The Oatmeal

  (Redirected from Matthew Inman)

The Oatmeal is a webcomic and humor website created in 2009 by cartoonist Matthew Boyd Inman (born September 24, 1982). Inman, who lives in Seattle, updates his site with original comics, quizzes, and occasional articles. The Oatmeal has also made the transition to a series of books, featuring content from the webcomic as well as previously unpublished material.

The Oatmeal
The Oatmeal logo.png
The Oatmeal logo
Type of site
Comics, blog
Available inEnglish
Created byMatthew Inman
Alexa rankDecrease 37,792 (March 2019)[1]
LaunchedJuly 6, 2009; 11 years ago (2009-07-06)
Current statusActive

In 2010, received more than four million unique visitors per month. As of 2012, The Oatmeal's annual revenue was around US$500,000; three-quarters of that was from merchandising and the rest was from advertising.[2]


Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal
Inman created the Tumbeasts as a joke, but they were actually used by Tumblr.

The information found in The Oatmeal's comics is researched by Inman. One comic typically takes Inman seven to eight working hours spread across three days.[3] The comics cover an eclectic range of topics, including zombies, cats, horse care, internet and English grammar,[4] with titles such as "What it's like to own an Apple product", "What your e-mail address says about your computer skills", "How the male angler fish gets completely screwed", "8 websites you need to stop building", "How to name a volcano", "15-ish things worth knowing about coffee" and "How a web design goes straight to hell." [5] In "The State of the Web (Winter 2010)", Inman created the Tumbeasts as a reaction to Tumblr's regular downtimes, as a parody of the Twitter Fail Whale, and urged Tumblr to use them, which they did for a short time.[6]

When thinking of a subject to write about for the website, Inman simply picks something he is interested in. He usually works at home. But as he finds it difficult to do over long periods, because of the lack of social contact, he often goes to a coffee shop to work. Inman finds that it is much easier to gain exposure for his work with the Web than it would have been 20 years ago. He enjoys making people laugh at his work. And although he notes that he cannot actually see the reaction of others to his work, he still appreciates seeing the high number of page views that his website receives.[7]

By 2010, The Oatmeal got an average of 4.6 million unique visitors and more than 20 million page views per month.[8] Inman and his website were featured on an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly.[7]

In 2014, the website was awarded the Eisner Award for best webcomic.[9]

In 2016, Inman received the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award from the San Diego Comic-Con for his work helping others.[10]

In June 2019, just after the release of The Secret Life of Pets 2 – a feature animated film in which Inman was credited as Creative Consultant – Inman told the Washington Post that he "won’t be regularly creating the Oatmeal much longer", planning a hiatus of around two years.[11][12] This news came around the same time as the announcement of Inman signing a deal to develop an animated feature for Illumination Entertainment.[13]


The Oatmeal is funded by the sale of wall posters, greeting cards, calendars, clothing, coffee cups, signed prints, stickers, magnets, and badges.[14] However, he also sells other merchandise, including books.

Inman's first book, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides), was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. The book was made available in the United States on March 1, 2011, in the UK on March 17, 2011, and worldwide in early May 2011.[15] It features many of Inman's hand-drawn comics like "Party Gorilla", plus 27 never-before-seen comics like “8 Very Good Reasons to Keep a Canadian as a Pet”. The book also features a large pull-out poster that is 6 × 4 ft (1.8 × 1.2 m).

His second book, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, launched on October 9, 2012, in paperback on, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. My Dog: The Paradox: A Lovable Discourse about Man's Best Friend was published in hardcover on May 7, 2013. Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants was published on October 1, 2013, again through Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

In November 2013, Inman began a four-month sabbatical to write his fifth book, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I Run Long Distances, only creating four blog posts during this time. In March 2014, he announced the book's September 30 release date and organized Beat the Blerch, a race in 10 kilometer, half, and full marathon formats, which was held in Carnation, Washington, on September 20 and 21, 2014.[16] All 2,000 spots originally offered for the first race day were sold out in 20 minutes, prompting Inman to open a second day for more runners to enroll.[17]

Since then, the Beat the Blerch event has been taking place every year.[18]

November 2017 saw the release of Inman’s next two books – If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men and How to be Perfectly Unhappy. These were followed in July 2019 with the latest book from The Oatmeal – Why My Cat is More Impressive Than Your Baby.[19][20][21]

Exploding KittensEdit

In January 2015, Inman, in collaboration with Elan Lee and Shane Small, launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for their project Exploding Kittens, a card-based, Russian-roulette-style game.[22] The campaign raised $1 million in its first seven hours, and $2 million in 24 hours, greatly surpassing its original goal of $10,000. After 48 hours, it became the number one most-funded card game on Kickstarter, and the twenty-second most funded campaign overall.[23]

The success of the game prompted its creators to launch a company in 2015, also named Exploding Kittens (Inc).[24] Since then, Inman’s and Lee’s company has released four further games: Bears vs. Babies (2017), You’ve Got Crabs (2018), Throw Throw Burrito (2019), and On a Scale of One to T-Rex (2019).[25][26]

In October 2019 it was announced that Peter Chernin, American businessman and the CEO of The Chernin Group (TCG) invested $30m into Exploding Kittens Inc., becoming a minority stakeholder. Matthew Inman informed the press that the funds will be used for the live gaming convention Burning Cat, and for hiring additional artists in order to increase production to three to five games a year.[25][27]

Burning Cat eventEdit

In June 2019, Exploding Kittens Inc. announced the planning of a live gaming convention. The two-day event will take place in May 2020 in Portland, Oregon, U.S. It is named Burning Cat, in reference to the Burning Man festival, and will conclude with the burning of a large wooden statue of a cat – a homage to the burning of a human-shaped figure at the Burning Man. Burning Cat will feature appearances from guest speakers alongside a series of gaming and networking activities. The event was postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[28][29]

Tesla Museum fundraiserEdit

In August 2012, Inman launched a fundraising campaign, associated with The Oatmeal, on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise $1.7 million for the nonprofit organization Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in order to purchase the Wardenclyffe Tower property in Shoreham on Long Island, New York – about 60 miles from Manhattan – due to concerns about an apparent offer to purchase the site and develop it for commercial use. The goal was to raise at least $850,000 to buy the property and restore the facility with the hope of eventually building a museum on the grounds in honor of the man who built Wardenclyffe, the Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla. The state of New York agreed to match donations up to half that amount if the fundraiser was able to raise $850,000.[30][31][32] On August 21, a donation from Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, raised the total to $792,000.[33] Later, on the same day, the goal of $850,000 was reached – in just over six days.

A day later, the fundraising group exceeded its target after a $33,333 donation from the producers of the Tesla film Fragments From Olympus-The Vision of Nikola Tesla put the total amount raised at $873,169.[34] Donors continued to contribute after the goal was reached, donating over $1 million over nine days.[35] Including New York’s matching grant, the crowd funding campaign raised approximately $1.7 million in six days, with the campaign originally slated to run 45 days.[36] Ultimately, the campaign (plus the New York grant) totaled over $2.1 million.[37] Inman features in Tower to the People, the 2015 documentary on Wardenclyffe by Joseph Sikorski, director of the previous Nikola Tesla documentary Fragments from Olympus.

The additional funds will be used to pay for the cleaning and restoration of the property, with the goal to build a museum on the grounds.[38][39] Volunteers have begun work on the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and recently unveiled a monument to Tesla.[40]

On May 13, 2014, Inman authored a comic titled "What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car",[41] and a follow-up comic titled "Part Two: Man Vs. Motor"[42] in which he talked about Nikola Tesla, and Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. After publishing the comic, he tweeted Elon, saying, "@elonmusk I wrote a review of my Model S, and then asked you for a little favor here ...",[43] inviting Elon to donate to the Tesla Museum. At 2 a.m. the following day, Elon responded by tweet: "I would be happy to help".

According to a later blog post by Inman, Musk called him up and pledged two things: a donation of 1 million dollars for the development and construction of the museum; and that a Tesla supercharger would be built just outside the museum, making the museum a part of his nationwide Tesla car recharging network.[44]

Legal disputesEdit

FunnyJunk legal disputeEdit

Inman alleged that users on FunnyJunk, a content aggregator website, repeatedly infringed The Oatmeal's original content.[45] FunnyJunk alleged these accusations are defamation and demanded $20,000 in damages.[46] Inman responded by setting up a $20,000 Indiegogo fundraiser for a charity called "Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad". Inman named National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society as beneficiaries [47] and had raised $220,024 at completion.[48] He stated he intended to take a photo of himself with the cash, then send the photograph along with a satirical illustration of FunnyJunk's[49][50] mother "seducing a Kodiak bear" to FunnyJunk.

FunnyJunk's lawyer, Charles Carreon, attempted to shut the campaign down, alleging it violates Indiegogo's terms and conditions.[51] Carreon also filed a pro se lawsuit Carreon v. Inman et al in United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Inman, Indiegogo, the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation in response.[52][53][54] On July 3, 2012, Carreon filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in his lawsuit against all parties without prejudice.[55][56][57][58]

Oatmeal Studios trademark suitEdit

On November 21, 2012, greeting card maker Oatmeal Studios sued Inman and Recycled Greetings for trademark infringement.[59][60] On August 28, 2013 a Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice was filed by Excelsior Printing Company, the litigants in the lawsuit.[61]


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External linksEdit