The first is called a pull list. At a lot of comic stores, this will be the way to go. Basically, you will want to compile a list of your favorite ongoing comic book series and drop them off to your local comic store. Make sure you check with your shop about their pull list policies. Some stores require you to have a minimum number of titles, and some may ask that you drop off your list (or any changes to a pre-existing list) by the 15th of the month, so that they can change their orders. One important thing to keep in mind is that stores have to order books two months in advance, so bear that in mind when ordering new titles, or canceling book orders. Give your store some notice, so they can help to accommodate your needs.
The second way to pre-order your books is with the Diamond Comics Previews order form. This is a small booklet that comes with Previews Magazine, and has every new product being offered that month listed in it. Simply fill out the form and drop it off at your shop each month. You can find the order online here as well. Keep in mind that some stores have different policies on pre-ordering, so talk to your shop owner about how they handle the process.
The big question, though, is how do you know what to order or add to your pull list? Well, that is where Previews Magazine comes in. It is a monthly catalog of all the new comics, collectibles, and action figures being released. Previews costs around 5 dollars and can be picked up at your local comic shop. Some shops even offer it for free to regular pre-order customers. The magazine consists of the main previews, catalog, an insert Marvel catalog, and the order form booklet. Make sure you get all three. Remember that comic books are ordered two months in advance, so January's Previews will be for the books being released in March, and February Previews will cover April.
Now, Previews Magazine can be a little overwhelming and exciting, since it is such a huge book filled with so much cool stuff. Luckily, though, it is very well organized by product type and company, and it is really not as intimidating as it seems.
Here are a few tips that will help you when making your orders:
1. The first 10 to 15 pages are advertisements; they are cool but just past them will be a table of contents and some articles highlighting what's new this month, so use this section to guide your journey through the book.
2. Take some time first to browse through and look at the characters, creators, and companies you really know and like. This will help to give you guide points for later and help you savor that kid at Christmas feeling before you get down to the business of ordering.
3. When it is time to order, don't just blast through really quickly or else you might miss something. Take your time, relax, and enjoy it. If you are unsure about a book, read the synopsis. It should let you know if it is a good jumping on point. It is also totally okay to take your time and do some extra online research and determine what you really want to spend your money on.
4. If you can, try to make an event out of ordering your comics. Order your books with your partner or roommates and discuss what you all like to read.
5. If you want to be really adventurous, host a Previews party. This is the type of event I host that inspired the name of this blog. We get a few copies of Previews and invite all our comic-loving friends over. We have snacks and discuss what books we're most excited for in this month's Previews.
6. Don't stop after finishing the big 5 or premier publishers. There is a whole other section of small press companies like Action Lab, Archaia Entertainment, Aspen, BOOM!, Dynamite, and Valiant. These companies are doing amazing things with the comics medium, and you should really check them out, too.
So, after reading this blog, I hope you will all run out to your local comic shop and pick up a copy of Previews. Then, check back in with The Previews Party blog in a couple days, and I'll be giving you my thoughts on the most exciting new books covered in the January edition of Previews Magazine.
Until next time, keep reading!