The cold, calculating machine-brain of Challengers, Dal's professional demeanor hides a heart that runs almost entirely on comics and graphic novels. In the trenches of comics retail for almost as long as Patrick, Dal's ready to debate the merits of today's most acclaimed creators and point out the hidden gems of the past. He also occasionally smiles. I saw it once. I think.
This post is intended for any Challengers customer that's using Pullbox to manage their subscriptions.
First off, thanks for volunteering to use it. We hope that it's been valuable for you as a comics fan. We're very excited to put more and better tools in the hands of our subscribers. The ability to more accurately track your various orders and requests, along with more detailed information about upcoming releases (multi-page previews!), that's something we've been looking to roll out for a while. Thank you for opting in to the service.
Secondly, there have definitely been some growing pains. We're learning to deal with the orders coming in at the same time you're learning how to place orders, and there've been a few hiccups. (DC's hostility to Diamond as both a distributor and a consumer subscription management platform certainly hasn't helped.) We appreciate your patience as we try and smooth over the occasional rough patches.
With that in mind, we felt it was long overdue for us to provide some answers to frequently asked questions about Pullbox, as well as highlight some fairly routine missteps. This is only scratching the surface of how Pullbox works, so if you have any followup questions or comments, please let us know.
BOOKS ADDED LATE IN THE CYCLE MAY TAKE ADDITIONAL TIME TO ARRIVE, EVEN IF THEY'RE CONFIRMED. Books we've ordered for you that are requested less than three weeks before the release date may require us to reorder them for you, adding additional time to the delivery. While the item may list as Confirmed, and the release date may have arrived, it won't be available for pickup as long as it says Not Ready For Pickup. As soon as we've received it, the notification on the item should change to In Store (or something similar).
CONFIRMED MEANS WE'VE ORDERED IT, BUT IT DOES NOT GUARANTEE DELIVERY. There are some items that, if requested less than three weeks before release, can be ordered but can't be guaranteed. We may receive copies on the day of release. We may receive copies a week or two after release. We may never receive copies. We'll try and do a better job of letting you know if a placed order is unlikely to be shipped, rather than currently notifying you only if an item is completely unavailable.
ONLY BOOKS ORDERED BY FINAL ORDER CUT-OFF ARE GUARANTEED TO ARRIVE ON RELEASE DAY. You may notice that we keep mentioning "three weeks before release" as when orders change from guaranteed to unguaranteed. That's because nearly all items have their orders finalized three weeks before release, a process referred to as Final Order Cutoff, or FOC. An FOC date for an item is critical to making sure you get what you order, and that you get it as soon as it goes on sale. You can find a list each week of what items are on FOC in the Final Orders Due tab of Pullbox, which we'll talk about in a little bit. For now, just know that if an order for an item is placed less than three weeks before release, we will do our very best to have it for you, but we can't guarantee it. Orders placed more than three weeks before release are basically guaranteed, barring unexpected circumstances.
WHEN ADDING SUBSCRIPTIONS, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO ORDER UPCOMING ISSUES. This is, by far, the most common mistake we see users making with Pullbox. By default, a subscription you add to Pullbox begins with the issue in the current catalog. So if you added Avengers as a subscription on August 29th, your subscription would start with #38, from the current NOV20 catalog. You would not have an order on file for any of the unreleased previous issues, like #36 or #37. Assuming you wanted your subscription to start with the next issue to be released, #36, you'd need to order those issues separately. Thankfully, Pullbox gives you that option as you're finalizing your subscription. After you click Subscribe, there'll be a popup asking you to confirm your subscription. On that popup, just above the final Subscribe button, there's a section that says Series Items Not Yet Shipped. These are any issues that haven't been released to stores. You can flag any upcoming issues to be added to your orders this way. Once they're flagged, click Subscribe and your subscription is set to start with the next issue shipped. (On the mobile layout, you may need to scroll down slightly, or expand the Series Items Not Yet Shipped section. This is one of the main reasons people don't realize they're missing issues.)
ORDERS FROM THE CURRENT CATALOG CAN BE CHANGED UNTIL THE DUE DATE. ONCE CATALOG CLOSES, ORDERS ARE LOCKED. Basically, you've got until the orange Orders Due date on the catalog page to add or delete anything from the catalog. You can add an item on the first day the catalog opens and delete it one day before the catalog closes, no problem. No orders from the catalog get pushed to us until it closes. (This doesn't count subscriptions that add on issues from previous catalogs. We get those orders right away.) So feel free to add or drop things from that catalog as often as you want, up until the due date. Once the due date has been reached and the catalog has closed, all placed orders are locked in Pullbox. If you need to delete an item after that, you'll need to talk to us directly. The exception to this are subscriptions, which can be deleted at any time. Individual items that you'd like to delete after the catalog closes, please contact us directly.
SUBSCRIPTION VS PREORDER VS ORDER
There are several different terms that Pullbox uses when it comes to subscriptions, and it may help your understanding of the logic behind Pullbox if we define them.
A Subscription is largely empty, data-wise. It tells Pullbox what items from a catalog you want to preorder automatically. In and of itself, a Subscription doesn't hold any information. Adding a Subscription tells Pullbox what comics you want in the future, and deleting a Subscription tells Pullbox what items you no longer wish to receive.
A Preorder is any item from the current catalog that you want to receive. You may see some items in the catalog that you're subscribed to say both Subscribed and Preordered. This isn't redundant information. That item has been Preordered because you have a subscription. All items may be preordered without being subscribed to, so that's why both options are listed on an item. (We've seen some people delete their monthly Preorders, thinking they already have those books on a subscription. Please don't do that! You're basically telling us you don't want anything ordered for you from your subscriptions for a month!) Preorders can be both books you're subscribed to, or anything from the current catalog you'd like to receive: graphic novels, single issues, variant covers, specialty items, anything from the current catalog.
An Order is anything from a previous (or closed) catalog that you'd like to receive. Going back to the example of adding a subscription to Avengers, once finalized you'd be placing a Preorder for #38 (from the current catalog), but an Order for #36 and #37 (from previous catalogs). Anything from a previous catalog, whether it's been released or not, is an Order. Doesn't matter if it's coming out in a week, or came out last year, when you request it through Pullbox it's an Order.
Hopefully this clears up some of how Pullbox operates!
While we've got you, here are some quick descriptions of the various options and tabs on the My Pullbox dashboard, and how they all work together to help you manage your subscriptions.
DASHBOARD The landing page for Pullbox. You'll see snapshots for your Weekly Pullbox, Subscriptions, Wish Lists, Preorders, and Orders. Clicking View on any of the snapshots will take you to the corresponding tab for more information.
WEEKLY PULLBOX Your list of any items you're receiving in the current week. It updates on Monday (we think?) for that Wednesday's items. If you'd like to see what arrived in previous weeks, just click the grey Prev Week button at the top of the screen. You can also view upcoming arrivals by clicking Coming Soon, which will take you to the Upcoming Releases screen. Your Weekly Pullbox listing will only include Orders and Preorders placed through Pullbox, so it may take some time (two to three months from when you started using Pullbox) for this screen to be accurate.
UPCOMING RELEASES A list of all Preorders and Orders that have yet to arrive. Release dates are tentative, and adjusted as often as Diamond receives new information from publishers.
SUBSCRIPTIONS A list of all of your active subscriptions. From here you can Edit a subscription (choosing a specific issue at which your subscription should end), View Series (getting a look at all items related to that series, released or unreleased), or Unsubscribe (ending your subscription).
PREORDERS A list of all of your Preorders from the current catalog. If you'd like to see items from previous catalogs, you can change the dropdown menu at the top from ALL ACTIVE CATALOGS to any previous catalog.
ORDERS Any Orders you've placed in the last 30 days will be listed here, arranged by where that item is at in the fulfillment cycle. (Confirmed Item/Not Ready For Pickup, or Store Rejected, for example.) You can change how far back the list goes by the dropdown menu at the top of the page, and you can change from Gallery View to Table View if you'd rather see an alphabetical list of your Orders.
WISH LISTS If you'd like to leave yourself a reminder of an item you want, but don't want to Order or Preorder, you can click Wish List instead. That sends it to your Wish List page. You can create more than one Wish List if you'd like. Your Wish Lists are private, and don't get sent to us. If at any time you want to Order or Preorder an item on your Wish List (as applicable), you can click Move to send the request to us. Preorders will get added once the catalog closes, unreleased Orders will get added to your account immediately, and released Orders will get pulled from stock if we have them, or reordered if we don't.
ACCOUNT SEARCH If you can't remember if you've requested something, you can search through all of your activity on the Account Search tab. Searching for a term will bring up any matching Subscriptions, Preorders, or Orders.
CATALOG The current monthly catalog. The core of the Pullbox experience.
FINAL ORDERS DUE A list of all items that are closing their orders for the week. Any orders placed before the orange Orders Due date on each item are nearly guaranteed to arrive on the release date. Orders close on Mondays at 4pm. The Final Orders Due page isn't finalized until Friday, so the weekend is the best time to look over this tab and make sure you're not missing anything.
NEW RELEASES All items expected to reach stores for the current week. You can look forward or backward at releases by clicking the Prev Week or Next Week buttons. These are not necessarily all of the items we'll be receiving for a week, but they are all of the items Diamond is expected to ship to stores. Orders placed from this page are incredibly last-minute, and cannot be assumed to be available on the day of release. We'll do our best, but quantities at this point will be extremely limited. Only use this page as a last resort, or if you're okay waiting a while to receive something.
NEW TO ORDER The most overlooked part of Pullbox, and one of the most useful. This page is updated every weekday (barring holidays) with listings for new printings of sold-out comics as well as new specialty items. Orders placed here put you at the front of the line for when these items ship from Diamond, potentially shaving weeks off of your wait. Definitely worth a look every day.
NEW SERIES A subsection of the current catalog, where it's just the new comics and graphic novels series for the month. Also accessible by clicking Show New Series Only from the Catalog page.
FEATURES Found at the very top of the page (or by expanding the top menu on mobile), this section has tons of additional information for Pullbox users. Announcements from publishers, previews of upcoming releases, newly reprinted classics, and so much more. A lot of really valuable information can be found here.
SEARCH Accessed from the same menu as Features, the Search page allows you to look for anything Diamond has ever carried, and a few things they haven't. A great resource if you can't find something in the current catalog, and an even better resource if you're looking to get something older. This is basically the same interface we use on the Retailer side, and gives almost all of the same information. Invaluable.
That's pretty much everything we think you should know about Pullbox. If there's something we haven't covered, or something we've covered poorly, please let us know. We love what Pullbox can offer you as a subscriber, and we want to make the process of using it as simple as possible. Thanks for being a subscriber at Challengers, and Keep Reading Comics!
Each month, dozens of new titles are available to order. We'd like to take this opportunity to provide you, our valued subscribers, with a list of some of our most anticipated new ongoing series, one-shots, mini-series, and graphic novels for the month of November 2020. If you see anything on the following list that you'd like added to your subscriptions, just let us know. Orders for these titles are due in by September 17th. After that point, we can't guarantee any orders placed, but we'll do our best to have them here for you. If you've got any questions, please let us know. Thanks!
This is the kind of week that we’d have seen before the pandemic. It’s SO FULL OF GREAT NEW BOOKS! •Tom Taylor is writing HELLBLAZER! •Kelly Thompson is writing Black Widow! •The Man-Eaters team gives us a new spy series! •Third-generation comic artist EMMA KUBERT hits the stands! •Humanity is harvesting the corpses of giant alien gods to survive!
--NEW BOOKS OF NOTE-- WE ONLY FIND THEM WHEN THEYRE DEAD #1 For fans of Decorum and Something is Killing the Children comes a new sci-fi epic from Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and Simone Di Meo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) on the edge of space where humanity is harvesting the corpses of giant alien gods to survive. HELLBLAZER RISE AND FALL #1 A billionaire falls out of the sky and is gruesomely skewered on a church spire. Bizarrely, Angel Wings are attached to his back. More follow until, hallelujah, it's raining businessmen. Detective Aisha Bukhari is stumped by this, until she's visited by her childhood friend, occult investigator John Constantine. DC's Hellblazer discovers a link between the falling elite and a shocking moment in his and Aisha's misspent youth. SPY ISLAND #1 Super spy Nora Freud (no relation) has a plum assignment. She's stationed on a tropical island. Her mission? Keep an eye on things. Her problem? The island is on the lip of the Bermuda Triangle, where anything can happen. Her other problem? This particular island is a den of intrigue, populated by spies, tourists, and evil villains set on global domination. By the creative team that brought you Man-Eaters. BLACK WIDOW #1 Natasha Romanoff has been a spy almost as long as she's been alive. And she's never stopped running, whether she was working for the good guys...or the bad. But Natasha's world is about to be upended. Beyond San Francisco's Golden Gate lies a mystery that only the Marvel Universe's greatest spy can solve. GRENDEL KY #1 For two generations, the rural hill town of Grendel, Kentucky has honored its Faustian bargain with the monster living in its abandoned coal mine: a human sacrifice every season in return for agrarian prosperity the likes of which this rocky region had never before seen (including its greatest cash crop: the dankest weed in the land). When one town elder breaks this pact, Grendel's only hope is that its prodigal daughter will return home to face down the creature of her nightmares-and bring her all-female biker gang with her. INKBLOT #1 Third-generation comic artist EMMA KUBERT partners with up-and-coming creator RUSTY GLADD to deliver a high-fantasy epic! This new ONGOING SERIES follows a powerful sorceress attempting to correct her greatest mistake-the creation of a magical cat that can travel through time, space, and reality. The cat threatens to unravel the fabric of the universe, doesn't care, and just won't listen! LONELY RECEIVER #1 Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer, buys an Artificial Intelligence partner that's meant to bond for life. After ten years together, her holographic wife suddenly discon-nects without a warning. The breakup drives Catrin to the point of near insanity. She's alone for the first time in years and reeling from a loss she can't comprehend. MARVEL ZOMBIES RESURRECTION #1 When the corpse of Galactus reaches planet Earth carrying a cannibalistic virus, Spider-Man and a ragtag group of heroes struggle to save survivors and uncover the truth!
This is the kind of week where if you were forced to stay inside for any reason, you’d probably not mind it because there are so many things to read! But… what do you read first??
We tried to find the exact date Batman 3 Jokers was announced, just to see how long it took DC to get this 3-issue mini-series out, but we couldn’t find it. It was AT LEAST 3 years ago…
--NEW BOOKS OF NOTE-- BATMAN THREE JOKERS #1 After years of anticipation starting in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the epic miniseries you've been waiting for is here: find out why there are three Jokers, and what that means for the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime. It's a mystery unlike any Batman has ever faced! FANTASTIC FOUR ANTITHESIS #1 The first full-length Fantastic Four story ever illustrated by classic creator Neal Adams! An unstoppable meteor of unknown origin has just erupted from hyperspace--and unless the Fantastic Four can find a way to stop it from hitting Manhattan, millions will die! LOCKE & KEY IN PALE BATTALIONS GO #1 The impossible, reality-bending keys of Keyhouse have always been weapons of war. In the spring of 1915, Chamberlin Locke's oldest son, John, is desperate to be a part of the greatest war of all... and never mind that he's too young to enlist. He means to use the power of the keys to turn the tide, and will tell any lie, and try any manipulation, to have his way. Prepare to open a door onto one of the grimmest battlefields of the 20th century, whose darkness might even strike fear into an army of supernatural shadows. CANTO II HOLLOW MEN #1 Once, a little tin slave with a clock for a heart broke all the rules-he found love, he was given a name, and he escaped his masters to go on an epic journey to save his love's heart. He met strange allies and terrifying enemies and, ultimately, though his adventure didn't turn out as planned, he returned to his people and led them to freedom.
Luckily you only need to wait until Wednesday to read these great New Comics and Graphic Novels!
Hello! Here’s this week’s list of all the really great comic books and graphic novels that we’re lucky to be able to read. I say lucky because the world seems to be increasingly volatile both globally and locally, and now more than ever the future of some of these very comics are in doubt, so let’s revel in the fact that we have access to them now. Huzzah!
--NEW BOOKS OF NOTE-- MAESTRO #1 Almost 30 years after the landmark story Future Imperfect, legendary INCREDIBLE HULK scribe Peter David returns to the far-future version of the Hulk known as Maestro - the master of what remains of the world. How did the world fall and the Maestro rise? What happened to the world's heroes in between? And where is the Hulk we know and love? BERNIE WRIGHTSON'S FRANKENSTEIN HC Few works by comic book artists have earned the universal acclaim and reverence that Bernie Wrightson's illustrated version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein was met with upon its original release in 1983. A generation later, this magnificent pairing of art and literature is still considered to be one of the greatest achievements made by any artist in the field. This book includes the complete text of the original groundbreaking novel, and approximately fifty original full-page illustrations by Bernie Wrightson.
Here’s to this week’s New Comics and to all the New Comics yet to come!!