Saturday, September 25, 2010

TRESE: Super(natural) Heroine

As the blog description puts it, this site covers Filipino comic book heroes from the 1980's, the 90's and beyond, and this is where the beyond part comes in-- in more ways than one. This also marks our 13th post, so it is perhaps only fitting to shine the spotlight on that darker corner of the Pinoy Superheroes Universe, where stalks...

Trese is a black-and-white indie comic book begun in 2005 by writer Ferdinand-Benedict G. "Budjette" Tan and artist Jonathan A. "KaJo" Baldisimo, and released under the Alamat Comics imprint.

The criminal underworld meets the supernatural one in this horror-crime series, which adapts elements of Philippine mythology and folklore, updating them to a gritty contemporary urban setting.

As stated on the back cover of each issue:
"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."

The daughter of famed paranormal expert Anton Trese, Alexandra works as a private investigator, taking on criminal cases with ties to the realm of the supernatural.

Apart from her intimate knowledge of the occult, she is also a very formidable fighter, particularly proficient with her mystical kris, the Sinag.


Trese is aided by her two masked enforcers, known only as the Kambal ("The Twins"). Armed with guns whose bullets prove fatal to supernatural beings, the mysterious twins also possess supernatural powers of their own, such as the ability to fly.

This is my favorite Kambal moment, for some reason...

An acquaintance of Anton Trese, Police Captain Guerrero typically calls in his old friend's daughter whenever an out-of-the-ordinary case (to put it mildly) baffles the Manila Police.


When not out solving bizarre crimes, Trese runs The Diabolical, a popular Malate nightclub haunted by both mortals and malignos alike.

While Trese may not be your typical comic book superheroine, the series does make a number of superhero references. This is most notable in its third issue, Our Secret Constellation (March 2006), which is a dark and tragic homage to a classic Pinoy komiks character...

In the fourth issue, The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos (May 2006), Trese faces an adversary inspired by a character from the Golden Age of American comics...

In that same issue, Trese makes a phone call to a man known as The Metalero, who resembles another iconic Pinoy hero...

And the story ends with a cameo from an earlier Budjette Tan creation, the superhero rock band Batch 72.

The series' initial 13-issue run has been collected in three graphic novel volumes (Murder on Balete Drive, Unreported Murders, and Mass Murders) published by Visual Print Enterprises. Its third volume has recently been announced as a finalist for the Graphic Literature category of the 29th National Book Awards.

Read a review of Trese volumes 1-3 on The Comics Cube!
For news and info on the series (as well as the first few issues posted online), visit the official Trese website.


  1. Very cool! I never made the connection to Panday, nor did I know about Batch 72 (good material for Easter Eggs). Are you sure about the connection to the Human Torch though? (I can only think that that's who you're referring to.)

    Either way, great post!

  2. The character was named after the Golden Age Torch's creator. There's also a Silver Age reference: check out the name of his first victim.

  3. Suh-weet! I can't believe I just missed those!

  4. hey aris!

    how very observant of you :)

    gerry was the first one to point out the "karl burgos" connection. you're the second guy to mention it :)

    did you see Batman and Wolverine in Book3?
    I didn't! one of the readers mentioned it to me a couple of months after the book came out! hahaha!

    great review / overview of Trese! nice layout of the blog entry!

    btw, you're not the only one who likes the "higante in the banyo" line

    Thank you very much for this post!


  5. I'm glad you liked it, sir. I don't have Book 3 yet, but I'll be on the lookout for Bruce and Logan when I do. Best of luck on Trese and your other projects.