SAN DIEGO, DAY 1: Christine Norrie to 'Cheat' with Oni in February

[Cheat]Oni Press announced Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego that they'll be releasing a new projects by "Hopeless Savages" creator Christine Norrie, a Russ Manning award nominee this year. In a press release Oni said the first book on the schedule is "Cheat," an original, 64-page graphic novel due February 2003. Oni describe "Cheat" as "the story of one couple as they grow apart, and of a woman who finds herself making a choice to have an affair while her partner is out of town-leading her and her relationship to dark patches she never wanted to visit."

"Christine and I have been tossing around various ideas for her first full-length project for a while," Oni Press editor in chief Jamie S. Rich said in the release. "There have been a lot of choices, and it's been a matter of figuring out which one best fit her schedule. After we did 'Dumped' with Andi Watson, we particularly wanted to find projects that fit the same format. It sold well, it was artistically pleasing-it was just a good experience all around. Next thing I knew, Christine was telling me about 'Cheat.'"

"'Cheat' actually began as a weird dream I had," Norrie continued in the release. "In it, I encountered some of the scenarios that would wind up in the book. The dream disturbed me, and got me thinking about the consequences that could occur when someone strays from their commitments. Originally, I had been looking to do a longer project with Oni, and had been planning one, but then Jamie suggested the original novel format, and it just seemed the timing was perfect."

Interestingly, Chinese film director Wong Kar-Wai has a strange connection to this story.

"There was a lot of synergy," Rich added. "I also called her and was raving about having just seen the DVD of the Wong Kar-Wai film, 'In The Mood For Love.' She said, 'I love Wong Kar-Wai, but I haven't seen that.' I started explaining the story, about two people who realize their spouses are cheating on them with each other, and she started laughing. The story she was waiting to propose to me was like the flip side of that. It's like 'In The Mood For Love' from the point of view of the adulterers."

"I really wanted to get into the characters' heads," Norrie said. "I wanted to figure out why they do what they do, what leads them to make their decisions. And then there is the question of reaction. All four of the participants end up getting involved, and each one is affected in their own way. There's guilt, arrogance, hurt, supplication-and that's just to start. I'd been wanting to do a romance comic forever, but I wanted to do it in a way that would be much more of our time."

Next on the list for Norrie and Oni is the previously announced "Crush," a new six-issue miniseries.

"['Crush's] been a difficult book to bring to fruition," said Norrie. "There have been schedule conflicts, like inking 'Queen & Country' and drawing the 'Spy Kids' comics for Disney, and there have also been issues of planning, of wanting to make such a large series work right. It will now follow 'Cheat,' and almost serve as a companion to it. In it you follow a young girl through several relationships and how she learns to deal with her feelings-the sort of thing the main female in 'Cheat' probably should have gone through before getting married. I think we're looking at a summer, 2003 release."

"Cheat," a 64 page one-shot in black and white, and suggested for mature readers, ships to shops February, 2003 and carries a cover price of $5.95.

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