Friday, December 26, 2008

J.Torres & Elbert Or at Comic Odyssey


COMIC ODYSSEY invites you to our first creator signing event of the New Year!

Meet DC Comics writer J. TORRES and Oni Press artist ELBERT OR.

January 3, 2009 (Saturday), 2 – 4 pm
Comic Odyssey, Robinsons Galleria branch

The first 100 people in attendance will receive a FREE DC COMIC written by J. Torres and a Wonder Woman Promo Pin.

J.TORRES is the writer of Wonder Girl, Ninja Scroll, Teen Titans Go, Family Dynamic, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, The Batman Strikes, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Blue Beetles, Alison Dare, X-Men:Ronin, and more!

ELBERT OR will be previewing pages of his upcoming project with J.Torres, LOLA: A GHOST STORY to be published by Oni Press in 2009.

http://jtorresonline.blogspot.com/2008/09/lola-first-look.html



Here's the first look at my next project for Oni Press, the graphic novel Lola: A Ghost Story. "Lola" is the Tagalog (Filipino) word for grandmother and this story is loosely based on some tall tales about my own maternal grandmother's childhood, some other family "history," as well as some folklore and mythology from the Philippines.

The artist of Lola is the multi-talented Elbert Or, whose blog can be found here. While you're there, make sure to check out his webcomics, which can be accessed from the right hand sidebar. The effectively minimalist and iconic Love and Heartbreak is probably my favourite one, but Camy and Me is also very charming and fun.

Pinoy Dark Horse






ERIC CANETE's blog
http://kahnehteh.blogspot.com/

http://eric-canete-interview.blogspot.com/

Eric has worked on the following animation projects : Aeon Flux, Masters of the Universe, Pitch Black: dark fury, The Batman, Justice League, Legion of Superheroes, Ben10: Alien Force.

His comic book work includes: Superman, Deathlok, Mr. Majestic, Ladytron, Cybernary 2.0., Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin, The End League

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mico Suayan's WEREWOLF BY NIGHT





This January, the full moon rises again for Marvel's most famous werewolf as writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Mico Suayan reintroduce Jack Russell to a new generation of readers in the four-issue “Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night” miniseries, from Marvel's mature readers MAX imprint. CBR News spoke with Swierczynski about the project.

“And a lot of that is thanks to Mico Suayan, who knows how to get down and get gory. I love his work on this series, just like I loved his ‘Moon Knight art’. What Mico can do with human bodies--I’m just in awe. He’s Ed Gein with a fine arts degree.” --Duane Swierczynski

Read the interview at:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19247

Philip Tan on the Orange Lanterns





Read the interview at:
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/120819-Philip-Tan-Orange.html

Philip Tan Shows Off More Orange Lanterns
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/010907-Orange2.html

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pinoy DC Artists (March 2009)



SUPERMAN/BATMAN #57
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and Mike Johnson
Art and cover by Whilce Portacio & Richard Friend
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning return for a special 3-part story! The Prankster succeeds in creating his ultimate revenge when he makes The Man of Steel disappear forever! It's up to the World's Greatest Detective to find his friend, but to do that, he’ll have to embark on a quest to a place that could mean the end of The Worlds Finest Duo! Robin and John Henry Irons guest-star in part 1 of "Nanopolis"!
On sale March 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


GREEN LANTERN #40
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
“Agent Orange” part 2! The prelude to “The Blackest Night” continues as the war of light explodes across the Vega System. It's the Green Lantern Corps vs. the bizarre Orange Lantern Corps led by the most disgusting, filthiest, vilest being in the universe. But now that Agent Orange has been disturbed, what does that mean to the rest of the universe? Plus, John Stewart battles alongside his newest ally...Fatality?
Retailers please note: This issue


More of DC Comics' March 2009 releases at:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19178

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pinoy Marvel Artists

Carlo Pagulayan (AGENTS OF ATLAS)


More preview art at:
http://marvel.com/news/comicstories.6323.Dark_Reign-Makers~colon~_Jeff_Parker

Writer JEFF PARKER on Carlo's art: It's just incredible what Carlo has been turning in, and then when Jana Schirmer colors it- readers are going to be pleased. It really makes the scale of everything that happens in the book huge. It's especially fun for me because he was the first artist I worked with regularly when I started writing for Marvel on Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, and we knew he was going places then. Carlo is one of those guys you want to be able to lavish time on a story, so we're setting up the events to let him do that and bring in other artists we like to tell other bits in complementary styles.

Read the complete interview at:
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/120818-Agents-AtlasB.html



Jay Anacleto (MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA)


More preview art at:
http://marvel.com/news/comicstories.6322.Marvels~colon~_The_Dark_Ages

Monday, December 08, 2008

Trese featured in GEEKS ARE EVIL



Now online! GEEKS ARE EVIL: THE TRESE EPISODE! Hosted by Anansi Girl. Co-hosted by Charles Tan.

Hear me and Kajo babble about Trese! Discover the secret origin of Kajo's name! Hear Kajo's voice (which disappeared when we were being interviewed on ANC... hehehe). Find out if we'll tell you the secret origin of the Kambal (we don't, actually). Listen if we'll tell you what happens in Trese: Book3! (Maybe, we will.)

Download the episode at:
http://blog.literature-ph.com/?p=511

Friday, December 05, 2008

Whilce Portacio talks about TRESE


An AZ VIDEO BLOG : Whilce Portacio's message to pinoy komikeros

From the video:
The first topic is comments on Filipino Komiks … on what’s been happening in the local scene lately. I have to say I’ve been very proud of what been happening lately with books like Zsazsa Zaturnnah and the reaction its gotten from the Philippine society as a whole.

And I’m extremely proud of, for instance, Trese. … when I was in the Philippines and I was introduced to this ghost-hunter subculture in the Philippines, I was enthralled by that. And I always thought someone should take that world, those people, and show the world what’s that really like.

I believe Budj and Kajo have done an exquisite job of giving us that slice of life, of that world, of what that subculture in the Philippines is like, and I believe that once it gets known-- once the world gets to know that, they’re just going to go crazy.


FROM : http://whilcefriends.blogspot.com/
Trese... is one of the best ongoing books in that market. It is the book I would love to write myself...about Filipinos in the Philippines and all doing purely Filipino things in Filipino ways. They capture the true atmosphere of the Manila I know and love.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

KOMIKON report in Philippine Star

The Kult of Komikon
RIOT OF JOY
By Ramon De Veyra
http://beta.philstar.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=419837&publicationSubCategoryId=453

As I went up the steps of the UP Bahay ng Alumni last week, a man passed by holding up a puppet with an oversized bright pink head. Any doubt I was heading towards the right direction—that of the fourth annual Komikon — were erased.

This year’s Komikon may have been the best ever. It certainly seemed like it had the best attendance. People filled up the narrow aisles, jostling for space among the boxes and tables of cool swag.

Because the venue was not air-conditioned, trapped humidity from the rains that day made for muggy, sweaty conditions.

Various cooling fans were set up around the hall, where you’ll find (human) fans and professionals alike in a relaxed atmosphere, trying to beat the heat and engage in casual I’m-not-a-stalker type of conversation.

A number of panel discussions took place before the event proper, focusing on specific subjects ranging from trying to find work overseas to making your own comics, to teaching/learning comics in an academic environment.

Various creators took turns being interviewed onstage and by different camera crews.

The comics community is small enough that you can pretty much fit all the current luminaries under one roof — from comic strip royalty like Pol Medina, Jr. and relative newcomer Manix Abrera, to comic book creators Leinil Yu and Harvey Tolibao.

Rare appearances were made by Lan Medina, so far the only Filipino to win the coveted Eisner award; and Tony DeZuñiga, co-creator of Jonah Hex and Black Orchid, visiting from the US.

Featured guest Gerry Alanguilan debuted the fourth, concluding issue of his mini-series Elmer at Komikon, with the good news that a compilation would be arriving next year, as well as a new edition of his still-popular book Wasted.

Perhaps the book of the show was Arnold Arre’s long-awaited fourth graphic novel, Martial Law Babies. Arre was there, happily talking to fans, posing for photos and signing books as he was mobbed almost upon entering.

One of my favorite things about Komikon is discovering new talent. Though a lot of new comic books and mini-comics are debuted at the show, most continue to be tired retreads of the creator’s favorite properties or genre.

It’s rare to find a fresh perspective that is both singular and skilled (even if that skill is raw and in need of some honing). But when you do, it makes the wading through tables of dreck worth it.

Out of the dozens of books I saw and the six I thought worth buying, one book stands out among my purchases of that day: Mary Rañises’ The Girl Who Turned Into A Fish.

It’s a charming little tale pretty much summarized by its title.

If I remember correctly Rañises didn’t even have a booth, she was just hand-selling to people she met.

For this reason I was prepared to politely decline, but once I saw her artwork I realized waitaminute— this kid’s got chops! And she’s still a student! I hope to see a lot more from her in the future.

My other favorite thing about Komikon is scoring great deals on comics, of course. For this, I was not disappointed. I found many books priced lower than a new issue of your favorite local magazine.

I snagged some cheap issues of indie comics, rare out-of-print manga collections, and the biggest surprise of all: an old Howard Chaykin collection called Power & Glory. Truly, when I opened it the next morning, I discovered it was signed and numbered! It’s bonuses like these that have me already looking forward to next year’s Komikon.

QTV: Comic book lovers hold convention in UP

View the report at:
http://www.gmanews.tv/video/32386/-QTV--Comic-book-lovers-hold-convention-in-UP

Friday, November 21, 2008

Andrew Drilon's excellent satire

Steven Grants reviews "No Formula: Stories From the Chemistry Set"



Since Andrew Drilon's excellent satire "The! Legend! Of! Caraboy!" was produced in 2005, before The Chemistry Set manifested, time does seem to be a factor, and I'd give any collective producing an anthology the same advice I'd give anyone showing art samples: assuming you're getting better as you go along, stick to your newest work. NO FORMULA is okay, but it's been a long time since okay in this market was good enough.
-- STEVEN GRANT

read the complete review at:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18890

buy the book at:
http://www.amazon.com/No-Formula-Stories-Chemistry-Set/dp/1935002090

read the stories at:
http://www.chemsetcomics.com/

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oustanding Legion Art

Shooter Praises “Outstanding” Work of Francis Manapul
by Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer

“My run on ‘Legion’ wasn’t everything that I had hoped for, but I probably got better than I deserved from Francis. Francis is already very, very good — outstanding, in fact — and as editor Mike Marts and I have both observed, he gets better and better as he goes. He will soon hurdle the few remaining barriers in his way and become an all-pro/MVP. Maybe working with someone else, maybe with better scripts to work from, he’ll get there faster.”--Jim Shooter

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE AT:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18656

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Martial Law Babies in Manila Bulletin

Growing Up, Getting Down:
Arnold Arre’s latest graphic novel Martial Law Babies is about the Voltes V generation
by Luis Katigbak, Manila Bulletin (Nov. 19, 2008)

Martial Law Babies, in case you were wondering, isn’t just for martial law babies. Arnold Arre’s latest graphic novel—his follow-up to the Pinoy urban superhero epic Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat—is here, and it is 286 pages’ worth of vivid characters, class issues, pop-cultural archeology, unfiltered outbursts, heart-melting affections, self-destructive obsessions, flights of fancy, and sheer storytelling bravado. Martial Law Babies is sprawling and flawed and yet deeply satisfying; it is the best novel I’ve read in a long time. (Note that I did not modify “novel” with “Philippine” or “graphic”though both those words certainly apply.)

Those who are looking for the mythological creatures or supernatural meddlers or science-fiction settings of Arre’s earlier work won’t find them here. This is a story of "living, loving and leaving," as it says on the back of the book, about a group of Pinoy middle-class thirtysomethings who grew up in the ‘80s—their friendships and love affairs, their responsibilities and distractions. There are flashbacks to the early lessons and frustrations of childhood—to days of cartoons, toys, junk food and friendships. The story follows the friends through college days of starry-eyed daydreaming and pointless military training, and the trials and ambitions of young adulthood. In the present day, these martial law babies write in their blogs, argue with clients, come together, fall apart, fly off to work in other countries, and wonder: What should I be doing? Where do we belong?

I don’t want to discuss specific moments in MLB, because I don’t want to give anything away, not that it’s a story that relies on gimmicky plotting or last-minute revelations. Let’s just say that Arnold Arre isn’t asking you to take the side of his hapless protagonists, nor is he condemning them; he presents different points of view, but avoids easy judgments. And, yes, easy answers as well—this is not a call to arms, nor is it a meaningless wallow. It’s a chronicle of a handful of lives that, depending on your age and upbringing, may be almost uncomfortably familiar. Sweet but often misguided Allan, smart and sarcastic Rebecca, incorrigible Carol, and the rest—Arnold resists the lure to portray them as relentlessly cool and glib, and instead leaves in all of the awkward and embarrassing incidents and opinions alongside all the little triumphs and tragedies. The honesty will make you smile, and then make you flinch.

MLB uses a number of interesting devices to tell its tale: aside from the flashbacks, there are blog entries, excerpts from essays and columns, snippets of made-up ads and TV shows, and best of all, odd but illuminating dream sequences. But these never feel tacked-on or pointless; rather, they serve to flesh the story out, to draw us in deeper. The artwork here is looser, "faster" compared to some of Arre’s older material—particularly the gritty, detailed Andong Agimat and the future-depicting Trip to Tagaytay—but this approach is more appropriate to MLB, and just underscores that Arre can accomplish in a few lines what most people can’t accomplish at all: a world of expression in the squiggle of a half-smile, the arc of an eyebrow.

MLB doesn’t give us hopeful heroes or vile villains: no paragons, just people. They are people who may occasionally annoy you with their middle-class blues, but stick with the story, and Arre will reward you with a remarkably affecting experience.

And, yes, it’s partially a nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up in the shadow of Martial Law, those of us who can remember that Sting concert or Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club or giant Japanese robot cartoons or A-ha’s Scoundrel Days or even that apple coin bank toy. Do I love it because I’m a MLB myself? Sure, that’s one of the reasons: recognition, identification. I have to admit, when I first read it, I wanted to buy a stack of copies then and there, to give to fellow MLBs who I knew would appreciate all the references. But beyond that, Martial Law Babies is an honest, compulsively readable account of a group of people growing up in the Philippines, dealing with the good times and bad times and sheer madness. Like you and your friends, it’s funny and sad and awkward and astonishing.

Martial Law Babies should be in bookstores and comics shops now. Visit the official site at www.martiallawbabies.com (lots of behind-the-scenes notes and extras!). Send comments and questions to Luis at thekingofnothingtodo@yahoo.com.

Martial Law Babies in Inquirer

“Babies” Boom

Arnold Arre showcases his best work yet in the powerfully personal graphic novel "Martial Law Babies"

By Ruel S. De Vera (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Saturday Nov. 15 2008 – Super, page E3)

Sometimes, approached like a lost tribe, a “martial law baby” is more a state of mind than a general distinction.

These are people, once young, now not so, who were disenfranchised by the abrupt disappearance of the Japanese robot anime shows “Voltes V” most notoriously, among other artifacts.

Having grown up under the Marcos regime’s gloved gauntlet, these babies carried it’s shadow with them long after the Marcoses were out of power. Having once lost their heroes, the ystruggle to save others and themselves.

This is literary territory mined magnificently by Katrina Tuvera (in fiction) and Jessica Zafra (in essays) among others. Now, award-winning comic book creator Arnold Arre (“The Mythology Class”) explores this precious space in his new, substantial graphic novel “Martial Law babies” (Nautilus Comics, Mandaluyong City, 2008, 286 pages).

LOVE LETTER

“We’re hopeless romantics,” Arre’s characters state. “We’re expert daydreamers.”

In a love letter to his generation, Arre distills that treacherous journey through the eyes of narrator Allan, poetic and put-upon, and his barkada – acerbic Rebecca, fun-loving Francis and privileged Carol – from their short pants days in the 70s to the interminable future.

A seemingly innocuous appearance on the “Uncle Bobby Lucky Club” TV show leads to divergent paths for the friends, all the way to college in the University of the Philippines, where their circle grows and their worlds grow complicated.

Allan bears witness as grownup life threatens to stealthily overcome them, even as he attempts to come to grips with a childhood crush on the campus heartthrob that relentlessly haunts him. Then things get worse.

Loss, departures, and other traps are sprung as the friends drift inexorably apart, a tribe forced to become nomadic. Allan drifts as well, into disaffected adulthood, until one day, when his world contracts into dizzying focus.

“Martial Law Babies” hurtles towards its end as Allan comes to what may be a realization too late; the world expands again to an uncertain future.

BITTERSWEET

There are no easy answers in “Martial Law Babies” even if paths cross dramatically. Arre, who himself did go to UP and is a martial law baby, tinkers adroitly with autobiographical flourish with “Martial Law Babies,” displaying the kind of thoughtful, bittersweet reminiscing championed by Alex Robinson (“Box Office Poison”) and C.B. Cebulski (“Wonderlost”).

The book is funny, sometimes naughty and always truthful; the snappy dialogue helps make it a solid read.

“Martial Law Babies” may have a target audience, but despite the dated references, the graphic novel will work for any sophisticated reader; the bittersweet, after all, is universal.

Employing his trademark whimsy and a concentrated poignancy, Arre gets all the details right, either in homage or in direct reference. Whether it’s a death-defying tricycle ride, a fateful Sting concert or ROTC in the afternoon.

BEST WORK

This is clearly Arre’s best work to date, employing a powerful range of techniques to push his story forward , using different pencil styles to evoke different moods with such nuance that the black and white art almost seems to burst into color, injecting blogs, newspaper columns, e-mails, even dream sequences into the mix. His facial work is particularly exquisite.

“We refuse to grow up,” the babies say. “We refuse to wake up.” By revealing how those childhood revenants are both comforting and haunting, Arre has done for comics what the Eraserheads did for music with “Ultraelectromagneticpop”: catch, in an addictive, accessible package, the zeitgeist of an elusive era that has now come of age and yet to come to terms with the Bozania of a world they’ve unwittingly grown up in.

With Arnold Arre’s “Martial Law Babies,” the lost tribe gains an invaluable clue to finding themselves in a world both heartbreaking and breathtaking.

Available in paperback from Comic Quest. For more information, log on to www.martiallawbabies.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pinoy Marvel Artists

WAR OF KINGS: DARKHAWK #1 (of 2)
Written by C.B. CEBULSKI
Penciled by HARVEY TOLIBAO




MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA #4 (of 6)
Written by KURT BUSIEK
Pencils & Cover by JAY ANACLETO




more details at:
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/081117-marvel-february-09-solicitations.html

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

LUNA BROTHERS interview at ABS-CBN



Luna Brothers conquer US comic book scene
Interview by DAVID DIZON / abs-cbnNEWS.com | 10/31/2008

In 1884, Filipino painter Juan Luna captured the imagination of the Spanish art scene when he won the gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid for his masterpiece "Spoliarium."

More than a century later, another group of Lunas -- Fil-Am brothers Jonathan and Joshua -- are turning heads in the US comic book scene first with their original creation, Ultra, with its unique take on celebrity superheroes, and the horror series, Girls, about an invasion of cannibalistic, alien women in Pennystown, USA.

In their latest limited series The Sword, the Luna Brothers take on sword, sorcery and mythology with a modern twist. Recently, Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman singled out the Luna brothers as an example of successful comic book creators who are make a fantastic living by only doing creator-owner work.

In this e-mail interview, Jonathan and Joshua talk a little about their background, their love for female comic book characters and which comic book characters they'd like to work on next.

read the complete interview at:

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/10/31/08/luna-brothers-conquer-us-comic-book-scene

their official site

http://www.lunabrothers.com/

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

BAYAN KNIGHTS in Inquirer

In Search of Real-life Heroes
By Marlet D. Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10/26/2008
http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/sim/sim/view/20081026-168534/In-Search-of-Real-life-Heroes

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos love superheroes. Sociologists might explain that we see salvation and inspiration in them. Perhaps even hope, despite the grim situation we find ourselves in.

Fortunately, real-life heroes abound in the comics industry: artists and writers who could easily be the alter-ego of the characters they create. Like their characters, they will do everything in their power to save the world. And when the task gets daunting, they immediately join forces.

This was exactly what 29 comics artists, writers, and enthusiasts vowed to do to bring back comics in the consciousness of Filipinos.

Renowned Filipino artist, creator, and writer Gilbert Monsanto, who bats for the protection of artists’ rights, takes on the task of publishing “Bayan Knights,” a collection of diverse characters with either innate or acquired superpowers or unparalleled skills. With Monsanto writing the story, “Bayan Knights” launches its first issue at Komikon, the annual Philippine comics’ convention on Nov. 22at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, Diliman, Quezon City.

“Bayan Knights” is a collaborative effort among comics creators from Dagupan, Ifugao, Marinduque, Tacloban, Japan and Dubai. The artists come from the community at Deviant Art, an online resource for artists.

Says Monsanto: “The idea behind Bayan Knights is to introduce the characters and their creators and hopefully lead the readers to look for their own published comics books.” The artists retain rights over their creations and can feature them anywhere they want. Bayan Knights then becomes a springboard for creators and their characters.

Monsanto’s Sacred Mountain Publications will distribute “Bayan Knights” in key magazine shops and bookstores with his own comics titles “Tropa” and “Alagad.”

It was at Deviant Art that the artists met and hatched their idea of a collaborative comics. To finance their effort, the group looked for ways to pool their resources. One way is through pledges. The idea, says former Junior Inquirer writer Christine “Robin” Rivero who thought of it, is for sponsors to donate a certain amount in return for a free copy of the first issue plus his or her name inscribed on the “Wall of Heroes” (www.bayanknights.blogspot.com). Ads can also help. “Be our hero,” says the group.

The collective effort, says Monsanto, has had tremendous impact on the artists at Deviant Art. Before he left for the United States a few months ago, he received a few good creations. When he got back, he was astounded by the amount of creativity and improvement he saw from the artists, which made him decide to push through with the project.

Monsanto and other well-known Filipino artists have been self-publishing their works for some time. The younger ones promote and sell xeroxed copies of their comics during Komikon and other gatherings of illustrators and artists.

This proves that there’s a comics industry out there just waiting to go mainstream once given enough resources, says Monsanto. The artists believe that entrepreneurs can help them out by using their creations to sell stuff, at the same time that they’re allowed to retain their rights over their characters as artists and creators.

“These (creators) deserve more respect and recognition,” says Monsanto. “The mere fact that they continue to create characters in spite of the current economic situation goes to show that they want to turn the industry around.”

The collective effort also showcases the Filipinos’ true bayanihan spirit and capacity to pull together despite trials and limitations, notes Rivero. “If you believe in heroes, you haven’t given up on the world,” she adds. •

Check out “Bayan Knights” at www.deviantart.com and www.bayanknights.blogspot.com to get to know the creators and their characters, how to donate and advertise, and keep with updates.

Monday, November 03, 2008

TRESE in Philippine Star



‘Trese’ comics are a worthy homage to Monsters, Mythology and Metro Manila.
J. Vincent Sarabia Ong
Philippine Star : SUPREME
http://supreme.ph/2008/11/01/trese-a-haunting-homage/

As I do not usually visit The Philippine STAR office, it was serendipitous that I found a mysterious package for me on a rare occasion that I was there. It must have been sent by dwendes, I thought, as I unwrapped it because it was the first time I received a book copy through mail and it found me despite my city-hopping schedule.

The dwende I discovered was Budjette Tan who is currently deputy executive creative director at Harrison Communications. He sent me the horror comic book “Trese” that he wrote and was drawn by aswang Kajo Baldismo who I heard was paid by drinking the blood of first-born children at McCann Erikson as an art director.

I certainly knew the package was of supernatural origin and that the tribe of gruesome ideas was on their side as I was also planning to write about the horror manga genre because of its popularity in local bookstores. The reason I never got to sink my teeth into it before was that there were so many titles to chose from among the comic creatures oozing from the bookshelves.

In this case, I was fortunate enough that I didn’t have to choose the comic; instead, it chose me. And as you read artist Gerry Alanguilan’s incantation in the introduction for “Trese Volume One,” you have NO idea what you’re in for. And you have no idea how excited I am for you, you find yourself already drawn to these creatures’ work. As I didn’t have any expectations from “Trese” like Alanguilan wrote, I was astonished how great a local comic book could be.

These are the monsters in your neighborhood
Yet, aside from the fear of being eaten alive by the creators of “Trese” as a midnight snack if I gave a bad review, I am glad that I devoured “Trese” because it is a fitting homage to monsters, mythology and Metro Manila. In the story, “Trese” refers to Alexandra Trese who owns the Diabolical barako cafe and is a private detective. The trouble refers to the criminal underworld but in the paranormal and occult sense. Hence, Trese, armed with her short Muslim sword called kris and backed up by her two bodyguards named Kambal, digs up supernatural scum such as tiyanaks, enkantos, white ladies, and other myths both urban and arcane.

The spell both Budjette and his partner Kajo cast comes not from their influences mentioned in past interviews like the comic book “Planetary” or “Twilight Zone” but rather from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman.” The heroine Trese calmly interrogates a rich dragon man who is heir to a Chinese mall empire and in another panel seeks help from a Quiapo merchant who can talk to cats. The world of “Trese” is a place where you must suspend your disbelief and accept that crime has taken a weird turn as the authors describe it.

Yet, each “Trese” case is accessible because the authors bring us in by putting the haunting events in familiar places such as the subdivisions in Makati, the cemeteries in Kalayaan, the T.V studios in Quezon City, and even the malls we shop in on Ortigas. At the same time, the context of each story is a seamless mesh of Filipino myths like tikbalangs and local tabloid talk such as the illegal car races in Greenhills. Thus, enveloping us in tales that might actually be terrifyingly true and leaving you grinning whenever you go to a mall parking lot with the thought that tiyanaks might be close by. Yet, simultaneously, make you hope that Trese is also right behind you to shoot the hell out of these ugly demon babies.

Make that graveyard shift
After reading lamang lupa entrails and guts getting blown up into small mushy chunks, the most horrible conclusion I got from Trese is that there is potential for goosepimpling Filipino stories but it is neither being recognized nor is it being widely developed. This is especially after I read the chilling short story “The Witness” by Reno Maniquis and Carlo Borromeo that was the inspiration for Trese. We need to patronize local talent by buying their comics, sharing their comics with friends, allowing them to sell their comics at the same price as foreign titles or push them to distribute abroad in order that they may churn out more stories. For example, the creative team of “Trese” cannot continuously write comic books because of their need to do their day jobs. Thus, we lose the chance to know the creative possibilities of Trese and the other worlds of ingenious Filipino writers and artists unless we adequately support them. And if we do them justice, characters like Trese’s might be able to take the global stage and tell Superman and Captain America “tabi tabi po!”

* * *
“Trese Comics” can be found at National Book Store, Powerbooks, and other comic books shops. Read issues online here, but don’t forget to buy the original printed copy! Also, Read “The Witness” here.

TRESE in Manila Bulletin


Trese gets lucky
Ronald S. Lim

http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/11/01/YTCP20081101139546.html

In the world of Alexandra Trese, heroine of the comic book series "Trese," there are many things that go bump in the streets of Manila whenever darkness falls, and the city’s enthusiastic club-goers only make up a small portion of it. Manananggals, tiyanaks, tikbalangs, and duwendes make their presence felt when the lights go out, and it is Alexandra Trese’s job to keep them in line.

This alternate Manila where the creatures of Philippine mythology roam free and wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary Filipinos is the creation of the team of writer Budjette Tan and illustrator Kajo Baldisimo. Members of opposing ad agencies who knew each other because of their shared love for comics, the two decided to start "Trese" in June 2005.

"Kajo texted me that he wanted us to work on a comic book project. He said he wanted to try and churn out a 20-page comic book every month. His grand plan was to draw a page a day during his lunch break. After 20 days, we’d have 20 pages of artwork. He’d then use the remaining 10 days to letter and lay-out the pages and do the cover," recalls Budjette. "I laughed and didn’t think it was possible because I was working on the Globe account and he was working on the Coke account, two of the busiest accounts in our respective ad agencies."
It turned out that the character whose story Budjette wanted to tell was somebody whom he had already thought of two years prior.

"Anton Trese was the name of the unseen narrator in a very short-lived radio show called The World of the Unknown. The radio station closed down in less than a year and Anton Trese was almost forgotten," says Budjette. "It was during my brother’s birthday that I told my friends about Anton Trese investigating the death of the White Lady of Balete Drive. A friend would come up with the twist in the end and provided another important piece about Trese’s family history.’

However, Budjette’s job as a creative director would prevent him from pursing this story in earnest, and would have remained completely with him if Kajo had not texted. Even then, the two would be unable to keep up with their monthly deadlines.

"When the day’s workload was heavy, I’d stop by the nearest Starbucks before going home and there write down all my ideas and script for Trese, then I type up the next day," describes Budjette.

Making the public aware of the comic book would take even more effort, involving a lot of photocopying. In fact "Trese" first circulated as photocopied mini comics that could be bought at local comic book conventions.

Eventually, the series caught the attention of Visual Print Enterprises, which ended up publishing the seven stories in two volumes: "Trese: Murder on Balete Drive" and "Trese: Unreported Murders".

BEYOND CHILDHOOD
But even before the creation of "Trese," both Budjette and Kajo were already deep into comic books, recalling childhoods when the ‘’Uncanny X-Men’’ and local komiks made regular appearances.

"I was very much into Pinoy komiks when I was in grade school. I read Wakasan and Pinoy Klasiks. I was introduced to Marvel comics in high school by friends who collect the X-men," recalls Kajo whose love for comic books would begin in the family.

"When I was in grade school, my uncle Jimbo showed me his drawings about an outer-space adventure. Back then, I always wanted to copy everything that my Tito Jimbo did. So, I created a character named Cosmic Man. He rode the cosmos in his cosmic ship and defended people with his cosmic gun and cosmic net and… well, you can see the whole cosmic-picture. I would make one copy, staple it and pretend to sell it to my mom. After she has read it, I would get the same copy and try to sell it to my dad," Budjette recalls.

Budjette’s parents nurtured this interest, buying him rare trade paperbacks such as "Marvel: Son of Origins" and "Secret Origin of DC Heroes and Villains." He would start collecting on his 12th birthday, after receiving copies of Uncanny X-Men #188 and 189.

Budjette is also the man behind Alamat Comics, a group of Filipino comic book artists established in 1994 with the encouragement of Fil-Am comic book artist Whilce Portacio.

"Whilce Portacio came back to Manila and met with all the comic book creators in Manila. He urged us to band together under one name and have one logo, like what they did in Image. Following that suggestion the group formed Alamat Comics," says Budjette.

BIG DREAMS
While Budjette and Kajo have big dreams for "Trese" (such as continuing the story and selling in more outlets here and abroad), they have even bigger dreams for the Philippine comic book industry.

"I think the Philippine comic book industry just took a vacation. We should get ready to welcome it back because it’s almost here. In the 60s and 70s, the Philippine komiks industry sold in the millions and had a circulation that outranked the newspapers. The stories from those komiks were adapted into movies and TV shows. It would be great if we can get the industry back to even half that status," says Budjette.

As far back as the 70’s, American comic book companies have been hiring Pinoy artists. At present, there are probably a dozen Filipino comic book artists doing work for Marvel, DC, and other American comic book companies.

"We obviously have world-class talent, but I’d like to see the day when foreign publishing companies take interest in reprinting/distributing Filipino comic books and graphic novels," Budjette adds.

READ AND LIVE
"Trese" has certainly inspired young people to take up comic book writing. Budjette and Kajo are aware of this and they impart this advice: Read and live.

"Do not just read comic books. Don’t let comic books just be the only source of inspiration for your stories, else you’ll just be repeating what has been said before. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on," says Budjette. "Find inspiration from life. When you fall in love, write down how it felt, try to describe it to a five-year old. Watch a band perform for the first time in some hole in the wall and remember how the singer stuttered and how his sweat glistened on his forehead. Talk to your parents what they dreamed about when they were kids. Talk to kids about what they’re most afraid of. And after all of that, go back and write."

"Trese’’ is available at Comic Quest, Comic Odyssey, Pandayan Bookstores, National Bookstore, Best Sellers, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, and of course, you can get a preview of the books at: www.tresecomics.com

Friday, October 31, 2008

This interview originally saw print in the SINDAK Horror-Thriller Magazine(April 2006 issue). Originally written in Filipino, I translated it into English for our international readers.



MEET THE `TRESE` CREATORS
By Athena Fregillana, SINDAK #1, April 2006
Pictures by Paul Del Rosario
Originally published in Filipino.

Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo are part of a new generation of comic creators who are trying to save our almost lifeless comic book industry. How did the TRESE series start and why is this being considered one of the famous Pinoy komiks today?

If you are a comics lover, you might have already bought an issue or already have the whole collection of Trese comics, the product of the creative mind of Budjette Tan and the astounding art of Kajo Baldisimo.

They started work on Trese when Kajo sent a text message to Budjette, saying that he wanted the two of them to work on a comic book. “Kajo wanted to do something on a regular basis. I asked him if was he loosing his mind, because at that time we both had day jobs in advertising and we were working on very demanding accounts.” But this did not become an obstacle in putting together the concept for Trese and Budjette considered that it would only be a one-shot deal. Budjette said, “Ok, fine, we will make one comic book and after that, we’ll probably get so busy with work that we’ll never do another issue again.”

That’s why Budjette thought he could use the concept of Trese which he had been thinking about for a long time. “My first job was in a radio station and ended up writing a show on paranormal stuff. We create a character for that show called Anton Trese. He was the narrator of a horror show. He wasn’t really a fully-fleshed out character. He was just a voice who introduced each show and he called himself Anton Trese.”

Years later, Budjette started to write a comic book story and thought he could use Anton Trese for that tale. The only thing he knew about the story was how it started and it started with a dead lady in white on Balete Drive. He didn’t know how he’d end the story, so he asked help from his friends who were also into comics.

“My friends suggested things on how to make the story better. Years later, Kajo texted that he wanted to make a comic book, which made me remember the story of Trese.”

When Kajo first drew Trese, he was a tough, kick-ass guy. But they thought that people might think they just copied the Keanu Reeves character in the movie Constantine, which was based on the graphic novel Hellblazer. So, they decided to make Trese into a woman.

“Kajo liked the idea of making Trese a female paranomal detective,” said Budjette.

Kajo didn’t have a difficult time in drawing their heroine. “Actually, I’ve always liked female lead characters in comics and movies, so it wasn’t hard for me to create Trese,” said Kajo.

Trese’s intense looks came from a combination of people that inspired Kajo. Even Maja Salvador is part of that list. According to Kajo, Trese somewhat resembles him. “It’s important to have that one characteristic that people will remember. If you take a look at Trese’s hairline, that’s just like my hairline. I made it part of her character design because I thought it would look weird for a woman to have a hairline like that.”

So, why did they decide to make a horror comic book? Budjette said, “I guess it was because of my influences. I’m just more comfortable telling ghost stories. Admittedly, it’s more difficult to scare someone in a comic book as opposed to trying to scare someone with a movie, where you have the benefit of music and lighting and timing, where you can suddenly surprise the audience. So, it’s also a challenge to do that in a comic book.”

We’ve all heard ghost stories that usually leave us with many loose ends. We don’t usually find out what happened to that ghost, where did that ghost come from, what did he do when he was alive. Which is where Trese comes in, to help discover and solve what happened in a particular crime. “Our intent is that the story should always have a criminal act, but there should always be a supernatural twist,” said Budjette.

From a single text and from what they thought would only be a single issue, they just finished their seventh issue. “When Kajo finished the first issue, he said, `What’s next?`. The next three issues were just notes in my notebook. And before we knew it, we were finishing issues on a monthly basis,” said Budjette.

It took them a year before they could release their latest issue because of their workload at the office. Both Budjette and Kajo work in advertising agencies.

Both of them have a love for making comics. Budjette is very passionate in writing comic book stories but rarely gets to do so. He said, “The plan was if Alamat Comics took off, I would just write comics forever. I guess the market wasn’t ready for comics or we didn’t know anything about selling comics. It came to a point when Alamat as a group became smaller and a lot of people focused more on getting day jobs. So I ended up in advertising.”

On the other hand, Kajo just resigned from his advertising job last January. He had to make a decision between doing advertising and doing comics. He felt that couldn’t to do at the same time. Although, he still does some projects for the ad agency from time to time. “So I’d have something to eat,” Kajo joked.

These days, Kajo works on Trese and other comic books full-time. “I started to notice that people were buying it. There were serious supporters who waited for the next issue. I felt that it was my obligation to make my work better.”

The current plan is to release a compiled version of Trese. “We are already talking to a publisher [Visual Print Enterprises]. It’s the same publisher of ZsaZsa Zaturnnah. Our agreement with them is three books. Book 1 will be issues 1-4, Book 2 are issues 5-8 and Book 3 will be issues 9-13. It won’t be colored. Not yet. We hope to eventually do that,” was Budjette’s happy news.

They also got an offer from Unitel Production last year to adapt Trese into a movie or TV show. “After Unitel read it, they liked the idea that it was episodic. The contract is open to that sort of execution,” said Budjette. But they haven’t gotten back to Unitel because their main goal now is to finish the story of Trese.

Since they’ve uploaded Trese in tresekomix.blogspot.com, they received many readers from other countries. They even have a regular reader from Iceland.

“When we launched our first issue, Comic Quest [comic book store] got a call from France asking about our comics. The store assistant had a hard time trying to understand what the caller wanted. The next day, the store got a call from the French Embassy. Turns out the first caller, asked help from the embassy to contact the store and reserved a copy,” Budjette said.

As mentioned, aside from comic book stores, the Trese stories can also be read online. This came about when Budjette noticed that some American comic book companies would upload the first issue of their comics in order to attract new readers. “We were already late with one of our issues, so I thought we might as well upload it on the site. I also realized it was going to be Friday the 13th and timing was perfect.”

The two friends are truly happy with the success of Trese. Kajo said this was instant reason to do better and improve their work on their upcoming issues. One cannot avoid getting criticized but such comments are welcome as well. They mentioned one lawyer who emailed and said a certain detail of the story shouldn’t have happened because of a certain law. Budjette said, “It’s nice to get those kind of comments. It helps us know how to improve the next issue, considering our first couple of issues were all done in a rush… we just wanted to get it all done in 20 days.”

“Which was why, during lunch break, I always have liquid paper and drawing materials beside me,” Kajo recalled.

Budjette and Kajo have given us with something inspiring. They made us feel their dedication in their creation of their comic book Trese. They showed their determination to tell their story despite the many obstacles in their way. The success of their comic book creation is already within their reach. Their advice for the everyone who wants to make comics: “Don’t let go of your dreams.”



13 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT …

BUDJETTE TAN

1. My affair with comics started... when I was in grade school. My classmate gave me UNCANNY X-MEN #188 and #189 as a birthday gift. #189 had a cliffhanger ending, so I just had to hunt down the issue after that and the every issue after that.

2. I love comics because.... it’s fun! I grew up reading comic books. Especially when the story has that perfect balance of great words and great art.

3. My influences in comics are.... Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore.

4. If I am a comic character, I'd like to be Martian Manhunter, so I can fly around, turn invisible, change shape, and read minds (which will come in handy when dealing with client).

5. In the future, I want to collaborate with.... Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Carlo Vergara.

6. My favorite comic character is Cyclops because he’s a great leader and strategist.

7. I'm inspired when... it’s 3AM and the deadline is in a couple of hours.

8. I'm addicted to.... coffee! And comics!

9. If I were a villain in my comics, who would I be? I want to be the Kingpin of Crime.

10. I love Ka-Jo because.... he makes me look good! Makes my words come alive! He bugged me to do the impossible.

11. Will I date a girl like Alexandra Trese? Ummm… sure, as long as we go to a brightly-lit place… near a church.

12. If Trese is to be adopted in movie or TV, my choice of actress is.... Alessandra de Rossi.

13. I'd like to be known.... as a great storyteller.

KAJO BALDISIMO

1. My affair with comics started… when my parents brought home a second-hand pinoy (religion) komiks fully illustrated by Mar T. Santana (i forgot the title). It has stories of Jesus and stories of people who love and hate (and eventually came to love) Jesus.

2. I love comics because you get to tell a story by drawing it. I love telling stories by drawing it. Sarap.

3. My influences in comics are TMTM (To Many To Remember). But the few who are on top of my head: Nestor Redondo, Mar Santana, Hal Santiago, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Brian Hitch, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and lots more (about 413 more)...

4. If I am a comic character, I'd like to be WOLVERINE! (wolverine na nakaka-teleport at nagiging invisible! Patay ka!!!) [Wolverine with the power to teleport and become invisible!]

5. In the future, I want to collaborate with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis. Sabay-sabay sila. [I want to collaborate with them all at the same time.]

6. My favorite comic characters are: 1. Trese, kasi astig siya. 2. Wolverine, kasi astig siya. 3. Superman, kasi mabaet. 4. Batman, kasi masipag. 5. Rorschach, kas may katok. [1. Trese, because she kicks-ass. 2. Wolverine because he kicks-ass. 3. Superman, because he’s nice. 4. Batman, because he works hard. 5. Roschach, because he’s scary]

7. I'm inspired when love is all around me, and so the feeling grows. It’s written on the wind, it’s everywhere I go...

8. I'm addicted to any vehicles that turn into robots. Someday i will make cartoons, comics and toys about this unexplored concept and make tons of pesos. Even make a movie...

9. If I were a villain in my comics, who would I be? I will be an evil Wolverine who can teleport and turn invisible and call myself Nemesi-rine! Patay ka!!!

10. I love Budj because he loves buying, reading, and making comics. If he starts hating comics, then i'd want a divorce.

11. Will I date a girl like Alexandra Trese? Oo naman! Whew! Hottie! Kaso lang, laging may tchaperon. Saka hindi madaling patawanin. Saka may baon lagi na knife. S#!%.'wag na lang... [Of course! Whew! Hottie! Because she always has a chaperone. And it’s not easy to make her laugh. And she always carries a knife. . S#!%. I don’t want to date her!]

12. If Trese is to be adopted in movie or TV, my choice of actress is.... Maja Salvador! Hi Maja!

13. I'd like to be known as; 'Kajo, isang Pilipino na buong-pusong nag-alay ng pawis at dugo upang makatulong na
isakatuparan ang pagpapatuloy at pagtatanggol ng sining-salaysay na tinatawag na komiks at siyang may lihim na pagtatangi kay Maja Salvador.' Hi Maja! [Kajo, a Filipino who whole-heartedly offered his sweat and blood in order to help and fulfill and defend the progress of the art of comics and how he secretly longed for Maja Salvador. Hi Maja!]


Published in the SINDAK Horror-Thriller Magazine(April 2006 issue).
Interview by Athena Fregillana

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A STORY OF LIVING, LOVING AND LEAVING






Award-winning graphic novelist Arnold Arre takes us on a nostalgic trip through some of the Philippines' most colorful and compelling eras - from the rigidness of pre-EDSA Manila to the dizzying, commercially-intoxicated world of the new millenium.

Allan and his friends are Martial Law Babies: born during the Marcos regime, raised by TV, and shaped by 80s music. Their ambitions may be dampened by third world realities and malcontention but they also proudly belong to a generation of dreamers who fight for their voices to be heard. They are among the so-called "Bagong Lipunan" children, trying their best to live up to their name. But over the years, as Allan watches his friends leave one by one and feels his sense of idealism wane, he starts to wonder where they are all headed.

Preview art at:
http://www.martiallawbabies.com/

Monday, October 13, 2008

Supernatural Storytelling
By Ruel S. De Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 12. 2008
http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/sim/sim/view/20081012-165981/Supernatural-Storytelling


MANILA, Philippines -Almost from the very beginning, Budjette Tan has been surrounded by the unusual. “When I was a newborn baby, my parents moved into what turned out to be a haunted house,” he explains. “The ghosts were seen by my yaya and my uncles. My parents didn’t believe in such things, until one summer day after my mom gave me a bath. She said the right side of my face suddenly wrinkled up—that it looked like the face of an old man. She prayed over me until I became normal again.” Psychics were summoned and a séance held. “The psychics told the spirits that they had to move on to the next plane. The haunting stopped after some time.”

Even Tan did not know that something similarly spooky would redefine his life later on. With him doing the writing and Kajo Baldisimo providing the art, Tan came up with “Trese,”a comic book series that follows mysterious investigator Alexandra Trese as she helps the police solve unearthly crimes in Metro Manila—sometimes with some direct action from Trese and her bizarre bodyguards, the Kambal.

The White Lady of Balete Drive is dead—again. The losing parties in drag races on C-5 start vanishing. Deadly bargains are struck deep in Paco. Every year, someone dies in Livewell Village. Secrets lurk in the bowels of a huge mall.. Wonderfully weird ideas mixing old and new, traditional and newfangled, come together in this fascinating and impeccably crafted comic book.
The 35-year-old Tan, whose full name is Ferdinand-Benedict Garcia Tan, is Deputy Executive Creative Director at Harrison Communications, an ad agency for companies like Globe, Neozep, Jack `N Jill, Levi’s and Bayer. Early on, his world expanded its borders, as his late father, broadcaster Buddy Tan, brought to Philippine television such foreign shows as “Sesame Street,” “Wonder Woman,” “Voltron” and “The Twilight Zone.” Growing up, Tan and younger brother Brandie considered themselves lucky. “We were given most of the toys that we asked for when we were kids,” he recalls. The parental indulgence applied as well to comic books so Tan found himself devouring comic books with titles like “Uncanny X-Men.”

Similarly, Tan’s mother Adjette wanted him to read even more. “She bought me the entire collection of Hardy Boys,” he says. “Maybe that’s where my love for detective stories started.” Even back in grade school, he already tried his hand at making comics, crafting by hand such characters as Cosmic Man, Lightning Hawk and the Computer Creeps. In high school, he began playing a role-playing game called Shadowrun. “The idea of magic and magical creatures set in the modern world was something that stuck, and I’ve often wondered how that would work in the Philippine setting.”

With friend Mark Gatela, Tan spent some time developing a radio show of horror stories inspired by Stephen King stories and TV shows like “The X-Files.” Though the radio station closed soon after, the show’s fictional narrator left an impression on Tan, a character named Anton Trese.

An Ateneo graduate, Tan was instrumental in the formation of Alamat, the seminal group of Filipino comic book creators. “Around 1992-93, me and the guys tried to break into the comic book industry,” he explains. “We sent submissions to Marvel and Image and even Atlas Komiks; all of them rejected us.” They decided to go about it on their own, self-publishing Comics 101. In 1994, after Filipino-American comics star Whilce Portacio visited the country and recommended Tan and company to come together, Alamat Comics was founded.

Meanwhile, Tan’s work in advertising brought him into fateful contact with Baldisimo, who was part of Alamat. “When I started working in Harrison Communications, I would sometimes commission Kajo to do artwork for our ads,” Tan recalls.

Unlike Tan, Jonathan Abdula Baldisimo had no such supernatural experiences. “My receivers are off when it comes to such things, which is not a bad thing,” the 30-year-old Baldisimo explains. The eldest of three children to resourceful jack of all trades Armando and industrious printing press employee Virginia, Baldisimo showed signs of artistic inclination at age 3, when he began doodling on the pages of his aunt’s dictionary. A big fan of Pinoy komiks, he rented all the titles he could get his hands on at the corner store. “Then, in high school, classmates introduced me to Jim Lee’s X-Men and that’s when I decided this is what I want to do till I croak,” he says.
While still in school, Baldisimo began drawing for Vampira Komiks for P300 a week. He would go on to take up fine arts at UP Diliman before leaving to study computer graphics and design on his own. After freelancing for a bit, Baldisimo joined McCann-Erickson and worked on the prestigious Coca-Cola account. Today, he is a freelance illustrator and a junior trainee for international comic talent group Glasshouse Graphics. In his spare time, Baldisimo shares his beloved Transformers with his even more beloved 3-year-old son, Josef Achilles.

In 2005, Baldisimo sent Tan a text message, saying he wanted to collaborate on a comic book by churning out a 20-page monthly comic book in 20 days. “I laughed and didn’t think it was possible because I was working on the Globe account and he was working on the Coke account, two of the busiest accounts in our respective ad agencies,” Tan says. But once they began working on it, the project developed a life of its own. The character originally named Anton Trese soon became Alexandra Trese, a mysterious investigator with more than a passing connection to the real underworld, the kind with lamang-lupa and malignos.

For Alexandra’s look, Baldisimo did not go far for visual inspiration. “Trese’s look was inspired by a ton of anime and manga chicks that never left my mind,” Baldisimo explains. “Trese and I share the same Devil’s hairline and I used to think of my ex-girlfriend, Divine, when I was drawing the first few issues because, like Trese, she’s strong and always gets her way.”
Tan and Baldisimo also found a comfortable working dynamic. “He writes, I draw, then we go back and forth for revisions and last minute ideas,” Baldisimo explains. “It’s very dynamic, very effective, much like the concept team style used in advertising.”

Once “Trese” began coming out, it caught a following, fanned by word-of-mouth (probably with fangs). Tan’s modern take on folklore and his whiplash-inducing plot twists meld perfectly with Baldisimo’s moody and distinctive black-and-white art.

Tan self-published the series, a role that has proven challenging. “When you publish your own book, you have to play many roles,” he says. “You’re also the business manager.” Fortunately, “Trese” found an ardent fan in publishing company Visual Print Enterprises which also publishes best-selling local authors like Bob Ong. “We can focus on making the book and they take care of the business side of things,” Tan says.

The Visual Print deal has also allowed “Trese” to take actual book form. The digest “Trese: Murder On Balete Drive” collects the first four issues, while the just-released “Trese: Unreported Murders” gathers issues five to eight. Now, instead of the traditional issues (affectionately called “floppies”), “Trese” will be coming out exclusively in digest form, with the third volume, which gathers the remaining five cases in the first 13-issue arc, due out before the end of 2008. “Book 3 will answer some questions that people have been asking about the Kambal, Trese and her father,” Tan says.

Originally aiming to tell just 13 stories, Tan and Baldisimo are now thinking up a whole new cabinet of weirdness for Alexandra and company. “I actually have more mysteries for Trese that she needs to solve,” Budjette Tan says, “Just don’t know how soon we’ll get around to telling those stories.” For his part Kajo Baldisimo can’t wait: “Budj and I will be churning out books every year from now on so I hope that the readers will continue to enjoy reading it as much as we continually enjoy cooking it.”

“Trese” is available at Comic Quest, Comic Odyssey, Pandayan Bookstores, National Bookstore, Best Sellers, PowerBooks and Fully Booked. For a preview, log on to www.tresecomics.com.

Copyright 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pre-order MARTIAL LAW BABIES today






The book's retail price is Php 500 but interested readers can avail of the special pre-order offer: receive a signed copy of the book at P50-off and have it delivered straight to your address a week before its official release.

For more info, you may check out the website: http://www.martiallawbabies.com
or send an email to preorders @ martiallawbabies .com

Friday, October 03, 2008

Inquirer interview with MANGAHOLIX president



Mangaholix president and senior art director Ian Cang sheds light on the state of the Filipino comic book industry. In an interview conducted by INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Anna Valmero, Cang talks about the current opportunities for artists in the local and international arena. Background music courtesy of Kevin Macleod.

http://www.inquirer.net/vdo/player.php?vid=1682

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Interview with Filipino comic book artist DEXTER T. WEE

Journey Into Comics: Dexter Wee: Comics & Distractions
By Mike Sangiacomo


The next time I want to bitch about computer or noisy neighbors, I’ll think about Dexter T. Wee.

Wee, one of the artists who worked on Tales of the Starlight Drive-In , lives in the Philippines. He deals with revolution, bombings, blackouts, floods, fighting in the streets and typhoons while holding down a full-time job and supporting his parents. Yet he still manages to get his art done on time.

In addition to everything else, Dexter is also a correspondent for the Business World newspaper and Chairman of the National Union Journalism of the Philippines (NUJP). When pressed, he said he’s seen his share of excitement.

READ THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW AT:
http://www.newsaram a.com/comics/ 090806-WeeStarlight.html

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Filipino comic book artist ERIC CANETE joins "The End League" (May 10, 2008)

Writer Rick Remender a announced today in a panel at Emerald City Comic-Con that illustrator Mat Broome is taking a break and that artist Eric Canete (Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin) and colorist Naomi Baker will be coming in as of the fifth issue. Fans of Broome's expert artwork won't be disappointed long, after seeing the exclusive first look pages of Canete and Stewart's work,. And as an added bonus, The End League will begin shipping as a monthly from Canete's debut on issue #5.

NRAMA Eric, you're coming onto this after a great run with the Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin miniseries. What led you to The End League?

Eric Canete:First off, I'd like to thank you for the interview, Chris. It's few and far between I get to do something like this, so this is a real treat.

Thanks for the compliments regarding the Iron Man mini. I had a blast doing it and I hope it showed in the issues as they came out. And I guess it was through those pages that The End League came across my e-mail box. That's not meant to sound self-important or anything. It's actually quite the opposite. I didn't really have anything lined up after Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin and I'm just very lucky and grateful that Rick came along and asked me participate. I don't really know anything about what's cool out there by way of comic books right now because I've been asleep doing animation related stuff for however many years now. I'm seriously out of the loop.

Then Rick Remender comes along and says (and I'm either paraphrasing or totally making this up - I can't recall which), "Hey, Rip Van Winkle, you wanna do this book with me? Yeah...it's cool. Cooler than anything you've got going on. So, do it. "

And so, yeah... after that sales pitch, and after a couple of conversations with him, listening to what he's got in mind - the concepts, the storyline, the characters, I was eager to get started.

All kidding aside, it was Rick, by his invitation and his good graces, who allowed me to participate with this project. I really hope I don't let him down.

READ THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW AT:
http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=156587

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Filipino comic book artist Philip Tan--
On Illustrating Final Crisis: Revelations
By Vaneta Rogers


"I couldn't ask for more. Greg has been awesome and is always surprising me with what happens in each script, and I just can't wait for the next script to show up every time I finish reading the last one. I'm drawing the book, but I'm almost like a fanboy reading the first draft of the scripts," Tan said. "The whole project has been a new experience for me. I'm working with a writer who helps me out so much with how I can make my work be its best. It's been wonderful. It's been such a blast working with Greg so far. We're more than halfway through it, so I think I'll be sad when we're near the end." --Philip Tan

read the complete interview at:
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080813-PhilipTanRevelatoins.html

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

interview with HEUBERT KHAN MICHAEL


The Next Comic Book Guy: Heubert Khan Michael
by Ruel de Vera
Sunday Inquirer Magazine
August 3, 2008

This is not a good time to be a comic book artist—it’s a spectacular time. And soon, it will be 29-year-old artist Heubert Khan Michael’s time.

The mild-mannered guidance counselor at Colegio San Agustin changes into a penciller with intricate details, dynamic lines and a definite superheroic feel. Weaned on Super Mario Bros. of the Family Computer and Voltron on TV, Michael started on his art early.

“My first sketchpad was the apartment wall,” he says. “I sold sketches to my classmates back in kindergarten.” After his parents bought him an issue of the Superman-starring “Action Comics,” he was hooked. He won third prize in last year’s Fully Booked Graphic/Fiction Awards and released his self-published comic book “Unstoppable” at last year’s Komikon.

read the complete article at:
http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/sim/sim/view_article.php?article_id=152351

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spook Out Sister
By Ruel S. De Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer

“My name is Alexandra Trese. I am nothing like my father.” Her father Anton dabbled in affairs mystical and mysterious; she—called “Little Trese” fondly and otherwise—has inherited his gift for the eerily unorthodox, with a difference. It is to her that Manila’s police turn when a crime scene confounds them, because there is no one like Alexandra Trese.

Stepping resolutely apart from the crowd of the commonplace, “Trese: Murder on Balete Drive” by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visual Print Enterprises, Pasay City, 2008, 100 pages) is a graphic novel that stands apart from what has come before. .

...“Trese” is clearly Tan’s best work, a transcendent product of modern spookiness.

READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW AT:
http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/you/expressions/view/20080425-132699/Spook-Out-Sister

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Filipino comic book artists help shape mythologies
By Oliver Pulumbarit
Philippine Daily Inquirer


MANILA, Philippines—Behind some of the popular comics currently being released internationally are Filipino artists, delighting geeks of all ages with their distinct takes on different heroes—from those in form-fitting battlesuits to those in Jedi robes—and their traditionally frenetic fisticuffs.

Pinoy pencilers and inkers started getting attention for their work abroad decades back. Some comics pros, like Whilce Portacio, Leinil Francis Yu and Jay Anacleto, became sought-after talents in the ’90s. They continue to draw for major American publishers such as Marvel and DC Comics.

Not long after, other Philippines-based pencilers—Glass House Graphics’ Wilson Tortosa, Carlo Pagulayan, and Harvey Tolibao, among others—debuted and began making waves with a number of noteworthy monthlies as well. Once again, fellow Pinoys’ artistry and storytelling skills enhance some previously established fantasy realms.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE AT:
The Republic of Comics

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