The Oatmeal

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The Oatmeal
The Oatmeal logo.png
The Oatmeal logo
Type of site
Comics, blog
Available in English
Created by Matthew Inman
Alexa rank Decrease 16,132 (February 2017)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration No
Launched July 6, 2009; 7 years ago (2009-07-06)
Current status Active

The Oatmeal is a humor website created in 2009 by cartoonist Matthew Inman (born September 24, 1982). Inman, who lives in Seattle, Washington, updates his site with original comics, quizzes, and occasional articles.

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


portrait of Matthew Inman, the creator of the Oatmeal comic
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 picks something that he is interested in and writes about it. 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 a month.[8] Inman and his website were featured on an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly.[3]

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

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


Inman is funded by the sale of informational wall posters, greeting cards, calendars, clothing, coffee cups, signed prints, stickers, magnets, and badges, which yield a yearly profit of about $400,000.[11] However, he also sells other merchandise, including books.

The Oatmeal’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.[12] It features many of Inman's handwritten 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 by 4 ft (1.8 by 1.2 m).

His second book, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, launched on 9 October 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 7 May 2013. Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants was published on 1 October 2013, also through, Barnes & Noble 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 has organized a “Beat the Blerch” (a 10-kilometer, half, and full marathon), which was held in Carnation, Washington, on September 20 and 21, 2014.[13] 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. He is currently planning to expand "Beat the Blerch" to other cities and states.[14]

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.[15] The campaign raised $1 million in its first seven hours, and $2 million in 24 hours, 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. [16]

Tesla Museum fundraiser[edit]

In August 2012, the Oatmeal launched a fundraising campaign on the Indiegogo crowd funding website 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.[17][18][19] On August 21, a donation from Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, raised the total to $792,000.[20] 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.[21] Donors continued to contribute after the goal was reached, donating over $1 million over nine days.[22] 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.[23] Ultimately, the campaign (plus the New York grant) totaled over $2.1 million.[24] Inman features in Tower to the People the 2015 documentary on Wardenclyffe by the same director of "Fragments from Olympus".

The additional funds will be used to fund the cleaning and restoration of the property, with the goal to build a museum on the grounds.[25][26] Volunteers have begun work on the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and recently unveiled a monument to Tesla.[27]

On 13 May 2014, the Oatmeal authored a comic entitled “What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car,”[28] followed by a follow-up comic entitled "Part Two: Man Vs. Motor"[29] 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 ...”,[30] 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 Tesla supercharger would be built just outside the museum, making the museum a part of his nationwide Tesla recharging network; and a million dollars for the development/construction of the museum.[31]

Legal disputes[edit]

FunnyJunk legal dispute[edit]

The Oatmeal has alleged that users on FunnyJunk, a content aggregator website, repeatedly infringed The Oatmeal’s original content.[32] FunnyJunk alleged these accusations are defamation and demanded US $20,000 in damages.[33] 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 [34] and had raised $220,024 at completion.[35] 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[36][37] 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.[38] 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.[39][40][41] On July 3, 2012, Carreon filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in his lawsuit against all parties without prejudice.[42][43][44][45]

Oatmeal Studios trademark suit[edit]

On November 21, 2012, greeting card maker Oatmeal Studios sued Inman and Recycled Greetings for trademark infringement.[46][47]


  1. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  2. ^ Danny Bradbury (2012-06-21). "The Oatmeal beat Funnyjunk, but other cartoonists aren't so lucky | Technology |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  3. ^ a b "The Oatmeal, he's a cereal killer". Brand X. The Los Angeles Times. 2010-04-07. Archived from the original on April 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  4. ^ Carter, Matt (2010-01-19). "Guide to online entertainment". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  5. ^ "Homepage". The Oatmeal. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "State of the Web (Winter 2010)"
  7. ^ "Episode for March 31, 2010". Last Call with Carson Daly. Aired March 31, 2010.
  8. ^ Inman, Matthew (2010-02-26). "The State of the Oatmeal". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  9. ^ 2010-Present Comic-Con International: San Diego. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Inman, Matthew. "The Oatmeal Book - 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "Beat The Blerch 10k/half/full marathon". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ Mills, Heidi (June 10, 2014). "How to Beat the Blerch". Outside Online. Outside Magazine. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  15. ^ Lee, Elan (January 20, 2015). "Exploding Kittens". Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ Lee, Elan. "Exploding Kittens Updates". Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  17. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory". Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  18. ^ Voakes, Greg (August 15, 2012). "The Oatmeal's Latest Fundraiser To Save The Tesla Tower". Forbes. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Solon, Olivia (16 August 2012). "Indiegogo project seeks crowdfunding for Tesla museum (Wired UK)". Wired UK. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  20. ^ Backers raise cash for Tesla museum honoring 'cult hero',, 21 August 2012.
  21. ^ Byford, Sam (21 August 2012). "'Oatmeal' Tesla museum campaign reaches funding goal after $33,333 pledge". The Verge. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  22. ^ The Oatmeal. "We just passed one million dollars. Now what?". The Oatmeal. We just passed one million dollars. Now what? 
  23. ^ "Tesla museum campaign exceeds fund-raising target". BBC News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  24. ^ "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". Retrieved 9 May 2013. $1,370,461 
  25. ^ "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  26. ^ "Web Cartoonist Raises $1 Million For Tesla Museum". National Public Radio. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Monument unveiling at Wardenclyffe 9/23/2013". Telsa Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  28. ^ The Oatmeal. "What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car - The Oatmeal". The Oatmeal. What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car - The Oatmeal 
  29. ^ The Oatmeal. "Man Vs. Motor". The Oatmeal. Man Vs. Motor 
  30. ^ "Twitter - The Oatmeal". Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  31. ^ The Oatmeal. "So, I had a call with Elon Musk earlier this week ...". The Oatmeal. So, I had a call with Elon Musk earlier this week ... 
  32. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (2011-06-02). "The Oatmeal vs. FunnyJunk: webcomic copyright fight gets personal". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  33. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (2012-06-12). "Lawyer demands $20,000, so webcomic raises $100,000 from the Internet". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  34. ^ "FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay $20,000 in damages". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  35. ^ Matthew Inman (2012-06-11). "BearLove Good. Cancer Bad.". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  36. ^ "Twitter / Oatmeal: Also, just to be clear I d". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  37. ^ "Website war earns big bucks for charity". KOMO News. Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  38. ^ Golijan, Rosa (June 2012). "Cartoonist turns lawsuit threat into $100K charity fundraiser". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  39. ^ Can I Sue You People? Troll Lawyer Sues The Charities The Oatmeal Supports Accessed:June 18, 2012
  40. ^ Thier, Dave (2012-04-18). "Lawyer Charles Carreon Suing The Oatmeal, American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  41. ^ Carreon, Charles. "Charles Carreon v. Indiegogo, NWF, ACS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-13. 
  42. ^ Electronic Frontier Foundation (July 3, 2012). Charles Carreon Drops Bogus Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal Creator.
  43. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (2009-10-04). "Carreon claims victory, drops his lawsuit against The Oatmeal et al.". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  44. ^ Ha, Anthony (2011-01-04). "FunnyJunk Attorney Charles Carreon Drops Lawsuit Against Oatmeal Creator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  45. ^ Clay, Kelly (2012-04-18). "Funny Junk Drops Frivolous Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  46. ^ Mullin, Joe (2012-05-17). "The Oatmeal sued over trademark by "Oatmeal Studios"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  47. ^ Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 (2012-11-21). "Oatmeal Studios Responds To The Oatmeal Lawsuit: "We Are Simply Trying To Protect Our Name"". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 

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