Killing off a popular meme creates a new meme.
I wonder if it will stay alive as long as the frog did.
Pepe the Frog is officially dead
Pepe the Frog’s battles are finally over. Cartoonist Matt Furie has officially killed off his most famous creation, which rose from internet meme to white supremacist mascot during the 2016 US election. As reported by Comic Book Resources, Furie published a one-page installment of his “Boy’s Club” series (where Pepe was first introduced in 2005) in celebration of Free Comic Book Day. The strip shows Pepe laid to rest in an open casket while his friends gather round to mourn. One pours out some whisky for the departed frog, splashing it on Pepe’s face. (You can see the full strip here.)
Furie hasn’t spoken about the new cartoon, but its publication seems to bring to an end his quest to rehabilitate Pepe. When the alt-right version of the cartoon became a widespread meme last year, Furie was initially upbeat, saying Pepe’s political affiliation was just “a phase,” and that the cartoon’s “lovable, and charming status will be intact as early as next week.”
Sometime after the Anti-Defamation League identified the cartoon as an anti-Semitic hate symbol last September, though, Furie decided to weigh in himself. He started a #SavePepe campaign to spread “positive Pepe memes and messages,” and drew a cartoon for The Nib showing Pepe’s transformation into a horrific Donald Trump-esque figure as an apocalyptic nightmare. Writing for Timemagazine, Furie said: “It’s completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate […] but in the end, Pepe is whatever you say he is, and I, the creator, say that Pepe is love.”
Unfortunately for Furie, that wasn’t enough, and Pepe has continued to function as an alt-right meme, making his most recent appearance as Pepe Le Pen — a mascot for the (recently defeated) far-right French presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen. Even Pepe’s death won’t stop him from being a meme, but maybe, at least, Furie himself can get some rest.
This article originally appeared at: https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/8/15577340/pepe-the-frog-is-dead-matt-furie.