If your prone to ambling about the internet, you've probably ran across a few rage comics. If your a facebook user, you probably have that one friend that posts them all the time. But what are they? Where did they come from?
Rage comics are a crudely drawn panel comic strip used to house a cast of crudely drawn MS Paint characters, referred to as "rage faces". It's not common practice to actually draw the rage face which has given birth to the "rage comic generator" where you can paste the characters in the panels and give them dialog. These comics are used to depict situations from real life that end with a humorous end. Though the term "rage comic" was coined from the notorious "FFFFFFFUUUUU" character who's real life situations end with him being infuriated.
Like almost all internet memes, the rage comic originated from 4Chan, an anonymous image board filled with all sorts of crude humor. It's a common misconception that it came from Reddit where they had a sub category made for them called f47u shortly after their creation. It is rumored they first appeared in 2008, but their origins have grown vague.
Popular Rage Faces
Forever Alone Guy:
Forever Alone Guy is sad. He'll never have a girlfriend, he spends all his time on the internet, and has zero facebook friends. He is used to express disappointment and loneliness, as well as doing acts that will keep him alone forever.
Me Gusta Guy:
Why Everyone Likes this?
So why does everyone like this? The answer is basic psychology, people like themselves. You can take the most basic silliness that has happened in daily life, and people will be like (to put it in internet terms) "I know that feel, bro".
Thus the more broad you are, the more people will be like "this has happened to me, but you put it in a funny way". This explains the rapid gain in popularity it has experienced, and why it has spread to normal non-4chan posters over the past few years.