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Ferdinand Benedict G. Tan, better known as Budjette Tan, is a Filipino writer known for co-creating Trese with Kajo Baldisimo as well as co-founding and being the editor-in-chief of Alamat Comics.

Life and career[]

Early years[]

Ferdinand's nickname, Budjette, is a portmanteau of his parents' names Buddy and Adjette. His interest in comics go as far back as his childhood, creating original characters such as Cosmic Man, Lightning Hawk and The Computer Creeps at a very young age. These characters were inspired by comics and TV shows he grew up with, such as Voltes V, Transformers, and X-Men.[1]

He also had some exposure to Philippine mythology and folklore from a copy of The Soul Book their family's mini-library had. Adding to his fascination were folk tales told by his parents, like the nuno taking refuge in a termite hill[2] and aswang haunting the night.[1]

Alamat Comics (1994-1999)[]

During his college years, he proceeded to participate in the local comic book scene. In 1994, he worked as a freelance writer on local comic book Lakan.[3] His friend Ma-an had told him that of some friends, Ian Orendain and Chris Bernardo, needed a script writer for the third rewrite of their script. After showing them some of his sci-fi stories, they brought him on board with Gerry Alanguilan, Oliver Pulumbarit and John Toledo.[4]

Later that same year, Jae Lee had a signing event hosted by Platinum Comics for the release of his cover for Aster Comics. Jae could only stay for an hour, so the owner asked the authors there to stay from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Budjette and the other creators present realized the multitude of creative groups who made comics and distributed them in the shop. They quickly got in contact with each other and collectively met with Whilce Portacio, who was interested in seeing them. Inspired by the newly-established Image imprint, Whilce convinced them to operate and write stories under one banner, and so Budjette, Gerry, Oliver and John founded Alamat Comics.[5]

Soon after, he published Comics 101 in 1994.[6] It was a collaborative anthology comic book made by him, Arnold Arre, his brother Brandie Tan, Bow Guerrero,Gerry Alanguilan, JB Tapia, and Mark Gatela.[7] He self published the comic at the time using the gifted money from his parents for his recent graduation.[8] He and other co-creators followed with another self-public comic called Alamat 101 the following year.[6] However, both of them failed to sell well.[8]

Notably, he wrote and self published Batch 72, a comic drawn by Arnold Arre, that ran from 1997 to 2003. He also wrote komiks for Psicom, notably One Fine Day and All the Small Things.[6][9]

Budjette worked with Mark Gatela in writing for The World of the Unknown, an anthology radio show featuring supernatural stories akin to The Twilight Zone. In it, he voiced Anton Trese, an unseen narrator named by Mark. Unfortunately, the show had to end when the radio station featuring it closed down.[10]

He also worked on Payaso with Brandie and Mark, a comic about a psychotic killer clown being hunted down by a detective named Michael Andara.[11]

Hiatus (1999-2005)[]

These creative projects eventually fizzled out as Budjette and his co-creators focused on their careers, with Budjette joining the Carson Communications ad agency in 1999.[3] During this period, it would be influenced with various mythology and urban legends as well as works like Stephen King's Crouch End, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The X-Files, and most prominently Carlo Borromeo and Reno Maniquis' The Witness. The latter eventually inspired Budjette to put a character like Michael Andara into a supernatural police procedural, opting to name the character after Anton Trese instead. He shuffled with the premise, with one of the drafts turning Anton Trese into a tabloid reporter going after Andara for information.[11]

In 2002, Budjette pitched the idea to Brandie, Mark, Bow Guerrero and JB Tapia, sharing what would become the first Trese case. JB suggested the twist ending of that case as well as Anton Trese being "the sixth child of the sixth child" in fulfilment of a prophecy.[12]

Budjette first met Kajo Baldisimo when the latter was working for Virtual Media Studios.[13] At the time, they were both working for ad agencies, but Kajo was already contributing as an illustrator on A.R.C.H.O.N. They worked together on some advertisement projects, such as a comic book about AIDS and HIV[14] as well as posters for Globe's text-based games on X-Men and Punisher characters.

A few years later, Kajo asked Budjette to pitch a series for MTV Ink, a magazine he was working for at the time. Budjette wanted to bring back Batch 72 and revamped them as 8 Hit Combo, but the magazine shut down when they pitched it. At some point after, Kajo sent him a 24-page wordless story for him to write featuring a little girl. Eventually, it got developed into The Last Datu.[15]

He was later hired as an Associate Creative Director for Harrison Communications Inc.[16]

Trese (2005-2013)[]

Main article: Trese

In June 2005, Kajo texted him about wanting to make a monthly 20-page comic book. He would spend a lunch break a day drawing pages and spend the next ten refining the lettering, lay-out and cover. Budjette obliged and started reworking scripts with the already had into a one-shot, concerned that their busy schedules wouldn't allow them to write another one. Kajo emailed him a character design for Anton Trese early in the creative process which had very masculine and tough looking features. In an attempt to distance themselves from the stereotypes that Kolchak, Mulders and John Constantine had, Budjette asked Kajo to draw Trese as a woman instead. Both creators liked the character design and decided to go with it instead, naming her Alexandra Trese.[17]

During the writing of the first few cases of Trese, Budjette Tan was inspired from watching the first season of Ghost in the Shell. He particularly took note of how technology affected people's lives in the show's worldbuilding, and tried to implement the same dynamic in Trese but with magic instead.[18]

Trese was eventually picked up and published by Visprint Inc., and expanded into a series of books and spinoffs, earning multiple awards and recognitions.

During Trese's publication, Kajo and Budjette worked on other comics. This included The Last Datu and The Clinic, the former of which was published in Kwentillion, an anthology Budjette co-edited with Paolo Chikiamko and published by Summit Media in 2011.[6][19] The latter was created for Underpass, an earlier graphic anthology edited by Budjette that was published in 2009.[20] While working on Trese 4, The two started another series called Talis, whose first issue was published online on November 2010.[21][22] They also worked with Alex Arellano to make The Feast, a comic that featured recipes from ingredients made from Philippine mythological creatures that was published in the December 2010 issue of Uno Magazine.[23][24]

Budjette also worked with Mark Torres in Songs of the Lewenri: Farewell to Pain. The comic was initially going to be included in Faces of Midnight comics, a local comic anthology that was supposed to come out in 2009. However, the anthology went unpublished, prompting Budjette and Mark to release it online two years later.[6][25]

In 2011, Budjette was approached by Dondon Monteverde and Erik Matti to help adapt their movie Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles into a comic. It was eventually published by Reality Entertainment the next year to promote the movie's release.[26]

In 2013, Budjette and Kajo wrote Thirteen Stations, a Trese story that was included in Manila Noir, a horror anthology edited by Jessica Hagedorn and published by Akashic Books.[27]

Trese hiatus (2014-2018)[]

The Trese series went into a brief hiatus after Trese: High Tide at Midnight's publication, with Budjette stepping into responsibilities as Executive Creative Director at MRM/McCann in 2014. He eventually moved to Denmark with his family, going on to work as a Creative Director in The LEGO Group's internal ad agency in 2016.[28]

Before Budjette left for Denmark, Kajo and Budjette had a discussion about their plans for Trese and all their other projects. During this, Kajo requested Budjette to write a 20 page story he could work on. Budjette started working on a story that he initially planned to publish in Stories from the Diabolical on Valentine's Day. This eventually developed into Table for Three, an ashcan released in Komikon on November 19, 2016 and was included in Trese: Shadow Witness.[29][30]

Budjette and Kajo collaborated with Kajo's then-student Rysa Antonio on Josef Miggy and Yaya Karol, a 32 page ashcan released in May 2, 2015.[31][32] The Feast was also included in Lorna 6: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction published by Epigram Books in May 2016.[33]

Before Budjette left for Denmark, Kajo and Budjette had a discussion about their plans for Trese and all their other projects. During this, Kajo requested Budjette to write a 20 page story he could work on. Budjette started working on a story that he initially planned to publish in Stories from the Diabolical on Valentine's Day. This eventually developed into Table for Three, an ashcan released in Komikon on November 19, 2016 and was included in Trese: Shadow Witness.[29][30]

Budjette and Kajo also collaborated with fellow comic book authors and illustrators David Hontiveros, Bow Guerrero and Mervin Malonzo on The Lost Journal of Alejandra Pardo and it's sequel/companion book The Black Bestiary, published on March 31, 2016 and April 14, 2018, respectively.[34][35]

In late 2018, Budjette and Kajo started an Indiegogo campaign to publish a global edition of Trese Comics #1, featuring updated and stylized artwork, personalized sketch covers, and additional content. Initially having a goal of $4,013 USD, the campaign eventually garnered $9,729 USD from 220 backers.[36] On November 8, 2018, in the middle of the campaign, Netflix announced a animated adaptation of the comic book series in a showcase called See What's Next: Asia held in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Jay Oliva was announced as the executive director and showrunner, with Shanty Harmayn, Tanya Yuson and BASE Entertainment Studios as producers.[37]

Continuing Trese (2019-present)[]

Trese: Shadow Witness, the follow up to the sixth book after five years, was published on September 11, 2019.[38] On November 2019, it was followed by a postcard book made from a selection of Kajo's Trese Lite sketches accompanied by brief messages written by Budjette from the perspective of different characters in the series.[39] Trese: Bloodlines Volume 1, an anthology of stories set in the Trese universe, was published on December 2020. It was contributed to by Brian Balondo, Mervin del Mundo, David Hontiveros, Mark Gatela, JB Tapia and Brandie Tan.[40]

The Netflix adaptation, which starred Liza Soberano and Shay Mitchell as the voices of Alexandra Trese, premiered on June 11, 2021.[41]

Budjette and Kajo worked on The Siren's Executioner, an 8 page comic set in the Trese universe that was included in 10 Years to Save the World, an anthology released online on September 25, 2021.[42]

Future[]

Currently, Kajo and Budjette plan to continue the series up to Book 13, finishing the series within the next five years.[43] The eighth book in the main series, Trese: Shadow Agents, is set to release on August 2022.[44][1]

Personal life[]

Currently, Budjette works as The LEGO Group's Senior Brand Creative and resides in Billund, Denmark with his wife and child.[28]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2020/08/interview-with-budgette-tan-kajo-baldisimo-creators-of-trese/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beRyOzZkwhk
  3. 3.0 3.1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL0WyAzbWkw
  4. http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2011/08/agimat-vs-aswang.html
  5. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/permalink/10156778088132939
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 https://budjettetan.blogspot.com/2012/09/hi-im-budjette-tan_25.html
  7. https://thelasallian.com/2014/08/15/the-tale-of-comic-book-man-budjette-tan/
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://hawkersmag.com/budjette-tan-interview/
  9. http://komiksmuseum.com/budjette01.html
  10. Afterword of Trese: Murder On Balete Drive
  11. 11.0 11.1 Afterword of Trese: Murder On Balete Drive
  12. Afterword of Takutan: A Verdugo Mission
  13. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2010/06/happy-birthday-kajo.html
  14. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/permalink/10158920186007939/
  15. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2010/06/happy-birthday-kajo.html
  16. Author bio in Visprint edition of Trese: Murder on Balete Drive
  17. Afterword of Trese: Murder On Balete Drive
  18. Comment section of https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/posts/10151497048032939
  19. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2012/06/editor-at-large.html
  20. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2009/10/down-other-dark-corridor-underpass.html
  21. http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2010/11/talis.html
  22. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2011/01/grand-plans-and-sidetrips.html
  23. http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2011/02/feast-complete-story.html
  24. https://www.flipgeeks.com/pinoy-komiks-dc-marvel-etc/trese-team%E2%80%99s-the-feast-in-uno-magazine
  25. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2011/02/songs-of-lewenri-complete-story.html
  26. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2012/06/editor-at-large.html
  27. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2013/04/exclusive-trese-story-in-manila-noir.html
  28. 28.0 28.1 https://www.adobomagazine.com/the-magazine/everything-is-awesome-in-denmark-for-budjette-tan/
  29. 29.0 29.1 https://www.facebook.com/341255042637934/photos/a.341257459304359/1102874296476001/
  30. 30.0 30.1 Afterword of Table for Three zine
  31. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26840526-josef-miggy-yaya-karol
  32. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y82hEdpLDHg
  33. https://lontarjournal.com/issues/issue-6/
  34. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29771042-the-lost-journal-of-alejandro-pardo
  35. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/40622949-the-black-bestiary
  36. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trese-comics-1-global-edition#/updates/all
  37. https://about.netflix.com/en/news/netflix-unveils-17-new-originals-from-asia-1
  38. https://www.facebook.com/FlipGeeks/photos/trese-shadow-witness-book-7-will-be-out-at-mibf-2019-this-sept-11-to-15-smx-conv/2611261835564844/
  39. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/54511267-trese-lite-postcard-book
  40. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56267518-trese-bloodlines-1
  41. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2053116494826525&ref=sharing
  42. https://www.10yearstosavetheworld.com/comics/budjette-tan-and-kajo-baldisimo
  43. https://www.instagram.com/p/CP5NZblhBqX/
  44. # https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/posts/10158890170917939/
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