My lady is recently a Harley Quinn fan, and she has been telling me about one of her favourite characters in the Harley rebirth series she is reading, Red Tool. I wanted to get her a copy of his first appearance as a gift but have read conflicting information.
I expected Comic Vine to be a reliable source and they list Harley Quinn #3 Love Stinks (Apr 2014) as his first appearance https://comicvine.gamespot.com/red-tool/4005-128776/
However on browsing eBay I noticed someone was selling a slabbed copy of a different book citing it as the first appearance of Red Tool. Sure enough when I Googled some other sources I found them to also cite Harley Quinn #26 (May 2016) as the first appearance.
Then I read the following article https://henchman4hire.com/2017/06/13/the-secret-origin-of-red-tool/
In fact, in an even more exciting twist, Red Tool reveals that we actually met him as a civilian way back at the very, very start of this Harley Quinn series!
Did you catch that editorial note in the bottom right corner?
Harley Quinn #3? That’s going way way way back!
They're talking about an editorial footnote in Harley Quinn #31, which may just be a ret-con. (Is it possible to ret-con a first appearance? Would it count?)
That then reminded me of the fact that we’ve already seen Red Tool’s origin! Back when he first appeared, in Harley Quinn #26!
Presumably #26 is his first costumed appearance, but should the character become "hot" what would collectors actually consider his first appearance?
(Not interested in speculating, really just after giving her a cool collectble)