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Trese
Book04dustjacket.jpg
Filbar's exclusive dust jacket of Trese: Last Seen After Midnight

Publisher

Visprint, Inc.

Format

B&W graphic novels

Publication date

Ashcan 2005 to present; Graphic novels 2008 to present

Writer/Creator

Budjette Tan

Artist/Creator

Kajo Baldisimo

Number of books

7 (as of January 2022)

Trese (stylized as TRESE) is a comic book series created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo, first published in ashcan or photocopied format in 2005 and subsequently collected in trade paperback books.

The series follows main protagonist Alexandra Trese, proprietor of the night club The Diabolical, mysterious detective, and consultant to the local police force regarding crimes of supernatural origin. It is mostly set in the city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, where supernatural beings of the Underworld based on Philippine myths and folklore cohabitate with humans and wield immense influence and power over small and large business as well as local crime syndicates.

Summary[]

The Trese series features both stand-alone stories and overarching storylines about supernatural crimes that Alexandra Trese investigates. Most of the cases unfold as procedurals but the methods used by Alexandra in solving them are more unorthodox, involving rituals and the use of magical as well as everyday objects. Just like how the local police consult Trese on matters of supernatural origins, Alexandra also consults beings of the Underworld, such as the Nuno sa Manhole, the Wind Tribes, and tikbalang clan leaders, to get a better understanding of the situation.

She also has two loyal bodyguards called the Kambal, who are half-breeds wearing matched suits and a pair of magical masks. Their origin was expanded upon in the third book, Trese: Mass Murders.

Over the course of the later books, the political figure known as the Madame returns to the Philippines and slowly propagates her influence throughout the city. She serves as the series' main antagonist, gaining favors with political and supernatural parties and enacting a grand plot for the future of the country at the cost of lives. Alexandra also reckons with herself, as a prophecy foretelling her inevitable choice between the good of the city and the future of the Underworld slowly comes to the forefront as well.

To date, Alexandra Trese has been involved in 34 cases spread across 8 volumes (not counting the cases included in spin-offs).

Publication history[]

Background[]

Trese's origins can be traced back to the short-lived radio show The World of the Unknown, written by both Mark Gatela and Budjette Tan. The show was an anthology of short supernatural stories akin to The Twilight Zone told by an unseen narrator named Anton Trese, voiced by Mark. Around the same time, Brandie Tan, Budjette and Mark worked on Payaso, a comic book about a psychotic killer clown being hunted down by detective Michael Andara. Mark wanted to develop the story of Detective Andara and planned to put him in paranormal investigations around Metro Manila.[1]

These projects eventually fizzled out, leaving some time before Trese would be further developed. During this period, Budjette 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. In 2002, 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 continued changing the premise, initially writing Anton as an NBI agent. There is also a draft of the script from 2003 where Anton is a tabloid reporter going after Michael Andara's leads.[2]

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 fulfillment of a prophecy.[3]

Ashcan (2005-2006)[]

Budjette first met Kajo Baldisimo when he was working for Virtual Media Studios.[4] In 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 10 days refining the letters, lay-out and cover. Budjette obliged and started reworking the script with Anton Trese that he already had into a one-shot, concerned that their busy schedules would not allow them to write another one. Kajo emailed him a character design for Anton Trese early in the 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.[1]

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 that world, and tried to implement the same dynamic in Trese but with magic instead. Coincidentally, Kajo would later tell him that Alexandra's design was partially based on the show's protagonist, Major Kusanagi.[5]

The first few issues of the comic followed a 20-page limit and were published independently, using their advertisement company's copying machine to print out ashcans. During these times, Trese would sell out 30 comics at a time at Comic Quest, a comic shop in SM Megamall.[6]

Publication (2007-2014)[]

After a year of pitching by Budjette and Kajo, Trese was picked up in 2007 by local book publisher Visprint Inc., formerly known as Visual Print Enterprises.[6] Nida Ramirez, a former Visprint publishing manager, said that the series was chosen for it's Philippine focused content as well as it's relatability to Filipinos.[7] The next year, the series' first eight issues were collected into two books: Trese: Murder on Balete Drive on March 2008 and Trese: Unreported Murders on July 2008.

The series dropped the previous format of having stand alone cases in favor of a five-story arc, bringing the total number of issues to thirteen. This culminated in Trese: Mass Murders, published in October 2009[8] and selling out its launch at Komikon 2009 within six hours of opening.[9] Being significantly longer than the previous two books, the book dealt with the unexplored history of the Kambal, the legacy of the Trese family and the prophecy of Alexandra's future.

The fourth and fifth books were originally planned to be released within 2010, but was ultimately delayed because of busy schedules and other side projects such as Talis and a script for a scrapped Trese short film.[10] The fourth book, Trese: Last Seen After Midnight, was released the following year on October 8, 2011;[11] Trese: Midnight Tribunal followed on October 27, 2012.[12][13]

In 2013, Kajo and Budjette decided to focus on special Trese related projects to surprise their readers with, dubbing it the Year of Trese.[14] This started off with the surprise release of Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1 on September 7. From October 22 to November 3, Kajo also held The Night Gallery, a one-man exhibit that featured 13 original artworks from the world of Trese as well as artworks used in Stories from the Diabolical. On October 26, during the exhibit, they released Trese: Book of Murders, a hardbound collected edition of the series' first three books with updated artwork and lore-expanding prose in the form of journal entries.

They initially tried to rush the sixth book in time for the November 12 Komikon that year, but was ultimately delayed.[14] The sixth book, Trese: High Tide at Midnight, was eventually launched in a signing event at Comic Odyssey's the Fort Branch on December 13, 2014.[15]

Hiatus (2015-2018)[]

Return (2019-present)[]

Future[]

Trese: Shadow Agents, the series' eighth entry, is scheduled to release sometime in 2022.[16] There are five more upcoming books set to be published in the main series to bring the total number of books to thirteen, with the goal of releasing a new volume every year after 2021.[17][18] A second volume of Trese: Bloodlines is also planned to be released.[19]

Avenida Books plans to reissue books 4-6 and Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1 within the first half of 2022, with the fan-sought Trese: Book of Murders to follow sometime after.[20] Ablaze has also confirmed to continue their trade paperbacke editions, with Trese: Last Seen After Midnight set to release within the first half of 2022.[21]

Series[]

Main Series[]

Books[]

  1. Trese: Murder On Balete Drive
  2. Trese: Unreported Murders
  3. Trese: Mass Murders
  4. Trese: Last Seen After Midnight
  5. Trese: Midnight Tribunal
  6. Trese: High Tide at Midnight
  7. Trese: Shadow Witness
  8. Trese: Shadow Agents

Collected Edition[]

Spin-offs[]

  • Stories from the Diabolical is a collection of short, prose stories focusing on Hank, the bartender of The Diabolical, and the stories he hears during his shift. There are 6 stories to date, all written by Budjette Tan, with illustrations by Kajo Baldisimo and other local artists, and published as blog entries online. Some of the stories were compiled and published by Visprint Inc.
  • Precinto 13 focuses on the local police precinct of the same name and focuses on Captain Guerrero, Sergeant Tapia and his subordinates.
  • Trese Lite is a postcard book containing various illustrations by Kajo Baldisimo originally posted in his social media accounts, with short vignette's written by Budjette Tan expanding on Trese lore.
  • Trese: Bloodlines is an anthology series focusing on the visions of the seer Miranda Trese, and mainly features the other members of the Trese family.
  • Verdugo (series) follows Alexandra's eldest brother Carlos, infamously known as Verdugo, and his bloody battle with the underworld.

One-Shots[]

Characters[]

See Characters

Awards and Nominations[]

Adaptations[]

Film[]

During the ashcan publication of the comics, Budjette first got in contact with a movie producer through an interested commercial director he was working with in his ad agency. However, Budjette eventually backed out due to their desire of getting complete creative control over the movie.[28] After the release of Trese: Murder On Balete Drive, local studios started showing interest for a live action adaptation. They also asked for complete creative control and a love interest for Alexandra. However, Budjette would not actively pursue studios until he had finished the second and third books, prioritizing the worldbuilding of the series first.[29] After the release of Trese: Mass Murders, Tanya Yuson of BASE Entertainment contacted Budjette in search of local comics and stories to pitch to foreign studios.[28]

In 2010, a short film inspired by Trese: Masquerade was developed by the creators, but was eventually stopped due to costly production.[30][31] Separately, a 2013 thesis film entitled Trese: Case One was directed by Joms Robles and scored by FoodShelterandClothing and The Roadside Bums.[32] Ultimately, the film was screened privately due to the creators' contract with a potential film producer.

Television[]

Main article: Trese (TV Series)

Tanya Yuson and Shanty Harmayn continued to pitch Trese to multiple studios for eight years, eventually reaching Netflix's anime division. On November 8, 2018, Netflix announced Trese as part of their line up in See What's Next: Asia, a showcase event held in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Jay Oliva was announced as executive director and showrunner, alongside Tanya and Shanty of Base Entertainment producing.[33]

On March 7, 2020, Shay Mitchell and Liza Soberano were announced as the English and Filipino voices for Alexandra Trese.[34]

The series premiered on June 11, 2021, midnight Philippine Standard Time.[35]

Trivia[]

  • When arranged by three books per row, the main series' books collectively form an image of an upright Alexandra Trese holding Sinag in front of her stomach, with Basilio and Crispin's masks as a backdrop.
  • The font used for the main logo of the series is Century Gothic, but horizontally stretched and stylized.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Afterword of Trese: Murder On Balete Drive
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL0WyAzbWkw
  3. Afterword of Takutan: A Verdugo Mission
  4. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2010/06/happy-birthday-kajo.html
  5. Comment section of https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/posts/10151497048032939
  6. 6.0 6.1 https://www.syfy.com/syfy-wire/trese-nextflix-anime-series-filipino-comic-supernatural
  7. https://interaksyon.philstar.com/hobbies-interests/2021/08/04/197538/trese-team-to-comic-book-creators-create-finish-and-find-an-audience/
  8. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2009/10/trese-mass-murders.html
  9. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2009/10/trese-at-2009-komikon.html
  10. https://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2011/01/grand-plans-and-sidetrips.html
  11. # http://www.flipgeeks.com/events/event-trese-4-last-seen-after-midnight-book-launch
  12. # https://www.flipgeeks.com/pinoy-komiks-dc-marvel-etc/preview-trese-5-midnight-tribunal
  13. # http://www.flipgeeks.com/events/event-komikon-2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 http://www.flipgeeks.com/pinoy-komiks-dc-marvel-etc/exclusive-interview-with-budjette-tan-on-trese-night-gallery-and-book-of-murders
  15. https://www.flipgeeks.com/pinoy-komiks-dc-marvel-etc/trese-book-6-high-tide-at-midnight-will-launch-on-the-13thth
  16. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/permalink/10158550290327939
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76hyHg3G6v8&t=3123s
  18. https://www.instagram.com/p/CP5NZblhBqX/
  19. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/permalink/10157767680467939/
  20. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/posts/10158291849022939/
  21. https://www.instagram.com/p/CXmJQ6sPWiq/?utm_medium=copy_link&fbclid=IwAR2GstYN0U6j67DPLnHNh5NPvT7iBGgdYhTGYYug78Vls1rCtjVi0_FRaFA
  22. http://nbdb.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=833&Itemid=1
  23. https://filipinoreadercon.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/comics-grahic-novels/
  24. https://filipinoreadercon.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/filipino-readers-choice-awards-2013-winners/
  25. https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/380076/lifestyle/2014-filipino-readercon-reader-s-choice-awards-finalists-announced/
  26. http://www.spot.ph/newsfeatures/57613/manila-noir-and-more-winners-of-the-33rd-national-book-awards
  27. https://www.whatsageek.com/comics/34th-national-book-awards-finalists-announced
  28. 28.0 28.1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XgsCaO34HE
  29. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DESNzNiOtr8
  30. http://tresekomix.blogspot.com/2010/06/casting-call-trese-short-film.html
  31. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TreseComics/permalink/10150260976427939/
  32. https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/s3rex/episodes/2012-12-18T08_29_01-08_00
  33. https://about.netflix.com/en/news/netflix-unveils-17-new-originals-from-asia-1
  34. https://about.netflix.com/en/news/liza-soberano-and-shay-mitchell-are-alexandra-trese
  35. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2053116494826525&ref=sharing
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