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Cheat [Paperback]

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Item Number 264503  
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Item description for Cheat by Christine Norrie...

The debut graphic novel from the artist of HOPELESS SAVAGES! Continuing the tradition of DUMPED, Christine Norrie's CHEAT is a modern tale of romance and the failure of love in NYC. Janey and Marc live a hectic lifestyle that constantly keeps them apart. Then Janey ends up in the arms of another man, and the facade of a happy relationship the couple has built begins to crumble around them.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   72
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.19"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 15, 2003
Publisher   Oni Press
ISBN  1929998473  
ISBN13  9781929998470  

Availability  0 units.

More About Christine Norrie

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Christine Norrie is the comics illustrator for the Spy Kids franchise, Redbook's "You and Him" comic strips, and is currently at work on DC Comics' new young adult mini-series Bed Girls. She lives on Staten Island.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > General
2Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > General
3Books > Subjects > Romance > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Cheat?

Cheated, indeed  Jun 21, 2004
"Tempted by the fruit of another
Tempted but the truth is discovered
What's been going on
Now that you have gone
There's no other
Tempted by the fruit of another
Tempted but the truth is discovered"
- Squeeze

[Author's Note: All panel references assume that page one is the first page past the title that contains artwork. Therefore, I will label references as "1.1," "2.3," etc. These notations should be read as "page one, panel one," "page 2, panel 3" and so on.]

[Note to comix artists and their publishers: please remember to number your pages. Doing so gives critics a common foundation from which to reference, thank you.]

The artwork that comprises Christine Norrie's cheat will grip and entice most any audience. The trajectory of cheat, however, will fail to surprise that selfsame audience. Regrettably, Norrie's exceptionally expressive artwork never comes to life beyond the characters' well-rendered, facial representations.

The book is an easy read and I think Norrie's drawing style is eloquent and enjoyable enough. The problem one runs up against while looking at[1] Norrie's book is the lack of inventiveness in her storytelling. There is nothing new or interesting about Norrie's characters or the situation in which they find themselves. While Norrie establishes a situation that allows the audience to assume that these characters possibly have some depth, the story never once brings to fruition any instantiation of those possibilities; nothing seems to move under the characters' surface appearances.

The main feature of Norrie's art is her characters' expressive faces. Those faces (and the swell ¾ page transition/division panels) may be the only redeemable qualities of cheat. In fact, the book would lose most of its aesthetic merit were it lacking Norrie's deft manipulations of her characters' lineaments. Virtually every panel features a welcome attention to characters' eyes, mouths, or profiles. A simple downcast glance or sideways smirk becomes rife with innuendo or an indicator of confusion or hurt (5.3, 13.6, and 14.4). These details are a crucial component to how characterization works in comix. Such minute details give the audience plenty of hints that the story's characters have rich, inner lives made up of conflicting feelings and motivations, mad desires, recurring frustrations, and playfulness. Where cheat fails, however, is that the story never follows Norrie's visually precise hints to any sort of satisfying revelation regarding the characters or their predicament.

Norrie chooses to draw a tale told by various authors countless times in a multitude of settings. I call this type of narrative the "Grass Is Always Greener" (GIAG) structure. One requirement of the GIAG is that one of more of its characters must be unsatisfied with his or her current situation (be it related to romance, employment, or living arrangement) and said character(s) must then take steps to remedy their dissatisfaction by transgressing some moral boundary. In Norrie's GIAG, this unhappy role is given over to Janey, who decides to cheat on her husband, Marc. Initially, one might think that Davis, with whom Janey cheats, is another unsatisfied character but we come to find out that Davis's motivation is not to play in a field greener than his own. Rather, his goal is to play in every field other than his own. At any rate, the GIAG is a readymade narrative form set up to deliver a rewarding payout. Yet, this particular GIAG flounders due to Norrie's formulaic treatment and lack of interesting character development/situational experimentation.

Another feature of the GIAG tale that Norrie employs, but fails to explore or experiment with, is the GIAG's resolution, wherein the cheater realizes how good he or she initially had it. In cheat, Marc's decision to leave serves to remind Janey of "the way things were" and she is left at story's end lamenting his predictable departure. Rather than foiling audience expectations by having Marc and Janey stay together, allowing Anna to also leave her spouse, or even suggesting that Marc is upset because he wanted to cheat with Davis, Norrie gives us only the standard story with standard plot machinations.

For all of cheat's visual classiness (and make no mistake, this book is drawn well), the unfortunate lack of narrative exploration leaves the discerning audience feeling slightly cheated once finished. Robert Frost once said, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader". The tears and feelings within the art of Christine Norrie's panels and pages succeed in first connecting the book's audience to its characters. The story that art tells, however, fails to maintain that connection. One must ask what, if anything, these characters or their story brought to Norrie in terms of endearment or surprise. What's the attraction to such overridden ground?
[1]- to use Samuel Delaney's preferred term for how readers experience comix in `Refractions of Empire: The Comics Journal Interview' from Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics, Wesleyan University Press (University Press of New England): ©1994.

A compelling look at a contemporary relationship  Mar 5, 2004
"Cheat," by Christine Norrie, is a graphic novel about a young couple, Marc and Janey. Together they collaborate on travel books. As the story begins they are moving into a new home with the help of another young couple. Despite this positive milestone, cracks start to show in Marc and Janey's relationship.

This is a realistic and moving story with believable characters and situations. The realistic, black-and-white artwork is very effective. Norrie pays attention to visual details and makes good use of light and shadow effects. There is a real harmony of dialogue and visuals, although some of the book's most effective parts are whole pages without dialogue.

"Cheat" is solid proof that the comic book format is an effective storytelling mode not just for sci-fi, fantasy, and action stories but also for more down-to-earth subject matter. This is a subtly powerful story about relationships, the choices made by partners, and the effects these choices have.

Cheated!  Mar 29, 2003
Christine Norrie has crafted an intricately entwined story of love, passion, betrayal, and the consequences for one's actions. The art is nothing short of gorgeous; from the characters to the background to the masterful use of blacks during the climax. Christine captured the emotions of the characters involved by perfectly illustrating facial features and body gestures with deft precision. The story comes to life because of the realistic approach Christine used in telling the story. When someone cheats on their spouse it usually doesn't "just happen" and Christine was able to convey why Janey sought out another man, how she put herself in the situation to see where it might lead, the realization after she crossed the line, and the regret afterwards. Be sure and take your time to read this book so that you don't miss the subtle scene transitions. This book is nothing short of a masterpiece.

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