Publication information
Publisher Alamat Comics
Visual Print Enterprises
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Dark Fantasy
Publication date December 2005 – October 2011
Number of issues 17 (As of April 2012)
Creative team
Writer(s) Budjette Tan
Artist(s) Kajo Baldisimo

Trese is a horror/crime komiks created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo. It tells the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective who deals with crimes of supernatural origin.[1] The third book, Trese: Mass Murders, won Best Graphic Literature in the 29th National Book Award in November 2010.[2]

Publication History

Trese was first published independently by Alamat Comics in ashcan (photocopied) and online format. It is currently available in a collected, graphic novel form, published by Visual Print Enterprises.


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.[3]

Trese is a horror/crime komiks title created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo. It follows the story of Alexandra Trese, a mysterious detective who deals with crimes of supernatural origin mainly occurring in the capital region of the Philippines.

Alexandra steps in to protect the streets of Manila when the police can't deal with the supernatural weirdness that appears. Whenever she's needed, Trese arrives, often called in by Captain Guerrero, the Commissioner Gordon to Trese's unconventional Batman, a man who seems singularly predisposed to lean on her knowledge and specific skills. Supported by two mysterious and obviously magical creatures of uncertain powers – the always stylish Kambal, she's always there to protect Manila from supernatural threat.[4] Comparisons to Hellblazer and Vertigo were supplanted in this story with a familiar feel – this has the glorious scale and import of Ellis and Cassaday's Planetary, with Trese functioning as the spiritual and supernatural protector of Manila, delivering her world safe and sound, no matter what it takes, whilst we get to investigate alongside, all the weird and wonderful her mystical existence has to offer.[5] It fuses Philippine horror mythology with graphic storytelling and dark art in telling the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective who specializes in supernatural cases.[1]

Originally intended to be released with just 13 cases, all issues are stand-alone cases except for issues from Mass Murders, where Case #9-13 are all related, using different cues from the previous books. Volumes 1 & 2 contain self-contained chapters 1-8, where it introduces to the strange and weird world on (and under) the streets of Manila. This self-contained story ideal comes (as Tan says) from his idol Warren Ellis - to create a self-contained story in short, perfect tales. But again, the similarities between early Jamie Delano written Hellblazer comics is obvious – each story of Trese builds up her mystique and introduces a little more of her background in Manila, just as Delano did in Original Sins.

In Volume 3, Tan starts to develop the story beyond the single issue story structure he's used so far, taking us back in time to the moment where 15-year-old Alexandra Trese joined her father Anton on her first case. And along the way we find out the origins of her constant companions and bodyguards; the stylish, ultra cool and very deadly Kambal.[4]


Main Characters

Recurring Characters


Trese: Mass Murders won the 29th National Book Award for Best Graphic Literature in November 2010.[2] In 2012, it was again nominated for the 31st National Book Award in the same category and won.[9]

Issue Synopses

Each issue of Trese is split into 'cases', some are structured like a detective case, with Alexandra Trese arriving at a crime scene and going about gathering clues until the case is solved, while some are structured as chapters in the issue's main story arc. In the main series, the cases are no longer numbered starting the fourth book, but are listed in the order they appeared.

Main Series

Murder at Balete Drive

Unreported Murders

Mass Murders

Last Seen After Midnight

Midnight Tribunal

Stories from the Diabolical

Precinto 13


Graphic Novels

See also


  1. 1 2 Mañalac, Marco (2011-10-22). "Horror in the Philippines!". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  2. 1 2 National Book Development Board (13 November 2010). "29th National Book Award Winners Announced". National Book Development Board Website. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  3. Trese Komiks Press Release.Trese Komiks Online, December 9, 2005. Accessed on April 29, 2008.
  4. 1 2 Forbidden Planet International (Feb 10, 2012). "Trese – dark mysteries on the streets of Manilla". Forbidden Planet International. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  5. Forbidden Planet International (January 14, 2011). "Trese – more supernatural tales from Manilla….". Forbidden Planet International. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  6. Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo. Trese #3: The Secret Constellation. Alamat Comics (December 2005): page 5, panel 5.
  7. Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo. Trese: Murder on Balete Drive. Visual Print Enterprises (April 2008): page 95.
  8. Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. Trese #2: Rules of the Race. Alamat Comics (December 2005): page 13, panel 3.
  9. "NBDB: Winners of the 31st National Book Awards". National Book Development Board. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2013.

External links

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