let me tell you, it was a joyous occasion.

This came after significant searching for “our shop” – that one magical place with all the right elements to draw us in and keep us there. We wanted a place we could take our hard-earned nickles and dimes every Wednesday, eagerly, the way other couples look forward to, oh, I don’t know…a bottle of Chianti over Dancing with the Stars? (I’m a geek. What the hell do I know about “normal” relationships?) We wanted our sanctuary. And we found it.

And along with finding our shop I found, or found again, a true love for proper comics. You know, the feel of the paper in your hand, the weight of the trade, the heart palpitations when you fall in love with a variant or incentive cover. The simple pleasures all too lacking in this digital day and age. The era of web comics and illegal comic scans.

(That’s not to say web comics are bad. I happen to quite enjoy FreakAngels, a web comic, but upon buying a trade from its booth at New York Comic Con I was informed the trade sales really help keep things going. Of course – they would be a successful web comic’s bread and butter.)

With greater emphasis being placed on digital comics – such as Marvel’s much-touted (by Marvel, anyway) online subscription-based content, and the accessibility of comic stories in films (even if they are grossly warped – X-Men Origins: Wolverine I’m looking at you), it’s growing easier to forget the thrill of collecting, of seeing it all in the flesh.

Of course, there’s the matter of cost, too, but if I’ve been informed correctly we can expect a substantial price drop in many comics soon. And I’m the queen of cheap at present; my fledgling pull list features all of four titles, because that’s all we can swing right now (when you take into account what we invariably spend every time we visit a comic shop, period). I’m not preaching for a hundred-dollars-a-week comic buying crowd. I’m saying, even one makes all the difference. It’s comic soup for the geek’s soul.

But the ritual of the pull list, the pilgrimage to the comic book shop, the geek’s home away from home…could all be harder and harder to find, and fast. The industry’s not what it used to be, and do you think the availability of illegal scans is going to make it any easier on the market? Don’t get me wrong, it’s mighty tempting. A siren’s song. But it’s no substitute for the real thing.

And it’s the real thing it’s our duty to preserve, Before all that new audiences know of comics is from movies. Before more imprints like Wildstorm go quiet. Before a day comes when geek couples can no longer make a commitment to one another through a pull list.

So the next time an idle Wednesday rolls around and you have a few bucks in your pocket, go find your nearest comic book store and give ’em a shot in the arm. An entire industry will thank you, and you’ll have the satisfaction of owning a proper comic – something that more or less becomes a piece of geek history.

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