As luck would have it... my flight to Texas on Saturday wasn't scheduled till late afternoon, so I had a little time in the morning to visit Red Bank, NJ.
I'm an unapologetic fan of all things Kevin Smith and in recent years, I've become a little more interested in Comic Books - thanks largely in part to the show - Comic Book Men - on AMC.
When an opportunity presented itself to actually visit the Secret Stash, I had to seize it.
Getting to the City of Red Bank, from Mt. Arlington was a little bit of a drive... I also had to drop a co-worker off at the Newark Airport who wasn't interested in visiting the shop.
On the way there, my co-worker (April) and I managed to run through a number of New Jersey Turnpike EZ-Pass toll lanes without paying. The car rental had the ez-pass hardware, but it wasn't set correctly to be read for some reason. At one point, my co-worker got frustrated and managed to completely knock it off the windshield and I had it bruise my right knee.
After fiddling with it for 10 minutes - I figured out how to set it up and we were good on tolls between Red Bank and Newark International. Looking forward to hearing from our travel agent about missed tolls later this week...
But I digress, we make it to the Secret Stash and much to my amazement, both Mike and Walt are working the shop.
With the show being aired on AMC for a third season, I presumed that their work duties in the store would be eliminated. There were a number of other people working in the shop, but it was still nice to see them in their element.
The shop is a lot smaller than I had imagined... it was also darker and laid out a little differently. The place isn't narrow... but it's sorta long. The front part of the shop is dedicated to Kevin Smith projects. Walls are covered with movie memorabilia and a variety of comic book collectables. It wasn't heavy on toys, but they had a number of books for sale. I slowly made my way through the racks - flipped through a number of long boxes - looking for nothing in particular. I've never purchased a comic book. I sorta flipped through stuff until I saw something that spoke to me.
Then I saw it. Fantastic Four #269 - Who is Terminus?
I don't know what about it spoke to me... I guess it was the possible introduction of a new enemy. I secretly hoped that it would spark interest from Mike or Walt upon check-out... it didn't.
I picked up and then decided to put down Batman - The Court of Owls... a book that I've been meaning to get for a while, but opted to pick up a copy of Batman - Cacophony. I briefly got to speak with Walt and he signed (and drew) in my copy before I left the shop.
I also picked up a Zippo (Nails) and a Buddy Christ postcard... I don't smoke and don't intend to send that postcard to anyone, so they're keepsakes that make absolute little sense to have in retrospect, but they're on my shelf right now.
Anyhoo... if you get a chance to visit the shop, I highly encourage you do so. There's a number of things you can pick up that are related strictly to Kevin Smith. The guys are pretty approachable and sorta chatty, if they're not busy doing shop related activities.