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Fsjal is a series of MS paint-style artworks centered around a cartoon character originally depicting The Legend of Zelda’s Link with his arms bent in anticipation and his eyes pointing up in eagerness. Since its viral takeoff on 4chan in July 2009, the drawing fad has spawned thousands of user-generated character sprites.
This character was created by artist Brian Lee, known for his comic “The Adventures of Left and Right.” On March 27th, 2008, Lee posted a comic titled “BROTERSTORY” to his deviantArt account, noting that now-deactivated dA user appletrees requested a Super Smash Brothers inspired comic for a zine to be distributed at Seattle anime convention SakuraCon. In the comic, Toon Link is shown posing in this excited manner after he and Solid Snake decide to sneak around other characters to visit Ganondorf in the hospital.
On July 25th, 2009, a stripped-down version of the Toon Link character, with all clothes removed, was posted to 4chan’s /b/ (random) board with the caption “Post ending in 69 names this meme!!!” The reply with the ID number 148492769 suggested “fsjal,” and this GET named the exploitable character.
The first fsjal thread to be posted outside of 4chan was started on the League of Legends forum on August 5th, 2009. Other threads have appeared on the Facepunch forums, the Natural Motion community, the Newgrounds BBS and Kongregate. On August 14th, 2009, a Facebook fan page was created, which has amassed 5315 likes as of July 2012.
DeviantArt user g00dguyz uploaded the template to his gallery on November 30th, which has received 10,405 views and 20,469 downloads in just under two years. That December, a deviantArt group called Fsjal-Club was established, which has 194 members and 28 pages of featured drawings. Additional images can be found on Tumblr, chanarchive and deviantArt, where there are more than 4083 artworks tagged fsjal. There is also a Meme Generator page, but the submitted images simply the fsjal template template with captions.
The Artist’s Response
On August 10th, 2009, Brian Lee responded to the popularity of the fsjal derivatives on his deviantArt blog, stating that he was not pleased to hear about his artwork getting branded as a “4chan” meme in the absence of proper credit.