A sad day.
Pepe has been laid to rest. Retired by his regretful designer.
After fighting an uphill battle to reclaim the feel-good image of his popular character after it was perverted by a culture of hate, cartoonist Matt Furie laid to rest Pepe the Frog in Fantagraphics’ Free Comic Book Day offering, “World’s Greatest Cartoonists.” In a one-page strip, Pepe lies in an open casket while “Boy’s Club” friends Landwolf, Brett and Andy mourn him in their irreverent fashion.
Furie debuted Pepe and the “Boy’s Club” characters on his MySpace blog in 2005 and published four issues of the crew’s adventures through Buenaventura Press, stories that were collected into a single volume by Fantagraphics in 2016. Pepe, as seen in “Boy’s Club,” is a mellow dude getting stoned with his friends, regularly engaging in gross-out humor. But more recently, Pepe has been adopted as an icon and mascot by the extreme conservative “alt-right” movement, and as memes showing the chill frog promoting white nationalist and anti-semitic messages graduated from 4chan and Reddit into the mainstream, the Anti-Defamation League last year designated Pepe a hate symbol.
“Before Pepe the Frog was a meme designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, he began his life as a blissfully stoned frog in my comic book ‘Boy’s Club,’ where he enjoyed a simple life of snacks, soda and pulling his pants all the way down to go pee,” Furie wrote in Time. As early Pepe memes elevated his popularity and Furie was entertaining multiple licensing deals, the cartoonist recalls thinking, “Memes rule!”
“But that was before 2016, a time when our culture evolved to include Internet culture in this election (mostly to seek out the Millennial vote). A smug Trump-Pepe was shared by Trump himself on Twitter in the beginning of the election race, a move I assumed was a nod to young voters. Or perhaps it was a more sinister nod to some fringe, racist groups that used Pepe as a mascot for their agenda. Or just another famous person sharing a Pepe meme because it’s cool (like Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj did in the past). I have no idea.”
Not to fear. Pepe’s iconography is part of our lore and the symbol is intricately woven into the right’s symbolic repudiation of the PC Liberentsia’s stranglehold on good sense in America.
Pepe will live on, timeless, immortal; a mindful presence that will not be deterred by the cartoonish disowning of this cultural character by his “father creator.”
It is time for Pepe to rise from the grave and truly attain immortal and deified status!
Thank you, Heavenly Furie!