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  1. Episode 187: Matt Furie (Bonus) | RiYL

    I was excited when I first saw Pepe popping up on strange corners of

    the internet. After years of spotting Matt Furie’s work at indie comics

    shows like SPX and MoCCA, the online community was starting to take

    notice of his work, albeit in that idiosyncratic internetty way. But

    after years of bizarre and benign appearances on body building forums

    and Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed, the stoned frog character seemingly,

    suddenly took a strange turn, embraced by some of the internet’s darkest

    recesses. Over the past several weeks, Pepe was reference by

    presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, highlighted on the Rachel Maddow

    Show and, as of yesterday, designated as a symbol of hate by the

    Anti-Defamation League. Suddenly, the artist’s phone start

    ringing off the hook with dozens of calls from journalists asking Furie

    to defend his benign cartoon creation. Sure most artists would kill for a

    moment in the national spotlight, but practically overnight the

    cartoonist was in the incredibly unenviable position of having his name

    and creation linked with online hate groups. Furie kindly jumped

    on the phone for a quick chat while driving from his home in Los Angeles

    to an art showing in San Francisco. We talked about his unexpected and

    unfortunate fame, the power of simple symbols and his on-going efforts

    to steal Pepe back for the forces of good.


    —Huffduffed by rich