In a supernatural bit of synchronicity, 2021 marks the 13th year since the release of the first “TRESE” collection, “TRESE: Murder on Balete Drive,” by the now-defunct Visprint, Inc. in 2008. Famously created on a creative dare by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo, “TRESE” features a paranormal investigator named Alexandra Trese who, together with her bodyguard the Kambal, help the Manila police solve the strangest cases. That the series has proven popular is a kapre-sized understatement. The series, now being published in the Philippines by Avenida Books, is on its 7th volume. Its first trade paperback, with completely redrawn art, has just been published in North America by the California-based Ablaze Publishing, with the second and third volumes announced for release as well. And of course, “TRESE” is due out as a Netflix Original Anime series on June 11, with showrunner Jay Oliva.
But there’s more! First of all, Alexandra enters yet another strange world—that of mobile games. Alexandra Trese is now a playable character in the mobile game Brawl Quest from local developer ThinkBIT Solutions.
Lord Christian Gosingtian, the company’s cofounder and director, describes the game as “an arcade action beat ’em up that features fast-paced action with simple controls! It takes a lot of influences from local Philippine pop culture which can be found in the characters, the backgrounds, and the story.”
Brawl Quest has been featured a couple of times on both Google Play and the Apple Appstore and have won awards, including winning the Big Indie Pitch GSTAR 2018, making the Top 20 GTR Acceleration Program Busan 2019 and Finalist in SEA Game Awards Level Up KL 2019, among others.
And to make Brawl Quest really stand out, they got some Pinoy creativity in there—Pinoy komiks cartoon characters, to be specific: “Being a Philippine-based company, we wanted to develop games that also promoted homegrown IP as well. We reached out to local artists and comic creators to see if they were interested in bringing their characters to life by becoming playable brawlers in our game. We gave the artists the liberty of creating their own moves for their characters while we animated and coded the characters. — We got the idea from seeing other big mobile gacha games doing collaborations with their own homegrown IP.”
Other komiks collabs include Girl from “Little Things PH,” Ulan from “Sskait” and XX from “Hunghang Flashbacks.”
For Alexandra, it was Baldisimo himself who sent the designs for ThinkBIT to render. Isn’t that just the cutest she has ever looked? But she packs a punch in the game. “We will have a free login event where players can claim caps used to unlock and level up this character
from May 28–June 6. We’ve also incorporated elements of Philippine supernatural folklore into the special stages that will come with the character that will let players fight against these enemies such as the Mananaggal!”
But wait, there’s even more! Alexandra Trese is getting the “Black Series” treatment—a full articulated, boxed, six-inch action figure with accessories from LooseCollector Collectibles!
Dave Cardenas, LooseCollector CEO, explains they started up in 2004 to compete in the international collectibles market and “is the leading action figure brand in the Philippines and we are steadily going global.” They started out doing customs but in 2016 switched to mass-market collectibles—now they only do licensed properties such as the Mar Ravelo’s Darna and the Lady Death figure they did.
Alexndra Trese was on their radar since last year. “It was a joint effort by the entire LC creative team. It took around 1.5 months from start until the actual physical prototype.”
The figure itself has the following specs: 6″ scale, super-poseable with 28 points of articulation, accessories: Sinag blade, SanTelmo, 7 interchangeable hands, collector-friendly display box. Right now, the figure is up for preorder at a discounted P2,600 until June 2 and then will to be sold on SRP afterwards until supplies last. To order: https://www.facebook.com/loosecollectorcollectibles
Alexndra is intended to be merely the first and Cardenas says if it sells well, they plan to make the rest of the characters.
Alexndra won’t be the last komiks character from LooseCollector: Carlo Vergara’s iconic Zsazsa Zaturnnah is in the work. “We aim to release it 3rd quarter of the year. The licensor, Carlo Vergara will have the final say on everything,” Cardenas says.
Cardenas says it’s all part of the plan. We aim to make LC the Philippine’s flag-bearer in the action figure scene. The Philippines is not represented at the moment but as we speak,
LC is gaining respect with the international release of our Lady Death figure and the reveal of our other up-coming projects. Next year we will chase the dream of making figures for a big comic book brand, whose name we will reveal in time.”
Video game? Check. Action figure? Check. Bring on the anime!
“TRESE” cocreator Tan says all this is simply unexpected—and a gift. “Seeing TRESE travel to different media and platforms is always a surprise to us,” he says. “I guess you can say it’s part of the wish list. We barely have enough time to do the comic book, so finding the time and energy to translate it into a TV show or video game happens because there are interested people or groups who can do it for us.”