Philippine mythology will now reach an even bigger audience. Portland-based ABLAZE has announced that it will bring the critically-acclaimed Filipino comic book series TRESE by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo to readers worldwide. TRESE is a three-time winner of the Philippine National Book Award for Best Graphic Literature of the Year. It won in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
ABLAZE will release the series of graphic novels, starting with TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive this September. 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.
In a press statement, writer Tan talked about how TRESE started.
“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,” Tan said.
TRESE for a new generation
TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive will feature all-new, redrawn artwork throughout. It will also include a substantial bonus section with behind-the-scenes sketches and details on the making of the book.
“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,” artist Baldisimo said in a press statement.
In November 2018, Netflix announced it will produce an original anime series for TRESE. Jay Oliva (Wonder Woman, The Legend of Korra) will serve as executive producer and director for the series. Also attached as executive producers are Shanty Harmayn and Tanya Yuson at BASE Entertainment. BASE Entertainment is a studio based in Jakarta and Singapore.
“TRESE brings to life the stories/folklore from my childhood. These stories both fascinated and scared the hell out of me as a kid but also sparked my imagination of the place where my ancestors were from. TRESE is a rare insight into Filipino folklore where the juxtaposition of old-world superstition and myths and police procedural are balanced craftily amongst the backdrop of modern Manila. Kajo and Budjette have truly created something special with TRESE,” Oliva said.
Executive producer Yuson, who is the Chief of Creative Development at BASE Entertainment, has this to say about TRESE: “When we first came across TRESE by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo about 10 years ago now, we knew it was special. The stories and the artwork completely immerse you in this unique world that was both familiar and new to those of us who had grown up hearing the stories of aswang and manananggal, but also accessible for the others who didn’t. All of us working on the series are fans and are excited that a wider audience will be able to discover and enjoy the books.”
TRESE Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive will be in the July 2020 issue of Diamond Previews catalog. This will be the solicits for September 2020 shipping items. The graphic novel is a 136-page black and white trade paperback, with a cover price of US$16.99. It will also be available in the book market channel via Diamond Book Distributors, and digitally via comiXology.
“This has been in the works for some time, so I am thrilled that we are now able to announce it, and help Budjette and Kajo get TRESE out there to the larger audience it greatly deserves. And, I can’t wait for the anime… I know it’s going to be amazing,” said ABLAZE Co-founder and VP for Creative/Biz Dev Rich Young.
ABLAZE is a new publishing company releasing a variety of titles — in different formats, genres, and age ranges. This includes original material, crowdfunded titles, reprints, art books, and international titles from Europe, Asia (manga, manhwa), and more.
Face it: it’s a great time to be a comic book fan!