Pepe the Frog is a meme that has been widely adapted into many formats, even into other meme formats. I think that Pepe is more of a social product than a conventional product. Nonetheless, Pepe is popular for many of the same reasons that memes themselves are popular, allowing people to identify with emotions in a funny way. Pepe tends to be portrayed as more melancholy in the meme-sphere; he is commonly used to depict disappointment or sadness, which is a valuable meme format in the current meta.
The previous reviewer, unlike me, had very specific history and information to flesh out the origin and evolution of the Pepe meme.
“Pepe the Frog first appeared in 2005 in the comic “Boy’s Life” by artist and illustrator Matt Furie. The comics depict Pepe and his anthropomorphized animal friends behaving like stereotypical post-college bros: playing video games, eating pizza, smoking pot and being harmlessly gross.
The Pepe the Frog character did not originally have racist or anti-Semitic connotations. Internet users appropriated the character and turned him into a meme, placing the frog in a variety of circumstances and saying many different things. Many variations of the meme became rather esoteric, resulting in the phenomenon of so-called “rare Pepes.”
The majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted. However, it was inevitable that, as the meme proliferated in on-line venues such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, which have many users who delight in creating racist memes and imagery, a subset of Pepe memes would come into existence that centered on racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted themes.”