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How did this dollar bill with Misha Collins’s name on it find him?
Usually when someone says, “This one’s got your name on it,” they’re not being literal.
Move over, John Green fandom. The Misha Collins fandom has just taken your favorite meme to a whole new level, in a game that lasted a full year, trickling offline and finally back online—and into good hands:
Also, can someone please explain? I received this as change. You do realize its illegal to deface currency, right? pic.twitter.com/u91VAHJpZ7
— Misha Collins (@mishacollins) October 16, 2013
Collins, who plays the dishy angel Castiel on Supernatural, had just Found the Thing.
Ordinarily this meme plays out on Tumblr, where fans of John Green attempt to get his attention by getting him to reblog things that relate to him or his books. Since Green is on Tumblr anyway, rounds of “Make John Green Find The Thing,” as they’re known, are frequent.
But when 21-year-old Nina started her currency revolution on Tumblr, she wasn’t thinking of memes, but rather of Collins’ penchant for trolling his own fandom.
“I want to take a dollar bill and write ‘are you Misha Collins’ on it and maybe one day it’ll end up in his hands and he’d be the one mind fucked for once,” she wrote on Oct. 12, 2012. Later, she jokingly added, “The journey has begun,” as Tumblr piled on in reblogs.
But it’s doubtful she had any idea where her spontaneous meme would end a year later. Collins, who has over a million followers on Twitter, enjoys a huge fanbase who took over Tumblr earlier this year in a massive party called Mishapocalypse. They’ve also raised millions of dollars for Collins’ charity, Random Acts, and turned his annual scavenger hunt, GISHWHES, into an event that regularly breaks world records.
So given the opportunity, it was inevitable that the Misha fandom would take Nina’s suggestion and run with it.
“Are you Misha Collins?” became a Tumblr tag full of evidence of people sending the question out into the ether on the backs of $1 bills. By summer, the currency floated around like urban legends. “I have 3 dollar bills with “Are You Misha Collins?” written on them, wrote a commenter on FunnyJunk in June. “Who is Misha Collins, what ‘viral’ marketing campaign is this and why are they getting away with defacing currency?”
Photo via J2mgotmegood/Tumblr
When Nina realized what had happened, she reacted with aplomb:
KJAHSDFKASDF SCREAMINGA ND SHAKING AKSLDFJLKWA WHAT THE FUCK OMG
@mishacollins OMFG I’M SORRY I STARTED THAT LAST YEAR OH MY GOD
— Nina (@negativenina) October 16, 2013
As Collins protested against currency defacing, Nina was promptly flooded with followers. When I asked her if she planned on starting any new memes, the reply was an emphatic “omg no.”
Alas, poor Internet—it may be a while before Tumblr does something else mildly illegal in the name of fan devotion.
And yet there’s a certain poetry to the randomness of this meme. While it was predictably unpredictable, it was also unexpectedly fun—much like Misha Collins and his followers themselves.
Photo via MishaCollins/Twitter
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.