Reddit User Johnathan Michael Seman has such a hulk of a find, posted to Reddit, that we had to get in touch with him and ask him to share it with you all. Because he found a copy of The Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine, at an antique store in a shopping mall a couple of years ago and picked it up for five dollars. John, take it away.
This is johnzombi from Reddit and I wanted to tell you about my experience finding The Incredible Hulk issue 181 at an Antique Mall in Stillwater Minnesota 2018. First off my full name is Johnathan Michael Seman, I grew up in Plymouth Minnesota with my Mom & Dad and I'm 35 years old. I started collecting comics around 7 years old, some of my earliest happy memories were finding comics at garage sales and flea markets with my friends and family. I stopped collecting in high school and didn't get back into comics until 2007, then I had to stop again a few years later for budget reasons.
When I first met my wife we had a long-distance relationship because she lived in New Jersey so naturally we talked and facetimed to get to know each other better, she had expressed an interest in collecting classic comics mostly the Marvel Star Wars series which in turn got me back into looking for old comics around 2015.
Now for the events of Mother's Day 2018 :) My wife had since moved to Minnesota in 2016 and she had a great idea to take my mom out for a nice lunch and do some antique hunting for Mother's Day, so we left super early for Stillwater and set out for some good finds. When we made it to the first shop it was still closed (we are early risers.) I had already spotted the comics stacked up near the front window display so we walked around and enjoyed the wonderful weather for a little while longer until we could go inside.
Finally walked into the Antique Store and immediately went to the comic stack which had to be unlocked from a glass cabinet, a very nice woman helped me get them out and I proceeded to quickly cycle through them so she could close the display again.
Halfway through the stack of already awesome issues of Black Panther, Iron Man and Fantastic Four there it was! The Incredible Hulk #181 my eyes got big but I did my best to calmly let the woman know I would be taking a small stack of these 5 dollar an issue comics and she said "good" she then let me know I could pay for them on my way out as she was required to place them behind the counter until they were purchased, I casually replied I can pay now if that helps and she informed me I could not walk the rest of the store with already bagged purchases for theft reasons. I agreed to pay after we finished shopping and proceeded to calmly walk up to my mom (my dad and wife had already went upstairs to look around) I let her know what was happening and she knew it was a big deal so she made sure I was staying calm, I found my wife next and let her know.
After finding a few more items I went to the counter to pay and the man that helped ring me up said "If I wasn't an honest businessman I could have sold 3 people your stack of comics." At that moment I realized when they set the stack behind the counter The Incredible Hulk 181 was at the top and it took everything in me to tell him "well, I'm glad you're honest because these are so fun to read."
After we left the store I told my family what just happened and the deal I got and my wife was the only one that really understood the significance of this find not just in monetary value but of Comic Book History.
Now it's 2021 and I have been collecting fun finds and needed nostalgia since that day in 2018 got me enamoured with vintage art and stories still hiding out in the wild.