Ordering Physical Comics Books Is About To Get Slightly Easier

One of the most intimidating aspects of getting into comics for the first time is... well, the actual process of buying comic books, especially if you're looking to build a physical collection. But as difficult - if not outright arcane - as it can be, it's about to get a little easier to manage.

Image: DC Comics. DC Essential Graphic Novels 2018 cover art by Danny Miki and David Finch.

This morning, Diamond, the biggest distributor in the comics industry, announced a new digital service called the Pullbox, designed to give comics readers a simple, consistent way to track the comics they have on order at their local comics store while on the go.

As long as your local store is synched to the service, you'll be able to manage your pull list of series and add recurring orders for your favourite titles, add new series or special items from the current issue of Diamond's Previews magazine, or make one-off purchases on the fly and track when the next issues in your collection are set to come out. From a retailer perspective, Diamond promises the ability to integrate Pullbox into any current digital order systems they currently run as well, making it an easy process on both ends. And of course, you're still ordering from your local store, so if you go to a specific place to support it, you don't have to worry about that money going elsewhere if you're using the new service.

It isn't completely digital - you still have to go and physically collect your orders from your local store, after all, so if you're looking to avoid the potentially intimidating act of heading into a comics store, Pullbox isn't the solution. But it's the biggest distributor of comics offering retailers and readers alike a single, unified system that makes maintaining a regular order of comics probably as easy as it can be.

It's a small step, and it doesn't really address the comics industry at large's reliance on the preorder-driven structure, a system so confusing at times that it isn't out of place for creative teams on new books to actually release their own how-to guides explaining how new fans can properly support a comic. But it's progress toward modernising and simplifying a process that can often be a barrier to entry in getting new readers into comics.


    It'd be nice if Diamond actually supported the comic shops. Used to buy a heap of comics regularly from Daily Planet in Brisbane and the number of times shipments were delayed, or they weren't getting titles they were supposed to be getting was ridiculous.

    On a side note, I really hate the digital comics. Not the comics themselves but the pricing. I really feel like they should be a lower cost than the physical comics but they're not. If they were a decent (lower) price I'd buy a lot more digital and buy the trades when they came out. In effect giving the publishers a double bite of my money.

      I looked into digital comics and the false economy of making older comics more expensive put me off completely.

        I would honestly prefer a subscription service, though I understand it might not be completely beneficial for the industry given the number of folks who make up a company like Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, DC etc
        (Maybe a Netflix-esque like company who buys the licenses and offers physical comic options perhaps, but even then)

          Marvel actually does have a digital subscription service, Marvel Unlimited. It's about $10USD a month (Although they currently have a special on for the Black Panther), and they keep their digital release about 6 months behind physical so it doesn't kill their physical sales, but if you just want to read through old events or want to read through a few years worth of comics at once (I'm still trying to do from Avengers Dissambled through to current events), it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying

            Oh, awesome! Thanks for that!

            I haven't visited their site in a long while, I didn't really expect that.
            (I could get through a ton of comics in a month lol)

              I would suggest getting a cheap 9 inch tablet and reading on that. Their app isn't *great*, but it let's you download 12 comics offline and keeps track of what you're currently reading. More usefully, in the app you can browse by Cosmic Event. So if you're interested in reading, say, the original Civil War you can select that and it'll give you all the comics in reading order, over the different series. The web version doesn't allow that for some reason

                Only problem with a cheap tablet as a reader is the image quality. I've done exactly what you suggested with my old Asus Tablet and I just couldn't bear it. When the digital quality is lower than the quality of a physical comic... ugh.

                Now, high end tablets (iPad pro, latest Galaxy) are fine because the pixel density and raw pixel count is much more acceptable.

    Done well this could be super useful. Comixology used to have a Pull-list app that made tracking what was coming out super easy, but they killed it. I recently moved to https://leagueofcomicgeeks.com to track my upcoming books, but that's only really useful if you know what you're after. Having a digital copy of Previews that I can create a pull list through, that then syncs to my comic shop would be amazing! Especially since I'm about to move interstate and move to getting my comics in the post.

    You know you love your comic store when you'd rather get mail order from them once a month than look for a new one.

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