Surreal Memes Wiki
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Surreal Memes have existed in some form for many years, and throughout their lifespan they have massively evolved and developed. This page documents their full history, from their beginning to their peak and decline years later.

Prehistory

Memes with surreal or ironic nature have undoubtedly existed for a long time; these true start of these memes is not known, but they likely had their roots in sites like 4chan, perhaps as early as 2010. Genuine surreal memes would not spring up until the mid-2010s, but many of their components were created much earlier; the 3D model we now know as Meme Man was created in 2014, and the Orang model was created all the way back in 2006. But by far the earliest components of surreal memes are the Pillars, who were originally Nigerian sculptures from sometime around 1300-1400 CE.

Meme Man himself was, according to Special meme fresh, "a wonky attempt at a human head posted on 4chan's 3DCG board long ago". He soon adopted Meme Man as his Facebook profile picture.

Early Surreal Memes

The first known surreal meme was Special meme fresh's SUCC, a 4-panel comic depicting Meme Man and Steank Waiter, posted to his Facebook in October 2015.

The first surreal meme.

As you can see, the meme is rather low-quality and contains poorly-made speech bubbles, backgrounds, and use of neon text, which was part of the joke at the time. In early 2016, a very similar meme, Angery, was posted on Facebook, followed by C r u m b s. These were the first surreal memes, all featuring Meme Man.

A surreal memes subreddit, r/surrealmemes, was created on January 19th, 2016, but it remained very small until early 2017, when it started to grow exponentially. In mid-2016, surreal memes would leak into youtube when Special meme fresh created his well-known Meme Lads series. Thanks to the popularity of Meme Lads, surreal memes in general would explode in 2017, with infamous youtuber BagelBoy creating his first surreal meme, sitt, in July. With their introduction to youtube, surreal memes became genuinely high-quality, which still retaining their basic plot and characters (Meme Man, Orang, etc).

Golden Age of Surreal Memes

By the second half of 2017, surreal memes had began to find an important place in ironic meme culture. Many more youtubers would start creating surreal memes, most notably Timotainment. The majority of surreal memes were still very similar to what they were originally, featuring a semi-coherent storyline, space backgrounds, neon text, and the most familiar characters.

Riddle of the Rocks, a story first posted on r/surrealmemes in September 2017 and adapted into a high-quality video by BagelBoy the next month, was probably the most important surreal meme creation; it was very popular (amassing well over 1 million views) and was the beginning of a canon surreal memes saga. The story was quickly added onto by many youtubers, including Timotainment, and made the story of a grand rivalry between Meme Man and Orang a core part of surreal memes. By the turn of 2018, many new surreal meme creators such as PoseidonHeir, MoistCheese, and Astrocookie had joined and were creating medium-quality surreal memes videos, especially their own sequels to Riddle of the Rocks. BagelBoy again released an official sequel to ROTR in July 2018, and this also amassed huge amounts of views.

Along with the creations of countless other memers on countless other sites, a vast collection of surreal memes and surreal meme-themed stories had grown by now, and surreal memes had firmly established themselves as popular within memeing communities across the internet. Search interest in surreal memes peaked in the spring of 2018, and would slowly decline for the next year or so. Therefore, the roughly 12 to 16 month period centered around the winter of 2017/2018 was the heyday of surreal memes, and referred to as their golden age.

Contemporary Surreal Memes

As 2018 drew to a close, surreal memes as they were traditionally known gradually became less popular; old characters such as Meme Man and Orang and themes such as quests weren't as prevalent anymore. This trend started in r/surrealmemes (which had always held some level of disdain for memes that were just familiar characters slapped on a stock space background) and slowly but surely spread to youtube and surreal meme communities on sities such as instagram and tumblr. R/surrealmemes in particular started to consider traditional surreal memes overused, unfunny, or even normie. Yet another nail was hammered into the coffin of the old surreal memes in mid-2019, when other memes featuring Meme Man, such as Stonks and Enslaved Moisture, became mainstream memes in their own right. Both these memes were widely hated by actual surreal memers.

In 2019, surreal memes as a whole made a massive transformation, away from predictable characters and themes and into even more artistic, bizarre, and unique memes with no coherent canon or storyline. Youtubers like Timotainment changed their surreal memes to fit this transition, but some didn't, and some would quit surreal memes altogether. Due to this change, surreal memes faded out of popularity and returned to being much more niche. By fall 2019, surreal memes were widely considered a thing of the past, dead like every other meme that once was. This was partly true, but surreal memes weren't truly over.

Surreal memes in their newer form once again grew in popularity around the beginning of 2020, but it was a much more steady growth that than of nearly 2 years before. They never did return to their ephemeral popularity, but they recovered from their death and many surreal memes communities are still steading growing (r/surrealmemes has close to 800 thousand subscribers as of writing this).

Recently, Meme Man memes have had a resurgence due to many redditors by Gamestop stocks and calling them stonks. This may cause more intrest in the expanded universe of surreal memes.

Surreal memes are constantly changing and evolving, for a future unreality, as the subreddit would say. Despite all that's happened, they are still relevant, and their future is by no means bleak. But only time will tell what changes come next.

Hope and Continuation

Recently, the new video series Meme Man's SURREAL LIFE by CommonCommieStudios has garnered a lot of eyes from the surreal meme community, and the comiuc series Vegetal's Secret Plan by Randomnesscentral (which is being turned into an animated series by The Crimson Polygon and Parker the Moveset Maker) has also garnered a lot of eyes. A new era of Surreal memes may be dawning, as two new timelines have emerged,

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