Pin It
Johnny Fiveacres
via Twitter (@kunert_ebooks)

An early internet meme sketch has sold for $5,100

The pencil drawing of Johnny Fiveacres was bought by YouTuber Freddie Wong

A 13-year-old pencil drawing of early internet meme Johnny Fiveacres has been sold on eBay for $5,100 (£3,850).

Fiveacres is a drawing of a bearded man reclining at a table while holding an ace playing card with four more spread in front of him. It was drawn by Seattle-based James Kunert-Graf, and originally found life on well-known internet forum, Something Awful.

The drawing was originally intended as a character in a video game, The Zybourne Clock, but soon found new life as a meme in 2006. 

“This was late 2006,” said Kunert-Graf. “It was like every project on (The Zybourne Clock) turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. There was a lot of enthusiasm.”

“There was a rule: People couldn’t be too critical or too negative. That meant basically anybody who had any skills or talent got fired. Everybody was left making extremely low-quality content.”

Kunert-Graf, who was 16 years old at the time, initially heard no response to his drawing until people started making fun of it on the site. “I was absolutely horrified. People kept posting about it and posting about it. I was completely earnest, I didn't understand at first what was funny about it.” 

But it wasn’t long until the image entered the memescape, and Johnny began inspiring fanfiction and cosplays on YouTube and Reddit. Kunert-Graf said: “After a few years you had elaborate parody art, comics and paintings: Johnny as Napoleon crossing the alps, Johnny in the creation of Man.”

Upon recovering the original drawing, Kunert-Graf put it on eBay last week. The auction was won by YouTuber Freddie Wong, who called the drawing “pure art”.