Culture

Pepe the Frog spiraled out of control, now he's dead

In meme-oriam: Born in 2005, the "feels good, man" meme was co-opted by white nationalists and became a hate symbol. Pepe's creator finally had enough.

pepe.jpg

Matt Furie's latest comic killed off Pepe the Frog.

Matt Furie/ Tumblr

It feels sad, man.

Once an innocent amphibian who loved to pull his pants all the way down to pee, Pepe the Frog died Saturday after creator Matt Furie killed off the comic-book character in a single strip.

The strip was a part of Fantagraphics' Free Comic Book Day collection. The first panel shows Pepe, dead in a casket. The last panel shows Landwolf, another Furie character, chugging liquor after pouring some on Pepe's face.

From Pepe's birth as a random character in Furie's Boy's Club in 2005, the frog evolved out of his creator's control over the last 12 years. Pepe grew as a meme on 4chan and Tumblr for his "feels good, man" comics and subsequent parody "feels bad, man" comics.

Pepe was co-opted by white nationalists sometime around 2015.

The frog became so ubiquitous online that he was even tweeted out by then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015 during his campaign for the Republican nomination.

Pepe was designated as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League last fall, thanks to endless parodies transforming the frog into Adolf Hitler or a Ku Klux Klan member. The meme got so out of control that Furie's attempts to save his sad frog fell short, with his creation lost to the social media masses.

"It's completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate," Furie wrote in a Time op-ed in October.

While Furie killed off Pepe in canon, it's unlikely to stop the internet from using his frog's image across social media. Pepe was in full force on social media during France's national election Sunday -- one day after his "death."

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