Rage Comics a.k.a. "rage face comics" are not a single webcomic per se but a massive agglomeration of unrelated webcomics by different authors across the interwebs, united only by their distinct style and topics. Essentially a Cut-and-Paste Comic format with a shared pool of recurring face sprites, most rage comics tell short anecdotal stories with a punchline from their authors' lives.
Originating as a collection of anonymous webcomics posted on 4chan back in 2008, the format quickly spread across the web, thanks to its accessibility (pretty much anyone with Photoshop and online access can produce a rage comic within minutes) and the catchiness of many "rage faces". The original rage face was the "Rage Guy", to whom the format owes its title. More "rage faces" have been introduced, and nowadays, hundreds of rage comics are produced and uploaded online every day, alongside LOLCats and other memes.
The most common rage comic template consists of four panels (not unlike Yonkoma) arranged in a 2x2 for better browser readability:
- The main character is introduced doing something ordinary.
- Something unusual happens.
- The character does something about it (alternatively: a Beat Panel).
- The character reacts, often with uncontrolled rage if the previous panel ended in failure.
Longer comics are also common, but they are almost never broader than two panels in a row (since most websites that host rage comics have a picture width restriction).
For a more or less complete list of popular rage faces, refer to Dan Awesome's Rage Maker
Tropes common to all rage comics:
- Alice and Bob: Most characters in the rage comics go by the names Derp, Herp (both male), Derpette, Derpina (female), and derivatives.
- Abusive Parents: The trolldad occasionally hits this point.
- Artifact Title: Early strips universally ended with the Rage Guy raging. Nowadays, that is no longer the case but the title stuck.
- Atomic F-Bomb: The Rage Guy's signature "FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU".
- Big "YES!": The "AWW YEA" guy.
- Captain Obvious: The "You Don't Say?" guy is used as a response to obvious statements, itself taken from a contour drawing of Nicolas Cage in the film Vampire's Kiss.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Several of the supporting faces (such as "You don't say", "True story", and "Watch out, we've got a badass") are trace-overs of real people.
- Curse Cut Short: The Rage Guy's "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU".
- Cut-and-Paste Comic: All faces, especially the multi-purpose Cereal Guy.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Sported by the "I Lied!" guy.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: The Fap Guy.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cereal Guy tends to be portrayed as this.
- Death Glare: "What's All This Racket?" guy.
- The Determinator: The Actually It's Not Okay guy.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: The Trolldad.
- The Eeyore: The "Forever Alone" guy.
- Enraged by Idiocy: The "Are You Serious?" guy. The Are You Kidding Me? guy.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: The Puking Raibows Guy represents the supreme adoration and happiness.
- Face Framed in Shadow: The "Oh God, Why?" guy.
- Filler: More often than not, "True story" is used to fill up a fourth panel in a comic that would otherwise only be three panels long.
- Fish Eyes: the Derp face.
- Freddie Mercopy: The comics have the "Freddie Mercury pose◊" which means an awesome victory, and even has a variant, the "So close pose◊".
- Glasses Pull: The astonished variation is done by the Mother of God guy.
- Gonk: A lot of the rage faces are intentionally ugly.
- Guilty Pleasures: Whatever the Me Gusta guy reacts to.
- High-Class Glass: The Sir.
- I Lied: Pretty much the point of the "I Lied!" face, though more often Played for Laughs than for drama.
- Idiot Ball: Expect anyone with the Herp Derp face to carry it proudly.
- Imagine Spot: A lot of Me Gusta moments result from the characters realizing that their current (mundane) activity is similar to something awesome, like an action movie scene, and immediately imagining themselves in that spot.
- Insane Troll Logic: Occasionally done by the Trollface, followed by the mocking "Problem?".
- Is That the Best You Can Do?: The "Bitch Please" guy is used before one-upping an earlier statement. Said image is taken from an image of former NBA star Yao Ming laughing heartily during a 2009 postgame interview.
- Jet Pack: Equipped on the Nothing To Do Here guy.
- Kick the Dog: Many times one with the troll face will do this.
- Little "No": The "NO." guy, though with more gravity than the normal.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Most "female" faces are produced simply by strapping a wig of common hair color on a male-per-default preexisting sprite.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The "Oh God, Why?" guy.
- Non-Standard Character Design: The "seriously?" faces are far more realistically drawn than the standard faces that aren't trace-overs, and they are some of the few to have uniquely designed female sprites.
- Not Bad: The "Not Bad." face, patterned after Barack Obama's reaction during a royal visit to London.
- Oh, Crap!: The aptly named Oh Crap guy.
- Rage Breaking Point: The Rage Guy in a nutshell.
- Rage Quit: The Desk-Flipping Guy.
- Slice-of-Life Webcomics: Most commonly.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: The "Challenge Accepted" (inspired by Barney Stinson's Catch-Phrase from How I Met Your Mother) and "F**k Yea" faces, but subverted with the "Challenge Considered" face. Sometimes this trope is followed by the "Watch Out Guys, We've Got a Badass over Here" guy, itself patterned after astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
- Touché: A sad, remorseful version with the "Okay..." guy.
- Troll: The iconic Trollface.
- Twitchy Eye: The Angry Guy◊
- Wine Is Classy: Drinking Like a Sir.