Troll Face: The Iconic Meme That Started It All
What is Troll Face and Why is it So Popular?
Troll Face is a rage comic meme image of a character wearing a mischievous smile, used to symbolize internet trolls and trolling. It is one of the oldest and most widely known rage comic faces. The image is most commonly used to portray a character as a troll in rage comics, or alternatively, to identify oneself or another participant as such in online discussions.
But what is the story behind this iconic meme? How did it become so popular and influential? And what are the legal and cultural implications of using it? In this article, we will explore the origin, usage, copyright, impact and meaning of Troll Face.
The Origin of Troll Face
The MS Paint Comic by Whynne
The Troll Face was originally drawn by Carlos Ramirez, an Oakland-based artist known by his DeviantArt handle Whynne, as part of a MS Paint webcomic about the pointless nature of trolling on 4chan's /v/ (video games) board. The comic was uploaded to DeviantArt on September 19th, 2008. In the DeviantArt post, Ramirez added a note revealing that he was attempting to draw a comic character known as the "Rape Rodent."
The comic shows a stick figure character trolling another character on an online game, only to be met with indifference. The troll then reveals his face, which is a distorted version of the Rape Rodent, with a wide grin and squinted eyes. The comic ends with the troll saying "Problem?"
The Spread on 4chan, Reddit and Beyond
In the following months, Ramirez's drawing quickly gained traction on 4chan as the universal emoticon of an internet troll and a versatile rage comic character. For a brief time, the face became alternatively known as "the coolface" after a rage comic-style webcomic took off on 4chan and Ebaumsworld , though only for a brief period of time. Throughout the first half of 2009, Troll Face quickly gained favor with Redditors and rage comic artists in particular, in part owing to the rapid growth of the /r/f7u12 subreddit around that same time. On August 1st, 2009, the first Urban Dictionary definition for "trollface" was submitted by user A Terrible Driver. Thousands of additional webcomic and photoshopped instances featuring the face can be found Tumblr , Cheezburger , Reddit , Facebook , Quickmeme and Memegenerator among many others.
The Usage of Troll Face
The Symbol of Internet Trolling
Troll Face shows a troll, someone who annoys others on the internet for their own amusement. The original comic by Ramirez mocked trolls; however, the image is widely used by trolls. Troll Face has been described as the internet equivalent of the children's taunt "nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah" or sticking one's tongue out. The image is often accompanied by phrases such as "Problem?" or "You mad, bro?".
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The Variations and Derivatives of Troll Face
Over the years, Troll Face has spawned many variations and derivatives, some of which have become memes of their own. For example, there is the "Troll Dad" meme, which features a father who trolls his son with absurd or nonsensical stories. There is also the "Troll Science" meme, which features absurd or impossible scientific experiments or inventions, often involving magnets. Other examples include "Troll Physics", "Troll Girlfriend", "Troll Brain", "Troll Food", "Troll Cereal Guy" and more.
Some of these variations have also been adapted to different languages and cultures, such as the "Troll Face Español" meme, which features Spanish captions and jokes. There is also the "Troll Face Brasil" meme, which features Portuguese captions and references to Brazilian culture. Other examples include "Troll Face Français", "Troll Face Italiano", "Troll Face Deutsch" and more.
The Copyright of Troll Face
The Claim by Carlos Ramirez
In 2010, Carlos Ramirez, the original creator of Troll Face, registered the image as his trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He also created a website called MemeRun.com, where he sells merchandise featuring Troll Face and other rage comic characters. According to Ramirez, he decided to claim his rights over the image after seeing it being used without his permission or credit on various websites and products.
Ramirez has stated that he does not mind people using Troll Face for personal or non-commercial purposes, as long as they give him credit and link back to his website. However, he has also stated that he will take legal action against anyone who uses Troll Face for commercial purposes without his consent or license. He has also expressed his dislike for some of the variations and derivatives of Troll Face, especially those that are offensive or inappropriate.
The Legal Issues and Controversies
Ramirez's claim over Troll Face has been met with mixed reactions from the internet community. Some have supported him for protecting his intellectual property and creativity, while others have criticized him for being greedy or hypocritical. Some have also questioned the validity of his trademark, arguing that Troll Face is a derivative work of the Rape Rodent character, which was created by another artist named Matt Furie.
Ramirez's claim over Troll Face has also led to several legal disputes and controversies with other parties who have used the image for commercial purposes. For example, in 2015, Ramirez sued Warner Bros. Entertainment for using Troll Face in their movie The Hangover Part II without his permission or license. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. In 2017, Ramirez sued Valve Corporation for using Troll Face in their video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive without his permission or license. The case was dismissed by the court for lack of jurisdiction.
The Impact of Troll Face
The Cultural References and Parodies
Troll Face has become a cultural phenomenon that has transcended the internet and entered the mainstream media and popular culture. The image has been referenced and parodied in various forms of media, such as movies, TV shows, video games, music videos, books, comics and more. For example, Troll Face has appeared in movies such as The Hangover Part II , TV shows such as South Park , video games such as Minecraft , music videos such as Gangnam Style by Psy , books such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney , comics such as Cyanide & Happiness by Explosm.net and more.
The Meme Legacy and Influence
Troll Face has become a meme legend that has influenced and inspired many other memes and internet phenomena. The image has been recognized as one of the most iconic and influential memes of all time by various sources, such as Time Magazine , Know Your Meme , The Daily Dot and more. The image has also been featured in various meme-related events and exhibitions, such as the Museum of the Moving Image's "The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture" in 2014 , the Museum of Modern Art's "Items: Is Fashion Modern?" in 2017 , the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" in 2018 and more.
Troll Face has also spawned many other memes and internet phenomena that are related to or derived from it. For example, there is the "Trollface Challenge" meme, which involves people attempting to recreate the Troll Face expression in real life. There is also the "Trollface Virus" phenomenon, which involves people hacking websites or devices and replacing their content with Troll Face images. Other examples include the "Trollface Clicker" game by Silvergames.com , the "Trollface Launcher" game by PPLLAAYY.com , the "Trollface Maker" app by Appdictive Studio LLC and more.
Troll Face is a meme image that represents internet trolls and trolling. It was created by Carlos Ramirez in 2008 as part of a MS Paint comic. It became popular on 4chan, Reddit and other online platforms as a rage comic character and an emoticon. It has been used for various purposes, such as expressing sarcasm, irony, mockery or humor, provoking or annoying other users, or celebrating successful trolling. It has also generated many variations and derivatives, some of which have become memes of their own. It has been claimed by Ramirez as his trademark, which has led to some legal issues and controversies with other parties who have used it for commercial purposes. It has also become a c