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Pepe the Frog is an anthropomorphic frog character from the comic series Boy’s Club by Matt Furie. On 4chan, various illustrations of the frog creature have been used as reaction faces, including Feels Good Man, Sad Frog, Angry Pepe, Smug Frog and Well Meme’d.
In 2005, artist Matt Furie created the comic series Boy’s Club, which stars the teenage monster characters Pepe, Brett, Andy and Landwolf.
In early 2008, a comic in which Pepe pulls his pants down to his ankles in order to urinate was popularized on 4chan’s /b/, (random) board, along with the expression “Feels good man.”
Throughout 2008, Pepe was mostly associated with the “Feels Good Man” reaction image. In 2009, an edited version featuring a distraught-looking Pepe with the caption “Feels bad man” began circulating as a reaction image on 4chan and the Body Building Forums. On January 25th, 2011, an interview with Furie was published on Know Your Meme, in which he discussed the origins of Pepe the Frog. On June 13th, 2014, the PepeTheFrogBlog Tumblr blog was launched. On July 23rd, the Pepe the Frog Instagram feed was created. On October 25th, the /r/pepethefrog subreddit was launched for content featuring the frog character. On December 7th, a Facebook page for “Pepe the Frog” was created. On December 18th, the PepeTheFrogNet Tumblr blog was launched.
Association with the Alt-Right
On May 26th, 2016, The Daily Beast published an article titled “How Pepe the Frog Became a Nazi Trump Supporter and Alt-Right Symbol.“ The article included an interview with Twitter user @JaredTSwift, identified as an “anonymous white nationalist,” who claimed there was a “campaign to reclaim Pepe from normies” by creating anti-Semitic illustrations of the frog character.
“The Deplorables” Parody Poster
On September 9th, 2016, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that half Donald Trump’s supporters were in a “basket of deplorables” during a speech held at a private fundraiser. On September 10th, Donald Trump Jr. posted a photoshopped movie poster on Instagram of the 2010 action film The Expendables, which features various prominent conservatives and Pepe the Frog with the title “The Deplorables” (shown below).
The following day, NBC News published an article about the photoshop, which referred to Pepe the Frog as a “popular white nationalist symbol” based on a statement made by Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich. That day, several news sites published articles referring to Pepe as a “white supremacist meme” and “white national symbol,” including The Hill, Vanity Fair, Talking Points Memo and CNN (shown below). On September 12th, a post mocking the NBC article reached the front page of /r/KotakuInAction.
The same day, the official Hillary Clinton presidential campaign blog published a post titled “Donald Trump, Pepe the frog, and white supremacists: an explainer,” which labeled Pepe the Frog as “sinister” and a “symbol associated with white supremacy.” Over the next 24 hours, posts about the Clinton campaign’s reaction reached the front page of various subreddits, including /r/cringe, /r/politics, /r/OutOfTheLoop, /r/4chan and /r/The_Donald. In the comments sections, many Redditors mocked the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media for failing to understand the Pepe meme.
Meanwhile, The Daily Dot published an article titled “Pepe the Frog is not a Nazi, no matter what the alt-right says,” stating that “Pepe lacks political affiliation.”
Sad Frog is an illustration of a depressed-looking Pepe, often accompanied by the text “Feels Bad Man." It is used to denote feelings of failure or disappointment, either by posting the image or using the phrase “feelsbadman.jpg.”
Smug Frog, also known as Smug Pepe, is a reaction image of a smug-looking version of Pepe (shown below).
Angry Pepe, also known as Angry Frog, is a reaction image featuring a hostile-looking variation of Pepe. The image is often accompanied by expressions of rage and intense frustration.
Poo Poo Pee Pee
Poo Poo Pee Pee is the name given to a series of images and comics that feature Smug Pepe committing various unethical acts, typically involving urine or feces. Most commonly found in 4chan’s /r9k/ (robot9000) board, the comics were created as a reaction towards the usage of Pepe’s likeness in various mainstream social media sites. The first instance of the comics can be found on a /r9k/ thread posted on November 16th, 2014, featuring an image of an obese Smug Pepe with the message “Poo poo. Pee pee. Now mommy has to change me.” On November 28th, another comic was posted to r9k in which Pepe excretes over character Wojak.  On December 24th, the Poo-Poo-Pee-Pee-Frog Tumblr blog was created.
Nu Pepe is an alternate depiction of Pepe in which the frog is drawn with crossed arms and wearing a blue long sleeve shirt. On December 9th, 2014, an image of Pepe resembling the character Javert from Les Misérables was highlighted on the Finnish imageboard Ylilauta (shown below, left). On January 24th, 2015, an edited version in which Pepe is wearing a Bane mask was posted on the Russian imageboard Два.ч (shown bellow, middle). On March 1st, an unedited version of the image was posted on 4chan’s /qa/ (question and answer) board, referring to the reaction image as “nu pepe” and nominating it as “the official meme of /qa/” (shown bellow, right). The next day, the image was stickied on the [s4s] (shit 4chan says) board.
“Well Meme’d” is an ironic expressioon typically accompanied an exploitable image of a character laughing and saying “Hahaha, great post!” followed by “Well meme’d, my friend!," based off an original comic featuring Pepe wearing a sweater and tie (shown below).
Starting in October 2014, /r9k/ users began submitted posts to share “rare” images of Pepe as if they were trading cards. On March 28th, 2015, a thread was submited to /r9k/ about collecting “rare Pepe images” in order to “flood the market” and depreciate their value. On March 31st, a /r9k/ user posted an imgur gallery with over 1,200 pictures of Pepe. In the first week, the gallery received more than 260,000 views. In early April, the collection of Pepe image were listed on eBay, which reached a price of $99,166 before being removed from the site.
On April 3rd, the Internet humor site Smosh published an article about the rare Pepe images, which subsequently began to appear on other sites like Reddit and Tumblr. By April 9th, there were over 230 “rare Pepe” listings on eBay.