Creativity 50 2013: Allie Brosh

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When a popular blogger stops blogging, and then starts again, it doesn't usually make the news. But when essayist/cartoonist Allie Brosh returned to her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, after an 18-month absence, the internet rejoiced.

Though it was not unusual for Ms. Brosh to go weeks without posting her quirky cartoons and stories (many based on her own life), Ms. Brosh's disappearance was impossible not to notice: On her site she says her blog gets north of 7 million unique visitors a month. 

She marked her re-entry with a heartbreaking and funny post that explained in her trademark deliberately-crude-drawing style that she had been suffering a crippling depression that left her feeling emotionally drained and unable to work; she was, in her words, in a "detached, meaningless fog where you can't feel anything about anything." 

In addition to striking engaging her audience with refreshing candor about subjects that many still consider taboo, Ms. Brosh embraces a sort of open-source attitude about the use of her art: She encourages use of her images by teachers and students and individuals, asking only that she receive credit where due. And she interacts with readers on Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. Her blog became her job three years ago; she eschews donations, product reviews and advertising ("not that sites with ads are bad") and makes her salary though sales of merchandise. 

Her first book, a collection  "Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened," drops this fall. As of this writing, it's already at No. 20 on Amazon's bestseller list of comics.

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