Here on the Beat I’ve often written about the unique traditions of the Filipino comics industry. And now you’ll get a chance to see some of what I’m talking about, as Trese, an award winning Filipino graphic novel that is being adapted into an animated series for Netflix, is coming to the US.
Trese is a series by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo that will be published by Ablaze in English. TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive will be released this September with future volumes in the series to follow. The book was much acclaimed in the Philippines: it’s a three-time winner of the Philippine National Book Award for Best Graphic Literature of the Year (2009, 2011, 2012).
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 blood-sucking aswang run the most-wanted kidnapping rings, where gigantic kapre are the kingpins of crime, and magical engkantos slip through the cracks and steal your most precious possessions. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.
TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive will feature all new, redrawn artwork throughout, and include a substantial bonus section with behind-the-scenes sketches, info and details on the making of the book and further insight into the world of TRESE, as told by its creators Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.
Of the series writer Tan says “When we started TRESE back in 2005, we did it for fun, because we wanted to tell stories about Philippine myth and folklore through the lens of a detective story. We photocopied 30 copies and sold it for less than a dollar. Most of copies ended up with friends. Thankfully, more people wanted to read our stories. So, we are extremely excited to have partnered up with ABLAZE and now have a chance to share with the world the wonders and mysteries of Philippine mythology to a new set of readers.”
According to Baldisimo, the artist, “With TRESE, we would like to contribute to the trillions of stories shared all over the world. Other talented Filipino artists and writers will be sharing their stories too as we slowly find more readers across the globe curious for tales set in the various seven thousand islands of The Philippines.”
As you can see from the exclusive 12 page preview below, this is a spectacular looking book.
The series is also under development as an animated series from Netflix. Jay Oliva (Wonder Woman, The Legend of Korra) will serve as Executive Producer and Director for the series, and Shanty Harmayn and Tanya Yuson at BASE Entertainment, a studio based in Jakarta and Singapore, are attached as Executive Producers.
Here are some quoted from other ceators about Trese:
“I feel like you and all the smart Filipino writers and artists out there are doing something really brave and powerful, making a whole new wave of Filipino art and story. Well done!” – Neil Gaiman
“It is the book I would love to write myself… they capture the true atmosphere of the Manila I know and love. – Whilce Portacio
“Budjette and Kajo’s TRESE is a gem. It excites the little child in me which used to believe in the wonders of Filipino folklore, and my adult self who enjoys intelligently written and drawn tales.” – Leinil Yu
“TRESE continues to impress and surprise.” – Gerry Alanguilan, creator of the award-winning graphic novel Elmer
TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive will be solicited in the July 2020 issue of Diamond Previews catalog for Sept 2020 shipping items, as a 136 pg $16.99 B&W trade paperback. It will also be available in the book market channel via Diamond Book Distributors, and digitally via Comixology.