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Saturday, October 30, 2010

TRESE: Cadena de Amor

Happy Halloween! Here's a treat from me and Kajo! It's a brand new TRESE case called "Cadena de Amor". Some lucky readers were able to buy advanced copies of this at the Metro Comic Con.

In case you're wondering, yes, this is the first case in upcoming TRESE Book 4.

Let me now demonstrate my mind-reading skills!

I can see... I feel that...

That you're about to ask me the question...

"When is Book 4 coming out?"

Did I get it right?

Well, here comes the bad news.

We really, really wanted to get the new book in your hands as soon as we could, but we're still working on it. So, most probably, the new Trese book will be available early next year.

For the moment, we hope you enjoy this new Trese story.

Thank you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

TRESE: The Association Dues of Livewell Village

"The Association Dues of Livewell Village" is included in TRESE:UNREPORTED MURDERS.

This story was partly inspired by Typhoon Milenyo and one of the anecdotes I heard after that storm. One of my officemates emailed that he overheard the conversation of a family who were in the mall because they didn't have any electricity at home. The father turned to his son and said, "Okay, we still don't have electricity, so we're going to check in a hotel. They don't have Disney Channel over there, so you'll have to bare with that for awhile." So, while there were other families out there who had to deal with not having no roof above their heads, some families had to deal with not being able to watch their favorite cable channel. It made me wonder what were people willing to do to keep the lifestyle they currently have.

The idea to have Bagyon Lektro, a lightning elemental, be in charge of the electric company was inspired by The Shinra Electric Power Company from the game Final Fantasy. Actually, I've never played the game, but Marco Dimaano played it a lot and raved it about whenever we got together back then. I thought it was a very interesting idea: to have a corporation, men in business suits, invade and take-over this land that has fantasy elements in it. The collision of of those two concepts was something I always wanted to use in a story.

Lastly, the story was inspired by another real-life event: the explosion of the Rockwell Coal Plant in the 1960s. The coal plant was destroyed and area where it used to stand is now called Rockwell, where you will find the Powerplant Mall.

Hope you liked the story!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Kurt Busiek recently uploaded the cover and some preview pages of his new series THE WITCHLANDS. He talked about this at the San Diego Comic Con in 2009. The premise was exciting and intriguing. When I read about Wildstorm being shut down, I got worried that we wouldn't get to see this series anymore. So, I was happy to read that it's finally pushing through.

Here's the transcript from the Wildstorm Panel, where Busiek talked about the series, before it was renamed The Witchlands.
KURT BUSIEK: It’s called Kurt Busiek’s American Gothic. We were going to call it Bill Willingham’s American Gothic, but there were trademark problems with the title.

It’s a hard series for me to describe, but I’m encouraged by that because the other series that I’ve done that was difficult to describe were Marvels and Astro City. So, I think we’re in good company.

It’s a fantasy series set in the United States --it’s contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy.

You might see stories in it ranging from the story of a long haul trucker whose wife died when he was on the road so he never had the chance to say goodbye, who finds himself driving her ghost on to her final reward.

The story of girl in an economically depressed fishing town in Rhode Island who discovers that the Norse God Thor is living in exile in coastal island nearby

The story of some college students who accidentally resurrect the Ninkasi, Sumerian goddess of beer

The tale of a voodoo priest called in to deal with the unquiet ghost of a murdered business.

The story of a washed-up cooking show host whose quest for the perfect burger leads him out of the real world and into the borderlands of hell

You understand why, I think, it’s a little difficult to describe.

There will be some recurring characters but like Astro City, they’re not the lead characters. They’re a recurring cast that will appear when we need them and fade away when we don’t

What happened with American Gothic was the whole time I was writing Trinity, I had this year long story all outlined, so the part of my brain that thinks up new stuff kept coming up with new stuff and I kept writing them down.

…when I was done I realized I had a whole bunch of fantasy stories set in the U.S. and I said, well I could try sell all of these as mini series and I’d have to sell each one independently or I could come up with a title, jam them all together, and have to get people to yes only once.

Once I did that, the title American Gothic kind of swam into place, and I started to thinking of the interconnections and think of what else could be done and the series became a lot more about American mythology.

Most fantasy is rooted in European mythology and European mythology is… it’s old. It’s been around for a long time. We don’t know the roots of a lot of it, but America has only been around for a few centuries and we can see the pulling mythology there, stuff that we borrowed from other cultures, or in some cases, enslaved and dragged over with other cultures. Stuff that was here when we got here, stuff that has happened along the way, like, to somebody like me, the idea that, when the silver spike was hammered in and when the transcontinental railway was built, we had built a line of steel all along across the entire country. There’s got to be great mystic symbolic power in that. We’re exploring a vast and mysterious world.

It’s not quite accurate to say that this does for fantasy what Astro City does for superheroes, but they would very much like me to say that. So, I’m saying it.

It’ll be good. The first arc will be drawn by Connor Willumsen, who was in the anthology series Pop Gun and other places. His work is stunning. 
Check out Willumsen's art for THE WITCHLANDS in

the original cover

Monday, October 25, 2010

an aswang in CSI

Wherein Dr. Raymond Langston (Laurence Fishburne) defines as "aswang" as "a half-breed, half-vampire, half-werewolf".

Which is how a foreigner would probably describe an aswang based on how it's been depicted in our movies, TV shows, and comics.

From the little that I've read, the creatures with the most defined and consistent descriptions have been the manananggal, the tikbalang, the kapre, the duwende, and the nuno. When it comes to describing what an aswang looks like, that's when it starts to vary. As mentioned in Wikipedia: "Aswang stories and definitions vary greatly from region to region and person to person, so no one particular set of characteristics can be ascribed to the term."

Which is probably why, whenever aswang are shown, they range from vampiric looking creatures to demonic looking ones. Interesting how there is no one single, consistent description of what an aswang looks like.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

parallel cons

Last Saturday, I attended the Birmingham International Comics Shows aka BICS. I expected to be as big as the San Diego Comic Con, but it turned out to be smaller, even smaller than the annual Komikon that we have back in Manila.

The hall probably had 30 or so tables, with the usual mix of creators with photocopies comic books and offset printed books. (UPDATE: Based on this report by Richard Bruton in the Forbidden Planet blog, it seems like I missed an entire hall of other exhibitors. I wonder where that was located. I didn't see any signs.)

I was hoping there would be a comic book store like Forbidden Planet would have a table there, but there was none. So, I even though I got to see Bryan Hitch, Charles Adlard, Duncan Fegredo, and Charles Vess, I wasn’t able to get anything signed since I didn’t have any of their comic books with me at the time.

There were several talks happening that day and I stumbled into the “BRIT PACK”. I looked at the program guide and it read: “Tim Pilcher gives us the low-down on the state of the comics nation, as he explores the current UK comics scene, plus special guests.”

It was the tail end of the talk when I entered the hall, but what they were talking about was no different from things that have been discussed at komikons, at message boards, and on blogs over here.

How do we get more kids to read comics?

Is the printed comic book on its way to extinction?

Will all comics be digitally distributed?

One of the speakers made the fearless forecast that the monthly comic book will disappear in the next 5 to 10 years, to be replaced by the digital comic book, and the printed comic book will be a compilation of the digital monthlies.

They also talked about how whenever great new talent appears in British comics, they end up working with Marvel and DC and get locked into exclusive contracts with the American comic book companies.

It was also mentioned that aside from the small press / indie press / creator-owned books, there were not a lot of venues for new comic book creators. Looking at the comic book shops there, the longest running comic book titles are probably 2000 A.D. and JUDGE DREDD. Mark Millar’s CLiNT is just on its second issue and he’s devoting 3-4pages for new talent, but obviously, that’s not enough.

Makes me wonder what were the conditions that brought about this kind of comic book scene in Britain.

I looked around that hall and noticed that most of attendees were men in their 30s. Where were the teen-agers? Where were 20-year old guys-- and girls? Considering that the venue of BICS was near a university, I was wondering, where were all the college kids? If they were there, there were not a lot of them.

So, it’s a bit encouraging to know that whenever we have comic book events in the Philippines that we get a good mix, a good age range of readers and creators.

And yet, our little local comic book scene still needs to gain the strength and momentum to become a thriving industry once more.

More about that on a future post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trese: Trick or Treat Contest

Come knocking at the door of The Diabolical and get the chance to win a treat from Trese.

What’s the treat? This limited-edition Trese poster by Kajo Baldisimo.

To win, draw any character from the Trese graphic novels and show them trick-or-treating. Drawings can be in black-and-white or full-color. 13 winners will be chosen by me and Kajo.

To submit:
1. post your drawing in your blog, DeviantArt, Twitpic, Flickr, Tumblr, or wherever it is you post your artwork.
2. Label it as TRESE: TRICK OR TREAT
3. Post a link of your artwork in the comments page and include the following:

Ready! Get set! Scare us! BOOO!

Deadline is on October 31, 2010

UPDATE: Here are the recent entries to the contest!

Chris Costello

Luis Oliveros

Bong Dacanay

Norby Ela

Ayo Supangco

Charmaine Joy Cabarle
Vince Torres
Lhariza Lois Lim

Brian Balondo
Dexter Wee
Mica Chua

Laina Gawid

Eunice Gamboa
Wilson Tortosa
Enel Lawrence Villegas

Julian Hernandez

Tepai Pascual
Tennille Tan

 Ayo Yupango
Clifford Go

Kitty Almazan
Javey Villones

Cathryn G. Trinidad

Ian Chun

Ferlan S. Mosong