I want to shop local, but local shops make it hard.

The Search for Red Hulk

A true story about what happened when I tried to ‘shop local.’

Hulk Vol. 1: Red Hulk
What’s the deal with this Red Hulk? If only we could find out …

Me and the gals have been watching The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series (second season) on Disney XD.

After watching “Nightmare in Red,” which featured a mysterious Red Hulk (naturally), my gals got to wondering just what was up with this Red Hulk. I skipped that whole story line when it was released, so I was curious, too.

Being the adventurous types, off we went to [redacted], our local comic shop, a place we don’t frequent all that frequently but enjoy visiting when we do.

They didn’t have Hulk, Vol. 1: Red Hulk, but they told me to check back as they “… get that stuff in all the time.”

Nebulous time frames make for somewhat dissatisfying answers. I expected them to ask if we wanted to order it, but they didn’t. So we didn’t.

But we did leave with some other comics and forgot about the Red Hulk for a while.

Then, a few days later we were driving by [redacted], another store in the area. On a whim, we decided to stop in and see if they had what we were looking for.

It was pretty much everything you’d want in a stereotypical comic shop experience. The employee manning the front counter, complete with stained T-shirt, was watching anime on a small television and eating chicken wings out of a Styrofoam clamshell container.

He barely acknowledged us.

So I made the first move. “Excuse me.”

“Oh. Yeah?” Wiping his hands on a grimy napkin. “Can I help you?”

“Yes, do you have the Hulk, Vol. 1: Red Hulk trade paperback in stock?”

“Let me check.” Typing into a computer.

We wait.


“Okay, thanks.” Dejected daughters. But I knew it was coming …

He didn’t disappoint. “Want me to order it?”

I sighed. I had the whole ‘support local businesses’ internal debate with myself before I said, “Sure.”

“Great. That’ll take two weeks.”

I sighed again. Why did I say sure? I debated with myself all over again.

Now, you may not know this about me, but I used to work in a comic shop. Like two decades ago. And back then it didn’t take two weeks to order a trade paperback the distributor had in stock. Maybe times have changed. After all, shipping technology can’t have improved at all in twenty years, right? Right?

Debate over, I shrugged. I’d started down this road, might as well keep walking. “Fine.”

“Do you want to pay for it now?”

No debate. “No.”

“Okay.” He took my name and number and told me they’d call when it came in. Then he hit me with this gem:

“And, oh, and my boss is in San Diego (you know, for the convention], so he’ll order it when he gets back. Next Tuesday.”

Terrific. And I’m still waiting for that call.

So now, because of the silly code of conduct I try to live by, I felt honor-bound to wait more than three weeks so I can buy this book for full price when I can get it from Amazon.com in 48 hours for $8.00.

I also was a bit surprised that trades now came with a MSRP of $20 instead of $15. And $40 (!) for hardcover. Guess I’m getting old.


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