There’s a chance you’ve never come across The Oatmeal, but it’s not likely: Matthew Inman’s perpetually viral webcomic reached its millionth “Like” this week.
In an average Oatmeal entry, the philosophic cartoonist addresses personal pet peeves ranging from Netflix to people with poor grammar to the overtly religious. After reaching this milestone on Facebook, however, Inman looked outward for inspiration. He decided to reward some fans with Oatmeal-style sketches based on photographs they had sent him. (“Oatmeal-style” means that they’re horrifying, hilarious, not something you’d necessarily want your boss to catch you looking at, and may include, in at least one memorable instance, a crying squid baby.)
Inman has long cultivated an engaged fanbase. In addition to spreading his work across the Internet, The Oatmeal’s fans have also helped him raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation (presumably selected to help Inman atone for the horrible things he’s drawn animals doing).
Inman’s is not the only comedic enterprise on the Web to reward fans with custom creations, though. Comedian (and Arrested Development season four star) Maria Bamford’s new show, AskMyMom, is built around providing answers to user-submitted questions; goofball rapper (formerly Krispy Kreme) addresses his fans on his YouTube channel; cartoonist Noelle Stevenson has an occasional series called “Pokeymans,” in which her fans describe characters from Pokemon to her and she attempts to draw them sight-unseen. To the best of our knowledge, though, none of them drew a picture of their fans’ babies with flippers for arms and legs.
Have a look at the rest of The Oatmeal’s Facebook sketches in the slides above.