Rage comic is an Internet meme for a comic centering on a titular rage guy, created from a character, or rage face, which expresses rage or some other simple emotion. Over time, contributors have created numerous stock faces which show readily identifiable emotions. They have been characterized by Ars Technica as an "accepted and standardized form of online communication."
Rage comics' popularity has been attributed to their use as vehicles for humorizing shared experiences. The range of expression and standardized, easily identifiable faces has allowed uses such as teaching English as a foreign language.
The meme originated in 2007 on the Internet forum site 4chan and later gained prominence on the social news website Reddit. It experienced an upsurge in popularity in 2009. As of January 2011, the rage comic tag "fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu-" ranked among the top 20 most subscribed on Reddit.
In 2010 the pop-culture retail chain Hot Topic began selling shirts with rage faces. In protest of this co-option, 4chan participants re-branded rage guy as race guy and attempted to tie Hot Topic to the promotion of racism. The chain pulled the shirts soon afterward.
In May 2011, 4chan users staged a prank related to the "forever alone" face, using fake profiles on the online dating site OkCupid to trick men into showing up for nonexistent dates. While the blog Betabeat identified three men who had fallen victim to the prank, the results fell short of the involuntary flash mob of so-called "forever alones" the pranksters had hoped to create.
Despite its origins on 4chan, 4chan users associate the use of rage comics and rage faces with rival site Reddit, and users posting such images are frequently ridiculed and told to 'go back to Reddit'. Rage Comic is now an iPhone app and has gained even more popularity since.