Inquirer Super

‘Trese’ goes Pop!

By: Ruel S. De Vera

After becoming a bestselling komiks series, an international graphic novel series, a Netflix Original Anime, a playable character in a mobile game and a forthcoming six-inch articulated action figure with all the right accessories, what else could a Kris-wielding, coat-wearing paranormal investigator want?

If you are Alexandra Trese, the protagonist of Budjette Tan and KaJO Baldisimo’s “Trese,” it’s to get your own official Funko Pop!

Famously the product of a month-long dare between Tan and Baldisimo that first came out as a photocopied komiks for P30 back in 2005, “Trese” would be collected and picked up by Philippine publisher Visprint, Inc., and become a phenomenon, with more than 80,000 copies sold; Tan and Baldisimo are now working on the 8th collected edition for Avenida Books. The duo achieved a dream by reaching American readers when “Trese” was acquired and released with completely redrawn art and behind-the-scenes extras by Ablaze Publishing. “Trese Vol. 1: Murder on Balete Drive” came out in 2020 to critical praise, and volumes 2 and 3 are due for release as well.

In 2018, Netflix announced that Filipino American Jay Oliva (“Justice League: Dark”) would be the showrunner for the aforementioned Netflix Original Anime. The anime—with Liza Soberano providing Alexandra’s Filipino dub and Fil-Am Shay Mitchell (“Pretty Little Liars”) came out earlier this June and proved immensely popular and brought “Trese,” and Filipino folklore (albeit in a modern, urban setting) to a global audience.

Shortly after, ThinkBIT Solutions inserted Alexandra as a playable character in their mobile game Brawl Quest. Next to be announced was the “Black Series”-style Alexandra figure from LooseCollector.

Now Alexandra will get the Funko Pop! treatment as part of Funko’s Pop! Comics line thanks to venerable Filipino collectibles chain Filbar’s.
“We’ve been fans of ‘Trese’ for a very long time,” Filbar’s co-owner Ivan Guerrero told Super. “The books have always been a staple at Filbar’s stores and have always sold out. We felt it was only natural for us to work Budjette and KaJO to bring ‘Trese’ into the Pop! multiverse. In fact, we’ve actually been trying to make it happen for several years now–even before ‘Trese’ became a show on Netflix.”

Guerrero explains that Filbar’s has actually been trying to get an Alexandra Trese figure made for six years now, beginning with just casual talk but really got serious earlier this year. “We took great care to capture the character’s essence and adapt her likeness into Funko form,” he said. “The Pop! was designed with Trese fans in mind. Whether they’ve been long-time fans of the komiks or new fans of animated show, this Pop! was created for them.”

The Alexandra Trese Funk Pop! is available exclusively at Filbar’s store and the website for P800 starting November 27. There are two variants; a regular colored variant and a limited-edition black-and-white chase variant that can only be bought as part of a six-piece “Trese” set.

If Guerrero is pumped at the thought of Filipinos owning their own Alexandra Trese Pop!, then one can only imagine the joy of Tan.

“It’s great to think that, somewhere around the world, the Funko Pop! ‘Trese’ figure will be placed side-by-side on a shelf with a Funko Pop! Batman and Spider-Man,” Tan told Super from Billund, Denmark, where he works for Lego. “We are so happy and thankful that Filbar’s spearheaded this project and endorsed a Trese figure to Funko.”

Alexandra Trese is only the latest Filipino intellectual property that Filbar’s has shepherded into plastic Funko Pop! form. Earlier this year, Filbar’s released exclusive Ateneo Blue Eagle and la Salle Green Archer Funko Pops. What’s Funko Pop! will be coming next from the Filbar’s folks?

“We’ve been trying to turn a few other iconic characters in to Pop! form,” Guerrero said. “We’re also hoping the college and Trese Pops will be really successful and will allow us to revisit those licenses with new characters. I know there is a lot of clamor to see more of those.”