But that's how the Oatmeal works. Stuef found a presentation given by Inman in which he explained the six principles that he uses to pick ideas for Oatmeal comics:
- Find a common gripe
- Pick things everyone can relate to
- Create easily digestible content
- Create an infographic
- Talk about memes and current events
- Incite an emotion
[...] As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter whether or not Inman is misrepresenting himself as a relatable, struggling artist. Inman's comics aren't bad because he's a hypocrite or a faker (though it doesn't hurt). Inman's comics are bad on their own merits.
He can't draw. This is admittedly not an obstacle to success on the internet, where the Hallmark-for-engineers margin scribblings of XKCD's Randall Munroe can engender a kind of slavish devotion, but at least Munroe's stick figures, fedoras and all, seem to reflect some level of warmth or personality; Inman's jagged illustrations are reminiscent less of their creator's character or humanity than of the easiest shortcuts in whatever vector-graphics program he's using. [...]
The only thing that differentiates his comic "Why Nikola Tesla Was the Greatest Geek Who Ever Lived" from an illustrated essay is that it's white text on a black background, and Inman has hastily copied-and-pasted stars all over the graphic. It's indistinguishable from the hasty SEO-scam "infographics" -- really just long, haplessly illustrated lists of facts -- where Inman got his start. [...]
This, ultimately, is Inman's real failing: his inability to write comics that are his, from him, about him, by him, and not just comics that fill a space he's identified in the impossibly huge audience for content online. The Oatmeal doesn't feel like something from its creator's brain, marked by its creator's obsessions, driven by its creator's passions, the way even the worst newspaper strips do. It feels like something written by a committee. Or an algorithm.
Since everyone on my Facebook feed feels the need to re-post that pandering Columbus Day comic, here: