Trese

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Trese
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Publication information
Publisher Alamat Comics
Visual Print Enterprises
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Dark Fantasy
Publication date December 2005 – October 2011
Number of issues 17 (As of April 2012)
Creative team
Writer(s) Budjette Tan
Artist(s) Kajo Baldisimo

Trese is a horror/crime komiks created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo. It tells the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective that deals with crimes of supernatural origin.[1] The third book, Trese: Mass Murders, won Best Graphic Literature in the 29th National Book Award in November 2010.[2]

Publication History[edit]

Trese was first published independently by Alamat Comics in ashcan (photocopied) and online format. It is currently available in a collected, graphic novel form, published by Visual Print Enterprises.

Plot[edit]

When the sun sets in the city of Manila, don’t you dare make a wrong turn and end up in that dimly-lit side of the metro, where aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where kapre are the kingpins of crime, and engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions.When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.[3]

Trese is a horror/crime komiks title created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo. It follows the story of Alexandra Trese, a mysterious detective that deals with crimes of supernatural origin mainly occurring in the capital region of the Philippines.

Alexandra steps in to protect the streets of Manila when the police can’t deal with the supernatural weirdness that appears. Whenever she’s needed, Trese arrives, often called in by Captain Guerrero, the Commissioner Gordon to Trese’s unconventional Batman, a man who seems singularly predisposed to lean on her knowledge and specific skills. Supported by two mysterious and obviously magical creatures of uncertain powers – the always stylish Kambal, she’s always there to protect Manila from supernatural threat.[4] Comparisons to Hellblazer and Vertigo were supplanted in this story with a familiar feel – this has the glorious scale and import of Ellis and Cassaday’s Planetary, with Trese functioning as the spiritual and supernatural protector of Manila, delivering her world safe and sound, no matter what it takes, whilst we get to investigate alongside, all the weird and wonderful her mystical existence has to offer.[5] It fuses Philippine horror mythology with graphic storytelling and dark art in telling the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective who specializes in supernatural cases.[1]

Originally intended to be released with just 13 cases, all issues are stand-alone cases except for issues from Mass Murders, where Case #9-13 are all related, using different cues from the previous books. Volumes 1 & 2 contain self-contained chapters 1-8, where it introduces to the strange and weird world on (and under) the streets of Manila. This self-contained story ideal comes (as Tan says) from his idol Warren Ellis - to create a self-contained story in short, perfect tales. But again, the similarities between early Jamie Delano written Hellblazer comics is obvious – each story of Trese builds up her mystique and introduces a little more of her background in Manila, just as Delano did in Original Sins.

In Volume 3, Tan starts to develop the story beyond the single issue story structure he’s used so far, taking us back in time to the moment where 15-year-old Alexandra Trese joined her father Anton on her first case. And along the way we find out the origins of her constant companions and bodyguards; the stylish, ultra cool and very deadly Kambal.[4]

Characters[edit]

Main Characters[edit]

  • Alexandra Trese - First appeared in Trese #1 Case 1. A strong, independent, modern woman with an old soul deeply attached to the Underworld. Alexandra Trese, or simply Trese, is a private detective who specializes in crimes perpetrated by supernatural beings of the Underworld. She is the proprietor of The Diabolical, a night club that serves the best[6] kapeng barako in the street where it stands, just like the time when it was once a simple cafe run by Trese's grandfather. She is usually dressed in black garb and is often seen working in her trademark outfit[7] a black button-down Chinese-inspired trenchcoat. For weapons, Trese uses guns and a magical kris called 'Sinag', a short sword having wavy edges, used by the old Muslim tribes such as the Maranaw. Trese seems to have a very complex relationship with her father, Anton.
  • Kambal - First appeared in Trese #1 Case 1. "Kambal" literally translates to "twins" in English and they are Alexandra Trese's mysterious and imposing personal bodyguards. It is not known as to what matter of creature the Kambal are, whether they are human or some Underworld species. It is not until the third book that the creators finally explained who the Kambal really are. These handsome, half-bred[8] men are often seen floating, wearing black suits and strikingly unique diamond-shaped masks, one bearing a happy face and the other a sad face. To tell them apart when they don't have their masks, Kajo gave the happy-faced Kambal a long haircut and the sad-faced Kambal, a short hairstyle. The Kambal with the short hair and bears the sad-faced mask is Crispin,[citation needed] the eldest of the Kambal. While the one with the long hair and bears the happy-faced mask answers to the name Basilio, the younger Kambal and the more playful of the two.
  • Captain Guerrero - First appeared Trese #1 Case 1.
  • Hank Sparrow - First appeared in Trese #1 case 3. He is the trusted bartender of The Diabolical. It is said that he loves to listen to stories of customers and if he likes their story he gives them a drink for free. However, according to what Budj wrote, Hank has been a bartender for a long time and has heard all kinds of stories that it has been a long time since he last gave out a free drink.
  • Anton Trese - First mentioned in Trese #1 Case 1. First appeared in Trese #3 Case 1. He is Alexandra Trese's father and the former guardian of Metro Manila.

Recurring Characters[edit]

  • Tapia - First appeared in Trese #1 Case #1. He is Captain Guerrero's right hand man in his investigations.
  • Nuno sa Manhole - First appeared in Trese #1. A small, dwarf-like creature of the Underworld. Their kind once lived in mounds of dirt or ant hills until humans started throwing garbage and littered their homes. This particular nuno lives in a manhole, does not like the sea, and seems to know Alexandra's father. There is a superstition that if you disturb a nuno's home, it would inflict powerful curses on the poor, unsuspecting human. In the komiks, Trese asked for permission when she passed by a dirt mound, saying "Tabi, tabi po. Good evening po."
  • Maliksi - First appeared in Trese #1 Case #2. A tikbalang responsible for multiple illegal drag race accidents held on C-5. Son of the Great Stallion and a member of the Armanaz herd.
  • Senor Armanaz - First appeared in Trese #1 case 2. A tikbalang and the head of the Armanaz herd.
  • Santelmo - a friend of Alexandra who assists her in some of her cases. First appeared in Trese #1 Case #3.
  • Hannah and Ammie - First appeared in Trese #1 case 2. Hannah and Ammie are Wind-people; they are beings that possess the magical powers of the wind. Hannah is from the Habagat tribe and Ammie is from the Amihan tribe.

Awards[edit]

Trese: Mass Murders won the 29th National Book Award for Best Graphic Literature in November 2010.[2] In 2012, it was again nominated for the 31st National Book Award in the same category and won.[9]

Issue Synopses[edit]

Each issue of Trese is split into 'cases', some are structured like a detective case, with Alexandra Trese arriving at a crime scene and going about gathering clues until the case is solved, while some are structured as chapters in the issue's main story arc. In the main series, the cases are no longer numbered starting the fourth book, but are listed in the order they appeared.

Main Series[edit]

Murder at Balete Drive[edit]

  • "Case 1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street"
  • "Case 2: The Rules of the Race"
  • "Case 3: Our Secret Constellation"
  • "Case 4: The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos"

Unreported Murders[edit]

  • "Case 5: A Little Known Murder in Studio 4": Starlet Heather Evangelista was found dead in the studio of her latest movie. Trese is called in after the remains of a dead duwende is found in the crime scene.
  • "Case 6: The Outpost in Kalayaan Street": A late case at the cemetery turns grim for Captain Guerrero and his colleagues when the dead rose from their graves and started attacking the nearby outpost.
  • "Case 7: Embrace of the Unwanted": A couple was found dead in a mall basement parking lot, ravaged by a very small creature. The case taked several turns before finding their way back to a clinic in the mall.
  • "Case 8: The Association Dues of Livewell Village": A pattern of deaths is found in Livewell Village with a person electricuted once a year, left with a sigil on their body. Trese's investigation lead her to a shady deal between the residents and a lightning elemental.

Mass Murders[edit]

  • "Case 9: A Private Retaliation"
  • "Case 10: Patient 414 in Mandaluyong"
  • "Case 11: The Fort Bonifacio Massacre"
  • "Case 12: The Baptism of Alexandra Trese"
  • "Case 13: An Act of War"

Last Seen After Midnight[edit]

  • "Cadena De Amor": A serial rapist is killed by a plant elemental at Luneta Park. The case opens up to reveal the whereabouts of a missing gardener.
  • "A Private Collection": A manananggal falls out of the sky with its wings carefully sliced off. The incident nearly starts a gang war in the area and Trese has to find the real murderer before the situation escalates.
  • "Wanted: Bedspacer": A strange illness of depression affects students living along Katipunan Avenue and Trese has to trace the source of the paranormal epidemic.
  • "Fight of the Year": With an aspiring boxer nearly lured into a deal he'd be sure to regret, Trese shows him what his idol has to do to achieve his fame and success.

Midnight Tribunal[edit]

  • "Maverick Rider"
  • "The Judge's Verdict"
  • "Return of the Madame"
  • "The Great Stampede"

Stories from the Diabolical[edit]

  • "One Last Drink at the Diabolical"
  • "The Usual Spot"
  • "The Last Full Show"
  • "The Choir"
  • "Coffee Black"

Precinto 13[edit]

  • "A Domestic Disturbance"
  • "Premediation"
  • "Midnight Patrol"
  • "Calling the Parents of a Little Girl in a Blue Dress"

Others[edit]

  • "Thirteen Stations" (from Manila Noir)

Graphic Novels[edit]

  • Book 1 - Trese: Murder on Balete Drive
  • Book 2 - Trese: Unreported Murders
  • Book 3 - Trese: Mass Murders
  • Book 4 - Trese: Last Seen After Midnight
  • Book 5 - Trese: Midnight Tribunal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mañalac, Marco (2011-10-22). "Horror in the Philippines!". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  2. ^ a b National Book Development Board (13 November 2010). "29th National Book Award Winners Announced". National Book Development Board Website. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Trese Komiks Press Release.Trese Komiks Online, December 9, 2005. Accessed on April 29, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Forbidden Planet International (Feb 10, 2012). "Trese – dark mysteries on the streets of Manilla". Forbidden Planet International. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ Forbidden Planet International (January 14, 2011). "Trese – more supernatural tales from Manilla….". Forbidden Planet International. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo. Trese #3: The Secret Constellation. Alamat Comics (December 2005): page 5, panel 5.
  7. ^ Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo. Trese: Murder on Balete Drive. Visual Print Enterprises (April 2008): page 95.
  8. ^ Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.Trese #2: Rules of the Race. Alamat Comics (December 2005): page 13, panel 3.
  9. ^ "NBDB: Winners of the 31st National Book Awards". National Book Development Board. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 

External links[edit]