Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spotlight: BearLove Good. Cancer Bad. by Matthew Inman

We often discuss crowdfunding in terms of raising money for creative endeavors, but it's also a platform that can be used for charitable purposes.  Sometimes there's even a nice mix of creative people doing charitable things.  Case in point: The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman sticking it to FunnyJunk and raising money for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

First, some background.

If you've never been to The Oatmeal, it's a site with Matthew Inman's hilarious, and sometimes thought-provoking, comics.  It's an excellent place to kill time.  The comics are so well done that they started showing up elsewhere - namely,, which seems to all users to upload, you guessed it, funny junk from around the Internet.  Many of Inman's comics showed up there, without links or attribution and, worse, The Oatmeal's URL edited out of the image.  The work of other creators, like David Thorne, showed up there, too.  There was a bit of a scuffle between Inman and FunnyJunk (and its users).  Many, but not all, of the comics were removed, and Inman moved on.

Turns out FunnyJunk didn't.

All that was about a year ago.  The other day, Inman was served papers from FunnyJunk's lawyers accusing him of defamation and demanding $20,000 in retribution.  Inman has, in his classic fashion, refuted the claims.  He also decided that, rather than give FunnyJunk $20,000, he would start a crowdfunded campaign to donate $20,000 to charities.  Turns out, he won't be donating $20,000 - because as of this writing, with 12 days still to go, he's already raised over $160,000.  He got the $20,000 in 64 minutes.  Since he's (obviously) a good guy, Inman is still donating 100% of the proceeds to charity, and is adding two others to the list.

Inman has a history of connecting and communicating with fans.  He's used it to great success in terms of his creative work, and it's nice to see him using it for charitable purposes as well.  The comics are available on his site for free, and he's still had people donate six figures because they like him and the work he does.  So if you like funny, like bears, and hate cancer, consider donating for a good cause.

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