The American Amorists Association Guidebook

    (Saddle Tramp, 2004)
™ and © Saddle Tramp Press

The first warning sign should have been the faux quotes on the back cover.

Celebrity “endorsements” from the likes of “Mike Jordan” and “Joey Montana” almost border on cute in context, but the quote from Family Guy Peter Griffin should be a big red warning light.

Let’s back up. In 1935, there was no Playboy or Maxim, but there was The Bedroom Companion. One of the pieces from that book, “So, You’re Going out for a Record, or The Compleat Philanderer,” by Rex Stout, has been adapted into this comic.

The Samuelsons think Stout’s piece is “funny as hell.” Maybe it is. This comic book isn’t.

Updating it to include modern language, fashion, and ATMs probably robs it of some of its charm. But, if it were to be updated, one piece absolutely should have been discarded: the portion on “physical brutality.”

Whether woman-beating in fact or in a humor piece was (or should have been) acceptable in 1935 is a topic for debate. In 2004, it doesn’t fly. A guidebook on philandering can be ironic. Advice to “stick to the fists” rather than use weapons is misogyny.

The art appropriately suits the intention of the work and is in no way a shortcoming. The choice of font, however, is a little too stylized. “Keep it simple” should be the rule.

Kudos for attempting something new in comics form. The worthiness of the experiment compensates for some of the shortcomings.

— Jack Abramowitz

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 B&WDave SamuelsonBrad Samuelson