I'm just a name on your membership list, but thought I'd introduce myself. I don't collect hobo nickels, I'm afraid. In fact, I don't collect any coins. What I do collect are pictures of coins. Back when I first joined the OHNS, I was still producing a comic strip entitled Money Talks. I did draw a number of strips with Bo (created from a Peanut Ear carving − V-Dubya.) If you'd like to run one an issue in BoTales, I'd be honored. You can see more of the strips (without Bo) at moneytalks.thewebcomic.com − it ran 981 installments from January 2004 to January 2008.
I've always loved comics. The newspaper comic strips were what my father used to teach me how to read before I even started kindergarten. He always called the funny papers the Educational Pages. And I collected comic books as a kid. They went along with my fascination with science fiction. In the 70s I got involved in science fiction fandom in a big way, including publishing fanzines for various clubs and for myself. I prided myself on recruiting some good artists to supply me with fantastic art and cartoons.
My first Bo strip used a French coin with Louis XIII - note the upturned nose. Louis was the resident snob. Daniel Boone had commemorative half dollars struck for five years. Good for common man & redneck jokes. Nicola Tesla was on a commemorative coin from his native Croatia. He played well with Marie Curie and Leonardo daVinci. The Eagle landing on the Moon was the reverse of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. There are a lot of animals on coins, but I didn't use them much. P.T.Barnum had a commemorative half dollar struck one year. He was good for show business jokes. The Miss Liberty large cent was the femme fatale of my strips.|
When computers came along, a new art form was born known as webcomics. I loved them, and wanted to write my own. After retiring early because of going deaf, I needed something to fill my time. Problem was, I'm a terrible artist. Then the idea hit me that coins (and stamps) already had heads on them, so why not just use those? I'm surprised it hasn't been done before or since. (I did eventually find one very short-lived webcomic that used pictures from paper money.) So I began collecting images of coins. At first, I just used current US coins, but soon ran into problems. For one, if I couldn't flip the images, my comics would have to consist entirely of Abe Lincoln (the only rightward-facing US coin) talking to the other presidents.
Despite my limited talent, I became expert at altering coin images to face the opposite direction, while leaving the writing intact so that my characters could face either right or left. I also expanded my pool of characters by including historical and foreign coins. I did decide, though, to only use monetary coins, and exclude things like medallions or Franklin Mint issues, and also mostly skip using postage stamps.
Although I have little interest in numismatics I joined a coin collector's forum to get more high-quality photos, and there ran into carver Bill Zach, who introduced me to hobo nickels and the OHNS. This left me in a tizzy. Were hobo nickels included as monetary coins, or should they be classed as ineligible tokens for my webcomic? I finally decided that I'd accept one single high-quality nickel as a representative for the entire field. After all, how could I pass up adding a hobo to my cast?
I did make a few exceptions. Coins masqueraded as stamps for Halloween. An arcade token clown was a regular character, and Lance Armstrong showed up as a bicycle wheel. but they were rare, and except for the two just mentioned, they were just one-time cameos.|
The webcomic drew little interest, however, and so after four years of disappointment, and just tantalizing short of 1,000 strips, I finally burned out on it in early 2008, and turned to a second strip I'd started for a specific audience of Freemasons, Square & Compasses. That one runs in a couple monthly lodge newsletters, far less frequent than the sometimes-daily Money Talks. And who knows, maybe running in BoTales will give me the incentive I need to revive Money Talks. ~ Owen Lorion RM966