The Internet Phenomenon | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Internet Phenomenon

Allie Brosh, Bend's web cartoonist turned highly praised book author

The magazine section of the eastside Barnes and Noble, which doubles as a guest reading hall, is packed with eager tweens, middle-aged women and other internet trolling Bendites, all clutching bright yellow paperbacks with Allie Brosh's signature pink dress-wearing figure sprawled across the cover. Her pointy cone ponytail and her suspected mentally challenged pet "special dog" stare off the cover with dense pupils, surprisingly expressive for illustrations made up of just a few basic lines.

The audience members are craning their necks trying to see over the high surrounding shelves to catch a glimpse of the petite blonde in the red hoodie who the drawing is based on. Brosh, who has grabbed internet fame as a blogger and cartoonist is conducing a PowerPoint presentation about one of her many excruciatingly detailed childhood memories. "The God of Cake," recalls her struggle to get her hands on her grandfather's birthday cake and her overwhelming desire to and eventual success in stuffing the entire thing in her face. I've never seen so many people in a Barnes and Noble on a Friday night.

Brosh, who lives in Bend, gained a staggering amount of popularity in 2011 when her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, attracted the attention of Reddit, the user submitted social superhighway of the Internet. Her intentionally rudimentary Microsoft Paintbrush drawings are accompanied by stories of "unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened," as the title of her new book explains. Her post, "This is Why I'll Never Be an Adult" was turned into a popular Internet meme and her brutal, while cartoonish, honesty about her struggles with depression have made her an idol for multitudes of people who struggle with similar issues. Brosh has found a way to laugh at herself even when the larger issues behind her comics might seem unfunny.

After the analog "Hyperbole and a Half," the book version of her blog, was released in late October, Brosh has again spiked in popularity with a feature in the New York Times and interview by Terry Gross on NPR.

Somewhat in-character, Brosh failed to respond to questions from the Source. (In one of her popular cartoons, "PROCRASTINATOR!!," she promises she'll do that thing she has to do, right after she finishes drawing a picture of a pterodactyl). Instead, her publicist sent along an excerpt from her book called "Warning Signs," which we have posted on our blog. And who knows, if Brosh finishes her drawing of a pterodactyl soon, we'll post that soon. Perhaps one day we'll even get answers to our Q&A—and we'll post those, too.

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  • You Can't Take It With You

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