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Saturday, May 10, 2008

TRESE (The Inquirer Review)

Spook Out Sister By Ruel S. De Vera / Philippine Daily Inquirer

“My name is Alexandra Trese. I am nothing like my father.” Her father Anton dabbled in affairs mystical and mysterious; she—called “Little Trese” fondly and otherwise—has inherited his gift for the eerily unorthodox, with a difference. It is to her that Manila’s police turn when a crime scene confounds them, because there is no one like Alexandra Trese.

Stepping resolutely apart from the crowd of the commonplace, “Trese: Murder on Balete Drive” by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visual Print Enterprises, Pasay City, 2008, 100 pages) is a graphic novel that stands apart from what has come before.


Tan provides a suitably street-level feel to the dark happenings, producing plots that feel like Warren Ellis’ Planetary, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Chris Carter’s The X-Files all melded together and contained in a fully realized Metro Manila avatar. “That will be the least of your problems,” the fascinating Alexandra Trese barks. “As the universe seeks balance, so does the underworld.” Full of sharp characterization and suspenseful revelations, “Trese” is clearly Tan’s best work, a transcendent product of modern spookiness.

There are some creations that really are better in black-and-white, and “Trese” is one of them. Baldisimo’s moody art, full of negative space, speed lines, a black grid and sharp angles, enthralls the reader.


The elements present in the fortuneteller’s brew that is “Trese” are not new, but the seamless communion of Tan and Baldisimo’s talents imbues “Murder” with a palpable energy. Every few years, a completed Filipino-crafted graphic novel emerges from the mist to take its place among the work of greats such as Mars Ravelo and the Redondo brothers: Gerry Alanguilan’s “Wasted,” Arnold Arre’s “The Mythology Class” and Carlo Vergara’s “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah,” in particular.

With a subtle glint of eldritch metal and a mystery woman’s steely relentlessness, “Trese: Murder on Balete Drive” by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo joins that potent pantheon, something that emerged burning brilliantly from the shadowy streets we assumed we knew so well.

Budjette Tan & KaJo Baldisimo
Published by: Visual Print Enterprises
ISBN: 971-92574-7-4
B&W comic book
SRP: P140.00

Now available in Comic Quest, Comic Odyssey, National Bookstore, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, and Pandayan Books.

TRESE can also be ordered via the National Bookstore website. Click on the link below:


michael vincent said...

hello mr. tan,

i stumble in this blog yesterday and i was amaze with trese and the kambal. binasa ko lahat ng comics strip niyo in one sitting. ang galing.

im planning to get the graphic novel this payday. i hope may copies pa.

btw, can i borrow one of trese's picture? gagawin ko lang avatar.

new fan,


Budjette said...

hi Michael,

Glad you like what you've read so far.

Hope you come back when Book 2 comes out in the book stores.

And yes, you can use Trese for your avatar. :)


Alex said...

Hey Budjette and Kajo,

Great job on the book! Nung nakita ko sa National Bookstore eh binili ko agad, baka maubusan ako! I hope there's another one coming soon!

Tanong ko lang kay Kajo, what did you use for the inking?

Thanks and more power from Cebu!

bunbungirl said...

Hi. Is the Japanese animated cartoon good?
Your site is interesting for me
I want to often visit your site from now on.
If you are interested in Anime, please link to my site.
My site has information about Japanese culture
(For example, Japanese manga, animation, games, cosplay, Japanese foods).
Would you introduce my site in your site if you like it?

Budjette said...

Hi Alex,

Wow, you're the second reader from Cebu who's sent us word about TRESE. Really great to get feedback from all over the place :)

I'll forward your question to Kajo and ask him to answer it. From what I remember, in the first couple of issues of TRESE, Kajo inked it using his usually inking pens, but in the newer issues he digitally inked them using the computer. Will ask Kajo to give you a more detailed answer.

Hi BBgirl,

So far, TRESE has not been adapted into an animated series.

May sometime in the future. :)


Anonymous said...

kelan second installment? sana malapit na.. you guys got me hooked... freakin' good story and art

kaJO said...

hi guys!!!

thanks for the kindness!

the ingredients for volume 2 is complete. huhugasan at hihiwain na lang at pwede na lutuin.

kay ser alex, about inking.

trese's art continuosly evolved dahil kaka experiment ko, started with a 'PENBRUSH/BRUSHPEN/PENTELBRUSH' (those synthetic bristles na you may built-in ink cartridge.

then slowly, i went back to simple pentel pen lang or Sharpie (yung nakaka-addict na marker)

and then finally, slowly integrate digital methods.

seventh story of trese, onwards will be all digital. wala na pong papel. matutuwa ang mga puno sa kagubatan.

marami pong thank you!

kaJO said...

stupid me!

the materials i mentioned earlier were for filling in the blacks.

for the outlines, i use UNIPIN pigment ink points 1, 3, 5, and 8


Alex said...

ahh, ayos! kaya pala meron paring "pen" feel yung mga guhit kahit papaano.

maraming salamat po!

Anino said...

Galing! Klap...klap...klap!

Planet Markus said...

I saw several copies there at NBS Dagupan. I'll probably get a copy next month.

pen said...

done w/ book one...kelan ang next? :D

Budjette said...

hi pen!

Book2 should be out by early August :)

Will announce it here in the blog when it's in the stores.

many thanks!


Har was here! said...

I'm at a loss of words at how I'm supposed to describe the book.

"Amazing" just wouldn't suffice.

I just happened to stumble on the book sa Powerbooks sa may Robinson's Place Ermita.

Started reading,and I was hooked completely. Bought it all w/o a second thought.

Great storyline,great artwork,great everything.

I'm praying that there's more to come.

You guys just made my day.

More power!


JF Deyto said...

to Mr Tan,

naaliw ako sa graphic novel niyo po nung nakita ko na hiniram ng kapatid ko yung isang copy nito sa kaibigan niya, parang mga sin city pagkakagawa, tapos nung linggo nakita ko ito sa powerbooks binili ko agad yung 3, hehehe sana madami pang mga ganito na lumabas in future, nagbabalak din akong magrelease ng graphic novel balang araw, isa ka na ngayon po sa inspiration ko po

kiel estrella said...

got all 3 books and love it.

kelan ang susunod?