Online comic helps fundraise to buy Tesla’s former lab

The Oatmeal is an online comic — no make that obsession — created, drawn and coded by Matthew Inman. As much as a comic, Inman uses Oatmeal’s proceeds to  fund museum in honor of Nikola Tesla, in his old lab not far from New York.

In nine days the oatmeal has raised $1,370,511 and with the help of a non-profit organization has put in funds to buy the land of Tesla’s old lab, and has begun selling merchandise to help fund the creation of the museum.

All this effort for “the Greatest Geek who ever lived.” Most however, are curious to why and how one post on a website achieved so much so quickly. Inman typically creates comics that at times will teach the viewer something pertaining to unknown facts about cats, or why coffee is awesome. There are other comics that just tell funny stories about printers or computer programing, all presented in Inman’s very distinct art style.

At times the oatmeal will present historical figures or random facts in extended comics and the most recent of which was entirely dedicated to Nikola Tesla. The comic was celebrating the man as the true inventor of almost all of modern technology and as a man beyond his time. It is impossible to do justice to what was written hence people should check out the full comic on theoatmeal.com.

Toward the end of the comic Inman proposes the idea of buying the recently for sale land that still holds Tesla’s former lab. A short time after the comics posting a campaign was created on indiegogo.com, a site similar to Kickstarter. The page is was made and is accepting donations and giving back rewards to those who donate, Inman heads most of which. It is all in an attempt to help a non-profit organization that intends to build a museum dedicated to Tesla.

The non-profit had its foot in the door with grant from New York State for $850,000. The property however was listed at $1.6 million so Inman took it upon himself to raise $850,000 and help purchase the land. What happened next was surprised everyone, as over a million dollars were raised in nine days, mostly due to the oatmeal’s free publicity.

With the property now being bided on the next phases of restoration have begun. The creation of the museum itself that has found an “angel investor” in the form of a distant relative of Tesla who has said he will match all donations up to $33,333.

What began as a small idea for a museum dedicated to one of the greatest inventors of all time has moved at a break neck speed and is becoming a reality far faster than anyone could have guessed.

Inman is no stranger to charities and raising donations for the fun of it. A recent lawsuit filed against the oatmeal stated Inman defaming the creators of website Funnyjunk, when he posted on about the site using his comics without crediting him.

In return to his claims the website that was stealing his materials turned around and sued him. For the fun of it Inman made this issue public on his site and constantly made fun of those suing him for something that he clearly did not do and was the victim in the situation.

As a way to get back at them Inman drew a picture of the opposing attorney’s mother getting busy with a bear. An indiegogo page was made by Matthew in the name of the lawyer suing him and all proceeds including the money won in court was donated to charity, but as is the oatmeal’s style pictures with the $211,223.04 were posted before donation insulting the lawyer, his mother, and the whole law suit.

Inman is no stranger to charity work, and using his following to raise money for good, but in the case of Tesla no one is the victim and Matthew is working toward honoring a great man and a genius who we owe a great deal too.

As of now the land will be bided on and it is possible that within the next year if all goes well construction will begin.

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