Today I’m going to be introducing you to one of the comic book store gems of the Tampa Bay area: Green Shift.
Green Shift Comics is located in the scenic wonderland that is the corner of Hillsborough and Nebraska. From the parking lot you will have a lovely view of a bus stop, panhandlers at the intersection and – if you’re lucky – you might a glimpse of the world’s oldest profession in action.
The shop itself is a charming trailer sitting in a sandy lot. When you approach the front door you may notice there are few friendly rules: No smoking. No Tobacco Chewing. No Pawns. No Rentals. No Food. No Drinks. No Shirt. No Shoes. No Service. No Skateboarding. No Rollerblading. No beggars. No Handouts. No solicitors. No strollers. No kids. Don’t even bother asking if they have a restroom or a telephone, because the answer is no. And don’t you dare pull out your cellphone to make a call, because they are not allowed.
I enter the shop clearly breaking at least five of the rules. It’s dark. It’s musty. It looks kind of like a pawn shop. Sometimes there’s a dog in there. But then a few weeks later, there’s a different dog, and I try not think too hard about what might have happened to the original dog.
There are two older, bearded men behind the counter. These guys are just a really cute couple. They probably have been together a really long time. I bet they met at a Grateful Dead concert. Sometimes they might make slightly offensive comments, like about the new Ms. Marvel being Muslim, but mostly just swells guys. Not really as scary as the front door might suggest.
The front of the shop, and off to the left is their music stuff. I’ve actually never even looked over there. Straight ahead from the front door is where the comics are. First, there’s a room with all the newer comics and trade paperbacks. There’s some miscellaneous stuff in here too, like art books, magazines and DVDs. Don’t forget to look up because there’s some comic related toys and statues that line shelves close to the ceiling. They don’t really seem to replenish the trade paperbacks often, so this room is only really good for picking up new or recent comics.
There’s a room off to the left from this one that has some toys, t-shirts, some more trade paperbacks and manga books. The toys in here are mostly from animes, movies and TV shows. They have several big boxes of old manga single issues as well.
Straight ahead from the first room, is their back issue collection. It’s really just a long narrow room full of long boxes. Their collection isn’t that great, and it doesn’t seem to get replenished very often. They have their more valuable issues on the walls here. They also have some more toys and random shit back here.
Really, the best thing about Green Shift is that they have some great deals. They have a lot of sales of throughout the year. If you get your subscriptions here, you get a discount that grows over time. It starts at 10% and maxes at 25%. You have to subscribe to a minimum of 7 comics to start your subscription. Also, if you’re subscriber for a year or more you can pick one day in January to participate in this really big sale. I don’t remember the exact details of the sale, but it was pretty crazy. It was like 50¢ back issue and 25% off toys and trade paperbacks. Something like that.
One extra, kind of fun, service that Green Shift offers to it’s subscribers is that sometimes they won’t give you all of the comics that you are subscribed to. Maybe they’ll miss one of two of your subscriptions that week – just to keep you on your toes. Make sure you’re paying attention to your comics. If you’re not paying attention, and it takes you a while to notice that you’re missing a few issues; good luck finding them.
So Tampa Bay comic fanatics: if you’re looking for a comic book shop where you’re going to be able to talk about comics and make new friends – and you know, that feels like a comic book shop, then Green Shift is not that place. What it feels like is a trailer. But if you live in Tampa and just really need a place to pick up your Wednesday comics that’s close by, and you you wanna save some money in the process – it’s pretty good for that.