Counting To Trese
by Luis Katigbak
Someone once described the Philippines as "the most paranormal country in the world." It’s not hard to see why: we’re warned from childhood not to step on mounds of earth for fear of disturbing mysterious dwarf-like creatures; we hear about ghostly ladies in white roaming the city; we’re famous—or perhaps that should be infamous—worldwide for our faith healers. Perhaps that’s why it feels that a comics series like Trese, by Budjette Tan and Ka-jo Baldisimo, is not only welcome, but overdue.
Of course Filipino fiction—and komiks in particular—have always mined the supernatural in general and local folklore in particular for material. Arnold Arre’s action-adventure comic book miniseries The Mythology Class even won a Manila Critics Circle National Book Award in 2000. But where the feel of The Mythology Class was epic—worlds-hanging-in-the-balance widescreen—Trese is street-level. It’s basically like a hard-boiled detective show crossed with a Pinoy version of The X-Files.
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