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Friday, May 27, 2011


Hank, me, and Kajo

Back in the mid-90s, I met Karen Kunawicz because I sent her a copy of my comic book. In return, she became our guide and gatepass into the wonderful world of Pinoy rock bands. She was our Alice and Mad Hatter rolled into one. She invited us to gigs at 70s Bistro, poetry readings at Club Dredd, more gigs at Clud Dredd, and raves conspired by Consortium. So, down the rabbit hole we went and met this other Mad Hatter (or is he the Cherish Cat mashed-up with the Caterpillar?). During one of those gigs, in one of the smoke-filled clubs, we met Hank Palenzuela.

Around that time, Hank was the bassist of Electrickool-aid, a band which Karen managed.

Sometime later (it was all a blur), Hank became the bartender of the Verve Room in Malate. We always got a free welcome drink from Hank. He never told us what was in that neon-orange concoction, but it always got us started on the right foot.

One of Hank’s classic story from the Verve Room was the night he got Bill Pullman drunk. Legend has it, Bill Pullman was here, filming Brokedown Palace. He arrived at the Verve dressed in a white polo and wearing a necktie. Hank started to serve him his special drinks and by the end of the night, Pullman had his polo ripped open and his necktie ended up around his forehead; and every time Pullman went to the bar, he’d yell, “Hank! You’re the best bartender in the world!” (Or so the story goes.)

So, when me and Kajo were putting together TRESE and we needed a bartender for The Diabolical, we thought it was only appropriate to call him Hank.

He ended up being called Hank Sparrow, because the real Hank lives a double life. When he’s not serving you his special drinks, he’s a pirate. Yup, he and Karen are part of the Black Pearl Philippines where he cosplays Cap’n Jack Sparrow.

At the Metro Comic Con, Hank told us how he usually has people come up to the bar (he’s been the bartender of BigSkyMind past couple of years) and they’d start off to say, “Hey! Aren’t you…” (And he’d half expect them to say, “Jack Sparrow”) But they end up saying, “Aren’t you that bartender from the Trese comic book?” (I guess Kajo drew “Hank d’ Bartender” too much like Hank.)

In every draft of Trese, Hank would usually have a line or two, or he’d do something to help solve the case; but when the time comes to edit the story down to 20 pages, Hank’s scenes would usually be the first to go. Which is one of the reasons why I started writing STORIES FROM THE DIABOLICAL, to give Hank d’ Bartender a chance to strut his stuff and serve his drinks.

At the Metro Comic Con, I asked Hank, if he could come up with a special drink list for The Diabolical. A smirk crawled on his face and he said, “Yeah! We could have a drink that uses the buntot ng butiki! Or how about a drink that uses the bulbol of a tikbalang! If getting a hair from the tikbalang’s mane lets you control it, can you imagine what you’ll get with a strand of its bulbol?!”



And we’ll just have to reserve that story for another day.

So, the next time you’re in The Diabolical, tell Hank that you know us and you can be sure he’ll serve you one of his special drinks. Just don’t ask what’s in it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trese at the Metro Comic Con

And now, my very delayed post about the Metro Comic Con 2011

Since me and Kajo are trying to finish the fourth case of Book 4, in between all our usual work, let me just recap the highlights of MCC with these pictures I stole from other people’s Facebook accounts (Hello Ner and Carlo and everyone else who tagged us on Facebook!)

wherein Xandra Ramos of National Bookstore and Ernest Hernandez of Sketchpad Inc. cut the ribbon and official open Metro Comic Con 2011 (and I thought it was line to the buffet table)

With Karen, Vince, the real Hank, Kajo, Wella "The Accountant", Ian Sta. Maria, and Ace Enriquez

And we just want to say thanks to everyone who got copies of Trese, Precinto 13 by me, David, and Atan, Bathala: Apokalypsis by David Hontiveros and Ace Enriquez, the Skyworld series by Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria, and The Filipino Heroes League by Paolo Fabregas

That's David Hontiveros on the left and Paolo Fabregas on the right and that's what I look like when I haven't had my first cup of coffee in the morning.

That's Paolo Fabregas on the left and Invisiboy on the right.

Getting a little kickback from Mr. David Lloyd

Philip Tan, the other Tan, and Heubert Michael Khan-- hatching a plan!

Jay Tablante, Wilson Tortosa, Czari Flores, and Carlo Pagulayan


Me and Jay Tablante wanted to give away this wonderful poster of Bianca King’s cosplay Trese and all people had to do was come to the MCC dressed up like Trese or the Kambal or any other character from the comic book.

Well, only a couple of brave souls dared to dress up and here are the lucky winners.

We also got to play around with actual Kambal masks that were made for Jay’s shoot. So, yes, these are one-of-a-kind masks and they are not for sale. (But don’t worry, we’re trying to figure out if we can find a way to make more masks at a more affordable price.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mikey Bustos' Guide to Filipino Mythical Creatures

Singer, actor, and now YouTube celebrity Mikey Bustos presents to us a guide to Filipino Mythical Creatures. In this video, he talks about how his parents scared him as a kid when they told him about the "moomoo". He also talks about the sirena/mermaids, the duwende, aswang, the White Lady of Balete Drive, and what to do to protect yourself from witches / mangkukulam.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

PRECINTO 13: Premeditation

Story by Budjette Tan
Art by Atan

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Trese Metro Comic Con Exclusive

a young boxer is given the deal of a lifetime

but before he signs the contract
Trese offers to become his guide

showing him the dire consequences of 
not reading the fine print,
revealing the secret arena found under the city

where the country’s greatest champion 
fights for his very soul

Story by Budjette Tan
Art by Kajo Baldisimo

Exclusively available at the
Megatrade Hall 2,
5th Level Bldg B, SM Megamall
May 7 and 8, 10am to 9pm

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Free TRESE cosplay poster

We will be giving away this limited-edition TRESE cosplay poster by Jay Tablante at the Metro Comic Con.

Here's how you can get this poster for free:

Come to the Metro Comic Con on May 7 and 8 dressed up as Trese or the Kambal or any of the characters from the comic book. (If you want to cosplay Capt. Guerrero or the Nuno or Maliksi the Tikbalang, that's also fine with us!)

Go to our booth and have your picture taken.

Get a free poster!

It's that easy!

We will only have 30 posters and it'll be given away on a "first come, first served" basis. (So, if 30 people come and cosplay Trese on the first day, then we won't have any posters to give away on the second day.)

See you at Metro Comic Con 2011!

Megatrade Hall 2,
5th Level Bldg B, SM Megamall
May 7 and 8, 10am to 9pm

Cosplay Credits:
Photography: Jay Tablante
Make-up: Kris Bacani / Bianca King
Styling: Hannah Kim
Costume Production: Badj Genato
Production Design: Raffy Tesoro
Art Director: Angelo Lico
Digital Imaging: Angelo Lico
Models: Bianca King, Tiffany Alejandro, Philip Arca, Sassan Shohouki