My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As with most collections of existing material, if you like content at theoatmeal.com, you will probably like this book. It is nice to have some of Inman’s classic comics and lists in hard copy. That said, this book falls short in two ways: first, in terms of content, there is no added value; second, in terms of layout, a number of Oatmeal comics were originally created as a scrolling web page and so don’t adapt well to being broken up into multiple printed pages. I am still glad we bought a signed copy, because I like supporting digital artists whose work I enjoy, but I was expecting a bit more.
I mention the content issue because I think the Penny Arcade guys set the standard for providing backstory, notes, and other “DVD extra”-style stuff in between the printed versions of comics originally published for free online. Other than the introduction, this is just a dump of the art. Given Inman’s background as a web designer, his sometimes interesting blog posts, and some of his more infamous online clashes, I was hoping to see some additional context. As for the layout, that’s really just a minor quibble, but it is noticeable for some of the longer informational comics how the flow had to be forced into having page breaks.
On a somewhat related note, I have been following this Funny Junk lawsuit with morbid fascination. Obviously Funny Junk is engaged in massive copyright violation, and Inman called them on it. Their lawyer apparently takes an online insult as inspiration for suing The Oatmeal. From what I can tell, the only bad part about this story is the web vigilantism that was indirectly inspired by Inman’s posts on the matter. Carreon is clearly a jerk, but I don’t think he deserves to have his online life ruined just for picking a stupid fight.