Do you know Pepe? Pepe is that meme frog you've probably seen around the internet, either leering creepily or looking forlorn. The web's favorite amphibian has been around for a few years, but in recent months it has exploded in popularity.
Pepe is probably most recognizable as the "feels good, man" frog. He originated in a web comic drawn by Matt Furie in 2006, and subsequently spread on 4chan. But as often happens with 4chan memes, Pepe jumped out of his original pond. People can't get enough of Pepe! But there are only a finite number of Pepe drawings in existence at any one time. So to meet burgeoning Pepe demand, people have been drawing Pepe into new situations with new twists. It's a bear market for these unique new Pepe drawings.
Which means Pepe has gone mainstream. His biggest moment to date came when Katy Perry tweeted a Pepe meme to describe her jet lag. For some, Pepe had become too mainstream, co-opted by "normies." To reclaim their beloved expressive frog, 4chan users started insisting that there were rare Pepe images that should not be saved, because to do so would diminish their value. People began selling images (digital images, mind you) of Pepe on eBay at inflated prices. Some even sold. (It's another question as to whether or not money actually changed hands.)
But then, in April, someone posted a collection of more than 1,200 "rare Pepes" to Imgur, sending shockwaves through the Pepe market. (Keep in mind we're not talking about a real market; we're talking about the insidery kayfabe joke).
If you're confused about all this, I highly recommend Roisin Kiberd's explainer on Motherboard.
But this isn't really a story about Pepe at all.