Trese is a horror/crime black and white komik created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo. It tells the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective who deals with crimes of supernatural origin. The third book, Trese: Mass Murders, won Best Graphic Literature in the 29th National Book Award in November 2010; the fourth, Trese: Last Seen After Midnight, was nominated for the Filipino Readers' Choice Award for Comics/Graphic Novels 2012; the fifth, Trese: Midnight Tribunal, won the Filipino Readers' Choice Award for Comics/Graphic Novels 2013; and Trese: Stories from the Diabolical was nominated for the Filipino Readers' Choice Award for Fictional Anthology 2014. Manila Noir, an anthology containing Trese: Thirteen Stations, won the National Book Award for Best Anthology in English 2014, while the sixth book, Trese: High Tide at Midnight, was a National Book Award Nominee for Graphic Literature in English 2015. The series is set to be adapted in 2020 as an animated series produced by Netflix with Filipino-American Jay Oliva as Executive Director.
Publication historyTrese was first published independently by Alamat Comics in ashcan and online format. It is currently available in a collected, graphic novel form, published by Visprint, Inc. National Book Store rereleased Trese: Last Seen After Midnight and Trese: Midnight Tribunal with dust jackets while Filbars also re-released the first three books with dust jackets. Ebooks of the comics were also sold online. The first three graphic novels were compiled into a hardcover edition named "Trese: Book of Murders" which contained journal entries from the protagonist's grandfather, Alexander Trese, that added more history and background regarding each case. Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1 were tales originally published online in 2008 in a blog before it turned into a book in 2013. The cases 1, 2, and 4 were republished by Visprint with an updated colored art by Kajo Baldisimo and translated into Filipino by Bob Ong. They also contained translated journal entries from Trese: Book of Murders.
With its popularity, Trese and the Kambal appeared in other books such as Skyworld and Agents of Ambush.
Post-Netflix anime series announcementWith a goal of reaching a larger audience, the creators then created an Indiegogo campaign for production of a 32-page comic book global edition of Case 1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street that has an updated text and art with bonus pages, featuring the same journal entries from Book of Murders. Aside from a variant cover exclusive, supporters could also avail the Indiegogo sketch variant with uniquely drawn covers. The campaign was endorsed by Neil Gaiman. Supporters from the Philippines were given freebies of 2 of the 16 designs sketches that were drawn in 13 ways, and a reprint of the original Trese #1 ashcan.
At the release of Trese 7: Shadow Witness, Visprint Inc. "had a record selling out the first three hundred-plus books by the first half of the day" during the 40th Manila International Book Fair. For the 14th anniversary of Trese, a reprint of Trese #1 Global Edition: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street was released exclusively by Comic Odyssey and Fibar's titled "Trese #1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street ". It differed from the Global Edition because it was smaller, had a self-cover, and cheaper. In the same year, Trese Deviations: Iunctura ashcan was released. With the closing of Visprint Inc., Trese Lite Postcard Book Vol. 1 was released under Avenida Books.
Plot"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."
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 who 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. 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. 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.
Originally intended to be released with just 13 cases, most issues were usually stand-alone cases except for issues from Mass Murders, where Case #9–13 are all related, using different cues from the previous books. This changed from the start of Volume 5 where the cases started to take on a more serialized progression despite still incorporating aspects of episodic storytelling per issue. Volumes 1 & 2 contain self-contained chapters 1–8, where it introduces to the strange and weird world on the streets of Manila. This self-contained story idea comes 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.
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.
- 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 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 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. She has a twin that died after their birth. Anton used the baby's soul to create Sinag to be given to her. She was revealed her psionic potential at her young age,aiding her father in investigating the mysteries.In her initiation,she finished it within 3 years.
- 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 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 the sad-faced mask who is mostly referred to as "Kuya" throughout the stories until he was finally called Crispin in book 6 is the eldest of the Kambal. The one with the long hair and the happy-faced mask answers to the name Basilio, the younger Kambal who is the more playful of the two. It was revealed the Kambal was born from a female human and a Bukidnon war god.Their father must consume these twins to achieve stronger power. And they have superior power,killing a whole pack of Sigbin with their bare hands. Anton spared them
- Captain Guerrero – First appeared Trese #1 Case 1. He was Sargeant when Anton was aiding his superior.And when his superior retired,he took charge of the task force for the mysterious.
- 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 Tan 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. He was a psychic investigator and has seven kids.He died when he protected Alexandra on her initiation rite when he sacrificed himself to fortify the tree.
- 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.
Issue synopsesEach 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.
''Trese 1: Murder at Balete Drive''
- "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"
''Trese 2: Unreported Murders''
- "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 took several turns before finding its 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 electrocuted 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.
''Trese 3: Mass Murders''
- "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"
''Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight''
- "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.
''Trese 5: Midnight Tribunal''
- "Maverick Rider"
- "The Judge's Verdict"
- "Return of the Madame"
- "The Great Stampede"
''Trese 6: High Tide at Midnight''
- "The Executioner's Return"
- "Casa Lanan"
- "The Plan of the Four Clans"
- "The Executioner's Squad"
- "Slaughter at Brgy. Pacifica"
''Trese 7: Shadow Witness''
- "The Exorcism of Linda Blasco"
- "The Madrid Gig"
- "Thirteen Stations" – Reprinted story from Manila Noir
- "Table for Three" – Originally printed as an ashcan
Stories from the Diabolical
Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1
- "One Last Drink at the Diabolical"
- "The Usual Spot"
- "The Last Full Show", was the first draft that was developed into Thirteen Stations
- "The Choir"
- "Coffee Black"
Stories from the Diabolical Blog
- "Welcome to The Diabolical", used panels from Our Secret Constellation
- "The Choir"
- "One Last Drink at the Diabolical", illustrated by Mark Torres
- "The Usual Spot", illustrated by Elbert Or
- "Coffee Black"
- "I Carry your Heart
- "On the first of January"
- "The Last Full Show"
- "Night of the Creeps"
- "A Domestic Disturbance"
- "Midnight Patrol"
- "Calling the Parents of a Little Girl in a Blue Dress"
- "Sa Kanto ng Balete Drive": case #1 At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street
- "Mga Tuntunin ng Karera": case #2 The Rules of the Race
- "Ang Trahedya ni Dr. Burgos": case #4 The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos
Trese Global Edition / Anniversary Edition
- "Trese #1 Global Edition: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street", retconned Alexandra's usage of a keypad mobile phone and fax machine
- "Trese #1: At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street "
- "Trese Lite Postcard Book Vol. 1"
- "Trese: The Devil's Playground"', art by Melvin Arciaga and story by Budjette Tan
- "Masquerade", illustrated by Mark Torres and written by Budjette Tan
- "Songs of the Lewenri: Farewell to Pain"
- "The Last Full Show"
- "Thirteen Stations"
- "Trese: Engkanto in the City"
- "Trese: Table for Three".
- "Kambal: The Elegant Skull", illustrated by Ian Sta. Maria and written by Budjette Tan
- Trese Presents: Verdugo Takutan'', written and illustrated by J.B. Tapia. This is the first canon story not written by Budjette. It was released online weekly for free during the imposed quarantine in the Philippines.
Books in production
- Trese 8
- Trese 9
- Trese 10
- Trese 11
- Trese 12
- Trese 13
- "Bantay and the Askaleros", a spinoff focusing on the character Bantay and his Askaleros. A preview was given out as a freebie during the Free Comic Book Day 2015. The characters appeared a year later in a story from the Stories from the Diabolical blog.
- "Trese Occult Case #2", the Global Edition of Case 2: The Rules of the Race. It was dubbed as the Anniversary Ashcan issue # 2.
- Untitled Trese Deviations books
- Fr. Matt solo stories
- Untitled Trese story by John Amor
- 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
- Book 6 – Trese: High Tide at Midnight
- Book 7 – Trese: Shadow Witness
- Volume 1 – Trese: Stories From the Diabolical
- Volume 1 – Trese: Book of Murders.
- Volume 1 - Trese: Murder on Balete Drive
SkyworldWritten by Mervin Ignacio, and illustrated by Ian Sta. Maria, "Skyworld" was set in an alternate universe, where Alexandra Trese acted as one of the main characters along with the Kambal that helped the main protagonist, Andoy, who had a destiny to fulfill a prophecy. The single issues 1-3 were released at local conventions.
- Skyworld: Apocrypha
- Skyworld: Testament
- Skyworld: Prodigal
- Skyworld: Requiem
Volume 3This will be the last book of the series and is still underdevelopment that's slated for 2020.
- Skyworld: Dominion
Zombies vs Robots: UnderCityPublished by IDW, written by Chris Ryall, and illustrated by Mark Torres, in the second issue, a man with the likeness of Budjette Tan wearing a shirt with "Trese" on a sleeve can be seen in one panel.
Inferno: An Agents of Ambush AdventureCreated by Andrew Villar, Agents of Ambush is a continuing strip published daily in Philippine Daily Inquirer. It is about Amber Gonzales a.k.a. Ambush who started being an agent at a very young age. A variant cover with Trese paid homage to Uncanny X-Men #173.
PlotWhen a big fiery dog razes a village, the bravo company discovers the paranormal is involved. Trese, the Kambal, and a former agent help, but not without a huge sacrifice that would change their lives.fan fiction story about Trese, Batman, and Wolverine teaming up in fighting The Hand and Aswangs. It was left unconcluded. The last 2 missing pages were published in an ashcan titled, "Mga Drawing Ni Kajo #6". As part of the celebration of BatCon 2019, physical copies for the completed comic will be first released for the first 100 ticket buyers as well as for a raffle for attendees. The cover is exclusive for that convention. On March 24, 2020, the complete comic was released in the official Trese blog.
Trese Deviations: IuncturaWritten by David Hontiveros and illustrated by Marvin Del Mundo, the story is a crossover team-up between Fr. Mattias Trese and Dakila. It was a story canon to 'The Verse' universe by David Hontiveros. This was used as a way of featuring his character Dakila and the organization TierCell. This is said to be the first story from the Trese Deviations title.
Other appearancesWith the blessing of its creators, Alexandra Trese and the Kambals appeared in Kanto Inc and in a comic strip of Callous. Parody versions also appeared in Beerkada comics.
AdaptationThe creators attempted to make a short film inspired by "Masquerade" that was 10 minutes long in 2010 but found it costly to produce. According to the afterword of "Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight", the script was reused which became the story "A Private Collection". There have been talks to adapt the series by Filipino studios and networks. Glaiza de Castro was a fan favorite for the role and she even showed interest. A thesis short film was made by students but was only screened privately due to the creators having signed a contract with a potential film producer. On November 8, 2018, media-services provider Netflix announced at their "See What's Next Asia" event Marina Bay Sands in Singapore that they will air an Anime adaptation of Trese. According to Netflix's page, it will come out in 2020.
MerchandiseDue to its local popularity, the creators sold limited amounts of shirts while in the years to come, several licensed shirts were produced by Art Initiative, Evil Genius Clothing Co., and Team Manila. Dolls of Trese, Crispin, and Basilio were made by Studio-Kaiba in 2012. In Komikon 2017, The Keybie Cafe sold keychains while Visprint sold refrigerator magnets. In honor of the 13th anniversary of Trese, Hidden Fortress produced Trese and the Kambal 3.75" tall resin figures limited to 30 sets and exclusively on ToyCon PH 2018.
In 2016, Balangay Entertainment announced Trese Case Files: War and Chaos, a cooperative board game for 1–5 players. Players will play as the characters from Trese as they protect Manila from villains from the comic. Players will need to work together to investigate cases, defeat monsters, gain favors, and thwart the mastermind's diabolical scheme. Development stopped the following year in favor of other projects.