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“Even Speedwagon Is Afraid!” is a memorable quote from the Japanese manga JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure said by the protagonist Jonathan Joestar to describe the emotional state of the supporting character Robert Edward O. Speedwagon during their confrontation with the vampire villain Dio Brando. Online, the snowclone derived from the original quote has spawned a number of derivative reaction faces in which the subject appears rather frightened or intimidated.
The line originally appeared in chapter 13 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, “Immortal Monster,” which was released in print on January 8th, 1988. The chapter featured the resurrection of Dio Brando as a vampire, who had been shot and killed two chapters prior. As Brando drains the blood of several nearby police officers to regain his strength, a panel depicts the protagonist Jonathan Joestar surmising the nature of Dio’s power next to the supporting character Speedwagon, who is described as being “afraid”. As of February 13th, 2008, the panel had already been circulating manga discussion boards such as 4chan’s /a/ (Anime and Manga) board.
On July 2nd, 2009, DeviantArtist Bahg-Nahk uploaded the panel to the art-sharing website. On October 5th, 2012, a thread titled “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure [Anime] Thread: EVEN SPEEDWAGON IS AFRAID!” was posted by Something Awful Forums member Thunderdome Loser. On October 16th, Tumblr user William Zeppeli posted an edited version of the comic panel featuring birthday-themed clip arts, which received over 700 notes in the next two years (shown below).
On January 23rd, 2013, an article titled “Jojo Influence on Internet Culture” was submitted to the Jojo’s Bizarre Encyclopedia wiki, in which the quote “Even Speedwagon is afraid” is listed as an Internet meme derived from the series. On February 3rd, Facebook user Non Sense From Nowhere created a photo album with images featuring the exploitable caption. As an April Fool’s prank for 2014, 4Chan founder moot included the phrase as a CAPTCHA code for the website’s /a/ board (shown below).
The quote had also spawned several derivative images, which feature Robert Edward O. Speedwagon or another fictional character appearing startled or intimidated (shown below).