Bryan here! Today I bring you secrets from the dark underbelly of the cartooning world!

Back in 2006, I was one of several fans selected to illustrate chapters of the best-selling humor book The Alphabet of Manliness by the internet-sensation known as "Maddox." The book was a tongue-in-cheek take-down of what we might now call "toxic masculinity."

Or so I intended.

The book was entirely written in Maddox's voice, in a persona he had cultivated on his website for years. Real-life Maddox was a sweet, charitable, kind person. Website Maddox was a jerk.  He was kind of like DC's "Lobo" with a brain, and an even worse attitude because of it.

I think I can safely say that everyone involved in the making of this book was confident that readers were "in on the joke." When Maddox (the character) said something cruel and ignorant, it was obviously intended as vicious, savage mockery of the cruel and ignorant, NOT as an actual attack on the stated victims.

Weren't TWO of my co-cartoonists women? Didn't we hail from across the political spectrum? Wasn't Maddox himself a man of honor? I even asked my wife and partner-in-art what she thought of his site, and she read through most of it and came to the conclusion that what he was "getting at" in his humor was postivie stuff.

But as we've learned in more recent years, there are those in this world who see cruelty and ignorance as badges of honor, and who will therefore read a book like The Alphabet of Manliness like it's Mein Kampf. Like it's a wink and a nod at cruelty, a pat on the back of ignorance. 

I always knew there were SOME people like that. I had hoped this book would serve to REDUCE the amount, or at least gird up the loins of the enemies of the cruel. 

However, seeing as how the ranks of the Armies of the Night (as I call internet trolls and those who vote like internet trolls) have seemingly swelled to a size I never would have dreamed possible, I can only say that whatever magic we thought we were weaving, it doesn't seem to have worked.

Maddox himself has renounced and apologized for the book. For what it's worth, I do the same.