FREE PRESS Best Books of 2009 includes two comic books

Adam’s Apples

Finally, things we can actually label as “new” are coming out and in such great quality, too. By Adam David

Philippine Free Press, January 10, 2009

By Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo

A series of slick done-in-one stories, exactly like CSI, only it’s steeped in traditional Pinoy monsters and mythologies and the main protagonist is a goth chick with guns and emo hair. It’s a working off of the more common vein of action horror comic books and once you really read into it there is certainly a formula to the construction of the stories themselves. But Trese manages to rise above it all above it all by simply resorting to the most obvious thing: it spins us a good yarn page in page out. Tan and Baldisimo show us what can be done with formula, why formula work, how formula can work for you, all the while not making it seem like formula. Komikero all over should not only read this for the words and art but also study it for its craft as there is certainly craft at work here. There are currently two books out, both utterly smooth, available absolutely everywhere (with good reason).

By Josel Nicolas
(Monkey Versus Squirrel Comics)

A Batangueño bear named Bear suffers from child abuse, chronic existential melancholia, and urban despair as he ponders upon things as Jeffrey Dahmer, Adam Sandler movies, and Ganesha in this stylized fictional autobio from nineteen-year old UST komikero Josel Nicolas. The entire 29-page book is written and drawn with youthful exuberance and verbosity and frenetic anxiety previously never seen anywhere in komixdom. This is beyond Arre or Dirlon or even Alanguilan. An account of a brain slowly and surely going down the drain. Only about 40 copies of it are available and it’s already sold out but there’s an online version of it floating around in the Interweb somewhere so you’ll have to contact the artist via ajora_metalanger @ yahoo,com to point you to the right direction.