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Puking Rainbows is a popular theme in online comics and illustrations characterized by the portrayal of rainbow-colored vomit, or in its original form, an anthropomorphized rainbow throwing up another stream of rainbow. Despite the unsavory subject matter, images of puking rainbows have been seen across various blogs and imageboard sites.
The concept of “rainbow vomit” stems from a blog article on I-mockery about visiting Little Tokyo neighborhood in LA, posted by the site owner RoG on August 6th, 2006. In reviewing the Japanese supermarket, RoG commented on the colorful packagings of Japanese snacks found in the store:
I took a bunch o’ photos of these packages and I’ll be putting up a new Shorts piece to showcase them a little later this week. In all seriousness, it looks like a rainbow threw-up all over their snack section and forever stained the packages with a million bright colors.
Hmm, a rainbow throwing up a rainbow of colors. I don’t know why, but I like that idea. Tell ya what. To any of you who draw me picture of a rainbow throwing up a rainbow of colors: I will post your pictures here in the blog. Do we have a deal? Alright then, get to work on those nauseated rainbows and email your pics to me!
Within days, readers responded to the challenge with their own interpreations of “puking rainbows,” opening up the floodgate of lulz.
On August 17th, 2006, RoG domain-registered the single topic blog RainbowPuke.com, which was turned into a website for curating “puking rainbow” artworks. The site became unavailable for a brief time until June 2009, when the revamped version of the site was launched.
Beginning in July 2009, illustrations of puking rainbow began to surface on popular visual arts communities like deviantART and many notable instances have appeared on blogs like Cute Overload. In addition, there are a number of t-shirts available on merchandise sites like Zazzle.
Rainbow puke has been also referenced by the popular web series Charlie the Unicorn in a special episode titled “charlie teh unicron episode 1” uploaded via YouTube on June 28th, 2010. The randomness of the scene (at 0:20) appealed to many other YouTubers and spawned a subset of YouTubePoop videos that became known as “Rainbow Bleh.”
Art Class Project
Enthusiasm over rainbow-colored vomit was strong enough for an art teacher at Virginia Commonwealth University to set an assignment for his foundation art class based on the theme; the students’ artworks were later featured on RoG’s website:
While earlier instances of “puking rainbows” depicted an anthropomorphized rainbow vomiting another stream of rainbow, its usage expanded across other cute animals, stick figures and even IRL photographs: