Kajo Baldisimo is a master at summoning visuals of the supernatural, you know, a Chosen One. We know this because he is the cocreator of the award-winning “TRESE” comic book series, the urban fantasy crime series featuring the paranormal investigator Alexandra Trese. Now, Baldisimo is getting the chance to present another badass warrior against the supernatural–the Filipina vampire slayer in the newest “Buffy and the Vampire Slayer” comic book.
Created by Joss Whedon, “Buffy” tells the story of how every generation features the Slayer, the “Chosen One,” tasked to destroy the vampires. Whedon first presented his signature creation to the word the 1992 film “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” with Kristy Swanson in the title role as a cheerleader turned huntress of the undead. That movie mixed the teen movie with horror tropes.
But it was the 1997 WB series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series, featuring Sarah MIchelle Gellar, that really cemented the property in the popular consciousness. An action-packed, suspenseful show that also mixed teenage drama set amid a fight against the apocalypse in the fictional town of Sunnydale, “Buffy” would run until 2003 and become a critical and commercial classic.
As Whedon is a very good comic book writer himself, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has written a lot of in-continuity comic books about Buffy and the Slayers. Whedon actually continued the series in comic book form after it ended with its seventh season on the UPN. The Dark Horse Comics run had Whedon following the TV run from “Buffy’s” eighth to its 12th season.
In 2019, the “Buffy” license moved over to BOOM! Studios, where Whedon began writing a new volume of Buffy’s adventures. Last year, as a nod to the vocal Filipino comic book audience, BOOM! featured an apparently Pinay Slayer on the variant cover of “Buffy and the Vampire Slayer” # 5. Wearing a Baro’t Saya, the Slayer stood in a room with trophies of her kills. This was part of BOOM’s “Chosen One” line of variant covers, a tantalizing glimpse into the larger world of the Slayers that the show had hinted at, that there were many Slayers from different places.
This year, BOOM! presents the one-shot “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Every Generation” # 1, which includes three stories that expands on the Buffy mythos. One of the variant covers features the Filipina Slayer in all her glory, brandishing a kris, dressed in native attire, with a nipa hut, coconut tree and folkloric monsters in a background design that evokes the tri-color of the Philippine flag. This cover will be exclusive to the Philippines and will be limited, out in June. With his distinctive art of “TRESE,” Baldisimo was really the perfect choice for this.
“Ivan Guerrero of Filbar’s suggested a couple of names to BOOM Studios to work on the variant cover,” Baldisimo told Super.” I’m honored that they included me on that list.”
It was indeed the masterminds behind iconic Filipino comic book shop chain Filbar’s approached BOOM! with the idea of doing even more with this idea.
Baldisimo isn’t spilling the beans on who the Slayer is exactly. “It was BOOM! Studios (who created her), I’m assuming with cooperation from Joss Whedon, who created this concept of vampire slayers from other cultures. I don’t want to spoil anything from the story so anyone interested in this character can just reserve a copy from Filbar’s. Unless BOOM! hired a concept artist to design her, I think Morgan Beem, the story illustrator drew her first. “I’m not sure if there are others but I do hope BOOM Studios explore her story further, specifically in that time period.,” he said.
The Pinay Slayer will be part of a 10-page story in the book. Asked if she should be used even more extensively he answered: “I believe that she should have a lengthier story in the future. I hope they’d let me draw it. I hope Budjette (Tan, ‘TRESE’ cocreator) can write it. We would love to do a story about a kickass female aswang fighter someday.”
In the meantime, Baldisimo and Tan’s “TRESE” is edging closer to its debut as a Netflix Original Animated series. And beyond “Buffy,” Baldisimo is coming back to slay in some familiar hunting grounds later this year: “A new old TRESE book will come out before 2020 ends. I have one month left to finish everything.”
Sounds like this Chosen One is back to work.